By Richard Firshein, published on May 1, 1998 - last reviewed on June 27, 2006
Q: I'm 33 and I suffer from frequent bouts of gastritis and a history
of ulcers. I take Tagamet but it makes me feel tired all day. Are there
any natural remedies?
A: Stomach complaints are one of the most frequent conditions I see
in my practice. First: We've learned that a bacteria
called H. pylori is implicated in many cases of ulcers once thought to be
due to stress or excess stomach acid.
The presence of this bacteria can usually be determined with a
simple blood test, and antibiotics can cure the condition. In cases where
H. pylori is not present, or where symptoms are mild, the use of an
herbal remedy, an extract of licorice root called DGL, can be
effective. This form is deglycyrrhizined, which means that a component
with a potent cortisone-like effect is removed. DGL, therefore, does not
cause side-effects such as high-blood pressure, which regular licorice
can trigger. I have seen long standing stomach problems clear up
completely with this herb. It works by increasing mucus production in the
stomach, thus protecting the lining. It is also anti-inflammatory. Two
other plant medicines are helpful as well. Ginger root is known to
increase mucus production, and aloe vera juice is a great healer,
soothing the entire gastrointestinal tract when it is taken daily.