Ulcers are sore on the lining of the stomach, or small intestine. Traditionally thought to be caused by an excess of acid newer research has shown bacteria to be the cause of most ulcers. Ulcers cause more than just stomach pain, and can become a serious health problem. Home remedies might be able to help ease the pain and speed recovery but a doctor should always be consulted about an ulcer and any treatment for it.

In the following excerpt from Secret Food Cures authors Joan and Lydia Wilen share natural and home remedies for a stomach ulcer.


There is a small percentage of people who develop ulcers (sores on the lining of the stomach or small intestine) from continual use of aspirin and other painkillers. If that doesn’t apply to you, keep reading.

A recent incredible discovery was made about the main cause of ulcers. About 80% of all ulcers can be blamed on Helicobacter pylori, bacteria that are more commonly referred to as H. pylori. It is estimated that half of the American adult population has H. pylori present but dormant in their stomachs.

Why do some people develop ulcers and others don’t? Our commonsense guess is that emotional upsets, fatigue, nervous anxiety, chronic tension and/or the inability to healthfully handle a high-pressure job or situation may devitalize the immune system, lowering one’s resistance to the H. pylori.

If you’re a member of this “fret set,” we can suggest remedies for the ulcer, but you have to remedy the cause first. Change jobs, meditate, look into self-help seminars or do whatever is appropriate to transform your specific problem into something that is positive and manageable.

And now, we’re asking you nicely— please don’t try any of these remedies without your doctor’s blessing, okay?

Dietary Remedies

• According to a report that was published in the medical journal Practical Gastroenterology (PracticalGastro.com), “Aside from its failure to promote healing of gastric ulceration, the bland diet has other shortcomings—it is not palatable, and it is too high in fat and too low in roughage.” So jazz up your food with some spices!

• We learned that milk may not be the cure-all we thought it was. It may neutralize stomach acid at first, but because of its calcium content, gastrin is secreted. Gastrin is a hormone that encourages the release of more acid. Steer clear of milk.

High-Fiber Healing

• A high-fiber diet is believed to be best for treatment of ulcers and prevention of relapses.

• If your doctor approves, take one tablespoon of extra-virgin, cold-pressed olive oil in the morning and one tablespoon in the evening. It may help to soothe and heal the mucous membrane that lines the stomach.

• Barley and barley water are soothing and help rebuild the stomach lining. Boil two ounces of pearled barley in six cups of water until there’s about half the water—three cups—left in the pot. Strain. If necessary, add honey and lemon to taste. Drink it throughout the day. Eat the barley in soup, stew or by itself.

• Recent research has substantiated the effectiveness of cabbage juice, a centuries-old folk remedy for relief of ulcers. While today’s pressured lifestyle is quite conducive to developing ulcers, we, at least, have modern machinery to help with the cure—a juice extractor.

Juice a cabbage and drink a cup of the juice right before each meal, then another cup before bedtime. Make sure the cabbage is fresh, not wilted. Also, drink the juice as soon as you prepare it. In other words, don’t prepare it ahead of time and refrigerate it. It loses a lot of value that way.

According to reports on test groups, pain, symptoms and ulcers disappeared within two to three weeks after starting the cabbage juice regimen. People often ask, “Why cabbage?” We researched and found two reasons…

◆ Cabbage is rich in the nonessential amino acid glutamine. Glutamine helps the healthy stomach cells regenerate and stimulates the production of mucin, a mucoprotein that protects the stomach lining.

◆ Cabbage contains gefarnate, a substance that helps strengthen the stomach lining and replace cells. (It’s also used in anti-ulcer drugs.) Gentlemen, start your juicers! Raw cabbage is also good in sauerkraut, coleslaw and the Korean dish kim chee.

• For the acute distress of ulcers (and gastritis), Ray C. Wunderlich, Jr., MD, PhD, former director of the Wunderlich Center for Nutritional Medicine in Florida, recommended lecithin granules—one heaping tablespoon as needed. Lecithin capsules will also suffice. Both are available at health food stores.

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