Ulcers are not an uncommon health complication. According to Medscape, approximately 4.6 million people are diagnosed with peptic ulcers annually.
Generally, an Ulcer is an open sore (external or internal) in a vein or tissue, which makes its patient feel a burning or ache in the wounded area. In this article, though, our focus is on peptic ulcers – the ones that affect anywhere between the oesophagus and small intestine.
The most common type is the gastric ulcer, which occurs in the stomach. Another type is the duodenum ulcer; it occurs in the upper part of the small intestine. If you have a duodenum ulcer, you’ll often feel pain around the lower part of the belly. In rare cases, ulcer occurs in the lower part of the oesophagus; this is known as the oesophagal ulcer. These 3 ulcer types are called Peptic ulcers.
In the early to mid 20th century, peptic ulcers were believed to be caused by stress and/or hard work. They believed that more gastric juice is secreted when you’re stressed or do some heavy-duty chores. Due to this, patients take a kind of pride in having it, like it’s something to show for their labour.
In contrast, though, recent studies have not been able to show any substantial proof of this claim. While stress hasn’t been confirmed to be a primary cause of peptic ulcers, though, it’s been proven to worsen symptoms.
Causes Of Peptic Ulcer
There are several causes of ulcer, they include:
H. Pylori: a type of bacteria capable of causing stomach infection and inflammation. Responsible for 60% of gastric ulcer occurrences and up to 75% of duodenal ulcer, H. pylori is considered to be the highest cause of internal ulcers.
Though it’s noted as being notorious in the “ulcer world”, H. pylori isn’t always the cause, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen may cause ulcer if used improperly.
Other conditions that may increase the risk of developing peptic ulcer are rheumatoid arthritis, liver disease, smoking, foods containing caffeine, and some others.
Ulcer symptoms are burning or pain in the infected area, appetite loss, nausea, sudden weight loss, and in rare cases, complications such as perforation may occur. This requires immediate professional medical attention.
Natural Treatments For Peptic Ulcers
While there are drugs and medications used in treating ulcer, herbs and natural remedies are considered better; at least, by nature-lovers. This is because they have little to no side-effects – except when excessively abused, are more effective, delicious if taken as food, and preparation could be a form of exercise.
It’s worth mentioning that while there are numerous herbs out there with ulcer-healing potential, some of which are almost impossible to get for an average jack, this article focuses on a few but important ones you can easily get from a nearby store, supermarket or actually plant in your garden if you have one (which I really think you should).
Note: Always consult a medical practitioner before embarking on any diet plan, taking a natural health remedy or exercise for any reason.
1. Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper, also known as guinea pepper, or in its powder form, red pepper has numerous health benefits, among which is its ability to help in the treatment of ulcer.
Cayenne pepper boosts circulation and blood flow to all major organs, aiding nutrient delivery, this makes sure the wounded area gets the right help in healing up. Also, it contains capsaicin, which promotes mucus production in the stomach and other internal organs. Capsaicin has also been found to help reduce hunger.
As a herb, cayenne pepper could be taken with warm water, 1/4 of a teaspoon to a cup of water is enough, being taken with water ensures quick delivery and functioning of the cayenne pepper.
Other than being taken as a herb, cayenne pepper can be used to spice soup or chilli snacks, the quantity that could be gotten here is relatively small though. Soups are a great way of administering treatment, taking medication couldn’t have been better. Cayenne pepper could be used in virtually any sauce, adding the right quantity is key, though, as the excessive application may turn a delicious sauce into a “hot” sauce.
Cabbage, being a vegetable, might not be the best go-to plant for a tasty juice (for me, at least). That, however, doesn’t nullify the fact that it’s an interesting plant to munch on. Also, its health benefits are enough reasons to go for it.
Studies have shown that ulcer patients who ate cabbage or drank cabbage juice healed faster than patients who didn’t. Just like cayenne pepper, there are components in cabbage that enhance the production of the mucus membrane in the stomach and other internal organs.
Cabbage is fun when eaten raw but its juice is said to be far more effective. Cabbage could be used in vegetable salads, sliced on already prepared meals. You can also blend some up and store in the fridge for later use; it’s at its best when it’s still fresh though. There are multiple cooking recipes which include cabbages but, I do not know how effective they are in this case.
Note: Before taking or blending cabbage, it’s better to soak it in warm water with some apple cider vinegar for cleansing.
For better results, take a glass of cabbage juice before meals (just around the time set for water therapy) daily.
3. Ginger Root
Honestly, I love ginger. The aroma ginger adds to one’s cooking is enough to get the whole neighbourhood in a frenzy, hyperbole intended.
Asides it already established culinary importance in seasoning delicious and top-notch meals, its H. pylori-suppressing ability is a great advantage. Research has shown that ginger oil protects against the formation of peptic ulcers.
While there are facts establishing the efficiency of ginger in counter-attacking the actions of H. pylori, there are certain rules to go by:
- Ginger must not be taken on an empty stomach.
- It is not recommended to be taken excessively.
- Before taking ginger for treatment purposes, consult a physician. this doesn’t stop you from using it to season foods though.
Add 2 to 3 slices of fresh ginger to two cups of hot water and leave for 30 minutes, could be taken around the same time you observe water therapy.
To avoid overdose, it should be used every other day. Ginger could be added to any soup or sauce for seasoning in minimal quantities; excessive usage may make it repulsive.
According to Badgut, an impaired mucosal defence may give way to the development of ulcers. A safety measure is to ensure constant production of the mucus membranes. Vitamin A has been found to be an important factor in mucus production.
Carrots are a reliable source of vitamin A. You can either buy from the store or grow yours at home. From planting to maturity takes about three months. They can, however, take up to four months. They grow better in the spring and without shades. I’ve planted carrots in containers before and I was pretty impressed. The best part was that I was able to move my plants when we changed environments.
There are many ways by which you can consume your carrots. Asides crushing them in my mouth, I’ve tried carrot sauce and smoothie. The sauce is delicious but it must be eaten within a few hours for the best experience.
5. Some Fruits
Fruits are so advantageous to the human body, they are a healthy source of vitamin and whole carbohydrates. They are also known to improve the functioning of the immune system and general health altogether.
Research has shown that certain fruits are helpful while treating ulcer and combating H. pylori. These fruits include:
Antioxidants, like antibodies, are soldiers that guard your cells against damage from oxidation, a chemical process that produces free radicals. It has been scientifically proven that dark foods possess a higher level of antioxidants than normal ones.
Resveratol and anthocyanins are two of the major components found in fruits with dark/purple pigment. Resveratrol can prevent the spread of colorectal cancer. Also, anthocyanins are known to reduce gastric ulcer formation. Other antioxidants found in black currants and purple fruits are known to improve the effectiveness of other antioxidants already present in the body.
Cranberries are extremely juicy fruits from the genus vaccinium. They contain resveratrol and that endows it with the ability to inhibit the spread and growth of colorectal cancer and peptic ulcer. Asides that, cranberry is extremely nutritious, containing all vitamins except vitamin D. Cranberries can be processed and made into juice. They can also be used in sauces.
Blueberries are also juicy fruits from the genus vaccinium, and just like their sisters – cranberries – they contain resveratrol and anthocyanin. Anthocyanin is known to be able to prevent or reduce gastric ulcer formation, other antioxidants found in black currants and purple fruits are known to improve the effectiveness of other antioxidants already present in the body. Other “family members” include bilberries, gooseberries, and others.
Blackberries are edible and juicy fruits from the genus Rubus. They contain anthocyanin, which reduces ulcer formation. Probably because they are potent antioxidants, they hinder H. pylori from growing and may eventually lead to its death. Other fruits that contain anthocyanin include Raspberries, Purple corn, and Norton grape.
A Few Foods That Combat Ulcer
In the battle against ulcer, your diet is very important; during and after treatment. While some foods will help you heal faster, some will prevent future recurrence. Consider incorporating these foods into your diet.
Fermented Foods (Probiotics)
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help balance your flora. Flora balance could put an end to the actions of H. pylori in the human system. One healthy source of probiotics is fermented foods.
1. Cabbage juice:
Cabbage juice could be left to ferment before drinking. It is a very healthy source of probiotics.
Sauerkraut is an already cut and fermented cabbage. You get some good bacteria.
Kimchi is an already fermented Korean dish made of various vegetables.
Yoghurts are enjoyable and are a sure source of probiotics.
Note: Fruits rich in antioxidants also work as antibacterial. This means they kill bacteria, including H. pylori as well as good bacteria. So, you’ll need to stock up on your good bacteria base by taking any of the foods listed above.
Depending on your preference, you can either get any of these plants from the local grocery store or grow them by yourself. Both options have advantages and disadvantages.
One of the advantages of growing them by yourself is that you get to handle the process, and you get to make every decision concerning them. Also, growing them by yourself gives you easy access to them at any time; as long as they’re in season.
The main disadvantage, though, is that you’ll have to put in the time to cultivate them. Of course, this is relative. How much you decide to cultivate will determine how much time you’ll need to dedicate. Also, if you’ve been gardening before now, I don’t think this will make a dent in your schedule.
Besides that, you’ll have to deal with supplying manure and minding pests.
Joseph Olu is an SEO copywriter for SaaS and Health and Wellness brands. He is a contributor to top publications like ThriveGlobal and Hackernoon. He has also written for natural health brands like Phd-organics.