Herbs for a Child’s Stomach Ulcer
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Mary
Posted on: November 26, 1998

I was wondering if you could tell me what kind of herbs or vitamins would be good for a ten year old boy that has a stress related stomach ulcer. He’s been on Prilosec and is still on it. But the problem isn’t getting any better and now he’s running fever.

There are many healing and soothing herbs that help with stomach ulcers. A fever while taking Prilosec is a sign to discontinue the medication and see your doctor immediately.

Stomach and intestinal ulcers, called peptic ulcers, occur when the protective mucous lining breaks down, usually caused by an infection with Heliobacter pylori bacteria. Food allergies are often connected. Aspirin, steroid medication and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications increase acid secretion that will break down the protective mucous lining of the intestine. Stress is a factor. Healing involves protecting and soothing the intestinal lining while inhibiting the bacteria and stimulating the immune system.

The dosages given below are for adults. Dosages for a child of 10 are one half the adult dosage.

Slippery Elm powder, taken by mixing the powder into a paste and then adding water or milk, or sprinkling on cereal, provides a protective coating to the intestinal tract to protect against acid. One quarter to one teaspoon per cup. This may be taken freely throughout the day.

Chamomile Tea is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and calming. It is very useful in healing peptic ulcers, calming the nerves and improving digestion. One teaspoon per cup of boiling water, covered and steeped for 10 minutes. This may be taken freely throughout the day.

Licorice is soothing and anti-inflammatory. It specifically helps to heal peptic ulcers. One half to one teaspoon of licorice powder may be added to the chamomile tea, but no more often than three teaspoons per day and not for a period longer than 6 weeks. Potassium rich foods such as banana will counteract a loss of potassium which may occur if taken over a long period of time.

Calendula is an immune stimulant, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial, specifically useful in healing wounds, and has been shown in studies to be helpful in healing peptic ulcers. One teaspoon of the dried flowers steeped in a cup of boiling water for 15 minutes may be taken freely throughout the day. Honey, which is also anti-bacterial, may be used to sweeten the tea.

James Duke in "The Green Pharmacy" ( St. Martin’s Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010) suggests an "Anti-ulcer Fruit Cocktail" made from ingredients containing anti-ulcer compounds: bananas, pineapple, blueberries, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground ginger and honey (optional). Duke states that Ginger contains 11 anti-ulcer compounds. He suggests that in combination with honey its antibacterial action is particularly effective. Other anti-ulcer remedies suggested by Duke, with supporting evidence from studies or folk use include Yellowroot (Xanthorrhiza simplicissima), Cabbage, garlic, gentian, hot red pepper, meadowsweet, rhubarb and turmeric.

Echinacea and vitamins A, C and E will help to stimulate the immune system. Vitamin B complex will help strengthen the nervous system.

Diet: Meals should be small and frequent. They should include lots of non-citrus fruit, fresh vegetables, soothing and protective mucilage containing foods such as oats and yogurt, barley and rice. Avoid fatty foods, foods containing vinegar, coffee, tea, bran and whole wheat. Avoid drinking with meals. No food should be taken late in the evening. Slippery Elm taken before bed will inhibit stomach acid forming during the night.

Since food allergies are often implicated, you might want to keep a food diary, noting improvements or aggravation of symptoms with certain foods. Common food allergies include dairy products, gluten, oranges, chocolate and eggs.

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