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 Herbal Medicine: Gastritis 
As an example of the herbal approach to inflammatory conditions in the digestive system we shall first consider common condition known as gastritis. Strictly speaking the term gastritis means inflammation of the gastric mucosa, the tissue lining the stomach, but there are a range of medical sub-divisions based upon the various pathological changes that might have occurred to the tissue, but from the herbal perspective, these findings are not crucial. The approach described here may be applied in all cases unless there is a specific problem that is more pressing than the gastritis.

To decide upon the appropriate herbal treatment the phytotherapist must identify what actions might be indicated for the processes involved in the condition. With gastritis the inflammation is a primary focus in deciding upon relevant actions and herbs. There are a number of herbal ways in which to reduce the inflammation, but these do not replace any appropriate dietary of life-style changes that might be indicated.

As discussed previously the primary options are the use of demulcents to act as a barrier between the acidic stomach content and the inflamed tissues, or anti-inflammatories to lessen the inflammatory response within the cells. Simple demulcents are usually quite adequate as the body will do the healing work itself given the chance. Ant-acids will temporarily relieve the symptomatic discomfort through lessening of stomach acidity, but have little to offer as the body will respond to this by increase the secretion of hydrochloric to compensate. Relaxing Nervines are indicated if stress and anxiety are involved.

One possible prescription


Comfrey root 2 parts
Marshmallow root 2 parts
Chamomile 1 part of tincture, to 5ml in total 3 times a day

An infusion of Chamomile or Lemon Balm sipped slowly throughout the day will help.

This supplies:

  • demulcents (Comfrey root, Marshmallow root)
  • anti-inflammatories (Chamomile, Lemon Balm)
  • nervines (Chamomile, Lemon Balm)
Broader Context of Treatment
Life-style is fundamental to causation as well as treatment. Food irritants must be avoided. These include chemicals, temperature, fibre. Acid foods, alcohol, tobacco any thing that elicits the symptoms must be avoided. Stress will aggravate or even cause this problem. Work conditions, anxiety etc. must be considered. This is discussed in more depth under Peptic Ulceration.
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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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