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Let food be your medicine

 

 

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INTESTINAL DISORDERS AND DIGESTION

Like so many of his sayings, Hippocrates was not far from the truth when he wrote “all disease begins in the gut” 2000 years ago. Gut health is critical to overall health.

It is of vital importance to consume nutrient rich natural foods an plenty of fibre to avoid unhealthy conditions in the intestines that will inevitably lead to malfunctioning conditions, infection and disease of other tissues and organs of the body as well as the bones, the senses, the nerves and the brain.

It seems people are very happy to ingest anything they like the look and taste of without knowing what exactly is in the food or what the result of ingesting it will be. People have also become convinced that medication works better than natural medicinal foods which can lead to detrimental consequences when drugs are depended upon for health and the diet is ignored.

The root cause of a multitude of human ailments is a very simple one which involves the processes that take place initially from the mouth to the intestines.

Lack of the required intestinal bacteria, which are responsible for the production and absorption of the nutrients necessary for the protection of, and processes that take place in, every cell of the body, has a domino effect.

When phytonutrients are missing a process depending upon them malfunctions. Then other processes that depend on those processes begin to malfunction and that is when infection and disease can easily enter the system and proliferate which then in turn adversely affect other processes. This all begins with what is placed in the mouth.

MOUTH

When food enters the mouth, digestion starts by the action of mastication, a form of mechanical digestion and the contact of saliva. Saliva, which is secreted by the salivary glands, contains salivary amylase, an enzyme which starts the digestion of starch in the food. After undergoing mastication and starch digestion, the food will be in the form of a small, round slurry mass called a bolus

STOMACH

It will then travel down the oesophagus and into the stomach by the action of peristalsis. Gastric juice in the stomach starts protein digestion. Gastric juice mainly contains hydrochloric acid and pepsin. As these two chemicals may damage the stomach wall, mucus is secreted by the stomach, providing a viscose protective layer that acts as a shield against the damaging effects of the chemicals. At the same time protein digestion is occurring, mechanical mixing occurs by peristalsis, which are waves of muscular contractions that move along the stomach wall. This allows the mass of food to further mix with the digestive enzymes. After some time (typically an hour or two in humans) the resulting thick liquid is called chyme.

SMALL INTESTINE

This is the longest part of the digestive system, around 20 feet long. It connects the stomach to the large intestine (colon) and folds many times to fit inside the abdomen. The small intestine does most of the digesting of the foods consumed. It has three areas called the duodenum, the ileum and the jejunum.

When the pyloric sphincter valve opens, chyme enters the duodenum where it mixes with digestive enzymes from the pancreas, and then passes through the small intestine, in which digestion continues. When the chyme is fully digested, it is absorbed into the blood. 95% of absorption of nutrients occurs in the small intestine.

LARGE INTESTINES (COLON)

The large intestine comprises of the second part of the alimentary canal. The large intestine consists of the cecum and colon. It begins at the right iliac region of the pelvis (the region just at or below the right waist) where is continues from the small intestine and continues up the abdomen. Thereafter it traverses across the width of the abdominal cavity and then it turns down, continuing to its endpoint at the anus.

The large intestine normally houses over 36 species of bacteria. These are called commensal bacteria and have a variety of important functions including the production and absorption of vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B7 (biotin), vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin) and vitamin K. Therefore a lack of the right bacteria in the colon can lead to a deficiency in these vital amino acids, especially if they are not being consumed adequately in the diet.

These commensal bacteria breakdown the undigested polysaccharides or fibres in diet into short-chain fatty acids. These can be absorbed by the large intestine by passive diffusion. The bacteria also produce gas (flatus), which is a mixture of nitrogen and carbon dioxide, with small amounts of the gases hydrogen, methane, and hydrogen sulphide. These result from the bacterial fermentation of undigested polysaccharides.

The mucosa of the large intestine also secretes bicarbonates to neutralise the increased acidity resulting from the formation of these fatty acids and other digestive components at earlier parts of the intestines. The mucosal layer of the large intestine also acts as a mucosal barrier and protects from microbial infections and invasions. The large intestine, particularly the appendix, is a confluence of several lymphoid tissues which help in the production of antibodies and cross reactive antibodies.

The bacteria in the colon are fed by fibre in the diet which also aids in the movement of food through the intestines. The bacteria also aid in the production of an enzyme called lactase necessary to digest milk and milk products. Without lactase milk allergies (lactose intolerance) are the result.

The ideal pH of the colon is between 6.7 and 6.9. Acetic acid and lactic acid are some of the by-products from bacteria that help create this. The acid environment inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria such as salmonella, which causes food poisoning, shigella, the cause of diarrhoea and E-Coli, which can cause intestinal disease and kidney failure. Good bacteria also produce a volatile fatty acid, which along with the other acids, make it difficult for fungus and yeast (candida) to survive. A high fibre diet and good bacterial flora can lower cholesterol levels, protect against colon cancer and even improve fat digestion by providing more bile acids.

Water, vitamins and minerals are absorbed into the blood in the colon then waste material is compacted and stored then eliminated from the rectum during defecation. It takes nearly 24 to 30 hours to complete the digestive process.

CECUM AND APPENDIX

This is a peritoneal pouch that is considered to be the beginning of the large intestine. It receives faecal material from the ileum and connects to the ascending colon of the large intestine. It is separated from the ileum by the ileocecal valve or Bauhin's valve. It is also separated from the colon by the cecocolic junction. The appendix is connected to the cecum. Doctors and scientists still do not know the purpose of the appendix. Some believe it may have a connection with the immune system as it does produce small amounts of mucus and antibodies but as yet it has not been proved.

THE KREBS CYCLE

 

The Krebs Cycle, named after Hans Krebs, also known as the citric acid cycle or the or the tricarboxylic acid cycle, is the sequence of reactions by which most living cells generate energy. It takes place in the mitochondria producing carbon dioxide and water as waste products. Most summaries of the Krebs Cycle will usually indicate that the cycle is an aerobic process (one that requires oxygen) that produces adenosine triphosphate by breaking down glucose. However, no oxygen is used in the cycle as can be seen from the equation below:

 

acetyl CoA + 3 NAD + FAD + ADP + HPO4-2 ---------> 2 CO2 + CoA + 3 NADH+ + FADH+ + ATP

 

In reality, the Krebs Cycle is not only part of the pathway for the breakdown of glucose but also for the breakdown of all metabolites, including other sugars, amino acids and fatty acids. Each of these groups of molecules has a pathway that leads into the Krebs Cycle. For example, carbohydrates are converted into acetyl CoA by the process of glycolysis while fatty acids are converted into acetyl CoA by the beta oxidation pathway. In each case, the molecules are converted into products that enter the Krebs Cycle. In addition, intermediates from the Krebs Cycle can go the other direction and be used to synthesize molecules such as amino acids and fatty acids. For example, acetyl CoA can be used to synthesize fatty acids.

 

The Krebs Cycle is usually shown as beginning with pyruvate instead of acetyl CoA. Pyruvate is a three carbon molecule that is primarily formed by glycolysis or from some amino acids. Pyruvate is converted to acetyl CoA in the mitochondrion and so serves as a direct connection to the Krebs Cycle. This reaction is not really part of the Krebs Cycle, however, since pyruvate is most often generated by glycolysis (which occurs in the cytoplasm of the cell) and the oxidation of pyruvate occurs in the mitochondrion which is associated with the cycle.

 

In simplified terms, the Krebs Cycle is a part of respiration that is an ever-repeating cycle that produces adenosine triphosphate and gives off carbon dioxide. To summarize:

 

         Two molecules of carbon dioxide are given off.

         One molecule of adenosine triphosphate is formed.

         Three molecules of NAD+ are combined with hydrogen (NAD+ → NADH)

         One molecule of FAD+ combines with hydrogen (FAD+ → FADH)

 

Because two acetyl-CoA molecules are produced from each glucose molecule, two cycles are required per glucose molecule. Therefore, at the end of two cycles, the products are: two ATP, six NADH2, two FADH2 two QH2 (ubiquinol) and four CO2.

At the end of the Krebs cycle, the final product is oxaloacetic acid. This is identical to the oxaloacetic acid that begins the cycle. Now the molecule is ready to accept another acetyl-CoA molecule to begin another turn of the Krebs Cycle.

ACID REFLUX, HEARTBURN AND INDIGESTION

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)  is when food, acid contents, bilious material or pancreatic juices travel back up into the oesophagus, causing discomfort more than twice a week. The acid solution that splashes up into the oesophagus causes inflammation, irritation and scarring, which can narrow the circumference of the oesophagus. Symptoms include hoarseness, food getting stuck, burning, irritation, nausea, coughing, wheezing, asthma symptoms and eroded tooth enamel. It also increases the chances of developing oesophageal cancer.

People who are overweight or older tend to be affected more since abdominal fat interferes with oesophagus function, and the oesophageal sphincter, which prevents backsplash, weakens with age. Other things that can relax the sphincter are alcohol, caffeine, chocolate and nicotine.

Taking antacid and indigestion tablets and liquids can cause more problems than the one it is suppose to be addressing. These preparations can contain aluminium hydroxide, calcium carbonate, magnesium and sodium bicarbonate all of which can cause adverse health conditions especially when taken in excess. Antacid drugs can also affect other medications either increasing or decreasing their effects which can also cause complications .For patients with conditions such as high blood pressure, chronic heart failure, renal failure and those who have sodium or salt-restricted diets, antacids and indigestion tablets should be avoided and natural remedial action should be taken instead along with a small change in the diet to include the foods mentioned below. Children under the age of six should never be given antacid or indigestion tablets.

Acid reflux is not caused by excess acid production, as often thought (and promoted heavily by antacid drug manufacturers), but rather by a lack of it causing undigested food to automatically be brought back up (along with stomach acids) to be re-chewed. Stopping this natural reaction by using anti-acid drugs is not going to address the underlying cause of the problem but rather may make it worsen as less acid in the stomach means poorer digestion which means the stomachs problems will probably escalate due to a lack of the nutrients it requires to be healed. A lack of stomach acid can also promote the proliferation of the Helicobacter pylori bacteria and Candidia yeast which makes the problem worsen too as this can damage the stomach lining and lead to ulcers. The fact that one can get indigestion along with acid reflux proves that it is not an over production of stomach acids that is causing the problem as indigestion would not occur if there was sufficient (or excess of stomach acids) available to digest the food.

The stomach is protected from the acids whereas the throat is not which causes the, sometimes intense, pain associated with acid reflux and heart burn. Changing the diet, removing certain items from it and adding the natural foods listed below and using natural remedies that will address the underlying cause will resolve the problem and remove the need to ever take damaging antacid drugs again. Acid reflux, heartburn and indigestion are most often caused by the following which are all fairly easily resolvable:

  • Alcohol consumption.

  • Antibiotics due to killing off he beneficial bacteria in the intestines.

  • Anxiety and stress.

  • Caffeinated drinks.

  • Carbonated (fizzy) drinks.

  • Chocolate.

  • Constipation.

  • Cucumber.

  • Eating food too quickly without chewing properly.

  • Excess meat protein which takes a long time to digest.

  • Fatty foods such as avocados, butter, cheese, cream and meats such as lamb, pork, poultry especially duck and veal.

  • Gall bladder disorders.

  • Garlic, uncooked, can cause irritation to the stomach.

  • Greasy fried foods.

  • Fructose in fruit juices can cause abdominal pain and gas as it passes undigested into the colon. Consume fruit juices with a meal to avoid this.

  • Helicobacter pylori bacteria overload in the stomach.

  • Iron supplements

  • Lack of fibre in the diet.

  • Liver disorders.

  • Medications especially those for pain relief such as aspirin.

  • Not cooking food correctly before eating it.

  • Oils made from fish, nuts and seeds etc.

  • Smoking.

  • Spices. Some hot spices can cause intestinal discomfort and irritate the stomach lining if it is already damaged.

  • Yeast (such as Candida) overload in the stomach.

It is best to try eliminating each of the above, one at a time, to try to find out the cause. Sometimes there may be an underlying medical condition that is the cause and, if avoiding the above does not bring relief, further investigation should be carried out into the possibility of the following conditions:

Each one with a blue link has natural remedies listed on this website.

FOODS THAT CAN HELP TO STOP ACIDITY PROBLEMS

Dairy: egg whites, organic live probiotic yoghurt

Fruit: apples, bananas, blackberries, grapes, lemon, papaya, mosambi, mango

Herbs and teas: anise seeds, andrographis, basil, chamomile, ginger, green, fennel, marshmallow, mint, parsley, peppermint, psyllium husks, slippery elm. To help relieve indigestion make a tea and sip slowly after consuming a full meal. Peppermint should be avoided by those suffering from heartburn.

Nuts: raw almonds are an alkaline-producing food that can balance the body's pH as they are a good source of calcium

Spices: black pepper, cumin, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, paprika

Vegetables: carrots, chicory, fenugreek, potatoes, spinach

Whole Grains: amaranth, barley, brown rice, buckwheat, oats, millet, quinoa, rye, teff

TIPS TO AVOID ACID REFLUX AND HEARTBURN

  • Chew food well before swallowing and do not drink water or milk or anything liquid that will dilute the saliva in the mouth. If the food is not partially broken down by saliva in the mouth it puts added pressure on the stomach.

  • Avoid wheat and coffee as they can irritate the stomach lining.

  • Avoid yeast and yeast products and spreads as this can cause problems with digestion. Beer and white bread can irritate the intestines if suffering from acid reflux and indigestion.

  • Always eat something before drinking any alcohol or taking medications. Alcohol or drugs entering an empty stomach can cause many digestive problems and damage the stomach lining leading to Helicobacter pylori bacteria and Candidia yeast infections.

  • Stop smoking.

  • Losing at least 10 percent of excess body fat can vastly improve acid reflux symptoms.

  • Avoid clothing that is too tight.

  • Avoid intense exercise or swimming within 30 minutes of eating because the blood flow to the stomach is automatically restricted when the body is highly active which can lead to stomach cramps and indigestion. However, a leisurely walk or standing up to wash up after eating can help with digestion by increasing circulation.

  • Never lie down right after eating or eat within three hours of bedtime.

  • Elevate the head of the bed if acid reflux happens at night.

  • Sleeping on the stomach or right side can cause additional pressure that increases acid reflux. Left-side sleepers report relief.

NATURE CURES REMEDIES FOR ACID REFLUX, HEARTBURN AND INDIGESTION

Contrary to what most people believe, acidic foods actually have an alkalising effect and do not increase acid production in the stomach which is not the underlying problem in any case. Including plenty of fibre and algae in the diet like seaweeds and spirulina and red coloured fish and seafood can provide nutrients that will eliminate the Helicobacter pylori bacteria, balance the stomach acids and heal the stomach. Because animal fats and excess meat protein can add to digestive problems because they take so long to digest, only the plant and fish and seafood sources of nutrients are shown here.

Aloe vera juice: Drink two ounces of unprocessed aloe vera juice daily. The juice of the aloe plant naturally helps reduce inflammation, which may ease symptoms of acid reflux. Drink about 113 ml of aloe vera juice before meals. It may have a laxative effect so should be taken in moderation.

Apple cider vinegar: Take 1 to 2 teaspoons daily of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water. It can be mixed with honey in tea or instead of lemon in tea. Many people mistakenly believe all acid reflux and indigestion is caused by an overproduction of acid. The latest research shows it's actually the opposite for most people: There is too little acid produced to adequately digest the food eaten which forces the stomach to regurgitate it to be broken down further.

Astaxanthin: This exceptionally potent antioxidant has been found to reduce symptoms of acid reflux in patients when compared to a placebo, particularly in those with pronounced Helicobacter pylori infection. Pink and red coloured fresh water and seafood such as crab, crawfish, lobster, prawns, red sea bream, red trout, salmon, salmon roe (eggs) and shrimp are natural sources of astaxanthin. The highest concentration of this powerful antioxidant is found in a type of algae known as Haematococcus microalgae and red krill oil.

Betaine: Consuming foods rich in betaine can also help to eliminate the Helicobacter pylori bacteria that can cause ulcers. Highest sources of betaine in milligrams per 100 grams are:

  • Quinoa 630 mg

  • Spinach 577

  • Beetroot 256 mg

  • Rye flour (146 mg

  • Shellfish 144 mg

  • Kamut 113 mg

  • White fish 88mg

  • Bulgur wheat 83 mg

  • Wholegrain wheat flour 77mg

  • Barley 66mg

  • Sweet potato, sunflower seeds 35 mg

  • Oat flour 31 mg

  • Curry powder 29 mg

  • Basil (dried) 16 mg

  • Cashew nuts, mushrooms (Portobello), salmon 11 mg

  • Oregano, turmeric 10 mg

  • Cinnamon 4 mg

  • Ginger (ground powder) 3 mg

Bicarbonate of soda: This can balance the acid/alkaline levels in the stomach. One-half to one full teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in an 226 ml (8 oz) glass of water may ease the burn of acid reflux as it helps neutralise stomach acid. It can help in an emergency when the pain is excruciating but, due to its high sodium content, should not be taken regularly especially by those with high blood pressure.

Bran is especially good at reducing digestion problems and should be included in the diet daily. It can be consumed as  a breakfast or added to gravy, soups and sauces as a thickening agent.

Brine pickles, miso soup, sauerkraut and other probiotic and fermented foods work well to help stimulate acid production as well as providing the right kind of bacteria for the stomach.

Caraway or fennel seeds: A small spoonful of either of these chewed and swallowed can provide acid reflux and indigestion relief. Both seeds contain oil that relieve spasms in the gut, relieve nausea and control flatulence.

Chamomile tea: Before bed, try a cup of chamomile tea, which can help soothe stomach inflammation and help with sleep.

Coconut: Drink pure unsweetened coconut water and consume coconut regularly. Coconut is rich in fibre which can feed the friendly bacteria in the intestines and is antifungal, antiviral and kills pathogenic bacteria such as Helicobacter pylori.

Ginger: Ginger has been found to have a gastro protective effect by blocking acid and suppressing helicobacter pylori better than drugs can. Add two or three slices of fresh ginger root to 284 ml (half a pint) of hot water. Let steep for about half an hour. Drink about 20 minutes or so before a meal.

Glutamine and glutamic acid: Gastrointestinal damage caused by Helicobacter pylori can be addressed with the amino acid glutamine, found in many foods. The body requires both amino acids glutamine and glutamic acid to function correctly and therefore, consuming unprocessed foods rich in both these amino acids on a daily basis is necessary.

Natural sources of glutamine

Beef, beetroot, cabbage, chlorella, kombu, legumes, parsley, propolis, seaweed, spinach and spirulina.

Natural sources of glutamic acid

Apples, apricots, chlorella, kombu, legumes, seaweed and spirulina.

Lemon juice: First thing after waking drink a cup of warm water and fresh lemon juice. By drinking this on an empty stomach 15 to 20 minutes before eating anything else, the body can naturally balance out its acid levels. It is a good digestive aid and is safe for all users.

Psyllium husks: Often digestive problems including heartburn and acid reflux are caused by an imbalance of the good bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. Consuming foods rich in soluble fibre and insoluble fibre through out the day can resolve most digestive disorders. Psyllium husks is especially effective at reducing digestion problems. Take one tablespoon of psyllium husks daily with plenty of water.

Slippery elm: This herb, as the name suggests, coats and soothes the mouth, throat, stomach and intestines, and contains antioxidants that can help address inflammatory bowel conditions. It also stimulates nerve endings in the gastrointestinal tract. This helps increase mucus secretion, which protects the gastrointestinal tract against ulcers and excess acidity. Slippery elm can be taken in the following ways:

  • Tea: Pour 568 ml (one pint) of boiling water over 4 g (roughly 2 tablespoons) of powdered bark, then steep for 3 - 5 minutes and strain. Drink three times per day.

  • Tincture: 5 ml three times per day.

  • Capsules: 400 - 500 mg 3 - 4 times daily for 4 - 8 weeks. Take with a full glass of water.

  • Lozenges: follow dosing instructions on label.

Vitamin B Complex: The B vitamins can reduce occurrences of acid reflux. Higher B9 (foliate or folic acid) intake can reduce acid reflux by approximately 40 percent. Low vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) levels are also linked to an increased risk for acid reflux. The consumption of alcohol and taking medications can cause a severe deficiency in the B vitamins.

Highest sources of vitamin B2 in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Yeast extract 17.5 mg

  • Parsley 2.38 mg

  • Almonds 1.10 mg

  • Soya beans 0.76 mg

  • Mackerel and wheat bran 0.58 mg

 Highest sources of vitamin B5 in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Brewer’s yeast 13.5 mg

  • Rice bran 7.39 mg

  • Sunflower seeds 7.06 mg

  • Whey 5.62mg

  • Shiitake mushrooms 3.59 mg

  • Fish roe 3.50 mg

  • Spirulina 3.48 mg

  • Paprika 2.51 mg

  • Wheat germ 2.26 mg

  • Sun dried tomatoes 2.09 mg

  • Lobster 1.67 mg

  • Peanuts 1.40 mg

  • Buckwheat 1.23 mg

Highest sources of vitamin B6 in milligrams per 200 grams

  • Rice bran 4.07 mg

  • Sage 2.69 mg

  • Brewer’s yeast 1.50 mg

  • Sunflower seeds 1.35 mg

  • Wheat germ 1.30 mg

  • Garlic 1.24mg

  • Pistachio nuts 1.12 mg

  • Tuna fish 1.04 mg

  • Shiitake mushrooms 0.97 mg

Highest sources of vitamin B9 in micrograms per 100 grams:

  • Basil 310 g

  • Wheat germ 281 g

  • Sunflower seeds 238 g

  • Soya beans 205 g

  • Shiitake mushrooms 163 g

  • Parsley 152 g

  • Peanuts 145 g

  • Chestnuts 110 g

  • Beetroot 109 g

  • Spearmint 105 g

  • Chlorella and spirulina 94 g

  • Fish roe 92 g

  • Hazelnuts 88 g

  • Walnuts 88 g

  • Flaxseeds 87 g

  • Mussels 76 g

  • Okra 60 g

Vitamin D: This vitamin is important for addressing any infectious component. Once the vitamin D levels are sufficient the production of over 200 antimicrobial peptides will help the body eradicate any infection including Helicobacter pylori. Vitamin D is gained through appropriate amounts of sun exposure on bare skin, however, during the winter months (October to April) the sun is too weak in the northern hemisphere for the skin to produce vitamin D and therefore the diet must include vitamin D rich foods such as the following which is listed in order of highest sources in micrograms per 100 grams:

  • Krill oil - 1 teaspoon: 1000 IU

  • Eel - 85 g or 3 oz: 792 IU

  • Maitake mushrooms - 70 g: 786 IU

  • Rainbow trout - 85 g or 3 oz: 540 IU

  • Cod liver oil - 1 teaspoon: 440 IU

  • Mackerel - 85 g or 3 oz: 400 IU

  • Salmon - 85 g or 3 oz: 400 IU

  • Halibut - 85 g or 3 oz: 196 IU

  • Tuna - 85 g or 3 oz: 228 IU

  • Sardines - 85 g or 3 oz: 164 IU

  • Chanterelle mushrooms - 85 g or 3 oz: 155 IU

  • Egg yolk - 1 large: 41 IU

  • Caviar - 28g or 1 oz: 33 IU

  • Hemp seeds - 100 g or 3.5 oz: 22 IU

  • Portabella mushrooms - 85 g or 3 oz: 6 IU

APPENDICITIS

This develops when a blockage forms within the organ. A blockage can result from impacted faecal matter or a condition called lymphoid hyperplasia. Lymphoid hyperplasia can be the result of Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome, mononucleosis, measles or gastrointestinal infections. In lymphoid hyperplasia, the appendix produces an overabundance of normal cells. These cells create a blockage in the appendix, causing it to become inflamed, which then compromises blood flow to the area. The loss of blood flow causes the tissue in the appendix to die and eventually leads to the appendix bursting

The time it takes between the formation of a blockage and the point where the appendix actually perforates, or bursts, is usually around 72 hours. During that time there are several symptoms that indicate there is a problem. The first sign is normally a vague pain around the navel. As the inflammation develops, the pain moves toward the right side of the body in the direction of the hip. Other symptoms that develop over the next 24 hours may include nausea, vomiting, fever and something called "rebound tenderness" which is a pain when fingers pressed into the area are quickly released. In some cases the patient may also experience a swollen abdomen, back pain and/or constipation.

