Ulcers that develop in the stomach are known as gastric or peptic ulcers. These ulcers are generally quite painful, and the pain is felt immediately after eating something. It lasts for about one to one and a half hours – this is the time taken ordinarily to digest food – and then it subsides. Due to peptic ulcers, the person dreads eating anything and there is high probability that they may become undernourished.
There are two types of peptic ulcer problems in humans – acute and chronic ulcers. Acute peptic ulcers may arise suddenly in the digestive tract. Their pains are much more severe and are immediately felt whenever any spicy or gassy food is eaten. These types of ulcers usually cause nausea and vomiting. The other type of ulcers – chronic ulcer – is a long lasting condition, which cannot be treated easily. They cause continuous pain whenever any type of food is eaten. Burning sensation is common, leading to nausea and vomiting.
Peptic ulcers are a digestive problem; hence they are caused due to pitta vitiation. In specific, when the digestive fire of the body, known as the agni, is vitiated, peptic ulcers can occur. The Ayurvedic treatment of peptic ulcers tries to bring down the agni by pacifying the pitta dosha.
(1) Useful Herbs in the Treatment of Peptic Ulcers
– Black Nightshade (Solanum nigrum)
The black nightshade, commonly known as sunberry or wonder cherry, is effective in treatment of peptic ulcers. The raw juice of its leaves is given either separately or in conjunction with other beneficial juices.
– Indian Gooseberry (Emblica officinalis)
The Indian gooseberry is known as amalaki in Ayurvedic medicine. It is the richest source of vitamin C, i.e. ascorbic acid. Due to its high vitamin C content, the amalaki can absorb all excess acids from the stomach. It also has laxative properties which help to clear the stomach. Amalaki is an important ingredient of the Triphala choorna which is taken for all kinds of digestive complaints.
– Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
Licorice is very effective in the treatment of stomach ulcers. It soothes the irritation of the inner lining of the stomach caused due to excessive acids. Its root is taken, dried and then soaked overnight in water. This is taken in an infusion with rice gruel. This is such an effective treatment that it is used in conventional allopathic medicine also.
(2) Dietary Treatments for Peptic Ulcers
Since peptic ulcers are caused due to pitta vitiation, the intention of the diet should be to pacify the pitta. In order words, the entire digestive system of the body must be regularized and the toxins must be flushed out.
One must remember the following dietary guidelines when peptic ulcers occur:-
– Eat simple to digest meals and keep a fixed schedule of meal times. Do not eat at different times every day.
– Avoid spicy foods, sour foods and hot foods that irritate the stomach.
– Old basmati rice is easy on the peptic ulcers, and so are foods like milk, ghee and butter.
– Among fruits, oranges, raspberries, plums and melons are good.
– Among vegetables, broccoli, asparagus, lettuce and alfalfa sprouts are beneficial.
(3) Ayurvedic Treatments for Peptic Ulcers
Shatavari tablets are generally prescribed in cases of peptic ulcers. These tablets have better effects if they are taken in conjunction with amalaki. Other medicines prescribed for ulcers are Vajraksha powder, along with mineral-boosting preparations such as Amalapittantaka lauha and Dhatri lauha. The latter medicines are prescribed if there is mineral loss from the body due to the digestive complaints.
In case of excruciating pains, Shankha bhasma is prescribed as the medicine of choice. This is the same bhasma that is prescribed for intestinal ulcers also. It is given in hot water in quantities of half a teaspoon in a cup of water. The dosage is twice or thrice a day depending on the severity of the pain. If the pain still does not subside, the Mahashankha bhasma, which is a more concentrated form of the Shankha bhasma is given.
(4) Home Remedies for Peptic Ulcers
– Cut some fresh amalaki and remove their seeds. Dry them by heating on an open iron pan. Use a low fire so that black soot is formed and the amalaki turn into black colored charcoal. You can crush it into a powder not. Mix this powder with some sugar and psyllium husk. Preserve this mixture in a glass jar. This mixture must be taken in doses of one teaspoon thrice a day. This mixture reduces the acid content of the stomach and helps heal the ulcer. It is also a laxative to flush out the toxic wastes from the stomach.
– Take some aniseed in a quantity of one teaspoon. Put it in a cupful of water
and boil it. When it reaches boiling point, shut the flame and keep it covered
for the night. In the morning, filter the mixture and take it with honey. This is
a good medicine for reducing gas problems and indigestion related with peptic ulcers.