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Peptic ulcers, the most common form of ulcers, are specifically circumscribed lesions in the gastric mucous membrane, or lesions which develops in the lower esophagus, pylorus, duodenum, or jejunum. Gastric ulcers are not related to the oversecretion of acid. Other peptic ulcers are related to contact with gastric juices, primarily gastric acid and pepsin.

Benign gastric ulcers tend to recur. Duodenal ulcers, accounting for 80% of all peptic ulcers, often follow a chronic course. There is usually remission and exacerbation. 5-10% of individuals with duodenal ulcers will develop complications requiring surgery.

Peptic ulcers are common in men between the ages of 20 and 50. Gastric ulcers specifically are most common in middle-aged and elderly men. One-fourth of all men and one-sixth of all women in the United States suffer from peptic ulcers.

Ulcers are not usually life threatening, healing in two to six weeks after onset. Treatment is symptomatic; rest and drug therapies, including careful use of antacids, anticholinergics and cimetidine, are often recommended. Diets designed to neutralize stomach acidity are extremely successful. If none of the aforementioned treatments is successful, surgery may be required.


Primary Factors
The precise cause of a peptic ulcer is unknown, but primary contributing factors include:

Increased contact with stomach acid and pepsin
Decreased mucous membrane resistance
Inadequate mucosal blood flow
Defective mucus

Predisposing Factors
Acid hypersecretion, especially in the elderly (may relate to an overactive vagus nerve)
Worn down pylorus which permits biliary reflux
Excessive consumption of caffeinated beverages
Delayed stomach emptying (still under investigation)
Use of nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs
Adrenocorticosteroid therapy
Overuse of aspirin
Persons with type O blood
Chronic gastritis
Cushing's syndrome
Liver disease
Rheumatoid arthritis
Psychogenic factors of any sort which stimulate long-term oversecretions; this is especially common in the case of prolonged stress

Signs & Symptoms

Peptic ulcers
Pain in the abdomen
Burning in the abdomen above the navel
Gnawing in the abdomen
Empty feeling when not eating
Feeling of fullness
Feeling of distention
Weight gain
Sensation of hot water bubbling in the back of the throat
Severe backache
Hunger pangs
Pain in the epigastric region after a large meal

Duodenal ulcers
Temporary relief from pain in the midepigastric region after a large meal
Symptoms of internal bleeding such as:
Blood in the stool
Blood in the vomit
Pyloric obstruction

Nutritional Supplements

Structure & Function:
        Immune System Support &
        Intestinal Health

General Supplements

Calcium 400 - 600 mg
EPO 2 - 3 g
Magnesium 400 - 600 mg
Vitamin A10,000 - 20,000 IU
Vitamin C 3 - 5 g
Vitamin E 200 - 400 IU

* Please refer to the respective topic for specific nutrient amounts.


Gastric ulcers are regarded differently now by orthodox medicine, given the discovery of h. pylori. Substances which combat infections have a more accepted role, this would include e.g. bee pollen and bee propolis.

Aloe vera may be helpful in both peptic and leg ulcers, the former as a beverage, the latter as a topical preparation.

Fiber, specifically guar gum, is also recommended for duodenal ulcers.

Vitamins A and E help maintain the normal acid resistance of the digestive tract.

Zinc will stimulate the production of mucin in the digestive tract.

Note: All amounts are in addition to those supplements having a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). Due to individual needs, one must always be aware of a possible undetermined effect when taking nutritional supplements. If any disturbances from the use of a particular supplement should occur, stop its use immediately and seek the care of a qualified health care professional.

Dietary Considerations

As part of the Elimination Diet the following foods should be eliminated. They have been clinically proven to increase gastric secretions:

Black pepper
Hot chili pepper
Caffeine in tea - black, coffee, chocolate, and cola drinks
Meat extracts in broths and gravies

Homeopathic Remedy

Ulcers - gastric

1. Graphites - 15C

Ulcers - mouth

1. Arsenicum Album - burning mouth ulcers.

Treatment Schedule

Doses cited are to be administered on a 3X daily schedule, unless otherwise indicated. Dose usually continued for 2 weeks. Liquid preparations usually use 8-10 drops per dose. Solid preps are usually 3 pellets per dose. Children use 1/2 dose.


X = 1 to 10 dilution - weak (triturition)
C = 1 to 100 dilution - weak (potency)
M = 1 to 1 million dilution (very strong)
X or C underlined means it is most useful potency

Asterisk (*) = Primary remedy. Means most necessary remedy. There may be more than one remedy - if so, use all of them.


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Ullman, Dana, 1991. The One Minute (or so) Healer.

Tissue Salts

Open sores

Calc. Fluor.deep-seated ulceration, thin, burnign discharge;
Calc. Phos.weak constitution, anemic ;
Calc. Sulf.yellow, bloody pus, failure to heal;
Kali Mur.white discharge, bland, white-coated tongue;
Siliceabase of ulcer is spongy, bleeds readily, hard edges, thin yellow secretion, itching;

4 tablets every 2 hours in acute cases.

Herbal Approaches


Marshmallow root
Rhubarb plant
Slippery elm bark

Note: The misdirected use of an herb can produce severely adverse effects, especially in combination with prescription drugs. This Herbal information is for educational purposes and is not intended as a replacement for medical advice.


Duodenal / Gastric ulcers

Chamomile, marshmallow root and slippery elm bark are recommended for duodenal amd gastric ulcers:

Chamomile reduces inflammation, counteracts flatulence and reduces pain. (1,000 mg t.i.d. between meals.)

Goldenseal blocks the action of H. pylori upon the gastric epithelium.

Slippery elm bark is also a mucilaginous product which soothes and heals. (1,000 mg t.i.d. between meals.)

Peptic / Gastric ulcers

Licorice (deglycyrrhizinated or DGL) may be especially useful in countering the toxins released by H. pylori, together with Slippery elm bark. (Mitchell, 1996)

Licorice is recommended for GI ulcers by the German Commission E.

Marshmallow root is a mucilaginous product which soothes and heals peptic ulcers and general gastric inflammation of the epithelium. (1,500 mg t.i.d. between meals.)

Simply drinking raw cabbage juice, or freshly ground flax seed (in warm water) is also efficacious!

Rhubarb plant (powdered root) is used in China has scored a 97% cure rate for digestive diseases (e.g. bleeding and ulcers).


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Aromatherapy - Essential Oils

Gastric or Duodenal ulcers may be treated using the following essential oils:

Chamomile Essence,Geranium Essence,
Lemon Essence.

Related Health Conditions

AnemiaLiver disease
Cushing's syndromePain
FatiguePyloric obstruction
GastritisRheumatoid arthritis



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