Time is critical when dealing with the appendix so any symptoms like those above should be looked at promptly by medical staff at a hospital. Once the appendix ruptures, it spills inflammatory fluids and bacteria into the abdominal cavity which can be fatal. If the patient has a ruptured appendix prior to surgery, the risk of complications increases 10 times.

BACTERIAL (PATHOGENIC)  AND FUNGAL OVERGROWTH

There is a fragile balance of trillions of various species of bacteria and fungi which reside in the human intestines. Everyone's numbers of the different species of bacteria and fungi vary but overall there are certain types of good bacteria that keep the bad bacteria and fungi in check. Any imbalance will cause problems. It is now known that conditions such as stomach ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome can be caused by certain types of bacteria proliferating in the intestines.

Bacteria and fungal overgrowth is a very common condition and very often goes undiagnosed for many years as doctors do not seem to have the facilities to test for or understand the importance of, an ideal balance of bacteria in the stomach. It may well be that this is because medications are the number one cause of this imbalance and this complicates the doctor's diagnosis and would inhibit their prescribing of medicines for other conditions.

Because the human body can withstand bacterial imbalances for many years without serious life threatening complications and because many people are too embarrassed to get treatment for this condition it remains a taboo subject. But many are suffering in silence and it does need to be addressed as it can eventually lead to nutrient deficiency, organ failures and cancer.

CAUSES OF IMBALANCES IN THE INTESTINES

  • Alcohol overtaxes the liver which then begins to malfunction producing less bile which in turn causes a proliferation of undigested protein and fats.

  • Coffee produces too much stomach acid which can affect the bacterial balance.

  • Diet, too much consumption of carbohydrates, animal fats, starch and sugar feeds the bad bacteria and yeasts.

  • Drugs, the toxic chemicals in drugs kills good bacteria in the stomach especially the prescribed medications of antibiotics and steroids.

  • Inefficient immune system may be due to a fungal or viral infection elsewhere, steroid medication and other anti organ rejection drugs.

  • Nutrient deficiency. The good bacteria is supported by certain vitamins and minerals. If these are lacking in the body this can result in bad bacteria overgrowth. Modern society has created a growing deficiency in vitamin D which is a vital nutrient for a healthy immune system.

  • Sedentary lifestyle, sitting for too many hours everyday allows food to remain undigested in the intestines for too long.

  • Stress and worry; causes the stomach to produce too much acid which in turn kills off the good bacteria in the stomach

SYMPTOMS OF BACTERIA AND FUNGAL OVERGROWTH

  • A change in bowel movements and colour, size, consistency, odour and shape of the stool.

  • Acid indigestion and heartburn

  • Bloating

  • Burping, can be painful and loud

  • Depression

  • Fatigue

  • Flatulence

  • Insomnia

  • Irritability

  • Hiccups; recurring

  • Nausea

  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies

  • Stomach and pelvic pain; especially before or during bowel movements

  • Stomach ulcers

  • Weight loss or weight gain

Natural antimicrobials used to treat bacterial and fungal overgrowth in the stomach

Enteric coated herbal oil capsules kill bacteria and fungi or yeasts in the small intestine. These consist of the oil that has an edible, hard shell around it so that the capsule doesn't open and release it's contents until it is has reached the small intestine. The course of treatment is usually 1 to 6 months of one to two capsules three times a day taken in between meals with a glass of water. The following herbs can be found in capsule form and prove a useful remedy for bacterial overgrowth in the intestines.

oregano oil, olive leaf extract, pau d'arco, peppermint oil, garlic

NOTE: side effects of herbal capsules can include heartburn, rectal burning and minty burping.

Berberine is a natural antibiotic plant alkaloid which can successfully treat intestinal bacterial overgrowth and is found in the amur cork tree, Chinese goldthread, goldenseal root, huang lian, oregon grape, tree turmeric and uva ursi.

Grapefruit seed extract in liquid form is useful for people who don’t like taking capsules. Add a few drops to a glass of water and drink in between meals.

NOTE: Grapefruit and some herbal oils can interact with many types of prescribed medications. Consult a health practitioner before taking with any medications.

The regular daily consumption of probiotic foods which contain live bacteria cultures can help readdress the balance of bacteria in the intestines. They must be consumed before food and on their own in order for enough bacteria to survive beyond the stomach. Capsules can be a better way to consume them too.

The daily consumption of a tablespoon of psyllium husks, mixed with juice or water and followed by a second full glass of water can improve digestion and readdress the bacteria balance.

See also the Excretory System and Bacteria pages.

COELIAC DISEASE

Coeliac disease, also known as celiac disease, gluten intolerance, celiac sprue, non-tropical sprue and gluten-sensitive enteropathy, is an autoimmune disorder that can occur in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten from certain grains such as barley, rye and wheat leads to damage in the small intestine and is estimated to affect one in 100 people worldwide. Coeliac disease can develop at any age after people start eating foods or medicines that contain gluten.

When people with coeliac disease eat gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye and barley), their body mounts an immune response that attacks the small intestine. These attacks lead to damage on the villi, small finger-like projections that line the small intestine, that promote nutrient absorption. When the villi get damaged, nutrients cannot be absorbed properly into the body.

Peripheral neuropathy is one of the most common non-digestive symptoms of coeliac disease and sometimes an individual will have no noticeable gastrointestinal symptoms of coeliac disease, but instead have mainly peripheral neuropathy and other neurological symptoms.

Left untreated, it can lead to additional serious health problems often due to nutrient deficiencies or autoimmune disorders and is often associated with the following:

Currently, the only treatment for coeliac disease is lifelong adherence to a strict gluten-free diet. People living gluten-free must avoid foods which contain wheat, rye and barley, such as bread and beer. Ingesting small amounts of gluten, like crumbs from a cutting board or toaster, can trigger small intestine damage.

 

See also Gluten Intolerance under Food Allergies for alternative gluten-free foods and more information.

COLIC

Abdominal colic is severe spasmodic pain in the abdomen caused by distension, obstruction or inflammation. In adults, the spasmodic pain may appear suddenly or develop gradually and become chronic. Abdominal colic in adults has many possible causes, some of which are potentially serious so it is best investigate as soon as possible. Vaginal or rectal bleeding and fever may indicate a serious problem, such as miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, a bowel blockage or an infection.

For mild abdominal colic where there has not been a bowel movement in several days or longer prunes, senna and psyllium husks can relieve the spasms that may be associated with constipation. Eating a high fibre diet and drinking plenty of bottled mineral water,  fruits and vegetables and green tea can also help prevent and treat constipation and associated abdominal pain.

Eat smaller meals and avoid caffeine, alcohol, wheat, dairy and chocolate, all of which can trigger abdominal colic in some people, such as those with irritable bowel syndrome or lactose intolerance.

Go for a walk if the pain allows or take a warm bath or shower. In some cases, this can temporarily ease colic pain, especially if it is caused by intestinal gas.

Gallstones or kidney stones usually cause abdominal pain in adults.

Severe cramping or abdominal colic in pregnant women is never normal so must be investigated immediately.

Natural foods to consume to treat colic in adults

Avoid turmeric and ginger if taking anticoagulants (blood thinning medication) aspirin or ibuprofen or have problems with blood clotting, have heart problems and during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Try cutting out the following foods one at a time to find the culprit that may be causing colic symptoms:  bell peppers, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, coffee, corn, corn syrup, cows' milk  dairy products, chilli pepper, chocolate, cinnamon, cucumbers, curry, eggs, garlic, ice cream, kiwifruit, nuts, onion, pineapple, seeds, soy, strawberries, wheat, citrus fruits and their juices such as oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit and herbal supplements.

By a process of elimination it is possible to find out which food is causing the colic.

