Literally speaking, an ulcer is an open sore, often infected.
Frequently this sore is in the stomach or the duodenum, the
part of the intestines which connects with the stomach. These
are referred to as Peptic Ulcers, and there is nothing pleasant
about this experience.
The most common symptom of ulcers is an intense burning
sensation below the breastbone, which is typically felt between
1-3 hours after meals. The pain can be intense enough to cause
its' victim to awaken during the night with an excruciating
internal burning sensation. It could cause headaches, nausea
and/or vomiting. Often severe heartburn in evident. It's
possible that a Peptic Ulcer could develop symptoms such as dark
tar-like stools or spitting up blood. These advanced symptoms
may be indicative of gastro-intestinal bleeding and should be
immediately addressed by your doctor. Bleeding ulcers are
potentially life-threatening and are to be considered a medical
Although it has been determined that there could be several
contributing factors resulting in Peptic or Stomach Ulcers,
emotional stress and anxiety are generally considered the
primary causes. Among other contributors are prolonged use
of anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids (in particular those taken
for arthritis), excessive smoking, food allergies and poor
nutrition. Recent evidence has also identified a type of
bacteria almost always found in persons who have Stomach Ulcers.
This bacteria, Helicobacter pylori, is rarely found in those who
have been spared from the experience. It is thought that H.
pyloric may be a risk factor for stomach cancer. A blood test or
a biopsy of the stomach lining can determine the presence of
Even though this can be a serious condition, it is one that is
easily taken care of. From a nutritional perspective, avoiding
dairy products is recommended as they can aggravate the
situation. Also avoid caffeine, alcohol, fatty foods, and soda
pop. Recommended foods are high fiber foods (if you're
dealing with a bleeding ulcer, consume nonirritating fiber
like guar gum and/or psyllium seed), low fat yogurt, avocados,
bananas, squash, yams, steamed broccoli, carrots and carrot
juice. Blue grapes, almonds and almond milk, potatoes, and
cabbage juice can be beneficial in the healing process. Okra,
papaya, persimmons, sprouts and sweet potatoes are also
among the foods that are helpful.
There are also many vitamins that can be beneficial when
dealing with this condition. Vitamin E helps to relieve
pain and reduces stomach acid. Vitamin A helps to heal
ulcerated tissue and protects the stomach lining from
irritation. Vitamin C with bioflavonoids can help to heal
ulcers. Vitamin K prevents bleeding. Vitamin B complex,
Zinc, Calcium/magnesium, and Potassium are all helpful
in the healing process.
There are a great many herbs and herbal combinations that
can be of substantial benefit in healing Peptic Ulcers. This
is not intended to be a complete list, but rather some
suggestions of easily accessible herbs that could be helpful
when dealing with this condition.
Aloe Vera Juice after meals encourages the healing of damaged
· Alfalfa is an excellent source of vitamin K and will help to
DGL form of Licorice (deglycyrrhizinated licorice) is a natural
anti-inflammatory that produces a mucus, which protects the
stomach wall. Use 750-1,500 milligrams 2-3 times daily between
meals for 8-16 weeks.
NOTE: DO NOT SUBSTITUTE ordinary Licorice Root.
It can elevate blood pressure if used daily for more than 7 days
and should be avoided completely by those with high blood pressure.
Slippery Elm soothes irritated mucous membranes.
Golden Seal is a natural antibiotic that fights infection and
promotes healing for the digestive system.
DO NOT take for more than 1 week or during pregnancy. It could
disturb normal intestinal flora.
Pau d'arco is a powerful antibiotic which can fight the presence
of bacterial infection in ulcers.
A chelate form of Calcium/Magnesium helps to soothe the nerves
and to relieve stress.
Again this is just a sampling of herbs that can benefit a Peptic
Ulcer condition. Although helpful, I recommend you use caution
with herbs such as Chamomile and Golden Seal, and do not
suggest they be used on a continuous basis.
One more point to consider is that while both prescription and
over-the-counter drugs may well relieve the symptoms of ulcers,
they do not repair the damaged tissue, which is the real problem.
These are short term quick-fixes that may actually do more harm
than good as they create an illusion that the ulcer is cured or
Many experts believe that food allergies are also a major cause
of ulcers. If you have a tendency to be prone to Stomach Ulcers,
you may want to consider allergies as a possible source.