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Licorice for Gastritis

By Jaime Herndon

Gastritis is a condition that can cause significant pain. There are both over-the-counter and prescription medications to treat gastritis, but some people may find relief in using herbs. Licorice is an herb that can help ease symptoms of the condition. Before using licorice for this purpose, talk with your doctor to make sure it is safe and appropriate for you to use.

Gastritis

When the mucosa, or stomach lining, becomes inflamed, this is a condition called gastritis. This condition can be acute or chronic, and can be caused by H.pylori infection, long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, radiation therapy or serious illness, says the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Sometimes the stomach lining has been eroded, causing gastric ulcers. Though some individuals may be asymptomatic, symptoms of gastritis can include upper abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and blood in the stool. After appropriate diagnosis by a health care professional, treatment may consist of antacids, proton pump inhibitor drugs or histamine 2 blockers to help decrease stomach acid.

Licorice

The herb form of licorice, not the black or red stringy candy, can be used for both food and medicinal purposes. The University of Maryland Medical Center states that licorice has been used to help treat cough, canker sores, reflux and the common cold, as well as used as an expectorant and demulcent, which is a coating and soothing agent. If you use licorice, it is important to get deglycyrrhizinated licorice, or DGL. Too much glycyrrhizin can cause serious adverse side effects, and DGL may be easier on the stomach, states the University of Maryland. Individuals with certain medical conditions should not take licorice, so ask your physician if these supplements are safe for you prior to consuming them.

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Taking Licorice for Gastritis

Licorice can help prevent gastritis by reducing the risk of irritation to the mucosa, and it may help in healing the mucosa, relieving symptoms of gastritis. The University of Maryland Medical Center suggests taking 250 to 500 mg of standardized DGL extract, 3 times a day, an hour before meals or 2 hours post-meal. This can help protect your mucosa from damage caused by NSAIDs. It can also help treat any ulcers you may have that are caused by the gastritis. Do not use licorice for more than a week without consulting your health care provider, as adverse effects can occur with longer use.

Considerations

If you have gastritis, talk with your doctor about your treatment options and what might work best for your situation. Tell your doctor about any other medications or supplements you are taking, to avoid any adverse interactions with the licorice. If your symptoms of gastritis do not improve or get worse, call your doctor immediately.

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