See also Colic in Babies

COLITIS

Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes long-lasting inflammation and ulcers within the large bowel and rectum. There are some foods and substances that may irritate and worsen symptoms of ulcerative colitis in some individuals such as:

  • alcohol

  • caffeine

  • carbonated drinks

  • coconut oil

  • dairy products (if lactose intolerant)

  • dried beans, peas and legumes

  • dried fruits

  • egg yolks

  • foods that contain sulphur or sulphate

  • foods high in fibre

  • meat

  • nuts, crunchy nut butters

  • olive oil

  • popcorn

  • products that have sorbitol (sugar-free gum and confectionary)

  • raw fruits and vegetables

  • refined sugar

  • seeds

  • spicy foods

  • walnuts

  • wheat

Linoleic acid, is an inflammatory omega-6 fatty acid found in foods such as walnuts, olive oil, egg yolks and coconut oil, can also exacerbate symptoms of ulcerative colitis in some people. It is a case of eliminating each of the above foods individually from the diet to see if conditions improve then reintroducing them if there is no change and eliminating another one.

The diet for omnivores should be well balanced and rich in protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats especially anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids from fish sources. Yoghurt with live cultures can help to improve symptoms when the individual is not also lactose intolerant. Complex carbohydrates are also important and can be gained from whole-grain breads and pastas and starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, beans, peas and lentils. Vegetarians must ensure they consume enough protein rich foods such as soya products, brown rice, beans and whole grains.

See also Food Allergies

DIVERTICULOSIS

Diverticular disease is the general term used to describe a number of different disorders that affect the intestinal tract. A diverticulum is a sac-like out pouch found on any part of the gastrointestinal tract - but most common, by far, in the large intestine, especially along the last section, just before the rectum. The presence of these pouches is called diverticulitis, which frequently develops after middle age. If the diverticula become inflamed, which usually only happens when food becomes trapped in a pouch, then the condition is known as diverticulosis. See the Diverticulosis page for more information and natural remedies.

DYSBIOSIS (dysbacteriosis)

Gas, belching and bad breath due to dysbiosis. Dysbiosis is the disturbance of the normal bacteria in the gut, with reduced levels of the essential bacteria. The concept of dysbiosis is largely ignored by the medical profession in the UK, but is widely accepted on the continent, particularly in Germany.

The most common causes of dysbiosis, and the reason why it is so common in the west, is the high consumption of refined sugar and the inappropriate use of antibiotics. Viral illnesses are commonly and immediately treated with antibiotics, but this is ineffective against viruses. Whilst this may be effective in dealing with an acute bacterial infection, these so-called wide-spectrum antibiotics kill off a large range of bacteria, including the normal healthy bugs in the gut. This is why disturbed bowel action, particularly diarrhoea, commonly follows a course of antibiotics. Ironically, the overuse of antibiotics increases the need for future antibiotics, as the dysbiosis induced by them suppresses the immune system.

Other medications enhance the development of dysbiosis. Hormones, particularly those taken to treat menopausal symptoms, appear to encourage dysbiosis and make it more difficult to treat. This only applies to hormones taken by mouth, and not those administered by an adhesive patch.

Stress, too, has a role in increasing the development of dysbiosis. This may not be a direct effect, but one which results from poor dietary intake and inappropriate eating habits. Convenience foods, together with rapid and infrequent meals, do not help normal bacteria to develop.

The symptoms of dysbiosis

The main symptom of Dysbiosis is disturbed bowel action, which may be either diarrhoea or constipation, or a combination of both together with excessive wind and abdominal distension. Other symptoms that are a result of the dysbiosis may be present, and may be so severe that the underlying dysbiosis is ignored.

Clearly, the treatment of dysbiosis involves the replacement of the correct bacteria into the gut, but this is not as easy as it appears. Many bacteria taken by mouth do not even reach the intestine, as they are killed by the stomach acid. In addition, as there are trillions of bacteria in the gut, a large dose, and over a prolonged period, is necessary. The type of bacteria is also important, and depends on factors such as dietary habits. In the majority of probiotic formulations the beneficial bacteria are in a dormant state and only become active on exposure to a moist environment.

Preparations that attempt to replace the bowel bacteria are collectively known as probiotics, as they encourage rather than discourage (as with antibiotics). To be successful, therefore, a probiotic must fulfil several criteria:

•It must contain sufficient numbers of bacteria to ensure that enough reach their destination (passing through the stomach without too great a loss)
•The bacteria must be of types applicable to the individual. If possible, they should also be strains that are specific to the human
•They should be presented in an acceptable and palatable form
•The low pH of the stomach can affect the viability of the probiotic strains, so the use of micro-encapsulated strains to enhance colonisation in the gut is an advantage. Also, taking probiotics with your main meal of the day, or just after, will have a buffering effect on the low pH of the stomach.

Check the pH of saliva with pHydrion paper. If it is below 7.2 then there may have an imbalance of the bacteria flora in the intestines. To increase your oral pH to a normal 7.2 or greater, drink 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in 2 ounces of cooled boiled water. It is that simple to neutralize the acids that cause bacteria imbalance, yeast infections, virus infections, tooth cavities and decay, mouth sores, proliferation of worms and parasites, halitosis, acne, MRSA, anaemia and even oral cancer. Cleaning your teeth with bicarbonate of soda after eating can help to correct the PH balance and avoiding commercial powerful toothpastes and mouthwashes can also help readdress the balance. It has been proved that the strong antibacterial mouthwashes encourages the proliferation of worms and parasites by killing the good bacteria in the intestinal tract.

FOOD POISONING

There are many types of food poisoning and most are due to unhygienic processing and storage of foods, undercooking, unwashed fruit and vegetables and contamination with faecal matter or bacteria from humans or animals. Bacteria can multiply so fast that any food kept at room temperature can become poisonous very quickly the warmer the weather is. Some bacteria cannot be killed by cooking which is why it is important to look after food and keep it in sealed containers and free from contaminants.

Cross contamination on surfaces or with utensils of different types of food (especially uncooked with cooked foods) can quickly cause food to become poisonous. Always use separate chopping boards, containers, knives and utensils for each type of food i.e. raw meat, raw fish, cooked meat, cooked fish, herbs, vegetables and fruits, cheese and dried products. Always wash hands between touching different foods too. Keep surfaces, the refrigerator and sink area clean and wipe down with an antibacterial cleanser after use. Cupboard, oven and refrigerator handles and sink taps are particularly important to keep clean as they are most often touched by human hands.

Many natural herbs and spices have strong antiseptic, antifungal and antivirus properties but will give no adverse skin or asthmatic reactions. Some very inexpensive, natural, home made, toxic free but powerful cleaners can be found on the Hygiene, Toxins and Health page.

Symptoms of Food Poisoning

Most people can fight off food poisoning naturally with a healthy immune system but many people do not consume the correct nutrients in order for their body to provide this protection. The body builds up a natural defence against bacteria infections when it comes into contact with small amounts of these bacteria but if it has not had chance to do this then a sudden ingestion of a large amount of these  bacteria will take over the intestines and cause allergies, asthma, headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, dehydration and even death. Fever and mild cases of diarrhoea and vomiting are the body's natural way of protecting itself and expelling pathogenic bacteria and toxins from the intestines. Medication to stop symptoms (except asthma) should not be taken because it is the body's way of getting rid of the poison. Instead natural foods, teas and juices that can assist the body with elimination, rehydrate the body and provide the nutrients it needs to fight off the infection naturally should be taken instead.

Barbeques and Eating Outdoors

The most common cause of bacteria induced food poisoning is consuming barbequed meats that have not been cooked through and keeping prepared foods out of the refrigerator when eating al-fresco. Barbeques often do not reach sufficient temperatures through out the meat to kill bacteria. It is best to precook foods thoroughly and then barbeque and consume immediately. Keeping any food at room temperature or outdoors, especially in the sun, increases the risk of food poisoning tenfold because bacteria multiplies at an alarming rate.

Treatment for food poisoning

Pineapple juice can help stop dehydration and coconut water or milk can help fight off bacterial infections in the intestines. Many essential minerals and nutrients are lost during vomiting and diarrhoea so a teaspoon of pure unrefined sea salt with lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon of ginger, 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric and a teaspoon of Manuka honey and vegetable juices can be valuable in replacing these lost essential nutrients as well as supporting the body's elimination process. Teas made with herbs and spices can be sipped slowly to provide additional nutritious support.

See Natural Remedies for Food Poisoning below.

See also the Medicinal Herbs and Spices page for many remedies to treat bacterial infections and food poisoning.

