The parts of the body such as the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and duodenum are the common areas where ulcers mostly erupt. Reports say that 5 million people in the United States suffer from this condition, at some point in their lives.
Earlier it was assumed that stressful life and unhealthy diet contributed to the development of ulcers. However, it is now known that they are a repercussion of an infection caused by the corkscrew-shaped bacterium called Helicobacter pylori. Other causes include regular use of pain killers, smoking, and alcohol abuse. Also, although stress is not a direct cause, it does contribute in aggravating the symptoms, and heightening the severity or frequency of ulcers.
Stomach ulcers are characterized by a burning pain that radiates from the navel to the breastbone, and the pain may last from a few minutes to several hours. This pain becomes worse when the stomach is empty and/or at night, and seems to subside by eating food or taking an acid-reducing medication. Also, the pain may disappear completely, and recur after a few days or weeks.
Medical treatment aims at eliminating the pathogen, and reducing the level of acid in the digestive system to relieve the symptoms, and encourage healing. Antibiotics, acid blockers, antacids, proton pump inhibitors, and cytoprotective agents may be prescribed.
» Including two bananas with a glass of milk is known to be beneficial in healing ulcers, when taken three to four times a day. This fruit contains a compound which is known to fight ulcers. It coats the lining of the stomach, and reduces the irritation experienced at the affected site.
» Chewing 4-5 leaves of the holy basil plant along with water, in the morning and evening, hastens the healing process, and also helps to deal with bad breath, if any.
» Massaging the gums with coconut oil and honey serves an effective remedy for oral ulcers.
» The broth obtained on boiling diced cabbage in about 500 ml of water, followed by cooling, is helpful in dealing with peptic ulcers. One sip of this broth, can be consumed twice every day. Alternatively, juice obtained from raw cabbage can be used.
» Tea prepared using fenugreek seeds provides a protective shell over the site of ulcers. The protective action is due to the property of these seeds to become mucilaginous after soaking.
» Drinking a cup of almond milk every day, helps to control the level of acid in the stomach, and also serves as a fine source of protein.
» Goat's milk, when consumed raw, three times daily, provides great deal of help in healing ulcers.
» Mixing turmeric powder (a pinch) with glycerin (1 tsp.), provides a natural ointment, which can be applied on the ulcers.
» Mouthwash prepared from hydrogen peroxide (2 oz.), water (2 oz.), salt (1 tsp.), and baking soda (1 tsp.) can be used in the morning, and before going to bed. This is useful to get rid of ulcers that are mainly caused by infection of the herpes zoster virus. However, this solution should not be swallowed.
» Gargling with hot and cold water provides great relief from the irritation and pain associated with oral ulcers.
Disclaimer: This HolisticZine article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice.