Gastritis, or inflammation of the stomach, can have several causes. One is that the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori, causes inflammation underneath the mucous layer lining your stomach. H. pylori is strongly linked to peptic ulcer formation. Holistic medicine involves assessment and treatment of disease processes by focusing on all aspects of the person: physical, emotional, lifestyle and spiritual. Work closely with your health care provider and discuss treatment methods to avoid negative interactions.
Perform Holistic Assessment
If you have been diagnosed with gastritis due to H. pylori, a holistic assessment includes physical symptoms, emotional status, life circumstances and how you view your health in relation to your spiritual beliefs and practices. Holistic treatment should include treating the underlying cause, relieving your symptoms, reducing contributing factors and addressing spiritually related concerns.
Treat Underlying Cause
H. pylori gastritis can be treated with a combination of two or three antibiotics that might include any of the following: clarithromycin, amoxicillin, metronidazole and tetracycline. In addition, bismuth, such as Pepto–Bismol, and other drugs that suppress stomach acid secretions are prescribed. The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that taking probiotics containing Lactobacillus acidophilus may help suppress H. pylori and may increase the effectiveness of antibiotics. Cranberry inhibits growth of H. pylori, as does licorice root. Chamomille has a bioflavonoid called apigenin, which has an inhibitory action on H. pylori. In a study published in “Phytotherapy Research,” berberine, an ingredient in goldenseal, also was found to inhibit the growth of H. pylori.
Gastritis symptoms may include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, indigestion, bloating or abdominal pain. Herbal treatments such as marshmallow root and slippery elm soothe irritated mucous membranes. Aloe vera aids in pain relief and speeds healing. Homeopathy offers Carbo vegetabilis to relieve burning in the stomach and Nux vomica for nausea. Soft foods and frequent small meals help alleviate the effects of excess stomach acid. For rapid relief of pain, drink a large glass of water to dilute stomach acids. Antacids offer relief by decreasing stomach acid temporarily.
Reduce Contributing Factors
People with gastritis or ulcers have been found to respond to stress by producing 10 to 20 times the normal levels of stomach acid, NutritionMD reports. Stress reduction techniques include deep breathing, yoga, prayer or meditation; and guided imagery, body massage and lavender aromatherapy. Catnip and chamomile are effective anti-stress herbs, as are kava kava, passionflower, and valerian. Because tobacco smoke causes your stomach to empty faster, your stomach is exposed to increased concentrations of stomach acid if you smoke. Stop smoking and avoid secondhand smoke. Avoid alcohol. Chronic alcohol abuse contributes to H. pylori infection and, combined with smoking, increases the risk of ulcers. Avoid painkillers such as aspirin and ibuprofen, which can aggravate gastritis and other stomach conditions.
Spiritually Related Concerns
Because physical health is closely tied to spiritual and emotional health, it is important to rid your mind of negative emotions and doubts. This can be accomplished through meditation, prayer, experiencing nature, or working in other ways to develop a more positive view of life.
- NutritionMD: Gastritis and Peptic Ulcer Disease -- Diagnosis and Treatment
- Herbs2000: Gastritis
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Gastritis
- "Blended Medicine"; Michael Castleman; 2000