Herbal Supplements
Peptic Ulcer and Herbal Remedies
General
 
The sores on the lining of human’s digestive tract are called uclers. Your digestive tract consists of the esophagus, stomach, duodenum (the first part of the intestines) and intestines. Most ulcers are located in the duodenum part of the digestive tract, just after the stomach, but they also occur in esophagus, stomach, and intestines. Depending on the place where ulcers arises, they are correspondingly divided into subtypes: gastric ulcer (in the stomach), esophageal ulcer (in the esophagus) and duodenal ulcer (in the duodenum).
 
 
Symptoms
 
Ulcer’s symptoms vary and typically last from few minutes to few hours. Common sign symptom is the burning or gnawing abdomen pain between the breastbone and navel, often occurring in the morning or between meals. The pain aggravates if the stomach acid comes in contact with the ulcerated area and temporarily relieves after eating certain types of food or after taking acid-reducing medication. Other signs of ulcer are loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, dark blood in stools, vomiting with black (or red) blood, chest pain and weight loss.
 
Causes
 
Bacterium called Helicobacter pylori is the major cause of the ulcers. This spiral-shaped organism lives in the stomach and is able to twist through the layer of mucous protecting the stomach cavity and stick to the stomach wall. It poisons nearby cells, in this way weakening stomach’s defenses, it gets easily inflamed and affected by the acid. Other defining factors that trigger ulcer are the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (like aspirin), smoking, drinking caffeine and alcohol.
 
 
Traditional Approaches
 
Traditional medical treatment against ulcer is aimed at reducing the secretion of acids in the stomach and to eradicate Helicobacter pylori. The former effects are achieved by taking drugs like cimetidine, ranitidine, famotidine and nizatidine, while to fight with the H. pylori bacterium the triple therapy is used. It is the combination of 2 antibiotics and bismuth subsalicylate. Surgery is seldom needed and is used in severe cases, like life-threatening complications.
 
Alternative Approaches
 
A number of herbs have for long been known to produce effects in treating peptic ulcers. Thank to barberine alkaloids, barberry is able to fight against infection and bacteria and is used to ease inflammation of the digestive tract. It is also effective in enhancing the appetite. Bilberry is rich in antioxidants that possess ulcer-preventing properties. The bark and root of the cat’s claw are rich in anti-inflammatory components and have been for centuries used to treat various gastrointestinal disorders, ulcers including. Licorice is rich in demulcent (soothing, coating) agents and has been widely used in herbal preparations and medical remedies for various conditions, ulcers including. Also, gastritis (stomach inflammation) and peptic ulcer are among the conditions that respond well to slippery elm herbal preparations.
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