In America, about 500,000 people are diagnosed with ulcers problems every year.
There are many types of ulcers that can be found in our body, and the most common is peptic ulcers.
Peptic ulcers are found in the lining of our stomach or upper small intestine (duodenum).
Ulcers develop when the intestine or stomach's protective layer is broken down. When this happens, digestive juices can damage the stomach or intestine tissue and even the esophagus, the tube that connects our throat to our stomach.
However we do not have to live with this problem as most ulcers can be treated, and symptoms go away quickly.
Common symptoms include:
· A burning and aching, persistent pain between the breastbone and the navel. Some people also experience back pain. The pain can last from a few minutes to a few hours and may come and go for weeks or months.
· Feeling of bloating after meals.
· Nausea and Vomiting.
· Loss of weight and appetite.
Different people have different symptoms, and some have no symptoms at all.
Treatment of ulcers include antibiotics, drugs and in serious cases, surgery.
For people who prefer a more natural alternative, herbs could be the answer.
Herbs can help in healing and prevention of ulcers.
There is a wealth of fauna and flora on our planet earth and many plant species possess exceptional medicinal properties!
Herbs that Help Heal Ulcers
· Aloe vera: Soothing and anti- inflammatory
· Astragalus: root of the Astragalus membranaceus plant used traditionally to treat ulcers
· Oregon grape and barberry: Contain berberines , which have been shown to inhibit bacterial growth.
· Cranberry: help prevent colonization and infection
· Turmeric: Used by Chinese and Ayurvedic physicians to treat gastrointestinal disorders; may decrease acid production in the stomach. However, high doses can actually damage the stomach lining
· Green arugula, or Eruca sativa: may also contain a number of antioxidants, which may help protect stomach cells from damage
· Licorice root: soothes and coats the stomach lining; also increases gastric circulation and mucus production. Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) is recommended, as the native root causes fluid retention and hypertension
· Cat's claw (a woody vine ): Decreases inflammation at ulcer sites
· Slippery elm: the inner bark of a plant, high in mucilage content; thought to coat the stomach lining
· Marshmallow: Another demulcent that help relieve pain and inflammation
· Cabbage juice: High in glutamine, which has been shown to help heal ulcers;
· Rhubarb: Rich in flavonoids, which may inhibit the growth of H. pylori, a type of bacteria
· Dong quai (Angelica sinensis): Used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese, Korean and Japanese medicine
· Chamomile, calendula, cinnamon, agrimony, Indian basil, ginger, and capsaicin (found in hot peppers) have all been used in various ulcer formulations
No one single simple herbal treatment may heal ulcers, because the underlying causes of gastrointestinal problems are complex.
Herbs may interact with prescription drugs and can cause side effects for some people. Only use herbs under the care of an herbalist, and inform your doctor of herbs that you are taking before a new prescription of medicine is given.
Pregnant women should avoid certain herbs commonly used to treat an ulcer. Check with a herbalist about safety and suitability.
Lifestyle modifications that help heal Ulcers
· Stop drinking alcohol which can inflame the stomach lining
· Consume a diet rich in fiber, especially fruits and vegetables that are high in flavonoids
· Consume 500 to 1000 mg of vitamin C everyday. Vitamin C appears to inhibit H. pylori's growth in some people
· Add probiotics (eg, Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium) to your diet. These are live organisms commonly found in yogurt, cheese, wine and fermented food
· Reduce intake of coffee and carbonated drinks. Even when decaffeinated, these beverages can increase stomach acid production
· If you regularly take NSAIDs (aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.) discuss other options with your doctor
· Stop smoking. Nicotine is extremely irritating to the stomach lining, and its use increases ulcer risk, slows ulcer healing, and increases recurrence rates
· Manage and try to reduce your stress level.
Peptic ulcer disease is a common medical condition. Besides causing discomfort and inconvenience, its complications can seriously impair one's quality of life. However herbs can be a good alternative to standard treatment regimens. If you wish to add herbal supplements to their medical treatment it is advisable to first consult your herbalist and doctor.
If you have any interesting stories or experiences in herbal treatment, you are welcome to share them with our readers. I would be pleased to hear your comments.