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 Herbal Medicine: Peptic Ulceration 
 
A circumscribed ulceration of the mucous membrane penetrating through the muscularis mucosa and occurring in areas exposed to acid and pepsin. Gastriculceration occurs along the lesser curvature of the stomach, whilstduodenal ulcers are found in the first few centimeters of the duodenum.

Ulcerative conditions of the stomach, duodenum and oesophagus are very common in our society, with non prescription symptomatic relief medicines being major money makers for the pharmaceutical industry. Drug treatment is based primarily upon reducing the corrosive impact of stomach acid on the mucosallining. This is done through ant-acid chemicals or other agents that reduce the production in the first place, either directly or indirectly. A range of plants are available that appear to work in a broader way to facilitate a reversal of the syndrome present.

Peptic ulcers usually have a chronic, recurrent course, with a variable symptom picture. In fact only about half of all ulcer patients present with the characteristic picture. The pain is often described as burning, gnawing or aching, whilst the distress is a soreness, empty feeling or `hunger'. The epigastric pain will be relieved by ant-acids or milk. The typical pain picture in duodenal ulcers is that of hunger pains, whilst that forgastric ulcers may be brought on by eating.

With the skilled use of plants having demulcent, ant-acid, astringent and vulnerary, actions it is well within the bounds of therapeutic possibilities to bring about a rapid and complete healing of any ulceration. Herbs such as Comfrey, Marshmallow root, Meadowsweet, Calendula, Chamomile and Golden Seal are examples of the remedies that may be used.

Perhaps the best known herbal tisane is Chamomile tea. A widely used digestive remedy throughout Europe, its therapeutic use is well documented. Chamomile is uniquely suited for digestive problems, combining as it does carminative, anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, anti-septic and gentle bitter actions. Analysis of its constituents reveal a volatile oil that contains, amongst other things, azulene, chamazulene, and a range of sesquiterpenes. Apart from the oil there is a bitter principle, flavones, glycosides, salicylic acid, coumarin derivatives and much more. They act as biologically evolved whole, contributing there specific effects to create a wonderfully rounded digestive remedy. Their is a mild anti-spasmodic effect on smooth muscles that will ease colic, gently sedate on the central nervous system, will ease the impact of stress, and there is an anti-inflammatory effect upon the lining of the gut as well as it being anti-microbial. A local effect is a vaso-dilation increasing blood flow to the digestive system.

This all works together in a way that gives it an invaluable role in holistic treatments of many digestive system diseases, especially where there are associated colic spasms. Of course, there are various other indications for this wonderful herb which will be highlighted elsewhere.

Emergency hospitalization is essential if the ulcer perforates or hemorrhages.

Actions indicated for the processes behind this disease
Demulcents soothe the lining of the stomach, either through a coating or an inherent anti-inflammatory action.
Anti-inflammatories will reduce localized mucosal reaction.
Astringents will lessen local bleeding.
Vulneraries speed up natural wound healing.
Carminatives will ease any subsequent flatulence lower down in the abdomen.
Nervines will help ease background stress involvement.
Bitters aid the healing process in the latter stages of treatment.
Alteratives help the body dealing with any systemic problems that might result from the disease.
Ant-acids have little to offer other than symptomatic relief.

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 About The Author
David Hoffmann BSc (Hons), MNIMHWhilst working in conservation and lecturing in ecology and the eco-crisis for the University of Wales, David Hoffman became convinced that to heal the world, to embrace planetary wholeness and responsibility for it......more
 
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