Preservation Methods

Refrigeration only slows down bacteria multiplication. It does not stop it entirely. Most fresh foods can be safely kept for 2-3 days in a refrigerator and again after cooking 2 - 3 days in the refrigerator. The way to store foods in the refrigerator is important because juice and blood can drip down and infect the foods on lower shelves. Raw meats and fish should be kept on the lowest shelves separate from cooked meat or fish. Keeping all food in sealed containers is best. Eggs can be safely tested to see if they are fit for consumption by placing in a cup or bowl of water. If they float they must be disposed of if not they can be safely eaten.

Freezing only provides a shelf life of between 1 to 3 months depending on the food.

Brine pickling can keep fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices for one year. See the Brine Pickling page.

Dried foods have a far longer shelf life but must be kept in sealed containers to avoid contamination and moisture.

Smoked foods are usually bacteria free but can become contaminated after smoking once opened from their sealed containers or packaging and should be then treated as fresh foods and consumed within two days.

The following are the most common forms of food poisoning

Campylobacter enteritis

A common bacterial infection producing severe gastrointestinal upset that can last for two weeks. It's rarely fatal in healthy people. It is caused by improperly slaughtered or processed meat not thoroughly cooked, contaminated vegetables, milk or water. Pets can also shed the bacteria through their faecal matter. Symptoms are fever, aches and pains, diarrhoea and vomiting. Seagulls are known to harbour very high concentrations of this bacteria so any contact with their faecal matter must be washed off immediately.

See Nature Cures  for Food Poisoning below.

Cholera

Is caused by contaminated water and eating raw or undercooked seafood. The toxins in the cholera bacteria causes water in the body to be expelled quickly.

See Nature Cures  for Food Poisoning below.

Escherichia Coli Enteritis

Escherichia coli has one one of the most powerful strains O157:H7, although other related strains can cause infection as well. This bacterium is found in mass processed ground and minced beef and on vegetables that were improperly cleaned or handled by contaminated fingers. Symptoms are crippling abdominal cramps which may be accompanied by blood in the stools. Consuming rare burgers or raw milk can be especially dangerous.

See Nature Cures  for Food Poisoning below.

Ciguatera

An incurable disease caused by eating fish contaminated by coral algae toxins. It is estimated that there are 50,000 cases of human infection each year. Ciguatera is limited to fish of tropical origin. It is impossible to detect by seafood processors and cannot be killed by cooking or freezing. Initial symptoms are typical of other food poisoning infections but with ciguatera is severe and often irreversible neurological effects. These can include trouble sensing hot or cold, tingling "phantom limb" pain in the extremities and other symptoms that may be confused with anything from multiple sclerosis to heart failure. Making sure you know what type of fish you are eating and, if possible, where it came from can help avoid this infection. Larger fish from shallow waters in a tropical environment are most dangerous options.

See Nature Cures  for Food Poisoning below.

Listeria

The range of listeria infection, or listeriosis, is caused by consuming raw or improperly pasteurized dairy products, vegetables grown in contaminated soil, preserved and smoked meats (can be identified by a slippery or slimy film), canned and raw seafood and fresh fruit. The symptoms can resemble a bad bout of flu, although more serious complications like meningitis can occur in people with weakened immune systems, as well as in young children, pregnant women and the elderly. Washing vegetables and fruit is vital to avoid this bacteria. Soaking them for 15 minutes in a solution of cold water and bicarbonate of soda can reduce the risk of contracting listeria.

See Nature Cures  for Food Poisoning below.

Salmonella

The bacteria that causes salmonellosis, or salmonella poisoning, has a serious reputation among poultry and their handlers. Eggs, processed chicken parts and other raw meat are particularly good at spreading the bacteria and pet reptiles and rodents are also carriers. Sanitise everything any meat or live animal comes into contact with and don't allow live animals in the kitchen when food is being prepared and cooked. Symptoms are diarrhoea, abdominal cramps and fever.

See Nature Cures  for Food Poisoning below.

Shigellosis

Attacks the large intestine and is caused by human faecal matter. It can be resistant to antibiotics so avoidance of this infection is vital. Hygienic practises like always washing hands after the using the toilet are important to avoid spreading this bacteria and avoiding any contact with human waste. Symptoms are diarrhoea, abdominal cramps and fever with bloody stools.

See Nature Cures  for Food Poisoning below.

Staphylococcus Infection

The bacteria releases its toxins at room temperature on all types of food. Reheating contaminated food will not kill this bacteria. Symptoms can appear within an hour of ingesting contaminated food and include projectile vomiting and diarrhoea.

See Nature Cures  for Food Poisoning below and Bacterial Infections.

NATURE CURES FOOD POISONING

Drink juices of the following through out the day: aloe vera, apple, cranberry, lemon, lime, mango, mosambi juice, papaya, pear and soursop.

For added bacteria fighting benefits add a pinch of the following to the juices: bicarbonate of soda, black pepper, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, cumin, coriander seeds, ginger, nutmeg and pure unrefined sea salt or Himalayan pink crystals.

Add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar for a more powerful bacteria fighting ingredient and honey for both taste and bacteria fighting enzymes. Manuka honey is the best for this purpose.,

To relieve dehydration caused by fever and diarrhoea sip pineapple juice and coconut (water or milk)

Teas made with basil, dill, lemongrass, parsley, rosemary, sage or thyme or a combination of more than one, can provide a powerful bacterial fighting remedy. Pour hot boiled (but not boiling water) over a handful of fresh or dried leaves. Allow to steep for 15 minutes then strain and sip slowly. 3- 6 cups are recommended per day. Honey can be added for taste and added bacteria fighting enzymes.

Live probiotic yoghurt and miso soup can give some relief to abdominal pain and help to fight the bacteria.

NOTE: Avoid ginger and turmeric if taking anticoagulants (blood thinning medication) aspirin or ibuprofen or have problems with blood clotting, have heart problems and during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Many more natural and soothing remedies can be found on the Medicinal Herbs and Spices page.

GLUTEN INTOLERANCE See Allergies

HELICOBACTER PYLORI (H. pylori)

This is a bacterium (germ) that is commonly found in the stomach and duodenum but which can infect the mucous lining causing damage to the stomach wall allowing the formation of stomach ulcers. Only known since 1980, this infection is usually acquired in childhood and in the vast majority of cases, it becomes chronic, comes along with an inflammation of the gastric mucous and is the cause of 90% of all the chronic gastritis.

It is present in approximately one-half of the world's population. (40% of the European population are infected and more than 80% in poor countries). The vast majority of people infected with H. pylori have no symptoms and will never develop problems. However, it is capable of causing a number of digestive problems and in some cases stomach cancer. It is not clear why some people with H. pylori get these conditions and others do not.

The H. pylori bacteria lives exclusively in the human stomach and is the only known organism that can survive in an environment so acidic. It has a helical shape (hence the name "Helicobacter") and can literally screw into the stomach lining to colonize it. The stomach produces two substances, hydrochloric acid and pepsin. These very irritating substances are kept at a distance from the stomach wall by the mucus. The pathologies from the bacteria appear during an excessive secretion of acid or during an insufficient protection by the mucus.

H. pylori is spread by consuming food or water contaminated with faecal matter. Then it causes changes to the stomach and duodenum (the first part of the small intestine). The bacteria infect the protective tissue that lines the stomach. This leads to the release of certain enzymes and toxins and activation of the immune system. Together, these factors may directly or indirectly injure the cells of the stomach or duodenum. This causes chronic inflammation in the walls of the stomach (gastritis) or duodenum (duodenitis). As a result of these changes, the stomach and duodenum are more vulnerable to damage from digestive juices and stomach acid.

In developed countries, infection with H. pylori is unusual during childhood but becomes more common during adulthood. However, in developing countries, most children are infected before age 10.

Most individuals with chronic gastritis or duodenitis have no symptoms. However, some people develop more serious problems, including stomach or duodenal ulcers. Ulcers can cause a variety of symptoms or no symptoms at all. Some common ulcer symptoms are:

  • Pain or discomfort (usually in the upper abdomen)

  • Bloating

  • Feeling full after eating a small amount of food

  • Lack of appetite

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Dark or tar coloured stools

  • Ulcers that bleed can cause a low blood count and fatigue.

  • Less commonly, chronic gastritis can lead to certain forms of cancer.

