Stomach ulcers, also called Peptic Ulcers, are no joke to those who suffer from them. Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria and long-term use of aspirin and painkillers such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodium can cause them. The standard symptoms include burning stomach pain, bloating, intolerance to fatty food, heartburn and nausea. Pain will worsen at night and between meals. Once a patient has an ulcer, they are more likely to have reoccurring attacks.
Herbalists have a few handy herbs for combating them. Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) can treat and even stave off peptic ulcers. If you’re planning to try daily doses of licorice for a longer duration, such as for several months or more, be sure to get the Deglycyrrhizinated version, generally labeled DGL, because it has a lower glycyrrhizine content. Glycyrrhizine can cause high blood pressure in some individuals, particularly when it’s taken regularly for a longer duration. A side benefit of taking Deglycyrrhizinated licorice regularly is that it’s a restorative for the adrenal system. That means you may well find yourself feeling not only better after eating but also enjoying a boost in daily energy.
Turmeric is another herb that helps heal peptic ulcers. It is an easy herb to add to soup and beverages. Many people enjoy Golden Milk which is a dairy and turmeric blend with a few other spices such as pepper but this drink should be made without dairy milk during an ulcer flare up. Dairy milk initially feels comforting to ulcer sufferers but later triggers excess acid thus increasing pain. If Golden Milk is a must have for you, use a plant-based milk instead during the healing process.
Other stomach soothing herbs include chamomile, fennel, marshmallow root or leaf, aloe vera and rosehips. These herbs are excellent at increasing the healing mucous that is necessary for good digestion. Each of these herbs are easy to take as a tea and combine well with antibiotic herbs such as goldenseal, barberry and Oregon grape. These antibiotic herbs are tricky to digest while placed in water during an ulcer attack for some patients. Adding them to a tea of stomach soothing herbs speeds healing and increases patient compliance. The tea need not be hot. It can be served cold with the tincture added as it cools.
Below are a list of options which will help both in treatment and prevention of peptic ulcers.
- Eat a healthy diet. Fill your plate with plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Add probiotic food to your diet. Try kombucha, yogurt, aged cheeses, miso, and sauerkraut to build a healthy gut.
- Consider switching pain relievers. As mentioned above, many OTC pain relievers can trigger peptic ulcer with long term use. Ask your qualified healthcare provider whether acetaminophen may be an option for you. Consider talking with an herbalist or acupuncturist about other pain control options.
- Control stress. Stress doesn’t cause ulcers but it does deplete the resources you need to keep a robust immune system and stave off the bacteria responsible for ulcers. Consider yoga or other types of exercise to improve your capacity to manage stress. Remember that stress can interfere with a good night’s sleep which is major contributor to a healthy immune system.
- Limit alcohol and smoking. Large amounts of alcohol erodes the mucous lining in your stomach and intestines. Smoking increase stomach acid which leaves the body more vulnerable to damage.