Ayurveda Q & A PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Dr. Anupama KizhakkeVeettil, Bams, Maom   

Dr. Anupama KizhakkeVeettil, Bams, Maom

Ayurveda has been practiced in the US for only about 30 years, yet it is one of the systems of medicine native to India and is thousands of years old. Readers are invited to submit questions for “Ayurveda Q & A” to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Question: Are there any Ayurvedic dietary or herbal recommendations for a chronic and sometimes acute condition involving a healed ulcer and erythema (area of intense inflammation) in the stomach?

Foods that significantly aggravate my pain are: coffee, concentrated tomato products (such as salsa and spaghetti sauce) and alcohol.

I have eliminated these foods from my daily diet and feel better, but when I test my system with small amounts of these products, my pain returns. The pain I experience occurs in the mid-back, is focused at the base of my rib cage on the left side of my spine and lasts a couple days after my experimentations with food.

Subsequent to the healed ulcer/erythema findings, I tested positive for gluten intolerance, and have since eliminated wheat-based and gluten-containing products. Obviously, healing of my stomach lining still needs to occur and I would like to get a recommendation on how to facilitate the healing process using an herbal or Ayurvedic dietary approach and whether future “tests” are recommended.

Answer: Stomach and duodenal ulcers are very common in middle-aged men and women as this time is the pitta (fire element) phase of life. Conditions of chronic acidity are the most common causes that can lead to stomach ulcers. If treated in a timely fashion, stomach ulcers can be healed. However, if they are not taken care properly, bleeding in the stomach can occur. It is advised to keep monitoring this condition closely; if your stools change color to dark brown or black, please contact your primary care physician.

Stomach ulcer can occur as a result of hyperacidity. An increase in or imbalance of pitta (fire element) and vata (air and either elements) in the stomach can result in excessive secretions of acid. When this acid is constantly produced in excess, it has the potential to destroy the kapha (earth and water elements) that serve to protect the inside of the stomach lining in the form of the gastric mucosa. Initially, irritation occurs, which is then followed by destruction of the tissues, possibly leading to an ulcer formating. Even though, in this situation, all three of the doshas are involved, vata and pitta are the two primarily affected, so the treatment plan is predominantly focused on balancing vata and pitta.

Lifestyle Activities

  • Avoid: alcohol, tea, coffee, carbonated water and smoking.
  • Avoid: overly spicy, hot, oily or fried foods.
  • Avoid: dry baked foods, pickles and hot sausages.
  • Reduce stress levels.
  • Manage stress levels through Yoga, meditation and qi gong.
  • Find a schedule of timely sleeping and awakening.
  • Take regularly-scheduled, balanced meals; including foods that are high in fiber.

Dietary Suggestions

Helpful foods:

  • Moong beans (or mung beans)
  • Whole grain rice
  • Amaranth
  • Quinoa
  • Barley
  • Brown rice
  • Raw honey
  • Milk
  • Coconut water
  • Bananas
  • Barley water

Helpful spices:

  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • Fennel
  • Choose Himalayan salt instead of regular salt.
  • Choose ginger over cayenne pepper.
  • Chewing cooling spices like cardamom can reduce or heal ulcers. (You can take two to three pods per day.)

Herbal Remedies

  • Licorice milk can be helpful for stomach ulcers. Mix one part licorice with eight parts water and eight parts milk, cook over mild heat while stirring constantly. Continue this until the liquid is reduced by half. Drink it on an empty stomach in the morning.
  • Coriander cold infusion is made from one tablespoon coriander seed, one teaspoon musta (Cyperus rotundus) and one-half teaspoon cardamom. Soak the herbal mixture overnight in eight ounces of cold water. The next morning, mix well, strain and drink on an empty stomach.
  • Drinking one tablespoon of aloe vera pulp mixed with one teaspoon of triphala at night can be effective for purging excess pitta (fire element) and relieving stomach ulcers.
  • The Ayurvedic ghee-based herbal formula for stomach ulcers is called sukumara ghritam. You can take one tablespoon of sukumara ghritam with warm water on an empty stomach in the mornings. This dose might vary according to the age and the needs of the patient; please contact an Ayurvedic practitioner before you think of taking any classical formulas.

If you have constipation, it needs to be treated. Taking the Ayurvedic herbal powder formula avipattikar churna can be helpful for constipation. Take one teaspoon avipattikar churna with one cup of hot water twice a day (morning and night).

Meditation and pranayama (yogic breathing practices) are essential for healing both mind and body.

The information provided here is for educational purposes only and should not be a substitute for medical care. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Before using any Ayurvedic remedies, consult with a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner or healthcare provider. It is important to rule out serious conditions when appropriate. This article represents the opinion and recommendation of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of this magazine.

Dr. Anupama KizhakkeVeettil is an Ayurvedic practitioner and licensed acupuncturist. She completed her degree in Ayurvedic Medicine from the University of Mangalore, India. She is teaching and practicing Ayurveda over decade. She earned a Masters Degree in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from Southern California University of Health Science and is currently pursuing a PhD in public health. She has presented papers at national and international conferences. Currently she is working as an Assistant Professor and the lead instructor for the Ayurvedic program at SCUHS: scuhs.edu. For appointments please call (562) 943 - 7125.

 
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