Stomach Pain and Similar Aches
Reprint of Sunshine Sharing Vol. 9 No. 11

** Indigestion
** Hiatal Hernia
** Heartburn
** Stomach Acidity
** Digestive Weakness
** Gas
** Bloating
** Ulcers


Does the thought of Holiday Food send your stomach into an uproar. Maybe it’s trying to grab your attention? Did you know over 5 million men and women have ulcers? One out of every three healthy adults has heartburn at least once a month and one out of four has indigestion during an average two-week period. In fact, millions of Americans suffer from problems associated with their digestive system. In this issue we’ll take a look at indigestion, stomach acidity, hiatal hernia, heartburn, digestive weakness, gas, bloating, and ulcers. Suggested herbs for treating these conditions will also be evaluated.

 

Indigestion
When you eat, food travels from your mouth to your stomach through a tube called the esophagus. Once in your stomach, food is broken down by acid and other stomach secretions. As it passes through the small intestine, the process of reducing food to small molecules that can be absorbed into the body is complete. The waste from digestion is then passed through the large intestine before exiting the body.

Fennel seed is used to treat conditions of indigestion, stomach ache, nausea and vomiting. Chinese herbalists prepare a remedy by mashing 2 oz. of fennel seed with 4 oz. of fresh ginger root, frying or roasting the mixture until brown and then grinding it into a powder. The powder is then added to rice soup. A more convenient way to use these herbs is to use Catnip and Fennel liquid or open capsules of fennel, ginger or other aromatics and sprinkle them on your food.

Chamomile
has long been a popular all-purpose digestive aid. The active components of chamomile include alpha bisabobol, chamozulene, polyines, and flavonoids. No single herb possess all the major healing properties of whole chamomile. Peppermint is also frequently used to relieve the stomach. Both work best when taken as a tea after meals. Simply open the capsules and poor boiling water over the contents. Peppermint oil is also helpful and easy to use. Simply place a drop in a glass of water and sip slowly.

A person’s inability to digest nutrients is rarely considered a possible cause for nutritional deficiencies even though the proper digestion of food is a preliminary step in the proper use of nutrients by the body. Instead nutritional deficiencies are commonly considered to be the result of a dietary lack of certain nutrients. This is proven by the regularity with which dietary supplements are recommended by health care providers.

Plant enzymes
can enhance the digestion of food and the delivery of nutrients to the blood even though the patient may have a weakened digestive system. When taken before a meal, plant enzymes begin their digestion of food immediately after it enters the cardiac or upper portion of the stomach. Enzymes are necessary for every chemical reaction in the body and are the only substance that can digest food, making it small enough to pass into the bloodstream.
A urinalysis has been found to be an easy and objective test that will clearly indicate a patient’s nutritional needs and excesses, as well as the state of his metabolic and digestive processes. With this information, the practitioner can pinpoint the exact nature of the patient’s digestive weaknesses.

An appropriate multiple plant enzyme supplement can then be recommended to return the body to its proper acid balance. Normalizing the pH of blood and urine through the use of multiple plant enzymes will alleviate the symptoms of indigestion and, if a maintenance program is followed, will prevent it from coming back.

Anti Gas Formula
and Papaya Mint tablets are carminative formulas. They are used to stimulate digestive function. The herbs increase the production of digestive fluids and enzymes, increase blood circulation, relieve muscle spasms and promote sweating. Anti Gas Formula contains papaya fruit, ginger root, peppermint leaves, wild yam root, fennel seed, dong quai root, spearmint leaves, and catnip. It has been used to treat indigestion, belching, abdominal pains, nausea, cramps and gas.
Papaya Mint tablets are chewable tablets which combine the natural enzymes in papaya with the stomach settling power of peppermint. They stimulate natural digestive secretions.



Hiatal Hernia
What is hiatal hernia? It is actually a small portion of the stomach that has slipped through an opening in the diaphragm. This usually occurs as a result of weakened tissue around the diaphragm. Usually this brings about pain in the lower chest and produces sensations ranging from burning to a dull ache. Nearly one in every three people has a hiatal hernia. Hiatal hernia usually isn’t the cause of pain. In fact, by itself it produces no symptoms. Heartburn is commonly the cause of the pain and symptoms. Therefore, if you’re not prone to heartburn, many people who have a hiatal hernia are completely unaware of it. A hiatal hernia is largely a mechanical problem. Consult with someone who can do body work to help resolve this problem. Herbs that may help include Spleen Activator Formula, licorice, lobelia, dandelion or aloe vera.