It is uncommon to develop cancer as a result of H. pylori infection but because so many people in the world are infected with H. pylori, it is considered to be an important cause of stomach cancer. People who live in countries in which H. pylori infection occurs at an early age are at greatest risk of developing stomach cancer. The presence of H. pylori multiplies by 30 the risk of stomach cancer and it seems that stomach cancer cannot develop in its absence. A strong relationship is established between poverty and infection by Helicobacter pylori.

See Nature Cures Intestinal Disorders

HICCUPS

Natural remedies for hiccups:

LACTOSE INTOLERANCE See Allergies

LECTIN INTOLERANCE See Allergies

NAUSEA and MOTION or SEA SICKNESS

Natural remedies for nausea and motion sickness:

NOTE: Avoid ginger and turmeric if taking anticoagulants (blood thinning medication) aspirin or ibuprofen or have problems with blood clotting, have heart problems and during the first trimester of pregnancy.

STOMACH ULCERS

Natural foods to consume to treat stomach ulcers are:

Maqui berry is a Chilean 'super fruit' which contains the highest amount of antioxidants and anti inflammatory compounds than any other known natural food. Regular consumption can help to treat stomach ulcers.

Raw Juice Therapy can treat stomach ulcers. Try juicing apricot, cabbage, carrots and grapes together then consuming immediately.

NOTE: Avoid cabbage if suffering from thyroid gland problems, bladder, kidney or gall bladder stones

VOMITING AND NAUSEA

Natural remedies for vomiting:

Herbs, Spices and Derivatives: Bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon,  ginger, honey, lemon balm and nutmeg.

Consuming juice from any of the following food sources, which are rich in citric acid, can quickly and effectively eliminate nausea by reducing the gastric acidity: apples, artichokes, asparagus, citrus fruits, cleavers, cherries, cranberries, gooseberries, grapes, kiwi fruit, lettuce, pears, peas pineapples, quince, raspberries, strawberries and tomatoes.

Oregano oil can treat the norovirus (winter vomiting disease).

NOTE: Avoid ginger if pregnant or taking anticoagulant medications.

NATURE CURES INTESTINAL DISORDERS

Essential oils are in first place in the fight against helicobacter pylori infection but must not be used by pregnant or breast feeding women. The anti-infective and antispasmodic properties of plants are mainly essential oils such as phenol as in thymol, aldehydes, sequiterpene and monoterpenes.

Teas made by steeping the herbs for 30 minutes in hot water and then consuming 6 cups per day for 2 or 3 days can help fight off the infection and heal the stomach lining.

Some isoflavones found in natural foods naturally inhibit the growth of helicobacter pylori. This coupled with their oestrogenic action is useful for treating this infection. Both essential oils and teas can have this affect. Some natural remedies that can do this are:

Chamomile, cinnamon leaves, cloves, fennel, gentian root, ginger, hops, lemon balm, lemongrass, liquorice root, oregano, peppermint, sage, tarragon, thyme and lemon thyme.

NOTE: Avoid peppermint oil if pregnant or suffering from gastric reflux or active stomach ulcers.

A tea made with cinquefoil can reduce bleeding in the digestive tract.

L-glutamine is an amino acid that helps to rejuvenate the gut wall lining. Other important nutrients that can help the gut repair itself  include zinc, omega-3 fish oils, vitamin A, C, E as well as herbs such as slippery elm and aloe vera.

Chinese Rhubarb root can cleanse the intestines of infection. Mix 1 teaspoon of rhubarb powder to 1 cup of water. Then, bring to boil and simmer at a reduced heat for 10 minutes. Add a little honey to sweeten.

NOTE: Chinese rhubarb root is not recommended for long term use and not suitable for pregnant or breast feeding women, children under twelve years of age, those who suffer from colitis or have an intestinal obstruction or have a history of kidney stones or urinary problems, or if taking anticoagulant (blood thinning) medicine or aspirin.

Glycine can help to increase production of the protective mucous in the intestines as well as cleanse the system. Glycine is found in alfalfa, black cohosh, halibut, legumes, oily fish, organ meats and seaweed.

Brassicas like cabbage or broccoli contain glucosinolates which, under the action of an enzyme, are transformed into sulphoraphane. This molecule inhibits the growth of helicobacter pylori in 8 of 11 cases. The antacid activity of these vegetables disappears in the cooking.

Cranberry has an anti-infective action and allows a better absorption of vitamin B12 in atrophic gastritis. The high molecular weight polysaccharides of cranberry inhibit the adhesion of helicobacter pylori on human gastric mucus.

Chamomile shows in a meta-analysis a clear decrease of dyspepsia and stomach acidity. Its local anti-inflammatory action is well known. Its essential oil has shown to be an inhibition of helicobacter pylori.

Gentian root contains triterpens and xanthones which presents an anti-inflammatory action direct on the mucous of the stomach but also by xanthones, an anti-stress and antidepressant action which is very useful in the problems of the stomach.

Hemp seeds are an easily digested form of complete protein and can help improve metabolism and digestion of fats.

Hops seems to have a calming effect on the stomach, its mode of action is not determined but it could involve an action close to oestrogenic plants.

Marshmallow is a useful herb for the treatment of diarrhoea and indigestion; along with chronic diseases that cause these symptoms such as Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and gastroesophageal reflux disease. Its anti-inflammatory properties are also useful for treating enteritis, hiatus hernias, colitis, peptic ulcers, mouth ulcers and sclerosing mesenteritis.

Mugwort. An infusion of fresh leaves can be used for chronic stomach complaints and to stimulate the appetite.

Ghrelin is an orexigenic polypeptide, secreted mainly by the stomach and to a lesser degree by the intestine, pancreas, kidney, hypothalamus, pituitary. Ghrelin accelerates the gastric draining and intestinal transit. It is a powerful prokinetic agent. Helicobacter pylori infections are associated with reduced circulating ghrelin levels independently of sex and body mass. The ghrelin possesses a protective gastrointestinal action. It also increases appetite, which good for people with a chronic helicobacter pylori infection but can be a disadvantage in the case of the overweight or obese. Some plants such as oats and ginger can increase levels of ghrelin and their effect on the increased of appetite is well known.

The combination of several pre and probiotics, ie the bifidobacterium, saccharomyces and lactobacillus beneficial bacteria in the intestines have an effect of prevention of helicobacter pylori infection. See Prebiotics and probiotics.

Consuming foods rich in vitamin C can decrease the risk of pre-cancerization of the stomach tissues such as: alfalfa, asparagus, avocado, bell peppers (red and green), black pepper, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, cress, dandelion leaves, goji berries, kale, kiwi fruit, lemons, mango, melon, mustard greens, onions, oranges, pink grapefruit, radishes, strawberries, tangerineswatercress

Consuming oily fish also provides a positive effect in the eradication bacterial infection.

Consuming foods rich in tin can improve digestion such as: althea, barberry, beef, bilberry, blessed thistle, brewer's yeast, devils claw, dog grass, dulse, eggs, Irish moss, juniper, kelp, lady slipper, liquorice root, milk, milk thistle, nettle, organ meats, pennyroyal, rabbit, red clover, seaweed,  senna, shellfish, valerian, vegetables, whole grains, yarrow, yellow dock root

Avoid ingesting the following which can feed the helicobacter pylori bacteria and add to the acidity and sluggishness of the stomach: alcohol, coffee and other caffeine beverages, sugar, hot spices and meat products.

