The Fundamentals

Peptic or gastric ulcers, ulceration of the mucous membrane of the stomach or duodenum, were traditionally said to be caused by stress and anxiety; however, today, most physicians agree that ulcers are generally caused by gastric acid and pepsin. Pain is the most characteristic symptom and often described as "gnawing". It is usually localized over the pit of the stomach, and appears about 1-3 hours after a meal. The pain usually is absent before breakfast, but often occurs during the night. Other symptoms include dyspepsia, heartburn, belching, nausea, and vomiting.

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Peptic Ulcers
eptic, or gastric, ulcers are raw sores in the upper gastrointestinal tract. While some hydrochloric acid and the digestive enzyme pepsin are necessary for digestion, an imbalance of these can cause an ulcer. Certain factors such as excess stomach acids, smoking, alcohol, coffee, and aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs may also increase the risk of developing ulcers. Additionally, food allergies, low fiber in the diet, and deficiencies of vitamins A and E may also be a contributing factor.
An estimated 10 percent of Americans experience ulcers at some point in their lifetime. There are many drug treatments prescribed, but, while many drug treatments for ulcers that block the production of stomach acid are effective, long term use may increase the risk of gastrointestinal infections, digestive problems, and nutritional deficiencies.
Licorice is the ultimate herb to use for ulcers. Studies have shown it strengthens the stomach's normal protective mechanisms and induces healing. It may even help eliminate H.pylori, the bacteria that causes many ulcers. Licorice has also proven to decrease ulcer formation caused by drugs such as aspirin. The German Commission E has extensively researched Licorice and approves it as an ulcer treatment. Ginger contains 11 compounds that have demonstrated anti-ulcer effects in addition to it's anti-inflammatory properties. Gentian root, also approved by the German Commission E, is traditionally used to aid digestion. The bitter compounds contained within Gentian root stimulate the flow of saliva and stomach secretions. This is a good herb to use in conjunction with Ginger, Goldenseal, and Licorice. Bilberry contains compounds known as anthocyanosides which have been shown to offer significant protection against ulcers by stimulating the production of mucous that protects the stomach lining from digestive acids. And finally, Chamomile promotes healing and decreases inflammation in the stomach, and may ease anxiety that could be a contributor to ulcers.
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Note: This information is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the use of a qualified health care professional. We strongly recommend the use of a physician for the diagnostic phase of any treatment. With an accurate diagnosis in hand, we believe the consumer, at that point, has a basic, unalienable right to seek out factual information on all therapeutic approaches, both orthodox and alternative, and choose those approach(es) that are right for them. Nonetheless, a "good doctor" should be considered a requisite starting point.

To U.S. Users: None of the products mentioned on this page have been evaluated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration; therefore, they are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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