Heal your peptic ulcer naturally

What’s peptic ulcer?
Food is digested by the stomach with the help of concentrated acid and digestive enzymes. This process may, however, damage the internal intestinal walls of the digestive system. The mucosa, which protects the intestinal walls, is at times removed allowing the acids to harm the stomach and intestinal walls leading to tiny ulcers. This usually occurs in the uppermost part of the small intestine or duodenum.
Under normal circumstances, only sufficient quantity of the acid-enzyme mixture is secreted so as to disintegrate and churn the ingested food. If this acid-enzyme mixture is secreted in excessive quantities, the chances of damage to the protective mucosal covering are high leading to wound-like erosions in the inner most layers of stomach and/or duodenum. Medically, the condition is referred to as peptic ulcer.

Causes of peptic ulcer
Helicobacter pylori bacteria: Destructive infection by H. pylori pathogens is currently understood as the foremost reason behind occurrence of peptic ulcers in a majority of cases. H. pylori are found to thrive almost throughout the patient’s life and trigger a modified defence reaction within the body.
Usage of pain killers: Commonly used ‘over the counter’ or prescribed pain relieving medicines like aspirin, diclofenac, ibuprofen etc have been long found to deteriorate the natural defense mechanism of the stomach, often leading to chances of peptic ulcers.
Improper diet and lifestyle: Prolonged intake of spicy/irritant food stuffs, coffee, tea, carbonated drinks, alcohol, and smoking on regular basis, along with long duration of fasting, irregular meals and late night meals, have been observed to be closely related to the problem of hyperacidity and ulcer.
Zollinger-Ellison (ZE) Syndrome: It is a discrete medical condition where a hormone called gastrin is secreted by pancreas in abnormally high amounts, which in turn encourages excessive acid production in the stomach, arousing the occurrence of peptic ulcers.
Stress and sleep disorders: Continued stress is an extremely significant predisposing factor for occurrence as well as worsening of hyperacidity and peptic ulcers.

Management of peptic ulcers
According to Ayurveda, peptic ulcer is termed as Parinama Shula and is described as the pain felt at a distinct time after consumption of food. Ayurveda further segregates the problem into different types, according to the predominant dosha (Vata, Pitta or Kapha) affected, and hence the treatment is specific and varies according to the doshas.

In case of Vata dosha, medicated enema or certain classical Ayurveda medicines consisting of compound herbal formula of herbs like asparagus root and country mallow processed in oil are used. Mild purgation is suggested in the Pitta dosha using grapes, golden shower tree pods, Indian gooseberry and turpeth. In the Kapha dosha, induced therapeutic vomiting using sugarcane juice or saline water is recommended.

It is important to note that the above bio-purifications and detoxification (Panchakarma) procedures are carried out only under the supervision of Ayurveda experts and are to be more appropriate in conditions of hyperacidity, where definite improvement is mostly observed. These are best avoided in patients confirmed with, or having a medical history highly suggestive of peptic ulcers, due to a small but definite risk of perforation and other complications.

Ayurveda offers explicit and highly effective treatment for peptic ulcer. Some very beneficial herbal medicines known to be effective in this condition are: Indian gooseberry, Indian pennywort (Tenospora cordifolia), liquorice, Indian sarsaparilla, turmeric, dried unripe banana, king of bitters, pointed gourd, etc.

Complete relief is usually obtained after a period of 1-2 months. In order to prevent recurrence of symptoms, the patient is further treated with asparagus root, cow’s milk fat (ghee), long pepper, etc. For patients not responding to usual medication courses, the total regimen of treatment may need to be repeated in cycles till complete recovery.

Ayurvedic diet regimen for peptic ulcer
It is best to avoid the aggravating causes of peptic ulcers. A diet of whole wheat, rice, beans, sugar, honey, ash gourd, pointed gourd, lady`s finger, bottle gourd, coconut, pomegranate and milk is recommended. Sesame, black gram, horse gram, garlic, wet ginger, black pepper, yogurt/curd, spicy, fried and fermented food products are best avoided.

Source: Dr K Gowthaman, Medical Director, rVita (rVita Ayurveda Centers)
Image: Flickr Creativecommons Kurisuuu

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