Peptic Ulcers are lesions in the mucosal lining of the stomach (Tamparo & Lewis 2000). Peptic Ulcers represent a breakdown in the balance between acid-pepsin secretion and mucosal defense in the stomach (Tamparo & Lewis 2000). The causes of this breakdown are not clear but they seem related to chronic over-secretion of gastric juices, stress and hereditary factors (Tamparo & Lewis 2000). Reactions to drugs such as salicylates and smoking and alcohol may be contributing factors (Tamparo & Lewis 2000).
The impact of peptic ulcers for over a century has been one of the leading causes of gastrointestinal surgery, with high morbidity and mortality rates (Sumbul, Aftab Ahm, Mohd, & Mohd, 2011). In a survey study, it showed the socio-demographic characteristics of peptic ulcers in the United States (Sonnenberg, & Everhart, 1997). There was a random selection of 41,457 of individuals who were given a special questionnaire on the digestive disease (Sonnenberg, & Everhart, 1997). The results from this survey were that about 40% of all ulcer subjects had seen a physician five or more times during the survey interview (Sonnenberg, & Everhart, 1997). In the United States, expenditures attributed to recent ulcers amounted to $5.65 billion + per year (Sonnenberg, & Everhart, 1997).
Sign and symptoms of peptic ulcers are persistent heartburn, stomach pain and indigestion (Tamparo & Lewis 2000). Gastrointestinal bleeding, nausea, vomiting and weight loss are additional symptoms (Tamparo & Lewis 2000).
Treatment of peptic ulcers is aimed at reduction of acid secretions, healing of the mucosal lining and relief of symptoms (Tamparo & Lewis 2000). A number of drugs including proton pump inhibitors, prostaglandins analogs, histamine receptor antagonists, and cytoprotective agents are available for the treatment of peptic ulcers (Sumbul, Aftab Ahm, Mohd, & Mohd, 2011). However, most of these drugs produce several adverse reactions including toxicities and may even alter biochemical mechanisms of the body upon chronic usage (Sumbul, Aftab Ahm, Mohd, & Mohd, 2011).
There are other choices that may help with the treatment of peptic ulcers. Another study showed that thirteen patients with peptic ulcer were treated with fresh cabbage juice, which, experiments have indicated, contains an anti-peptic ulcer factor (Cheney 1949). The average crater healing time for six patients with peptic ulcers treated with cabbage juice was only 7.3 days, compared with 42 days, as reported in the literature, for six patients treated by standard therapy (Cheney 1949). Another alternative to treatment of peptic ulcers is polyphenolic compounds that are found in a variety herbs such as Oroxylum Indicum (Indian trumpet), Apium graveolens (Wild celery), Zingiber officinale (Ginger), Avicennia officinalis (Indian mangrove), Ficus arnottiana Miq. (Crow fig), Foeniculum vulgare (Fennel), Olea europaea Linn. (Olive), Cucumis sativum L. (Cucumber), Tephrosia purpurea (Wild indigo) and Nigella sativa Linn. (Black cumin) (Sumbul, Aftab Ahm, Mohd, & Mohd, 2011). These herbs that have the polyphenolic compounds have been shown as more effective and have the less toxic therapeutic potential for the treatment of peptic ulcers (Sumbul, Aftab Ahm, Mohd, & Mohd, 2011).
Cheney, G. (1949). Rapid Healing of Peptic Ulcers in Patients Receiving - Fresh Cabbage Juice. California Medicine, 70(1), 10-15. doi:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1643665/
Sonnenberg, A., & Everhart, J. E. (1997). Health impact of peptic ulcer in the United States. American Journal of Gastroenterology, 92(4), 614-20. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9128309
Sumbul, S., Aftab Ahm, M., Mohd, A., & Mohd, A. (2011). Role of phenolic compounds in peptic ulcer: An overview. Journal of Pharmacy and Bioallied Sciences, 3(3), 361–367. doi:10.4103/09757406.84437
Tamparo, C., & Lewis, M. (2000). Digestive System Diseases. In Diseases of the Human Body (pp. 131-132). Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis Company.