Herbal Health Information on Peptic/Duodenal Ulcers

I am writing about this as a special request from a friend.

However it is important that these are properly diagnosed. Don’t just assume you have ulcers because you have pain in your stomach!

Ulcers can develop in the stomach, where they are called Peptic ulcers or in the duodenum where they are called duodenal ulcers. Both are caused by erosion of the gut lining by stomach acid or by a bacteria called Helicobacter.

The doctor can do a simple breath test for Helicobacter which can be treated with antibiotics.

Erosion by stomach acid is more difficult but can be treated with herbal medicine.

Symptoms include gnawing pain around the stomach which is relieved by eating in the case of stomach ulcers or made worse half an hour after eating for duodenal ulcers. Nausea, vomiting and appetite loss may also be symptoms.

Stress plays a major part in the excess production of stomach acid so if you are suffering stress look at ways in which you can reduce this.

Look at what you can change in your lifestyle even it is something small such as join a Yoga class, take time out for yourself, walk away from a stressful situation and calm down before going back to face it, can you hand a job over to anyone else to do, get a cleaner for the housework, take a holiday. ANYTHING!

The lining of the gut is covered with a membrane which is normally intact and across which digested food gets transported into the blood stream to be used around the body.

There are many foods which can aggravate the gut lining causing inflammation and an area vulnerable to attack by stomach acid.

Diet unfortunately needs to be fairly bland if you have a stomach ulcer. Any high fibre food or spicy food may irritate the stomach. High protein foods such as eggs meat and fish will increase the secretion of acid in the stomach as acid is produced to initiate protein breakdown in the gut. So eat protein in moderation and never eat a meal late at night.

I remember my auntie having a Stomach Ulcer, years and years ago and being told to eat little and often up to six times a day. That is still good advice for a Stomach Ulcer today!

Alcohol will also aggravate the stomach lining and there are some orthodox medicines which can aggravate the stomach lining. The best and probably most widely used of these is Aspirin. If you are on orthodox medication that you think may be irritating your stomach then the doctor will advise you about changing or coming off it.


The approach is to:-

Protect the stomach lining

Reduce inflammation

Heal the damaged lining

Reduce stress if this is a factor

To protect the gut lining we use herbs high in mucilage such as Marshmallow, Slippery elm or Meadowsweet.

To reduce inflammation Meadowsweet or Echinacea

To heal a damaged lining there is nothing better than Marigold

If there is a suspicion of Helicobacter still being present then it is worth putting in an herb with anti bacterial properties, such as Myrrh.

Anti stress herbs are Chamomile, Passiflora, lime flowers and Skullcap.

Valerian, the classic anti stress herb is too strong for many people’s stomach and can cause stomach ache so I do not prescribe it for stomach ulcers.

So a typical herbal tincture for gut ulcers may be:-





Lime flowers

These are mixed together in equal amounts and 5mls of the resulting mixture taken in a little water three times a day BEFORE MEALS.

You may find an over the counter preparation for ulcers but do make sure it is a licensed product which has been tried and tested.

If you would like more help with your health then please visit me in the clinic.

The clinic information can be seen by clicking here or on the clinic tab at the top of the page.

Linda Bostock

Medical Herbalist/Herbal Health Information