Gastritis (inflammation of the gastric or stomach mucosa) is a common GI problem, either acute, lasting several hours to a few days, or chronic, resulting from repeated exposure to irritating agents or recurring episodes of acute gastritis.
Acute gastritis is often caused by dietary indiscretion, caused by foods that are irritating, too highly seasoned, or contaminated with disease causing microorganisms. Other reasons for severe gastritis include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, overuse of aspirin, radiation therapy, bile reflux and heavy intake of alcohol. A more severe form of gastritis is provoked by the ingestion of heavy alkali or acid, which may cause the mucosa to become gangrenous or to perforate. Scarring can occur, resulting in pyloric stenosis or obstruction. Acute gastritis may develop in acute illnesses, especially when the patient has had major traumatic injuries, burns, severe infections, hepatic renal or respiratory failure or major surgery. Gastritis may be the first sign of an acute systemic infection.
Chronic gastritis and prolonged inflammation of the stomach may be caused by benign or malignant ulcers of the stomach or by the bacterium helicobacter pylori. Severe gastritis is often connected with autoimmune diseases such as anemia pernicious, or dietary factors such as caffeine, the use of medications such as NSAIDs or bisphosphonates, risedronate, ibandronate, alcohol, smoking, or chronic reflux of pancreatic secretions and bile into the stomach.
Properties: This perennial herb is esteemed high for its flavor, pungency, aroma and medicinal value. It has been used extensively both as a spice and in folk medicine. Due to its great medicinal value, it is called “Maha aushadi”, meaning “having great healing power.” Herbalists used gingers to set right the phlegmatic imbalances of the body. When consumed internally, it acts as stimulating, carminative and when locally used, it acts as a rubefacient and counter irritant. It is well known for its quality of reducing flatulence and found beneficial in disorders connected with the formation of phlegm in the respiratory tract. It acts as an expectorant in bronchitis, asthma, whooping cough and even tuberculosis of lungs and gives protection from infection and cold. It also stops mucus formation.
Properties: Ajwain or lovage seed is another plant which is available in nearly every home. Seeds of ajwain are used not only to treat indigestion but to prevent indigestion. In several countries, ajwain is a recognized carminative medicine mentioned in their pharmacopoeias. There are many preparations in the market which contain ajwain as one of the ingredients. It is used in combination with other ingredients like menthe or eucalyptus. Although it has been mentioned in ayurvedic literature as being used for many conditions, the two main indications for the use of ajwain are indigestions in adults and wind or flatulence in children.
Properties: The medicinal importance of tender coconut water is well known. This water has high concentrations of potassium and chlorine and can be used to treat heart liver, kidney disorders. This is found to be beneficial in case of general dropsy, scanty urination with high acidic content, morning sickness during pregnancy, intestinal infections, albuminuria, gonorrhea, etc. Coconut water and lime juice can be used in infants and children to cure dehydration. This can be given in doses of one teaspoonful every ten minutes to quench the thirst and to restore the electrolyte balance where emergency saline transfusion facilities are not available. Tender coconut water can be mixed in milk and given to infants to provide relief from vomiting, constipation and indigestion. Tender coconut water along with a pinch of turmeric powder and an equal quantity of slaked lime water works as a good soothing ointment for burns.
Properties: On being affected by sunstroke and gastritis, consumption of juice of tamarind is effective. Is also removes itch and eczema. In summers, if one is affected with fever, one should be given drink made of tamarind.
Properties: Lemon is said to be an anti-toxin fruit which is found and used in all seasons. Squeezing the lemon in one glass of boiling water and then drinking gives a lot of energy. It enhances eye sight and is a rich source of Vitamin C. Use of lemon cures anemia, constipation, dysentery, blue, yellow fever, gastritis etc. It also cures obesity. If it is taken daily, early in the morning empty on an stomach, it brings slimness to the body. It strengthens teeth and removes odor from the mouth. While traveling, taking lemon is advantageous. It removes the weakness of heart and balances blood pressure. In case of arthritis, taking lemon is beneficial. It removes spots on skin. Using it on skin brings fairness.
Properties: Licorice root contributes in several important ways to this formula. It stimulates secretion of the hormone aldosterone from the adrenal cortex. This can produce a higher energy level, which is usually needed when combating infections like meningitis. Licorice has antiviral and antibacterial properties. Long term consumption of licorice is not recommended as it may cause weakness, electrolyte imbalances, water retention and hypertension.
Properties: Like most aromatic herbs, fennel relaxes the smooth muscle lining of the digestive tract, as it acts as an antispasmodic. It also expels gas and promotes the secretion of bile, which helps in the digestion of fats. European research shows that fennel kills some bacteria, lending support to traditional role in treating diarrhea. Fennel is used like caraway in the treatment of indigestion, gas pains, irritable bowel syndrome and infant colic. Many Indian restaurants keep a bowl of candied fennel seeds by the door as a digestive aid for departing diners.
The gastric mucosa is capable of repairing itself after an episode of gastritis. As a rule, the patient recovers in about a day, although the appetite may be diminished for additional two or three days.
Acute gastritis is often referable to a time limited cause that can be identified in the patient's history (gastroenteritis, alcohol ingestion, medications, stress etc.) Specific treatment is often unnecessary, but the offending substance must be avoided. Dietary measures are also recommended.
When the patient can take nourishment by mouth, a nonirritating diet is recommended.
You can take almost all foods in moderation except chilies, spices and sour food. Avoid chilies, meat soup and extractive, unripe citrus fruits such as orange, sweet lime etc.
Restrict the use of garlic, ginger, coriander, and cumin seeds.
Avoid papad, chutney or pickles.
A soft diet for GI problems is a low fiber diet that provides a transition from a liquid diet to a normal or regular diet. In contrast, a bland diet eliminates food or substances that irritate the gastric mucosa.
Aside from these broad descriptions, however, hospitals often interpret these diets quite differently. For example, some institutions eliminate fried foods from a bland diet. This practice was standard a few years back, but with the liberalization of the bland diet, it was thought to be unnecessary. By increasing the time it takes for food to leave the stomach, fried foods can aggravate gastritis and other digestive problems.
Gastritis can cause problems for specific nutrients, so it is important to assess the patient's nutrient status. Because chronic gastritis may reduce the stomach's secretions, Vitamin B12 may need to be supplemented. In addition to acids and enzymes, the stomach's cells secrete natural products which are needed to absorb the B vitamin from food.
Iron absorption may be a problem if acid secretion is low, or if there has been a chronic use of anti-acids.