Heartburn
Heartburn is a pain behind the breast bone, often described as an ache that burns. Pain can also be felt in the back, chest or upper abdomen. Most people suffer from heartburn at one time or another. Stomach acid that rises up into the esophagus is the cause of heartburn.
Calcium neutralizes excess stomach acid, but this does not really deal with the cause. Chamomile, marshmallow and slippery elm have soothing and healing properties and marshmallow and slippery elm will also absorb impurities and draw poisons out of the body. One ounce of aloe vera juice can be effective for heartburn. Catnip may soothe the smooth muscles of the digestive tract. Have a cup of catnip tea after meals if you are prone to indigestion or heartburn. And again, licorice is a great remedy for decreasing acidity. Eliminating all coffee, sugar, alcohol, cigarettes and fat from your diet is also suggested.


Stomach Acidity
The acid balance of the stomach is important. Too little, and microorganisms in your food, such as bacteria, viruses and yeasts can survive in your body and cause you to get sick. Too much acid at the wrong times or acid that is improperly regulated by the body causes acid indigestion, heartburn and ulceration. Herbs can assist with managing the stomach’s acid levels. Licorice decreases the acidity from the stomach as does catnip and fennel.

For symptomatic relief consider Stomach natural alternative to antacids. It is a combination of natural ingredients that help neutralize excess acid, soothe the stomach, improve digestion and prevent stomach acid from “back washing” into the esophagus. It soothes burning sensations in the stomach and lessens acidic tastes in the throat and mouth. The ingredients in Stomach-Comfort are calcium carbonate, alginic acid (from kelp), slippery elm bark, ginger papaya fruit, licorice root concentrate and wintergreen oil.

Calcium carbonate is alkaline in nature and reduces the pain associated with heartburn. Alginic acid helps protect the mucus lining of the esophagus against acid irritation, and reduces the discomfort of back washed stomach acid. Slippery elm bark calms the digestive tract and ginger root, papaya fruit and licorice root concentrate work together to aid proper digestion. Licorice root has also long been used to support healthy stomach function. Wintergreen oil provides a pleasant taste. Take two tablets when experiencing digestive difficulty.

A dull burning pain in your stomach may actually mean your stomach is not acidic enough. Throw a pinch of capsicum (cayenne pepper) on your food or use ginger root or American Ginseng.
For severe acid insufficiency you can supplement your stomach acid with PDA.



Digestive Weakness
This problem is identified as poor function of the gastrointestinal system, poor food combining, and sluggish energy after eating. Nausea, belching, appetite loss and abdominal pain are also symptoms of digestive weakness. Agashtache and Shengu Combination, or Anti Gas Chinese formula, enables the digestive and detoxifying functions of the body. This formula has also been sold under the name Xiao Dao, which means to clear the congestion. This refers to the treatment of stagnant and undigested food in the stomach and intestines. This combination of herbs work to increase the production of digestive fluids and enzymes, soothe inflamed tissues, increase blood circulation, increase the flow of urine and are mildly laxative.

The herbs in this formula promote proper digestion. Oryza, crataegs, and shenqu increase digestive power and quickly eliminate the problem of accumulating partially digested foods.
Pinellia and platycodon treat phlegm congestion, nausea, fatigue, and headaches. Gastrodia also treats headaches and sleepiness that follow meals when the digestive system is weak. Ginseng and licorice strengthen the Chi. Hoelen and atractylodes help clear excess moisture from the digestive system.

Another herbal combination is Spleen Activator Chinese Formula or Wen Zhong. Wen Zhong means to warm the center. It treats poor muscle tone, poor physical development in children, progressive loss of energy, cold feet, cramping in the legs, menstrual cramping and easy bruising. It aids the entire digestive process, improves assimilation of foods, enables muscle tone including those supporting the internal organs, promotes production of blood and relieves inflammation and infections of the gastrointestinal tract.

The combination of herbs in this formula strengthen the digestive system by using Chi tonics such as ginseng, atractylodes, licorice, dioscorea, dolichos, and astragalus. Magnolia, saussurea, hoelen, chaenomeles, and citrus aid assimilation of nutrients and removal of excessive moisture. Internal cold, which causes prolapse of the internal organs (including hernia), are addressed with ginger, zanthoxylum, and galanga. Production of blood is aided by danggui. Inflammation and infection are treated with pinellia, dolichos, magnolia bark, and sausurea.

If you are interested in a more simplistic approach to treating digestive weakness and would like to just take one herb try American ginseng or Licorice as they would be a great place to start and may combat the problem. A cup of warm herbal tea is a relaxing way to end a meal and may also promote digestion. Peppermint exhibits spasmolytic activity on smooth muscles and stimulates the production of digestive fluids, which account for its carminative action. Catnip unlike other mints, has a tranquilizing effect that calms a nervous or weakened stomach.


