Essential Oils, Self Help, Herbs and Reflexology for Ulcers


Digestive System

An ulcer is a persistent break in the skin or mucous membrane that fails to heal. Circulation is not functioning in that area.

Ulcers are either of the peptic/gastric type (peptic is named after the enzyme pepsin that digests protein, and gastric refers to stomach), or of the duodenal (upper intestine) type. Even though these ulcers occur in different parts of the body, the underlying mechanism seems to be the same. In both cases, some factor damages the protective lining of the stomach or duodenum.

A crater-like lesion is left on the surface of the mucous membrane when dead tissue sloughs off as a result of localized tissue death. Gastric juices eat away the lining of the stomach or duodenum, causing bleeding in severe cases. A perforated ulcer occurs when the juices eat completely through the mucous membrane. The combination of stress and high levels of gastric secretions appear to play a role in duodenal ulcers. Currently the focus is on the presence of the bacteria Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)

Essential Oils

Essential Oils:

Ulcer: Achillea millefolium [yarrow] (varicose), Angelica archangelica rad. [angelica] (stomach); Boswellia carteri [frankincense]; Cistus ladaniferus [labdanum]; Citrus aurantium var. amara per. [orange bigarade] (mouth); Citrus limon [lemon] (stomach); Commiphora myrrha [myrrh] (mouth); Helichrysum angustifolium [everlasting]; Laurus nobilis [bay] (mouth); Litsea cubeba [may chang] (duodenal); Matricaria recutita [German chamomile] (duodenal); Melaleuca viridiflora [niaouli] (gastric and duodenal); Mentha arvensis [cornmint]; Ocimum basilicum [basil] (stomach); Origanum majorana [sweet marjoram] (gastro/duodenal); Pelargonium graveolens [geranium]; Rosa damascena, R. centifolia [rose otto] (mouth); Syzygium aromaticum [clove bud]

Self Help

Self Help:

Eat smaller and more frequent meals (six to eight light meals daily) to reduce the amount of gastric juices necessary for digestion

Thoroughly chewing each bite will enhance digestion and take the burden off the gastric juices

Raw fruits and vegetables should be blended, pureed or juiced until recovery is well under way

Eat bland fruits and vegetables such as avocados, bananas, and squash

Avoid citrus and other highly acidic fruits.

Eliminate fried foods and refined carbohydrates such as white sugar and white flour products

Drink all liquids (juice, tea and even water) at a temperature as close as possible to your body temperature.



Licorice (especially deglycyrrhized, or DGL) is one of the most commonly used botanicals for ulcers. It has been shown to stimulate the repair of mucous membranes, and prevent aspirin-induced ulcers and gastric bleeding, and inhibit H. pylori. It works best if mixed with saliva, so chewable tablets are best. The dosage is two to four 380 mg. chewable tablets, between meals or 20 minutes before meals.

For Gastritis / Gastric Ulcer: A decoction of the following herbs will help to soothe and heal the stomach lining. Use a mixture of one part marshmallow root and meadowsweet to on half-part goldenseal. Note: Goldenseal has a powerful healing quality for the membranes of the stomach lining, but it also stimulates the muscles of the uterus, and hence should be avoided during pregnancy. The marshmallow root is soothing and healing to the stomach membranes. The meadowsweet helps to settle the stomach and slow the production of acid.

If stress and tension are aggravating the gastritis, add valerian to the decoction. Drink this tea after each meal until the condition clears. Take slippery elm as a powder or tablet morning and night to help protect the stomach from acid.

Duodenal ulcers: make a decoction of marshmallow and licorice root with meadowsweet and goldenseal to help heal and soothe the damaged lining. Drink this before meals.

Slippery elm powder taken as a gruel will help to coat the gut lining and protect it from acidity and irritation. Take this first thing in the morning and last thing at night.

Contraindications: Licorice should not be taken during pregnancy. Do not take if suffering from high blood pressure.

Goldenseal: do not take in pregnancy or while breastfeeding as it is a uterine stimulant. Do not take in cases of high blood pressure. Do not exceed the dosages stated as goldenseal is toxic in large amounts.


Reflexology areas to emphasize

Stomach/intestines – main reflex area

Adrenal gland – helpful for inflammation

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