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General characteristics

General characteristics

Gastritis literally means inflammation of the stomachs inner lining (mucosa). It may be a one off episode (acute) or go on more long term (chronic).

Normally, a protective mucous barrier shields the stomach lining from the erosive acids and digestive juices secreted from the lining of the stomach. When the mucous barrier recedes, for whatever reason, the delicate mucosa is harmed by the juices and becomes inflamed and painful, with a resulting reduction in proper functioning of the lining. The inflamed mucosa of the stomach causes a reduction in the secretion of digestive enzymes, mucous and stomach acids and can predispose the stomach towards ulcer formation and stomach cancer if left untreated.

The inflammation can result from infection with H. pylori, long tern medication use (aspirin, painkillers etc), alcohol abuse, pernicious anaemia, vitamin B12 deficiency, poor diet, over eating and eating irregularly throughout the day and night, older age, pyloric sphincter defects (bile enters stomach), chronic stress, excessive smoking, cocaine and stimulant use and radiation exposure. The symptoms of gastritis include pain in the upper middle part of the abdomen, a reduced appetite, feeling overly full after eating, nausea and vomiting, bleeding from the stomach (causing black stools) but often there are no symptoms at all.

The healing objectives are to treat the cause of the gastritis, enhance proper digestive and elimination processes and provide symptomatic relief of the symptoms.

Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

Avoid fried, fatty and sugary processed foods and the excessive use of sauces, condiments and vinegars (except cider vinegar).

A raw food/fresh juice fast could be undertaken for a few days to give the stomach and digestive system time to rest and recuperate. Use fresh, organic fruit and veg and do not combine fruits and veg in the same juice, unless recommended to.

Use plenty of 'digestive' spices such as fennel seed, cardamon, cinnamon, ginger, coriander, caraway, dill etc in your cooking.

Eat plenty of fresh vegetables and grains, eat regular meals and chew slowly and thoroughly to mix all food with saliva.

Slimy foods like plain yoghurt, milk and bananas will soothe.

Eat plenty of raw garlic.

Eat 2-3 fresh apples daily for their soothing and healing properties.

Try a freshly made juice daily of beetroot, cucumber and carrot for lunch.

Eat a piece of fresh papaya or pineapple after meals to encourage efficient digestion.

Potato juice (raw) and coconut water can both help to soothe and provide nutrients. Use as part of a fast.

Useful herbs

Useful herbs

To soothe and coat the stomach lining make a tea of marshmallow root powder, slippery elm powder, fenugreek seed (crushed or powder), chamomile and meadowsweet. Use equal parts of each and pour boiling water over a heaped teaspoon of the mix. Stand for 10 minutes and drink up to 3 times daily, an hour or so after meals. Add a teaspoon of manuka or local honey to each cup.

You can also add irish moss and/or Iceland moss to the above tea mix or use alone.

To improve digestive secretions and the functioning of the stomach use the tinctures of peppermint, barberry, agrimony, centaury, ground ivy, liqourice, thyme, angelica root, gentian and holy thistle. Combine in equal portions of at least 5-6 of these and take a teaspoon in water after meals, 3 times daily.

Strong plantain leaf tea can also help to soothe and heal.

Natural healing

Natural healing

Cider vinegar encourages a balanced secretion of digestive juices, take a teaspoon in some water and sip after meals throughout the day.
Grate the flesh of 2 fresh green, unpeeled apples and eat on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. Avoid food for the next 5 hours. Do this for up to 2 weeks for relief from acute or chronic gastritis.
Avoid the use of antacid tablets as these will exacerbate the problem in the long term.

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