Gastritis refers to an inflamed stomach. During inflammation, white blood cells move into the stomach wall as a response to a certain injury. Gastritis is not comparable to ulcer or cancer. It is simply a form of inflammation, which can be either acute or chronic. Nowadays, more and more people use herbs as remedies for gastritis. Herbs can be an excellent alternative treatment for various GIT complaints. The use of Pau d’Arco for gastritis has been proven to alleviate the inflammation due to its high catechins content. The bark of Pau d’Arco is a rich source of catechins, which have a very potent biological function, even in small doses.
There are several types of gastritis, depending on its cause. The most common type is bacterial gastritis caused by Helicobacter pylori, a strain of bacteria that has learned to dwell inside the thick stomach lining of the human body. Although it does not infect the tissue, it can cause acute or chronic inflammation that later on could progress into ulcer or cancer. Long-term use of pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen, Naprosyn and Advil as well as arthritis medications such as Relafen, Feldene or Voltaren may reduce the protective matter inside the stomach called prostaglandin. Stomach inflammation caused by these medications is called Aspirin and NSAID gastritis. Other types of gastritis include autoimmune gastritis caused by pernicious anemia, alcoholic gastritis and hypertrophic gastritis.
The treatment of gastritis will primarily depend on the cause, thus tests should be made before any forms of treatment. When using herbs such as Pau d’Arco for gastritis, it is important to create a treatment plan that can identify lifestyle factors that may contribute to the gastric damage and inflammation. In the early stages of treatment, all irritating substances such as food that may cause inflammation, aspirin, NSAID and alcohol should be avoided. Foods that may trigger a painful response from a chemical view include spicy and greasy foods, and acidic foods such as alcohol, vinegar and citrus fruits. Mechanical irritants may include foods high in fiber such as whole grain foods, seeds and nuts. Extremely hot or cold foods or beverages should also be avoided.
Pau d’Arco for gastritis is an ideal treatment due to its combination of anti-inflammatory activity and mucosal protection and healing. Pau d’Arco tea is the most suitable preparation to use. Pau d’Arco contains numerous tannins known as catechins. It is considered a valuable anti-inflammatory, astringent and antacid in various GIT complaints. Tannins are medicinally used for their astringent properties, reacting with proteins in tissue layers that it contacts. They cover the outmost layer of the stomach lining, making it more resistant to mechanical, chemical and bacterial irritations and less permeable. Because of this protective function, it promotes healing of mucosal damage.
Recent studies on the biological activities of tea catechins revealed antibacterial property against pathogenic food-borne bacteria including H. pylori. Nowadays, the extensive use of antibiotics leads to an increased resistance of H. pylori and other pathogenic bacteria. Hence, a non-antibiotic agent that is very effective and safe might be beneficial in eradicating antibiotic resistant H. pylori.
The use of Pau d’Arco for gastritis provides therapeutic possibilities for aiding stomach mucosal damage caused by bacteria, aspirin or alcohol. The plant also has antibacterial activity against H. pylori, making it a safe, economical and effective treatment against gastritis and other GIT inflammations.