The year I turned fourteen, I found out I had the digestive system of a sixty year-old. I had my very first gastroscopy at the tender age of fifteen because the daily heart-burn was so severe that the doctor feared I had ulcers in my esophagus. After experiencing the hilarious side-effects of twilight sedation (I cried uncontrollably for a couple of hours because my juice had seeds in it. Mental case.) and ruling out ulcers and such, it was determined I had chronic gastritis (GERD) and acid reflux. This would be my life for the next ten years.
I started taking prescription antacid medications on a daily basis (Prevacid, Nexium) and I would lug around a big jug of TUMS in my purse should the fire in the pit of my stomach become unbearable throughout the day. I started educating myself on the subject and it learned that diet, stress and NSAIDs (Advil, Aleve, Motrin) were actually making my condition worse. I figured I could improve my diet and work on not being so high-strung all the time, but due to my chronic Migraines, I couldn’t eliminate the medicines that allowed me to have a semi-normal life while managing chronic pain. Not taking anything for my headaches was not an option.
This was my life until a three years ago when a forty-day monster of a migraine landed me in the hospital. I read somewhere that Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI’s), which is the class of drugs that these acid-reducing medications belong to, can contribute to migraines and can cause Osteoporosis when used long-term.
I tried several times to get off Prevacid without success. By the third day of not taking the medication I felt like I had swallowed and handful glass and chased it with a shot of Patron. I was desperate.
One day while searching the internet, I bumped into a magical plant that seemed to have endless medical benefits. I remember it was an “AHA!” moment. How could I not think of this before? Why didn’t my multiple gastrointestinal specialists recommend this? The aloe vera plant has been used for centuries in the treatment of acid reflux and a myriad of other illnesses. It works the same way it does on sunburned skin; it soothes, coats and protects the tissues.
I was ready to try anything at this point so I drove my little happy butt to Wholefoods and I bought their organic Aloe Vera Gel (not the juice) for just $7.99 a bottle (which lasts about a month). I started taking 3 ounces (or a big gulp), four to five times a day, 15 minutes before meals.
I started noticing amazing results in a matter of one week. ONE WEEK! I was finally able to leave the house without TUMS and I only needed the aloe gel twice a day, before breakfast and dinner.
Now I only take one big gulp, once a day before breakfast, and I can actually go up to a couple of weeks without taking it AND WITH NO HEARTBURN. None. This is how I cured my chronic GERD and acid reflux.
I am now a HUGE advocate for holistic and natural approaches for better health and I have recommended this treatment to at least a dozen of people who report that their lives have changed as well. The plant’s low toxicity makes it a safe alternative to harmful medications and the cost is unbeatable. Keep in mind that it can have laxative effects so gage your tolerance levels first.
Obviously, please check with your doctor before discontinuing any medications and if you haven’t, get checked out so you can get an official GERD or acid reflux diagnosis.
The aloe vera plant is a rock star! From aiding digestive issues, to potentially slowing down the spread of certain cancers, and being super versatile for beauty-related uses, its gel can also be used in the following ways:
- Makeup remover: Apply a dollop of aloe gel onto a cotton ball and wipe the day’s mascara and eye makeup away!
- Shaving cream: Aloe’s slippery consistency makes the razor glide effortlessly and its antibacterial properties come to the rescue should you get a nick. Its moisturizing benefits ensure you replenish your skin’s natural barrier after stripping it with the razor blades.
- Exfoliate: Mix aloe gel and brown sugar to create a soft paste and use in the shower to buff away rough spots (elbows, knees, and feet).
- Brow gel: Dip a clean mascara wand and sweep over brows from some serious staying power. (God knows I need help taming my rowdy brows.)
- Mouthwash: It reduces dental plaque and it can be especially beneficial if you have swollen or bleeding gums. It can also help prevent and combat bad breath.
- Healing burns: According to some studies, applying pure aloe gel onto first and second degree burns can accelerate the healing by up to nine times in comparison to traditional medication. (Hello?! Aloe for sunburns! Just use the pure gel on your skin for faster results as opposed to the green guck from the drug store).
I hope this post can be of use for some of you. I know how debilitating and frustrating living with GERD can be.