A peptic ulcer refers to an eroded lesion in the inner lining of the stomach and the adjoining intestinal tract called the duodenum- The ulcer located in the stomach is known as a gastric ulcer, and that located in the duodenum is called a duodenal ulcer. Usually, both are grouped together and termed as peptic ulcer.
Causes and Symptoms
The symptoms of peptic ulcer are sharp and severe pain and discomfort in the upper part of the abdomen. Gastric ulcer pain usually occurs an hour after meals and rarely at night. Duodenal ulcer pain usually occurs between meals when the stomach is empty. The pain is relieved by food, especially milk. As the disease progresses, there is distension of the stomach due to excessive flatulence, mental tension, insomnia, and gradual weakening of the body. Blood may also be detected in the stool.
A peptic ulcer is the result of hyperacidity, which is caused by an increase in the hydrochloric acid in the stomach. This strong acid, secreted by the cells lining the stomach, erodes the inner lining of the stomach. Dietetic indiscretion such as overeating, taking of heavy meals or highly spiced foods, coffee, alcohol, and smoking are the main factors contributing to this condition. Other causes are the ingestion of certain drugs, food poisoning, certain infections, gout, emotional disturbances, stress, and nervous tension.
Banana: Banana is one of the most effective home remedies for the treatment of a peptic ulcer. This fruit is said to contain an unidentified compound, perhaps jokingly called vitamin U (against ulcers). Banana neutralises the over-acidity of the gastric juices and reduces the irritation of the ulcer by coating the lining of the stomach. Patients who are in an advanced state of the disease should take a diet consisting only of two bananas with a glass of milk, three or four times a day.
Wood Apple: An infusion of the leaves of wood apple is another effective remedy for this disease. Fifteen grams of leaves should be soaked overnight in 250 ml of water. In the morning this water should be strained and taken as a drink. The pain and discomfort will be relieved when this treatment is continued for a few weeks. Bael leaves are rich in tannins which reduce inflammation and help in the healing of ulcers. The bael fruit taken in the form of a beverage also has great healing properties on account of its mucilage content This substance forms a coating °n the stomach mucosa and thus helps in the healing of ulcers.
Cabbage: Cabbage is regarded as another useful home remedy for a peptic ulcer: 250 gm should be boiled in 500 ml of water till it is reduced to half; this water should be allowed to cool, and taken twice daily. The juice extracted from raw cabbage is also a valuable medicine for a peptic ulcer. However, as this juice is very strong, it should be taken in combination with carrot juice, in quantities of 125 ml each.
Fenugreek Seeds: A tea made from fenugreek seeds is yet another useful remedy for peptic ulcers. The seeds, when moistened with water, are slightly mucilaginous. The tea helps in the healing of ulcers as the mild coating of mucilaginous material deposited by fenugreek, passes through the stomach and intestines, providing protective shell for the ulcers.
Drumstick: The leaves of the kalyana murangal tree, which is a variety of drumstick found in South India, have also proved helpful in the healing of ulcers. Ten grams of the leaves of this tree should be ground into a paste, mixed with half a cup of yoghurt, and taken daily.
Vegetable Juices: The juices of raw vegetables, particularly carrot and cabbage, are beneficial in the treatment of peptic ulcers. Carrot juice may be taken either alone or in combination with spinach, or beet and cucumber. The formula proportions in case of the first combination are 300 ml of carrot juice and 200 ml of spinach juice; and in case of the second combination, 300 ml of carrot juice and 100 ml each of beet and cucumber juice to make 500 ml of juice.
Almond Milk: Milk prepared from blanched almonds in a blender is very useful as a treatment for peptic ulcers. It binds the excess of acid in the stomach and supplies high quality protein.
Goat’s Milk: Goat’s milk is also highly beneficial in the treatment of this disease. It actually helps to heal peptic ulcers. For better results, a glass of goat’s milk should be taken in a raw state, three times daily.
The diet of the patient suffering from a peptic ulcer should be so planned as to provide adequate nutrition, while affording rest to the disturbed organs, maintaining continuous neutralisation of the gastric acid, inhibiting the production of acid, and reducing mechanical and chemical irritation. Milk, cream, butter, fruits, fresh raw and boiled vegetables, natural foods, and natural vitamin supplements constitute the best diet.
A daily massage and deep breathing exercises also help. Above all, the patient must try to rid himself of worries and stay cheerful. He should also cultivate regularity in his habits — be it work, exercise, or rest. Yogic asanas which are beneficial in the treatment of hyperacidity and ulcers are vajrasana, uttanpadasana, pavanmuktasana, bhujangasana, and paschimottanasana.