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A gastric ulcer is an ulcer or open wound or sore that develops in the stomach. The digestive system uses powerful acids like enzymes, such as pepsin, and hormones, such as gastrin, to break down food. The membranes that line the gastrointestinal system secrete mucus to protect tissues against the corrosive pepsin and gastrin. When there is the presence of excess acid or irritating drugs, these membranes can become damaged. A disease such as a bacterial infection can do likewise.When this happens, the acids and enzymes sometimes eat away at the unprotected tissue causing an ulcer.
An bacteria called Helicobacter pylori is responsible for 60 to 80 percent of all stomach ulcers. Some also result from tumors that trigger an excess production of gastrin, causing the stomach to produce too much acid.
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Minerals and Stomach Ulcers
Stomach ulcers often produce painful sensations and cramps. Bad diet, medications and unhealthy lifestyle may contribute to the problem and patients are usually advised to correct their way of eating and to change unhealthy lifestyles.
Nutritional supplements in the form of minerals and herbs can be used in the treatment of stomach ulcers. The supplements must be taken with food; particularly if the irritation or infection in a person is accompanied by pain.
The essential minerals calcium and magnesium help to regulate and bind stomach acids giving ulcer sufferers some relief. They also aid in maintaining the pH balance at a proper level. Calcium should be used in a dosage of 1,200 g daily and magnesium in a dosage of 600 g per day.
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The Use of Herbs
Herbal teas and essential oils from herbs can help in treating stomach ulcers. Some useful herbs are:
- Slippery elm
- Gentian root
- Lemon balm
- Aloe Vera
An herbal tea made from chamomile and slippery elm, for example, may be effective in soothing the irritated mucous membranes in the stomach lining. Peppermint tea combined with fennel when steeped and strained and cooled can ease the symptoms of stomach cramps and pain if taken daily. Herbal teas should be prepared by using 1 teaspoon of each herb in a cup of hot water. Drink this tea three times a day for inflammation in the stomach.
There are some herbs which can be quite effective as a complement to standard medications to treat stomach ulcers caused by H pylori bacteria, including barberry, coptis, Oregon graperoot and goldenseal. These herbs contain substances that kill the bacteria. Take 500 mg of any one of them three times daily.
These herbs unlike the others mentioned, however, should not be used for longer than two weeks at a time. Also, do not use if you are pregnant or have gallbladder disease. Goldenseal should definitely be avoided if you suffer from glaucoma or cardiovascular disease.
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Minerals and herbs will not heal the stomach, but they can certainly offer temporary relief to the sufferer. Continued use will calm the nervous system and provide relief from persistent cramps and pains in the stomach. However, the underlying cause of the problem must be diagnosed and corrected.
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Natural Herbs Guide