Gas
Microbes in the intestine start to break down the food that can’t be absorbed by the body. This break down creates gas. As you know, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, dried beans and bran cause gas. However, some surprising foods that produce gas are mushrooms and bagels. As you can see, if you are eating lots of whole grains, fruits and vegetables it’s common to have gas. There are also several conditions that produce excessive flatulence. These include peptic ulcers, stomach infections, gallstones, irritable bowel syndrome (a mixture of stomach pain, gas, bloating, and irregular bowel movements), lactose intolerance, and food allergies. In addition, swallowing too much air while chewing can give you gas. Gas forms in less than two hours after food reaches the colon, so if you’ve eaten a food that causes flatulence at lunch time, you can plan on the consequences by late afternoon.

The predominant use of mints today in both home remedies and in pharmaceutical preparations is to relieve the stomach of intestinal gas that is often caused by certain foods. The many varieties of after-dinner mint candies and liqueurs serve as proof of mint’s competence in this role. A drop of peppermint, cinnamon or ginger extract mixed in a cup of water has been used for years as a home remedy for gas. These herbs relax the muscles of the esophagus, allowing trapped gas to escape. They also increase blood flow to intestinal membranes, which allows gas to be absorbed out of the bowel and into the bloodstream. Catnip, chamomile and Anti Gas Formula are also carminatives.

Eating frequent small meals rather than a few large ones also reduces the amount of bacteria in the stomach, creating less gas. Activated charcoal is a detoxifier that contains an ingredient that helps prevent gas from forming. Experiment whether or not your body needs it before or after meals. However, don’t take it for longer than two weeks. If you have gas that is accompanied by abdominal pain or weight loss see your doctor because you may have ulcers or gallstones.


Bloating
Bloating can be a result of lactose intolerance. It means your stomach is unable to digest the milk sugar in dairy foods As people age they produce less lactase (the enzyme needed to digest lactose). Without lactase, the undigested milk sugar ferments and makes the stomach bloat. Food allergies can cause the belly to puff out. If you eat too fast and swallow air it can also cause bloating. Consistent bloating with pain could indicate digestive diseases like obstructions in the bowel or kidney, diverticulitis, ulcers, appendicitis, gallstones or a tumor.
Bloating is usually a sign of an open ileocecal valve. Like the hiatal hernia, this is a mechanical problem.

Consult with someone who does body work and can show you how to close this valve. The Formula Intestinal Soothe & Build often helps this problem. Peppermint, chamomile or fennel tea help to dispel bloating. Catnip and Fennel (1/2 teaspoon taken with 4 to 6 oz. warm water) can ease bloating.
Add more fiber to your diet by eating vegetables and whole grains. Fiber softens the bowel contents and helps intestinal spasms.


Ulcers
Ulcers generally occur in the stomach and the first portion of the small intestine. Recent research shows that ulcers are linked to a bacterial infection called Helicobacter Pylori (H.pylori). Conventional wisdom held that stress increased the level of stomach acid, which then caused ulcers. Now we know that H.pylori infection causes persistent stomach inflammation - chronic superficial gastritis. If left unchecked, this inflammation will blossom into painful ulcers. Symptoms of ulcers may be pain, nausea, vomiting, increased or decreased appetite, diarrhea, constipation, and weight loss.

Gastro-Health Concentrate
is made to both inhibit the growth of H.pylori bacteria and help the body relieve the stomach of the irritation and discomfort H.pylori causes. Ulcers and their symptoms are one of the most common ailments in the United States.
Medications such as Tagamet and Zantac are among the best selling pharmaceuticals in the nation. Unfortunately, such drugs only treat ulcer symptoms. They can relieve the burning sensation, gas and upset stomach that typically accompany ulcers, but they do nothing about the ulcer itself.

Gastro-Health Concentrate
combines herbs that may help support the digestive system during times of stomach distress, strain and discomfort.
Scientific studies have shown three of these herbs, pau d’arco extract, cloves powder extract and inula racemosa powder, actually inhibit the activity of H. pylori bacteria. These same herbs have been shown not to inhibit other friendly bacteria that exist in the digestive and intestinal tracts. It also contains deglycyrrhizinated licorice extract (DGLE) and capsicum fruit.

Gastro-Health Concentrate is capable of helping soothe stomach irritations and similar discomfort.
Some other traditional herbs that are used to treat ulcers include the following: Black walnut’s antiseptic hulls fight parasites. The azulenes in peppermint and chamomile provide antiinflammatory and anti-ulcer properties. Licorice root is an antiinflammatory and has long been used in the treatment of ulcers. It strengthens the stomach lining by increasing the number of mucus secreting cells.