Gastritis, one of the reasons of tummyache is an inflammation or irritation of the lining of the stomach. It can occur suddenly (acute) lasting one to three days, or can be chronic, lasting several days to weeks. There are several reasons one may develop gastritis, some of which are-
Poor nutrition, allergies to certain foods,drinking too much alcohol and prolonged use of certain medications.Acidic drinks/juices with citric acidsand spicy foodssuch as hot peppers.Also, infection with the bacteria Helicobacter pylori, where the organisms break down the lining of the stomach, causing gastritis.Otherdiseases such as pernicious anemia (resulting from vitamin B12 deficiency), autoimmune disorders and chronic bile reflux can also cause gastritis.Nowadays, even physical stresses are considered causative factors.
The most common symptomsinclude:
Heartburn/indigestion (burning feeling in the stomach/chest), which may be reoccurring. Pain in the upper abdomen,sometimes radiating to the back. Belching, nausea or vomiting (sometimes vomiting blood or “coffee” like material).Loss of appetite as well as bloating/a feeling of fullness.
The conventional treatment for gastritis involves taking antacids or other drugs to reduce stomach acid. While these drugs work quickly to ease symptoms, the following anti-gastritis herbs may help correct the root causes of gastritis:
Basil (Ocimumgratissimum, effirin, nchuanwu) has been found to be very effective for treating acute gastritis. Its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties help decrease inflammation and reduce infection caused by the H.pylori bacteria. It can help treat symptoms like stomach pain, indigestion, vomiting and nausea.
Infuse a tbsp. of the dried leaves in a teacup of boiled water for 15 minutes. Strain and take 2X daily, preferably after meals. You can also drink the basil tea with honey 2-3X a day for a few weeks.
Another option is to mix 2-3 tsp. of fresh basil juice with a tsp. of honey and drink 2 or 3 times a day for a week.
You may chew about 2 to 4 leaves of basil slowly to treat stomach pain. Do this daily for at least a week.
Ginger can also effectively treat gastritis due to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It may help reduce inflammation and treat the infection as well as alleviate symptoms like stomach pain, gas, indigestion, nausea and bloating.
The easiest way to consume ginger is adding 1 teaspoon of freshly chopped ginger root to 1 cup of boiling water. Cover and steep for 10 minutes. Strain, add honey and sip this tea slowly. Drink 2 or 3 times a day for about 5 days.
You can even chew a small piece ofthe fresh ginger root.
Potatojuice is another effective remedy for gastritis, thanks to its antacid and healing properties. The alkaline properties of potatoes help reduce bloating, cramping, excess gas and other symptoms of gastritis.
Peel 1 to 2 raw potatoes (preferably irish potato) and grate them. Extract the juice and dilute with a little warm water.Drink this 3X a day, 30 minutes before each meal, for at least 1 to 2 weeks.
Peppermintis said to be a stomach calmer andhasbeen popular since ancient times. Its soothing properties can reduce inflammation of the stomach lining as well asnausea, heartburn and indigestion.The aroma of peppermint activates the saliva glands and the glands that produce digestive enzymes. As a result our digestion becomes easier. Pour hot water over a few fresh leaves or tea bag of peppermint. Steep for 5-10 minutes and enjoy the mint tea to cope with stomach pain and indigestion.
You can also chew fresh peppermint leaves or add them to your soups, salads and smoothies.
Chamomile tea may also be very helpful in treating gastritis. It is rich in certain essential oils that are beneficial for the digestive system. It can even soothe the intestinal walls, providing relief from sudden pains, and eliminate gas. Plus, it can reduce stomach inflammation and thus reduce the risk of gastritis.
Add 1 or 2 teaspoons of dried chamomile flowers to 1 cup of hot water.Cover and allow it to steep for 5 to 10 minutes.Strain, then add some honey.Drink this tea several times daily for a week.
Goatweed (Ageratumconyzoides, agadinwanyiisiawo, ime eshu)- decoction of entire plant. Take 1 tumbler 3 x daily.
Chickweed(Stellaria media,nri-okuko, awede)-thoroughly wash with salt and pound to extract the juice. Take ½ tumbler an hour before or after meals.
Yogurt is a good addition to your diet, especially when suffering from gastritis caused by the H.pyloribacteria. Yogurt with active live cultures is particularly beneficial in this regard.The probiotics present in yogurt help protect your stomach lining from the bacteria. Also, yogurt boosts the immune system to fight off infection more quickly.
Eat 2 to 3 cups of plain probiotic yogurt (unsweetened) daily until you get relief.
You can also try a yogurt, banana and honey smoothie. Drink it 2 or 3 times a day for quick recovery.
Supplementation – you can take supplements of vitamins B12, E and C to help your body heal quickly, after consulting with your physician.
Apart from the above remedies, you may need to maintain a food diary to find out what triggers gastritis and try to cut back or eliminate those foods from your diet.
It may be necessary to cut back or avoid drugs, alcohol, spices, foods and beverages that exacerbate your gastritis symptoms.
Also, cut back on red meat, red peppers, sour food, tea and coffee, sweets and aerated drinks as they may irritate the stomach lining. Avoid dairy products until the digestive system is healed.
Avoid stress as much as possible and do not go to bed immediately after a meal. There should be an ideal gap of an hour or two between taking a meal and going to bed.
Drink an ample amount of water throughout the day to keep many symptoms of gastritis at bay.
Eat slowly and make sure to chew thoroughly to facilitate proper digestion. Eat small meals at regular intervals to help reduce any excessive acid buildup in the stomach.