Disorders affecting the intestines or caused by an imbalance of bacteria in the intestines

Abdominal angina
Abdominal distension
Abdominal hernia
Achalasia
Achlorhydria
Alcoholic liver disease
Anal abscess
Anal fissure/Anal fistula
Angiodysplasia
Appendicitis
Arthritis
Atrophic
Bacterial Infections
Biliary fistula
Bladder infections
Bleeding
Blind loop syndrome
Bloating
Boerhaave syndrome
Bowel obstruction
Breast enlargement in men
Brucellosis
Bruising problems
Campylobacteriosis
Candida
Coeliac disease
Cholera
Cholesterolosis
Cirrhosis
Clostridia

Colic
Colitis
Colon Cancer
Constipation

Crohn's disease
Curling's ulcer
Cushing ulcer
Diarrhoea
Dieulafoy's lesion
Diffuse oesophageal spasm

Diverticulitis/Diverticulosis
Duodenal ulcer
Duodenitis
Dysbiosis
Dysentery
Dyspepsia
Emesis (nausea and vomiting)
Enteritis
Enterocolitis
Esophageal motility disorder
Esophageal stricture
Extraesophageal reflux disease
Faecal impaction
Flatulence
Functional colonic disease
Gallstones
Gastric antral vascular ectasia
Gastric dumping syndrome
Gastritis
Gastroenteritis
Gastroesophageal reflux disease
Gastroparesis
Gastroptosis
Gout
Halitosis (bad breath)
Helicobacter Pylori
Heartburn
Hematemesis (upper GI tract bleeding)
Hematochezia (lower GI tract bleeding)
Hepatitis
High LDL cholesterol levels
Hormonal problems
Human Mullular Fibrilation syndrome
Ileitis
Indigestion
Intestinal cancer
Intestinal obstruction
Irritable bowel syndrome
Jejunitis
Lactose Intolerance
Laryngopharyngeal reflux
Liver abscess (pyogenic, amoebic)
Lysteria
Malabsorption
Mallory-Weiss syndrome
Mntrier's disease
Menstrual problems
Mesenteric ischemia
Milroy disease
Nutcracker oesophagus
Oesophagitis (Esophagea candidiasis)
Osteoporosis
Ogilvie syndrome
Pancreatic fistula
Pancreatitis
Parasites and worms
Portal hypertensive gastropathy
Premenstrual Tension
Proctalgia fugax
Proctitis
Prostate trouble
Pyloric stenosis
Radiation proctitis 
Rectal prolapse 
Rheumatism
Salmonellosis
Shigellosis
Steatorrhea
Ulcers, such as peptic ulcer
Tropical sprue
Tularemia
Vitamin B complex deficiency
Vitamin K deficiency
Vaginal infections
Volvulus
Whipple's Short bowel syndrome
Wilson's Disease
Yeast Infections

There are 5 vital things to remember when suffering from any of the conditions listed above:

1. The most important food to consume daily to keep the intestines healthy and in good working order is fibre from whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruit. See the Fibre page

2. The addition of probiotic foods such as live yoghurt, brine pickles, kefir milk, kimchi, kombucha and miso will help to rectify any imbalances in intestinal bacterial flora. These should be consumed on an empty stomach an hour before main meals to avoid the stomach acids killing off too many of them.

3. Many herbs, seeds and spices are both medicinal and high in phytonutrients which can rectify many intestinal conditions naturally with no adverse side effects. Don't just use them sparingly to add taste to meals. Grind seds to help with easier digestion. See the Medicinal Herbs and Spices page.

4. Reducing the toxic overload in the system can also help the hard working liver and digestion and correct nutrient malabsorption created by medications and toxic chemicals from food additives such as aspartame and pesticides ingested on a daily basis. See the Health, Toxins and Hygiene page. See the Cleanse and Detoxify page to find out how to flush toxins from the body naturally.

5. Cutting out all processed and refined foods, processed and reconstituted meats such as bacon, pies and sausage, trans fats and sugar is vitally important to help the body recover from any of the conditions listed above as well as prevent them from occurring. Use honey, fruit, spices, dried seaweed (as salt), olive, vegetable and seed oils, yoghurt and whole grain flour as alternatives. Many natural foods contain all the sodium that is required in the daily diet. Most restaurant meals, fast foods and processed foods, including cheese and bread, are packed with refined salt which is detrimental to the health of the digestive system and the kidneys and increases blood pressure. Sugar feeds the bad bacteria in the stomach increasing the imbalance even further and creates extra detrimental acids. Most processed food have very high sugar content. Cut out coffee too which has many debilitating effects on digestion. See Dangers of Coffee,  Dangers of Sugar and Sea Salt in the Diet pages.

Symptoms of a Gastro Intestinal Bacterial Imbalance

An increase of the pathogenic bacteria in the intestines can become very serious very quickly as the bacteria multiplies so fast and may then migrate unchecked to other parts of the body therefore it must be treated immediately. An immediate healthy diet is vital to rectify this problem.

Keeping the liver, intestines, bowels & kidneys healthy will help with fighting bacteria infections. Visit the Cleanse and Detoxify page to see what natural remedies can cleanse the entire system and keep the digestive and immune systems in good working order.

Daily Morning Liver Cleanser

All these five ingredients together taken in a glass of warm water first thing in the morning is a liver cleanser & detoxifier

See more Liver Cleansers

NATURE CURES DIET TO TREAT INTESTINAL DISORDERS

A wholesome healthy diet of the natural foods below will boost the immune system and help the body to fight off virus, fungal and bacteria infections naturally. If this diet is kept to it will boost the immune system and protect the intestines and the body from any future attacks and infections indefinitely. A noticeable difference will be felt within just one week.

While recovering from intestinal disorders all meats should be omitted as it is harder and slower to digest and can stay fermenting in the intestines. Once recovery has been made lean meats such as organic free range organ meats, turkey breast, wild quail, pheasant, rabbit and venison are the leanest and most nutritious alternatives to add back to the diet. Non organic farmed meats have usually been fed unnatural food, additives, antibiotics and growth hormones which are detrimental to human health.

The Nutrients, Minerals, Protein and Fibre pages can help you understand body processes and the natural foods it needs to function correctly. The nutritional value of foods is important. Wasting valuable time eating the wrong foods is damaging the body further and allowing viruses, pathogenic bacteria and parasites and worms to flourish each time they are consumed. They all reproduce so fast that just one high sugar and low nutrient meal can help them spread to other parts of the body and eventually cause immeasurable damage.

Eating a wide variety daily (not just 5) of all colours of fruits and vegetables, (see Nature's Colour Codes) plus whole grains, herbs and spices everyday will set the body on the path to full health within one week.  Try steaming a wide selection of the vegetables listed with the herbs and spices listed and a tablespoon or two of bottled or filtered water then place in a blender for a deliciously healthy potage soup and eat a small bowl before each meal. Similarly blend a wide selection of the fruits together with nutmeg, cinnamon and honey to provide a tasty nutritious 'smoothie'. Add live probiotic organic yoghurt to make the 'smoothie' or soup creamy.

Drink one litre of bottled mineral water per day to avoid chemicals additives such as fluoride and chlorine and provide more of the essential minerals the body needs. One glass should be consumed just before sleeping to help the body eliminate waste and toxins from the body and the brain.

Meat and eggs (Three times a week)
Beef (organic lean grass-fed), calf's liver,
eggs lambs liver, lamb, poultry and game bird, organ meats, rabbit and venison.

Fish (Three times a week)
Anchovies, bloater fish, carp, cod, eel,
halibut, herring, hilsa fish, kipper, mackerel, octopus, pilchards, salmon, sardines, shellfish, sprats, squid, swordfish, trout, tuna (fresh only) and whitebait and all other oily fish. Anchovies are high in sodium so not advised for those with high blood pressure. Deep sea fish and bottom dwelling shellfish can be contaminated with mercury so it is advisable to consume these with some algae, coriander and other green leafy vegetables or sulphur-rich foods which can chelate (bind to) mercury and eliminate it from the body.

Dairy (Yoghurt and kefir milk daily and cheese three times a week)
Kefir milk, non-pasteurised blue cheese and yoghurt (plain with live cultures)

Fibre  (at least one every day)
Amaranth, barley, brown rice, buckwheat, millet, oats, quinoa and teff. Consume one tablespoon of psyllium husks per day in a large glass of water or sprinkled onto meals as it has powerful properties that can support  digestion and excretory processes and will work within two days to fix many colon and digestive issues.

Vegetables (a selection of at least four colours per day meaning all have been eaten at least once a fortnight)
Algae, alfalfa, artichoke, ashitaba, asparagus, aubergine, beetroot,
bell peppers (all colours), broccoli, carrot, celery, chicory, collard greens, courgettes, cress, cucumber, daikon, garlic, kelp, marrow, mushrooms, mustard greens, okra, seaweed and spinach, Swede, sweet potatoes, Swiss chard, turnips and watercress. Algae, such as chlorella and spirulina, contain many important nutrients and minerals often lacking in land-based crops. Take one tablespoon of one of them per day. Also consume three or four chopped garlic cloves per day. Let them and other allicin-producing plants, such as chives, leeks, onions and spring onions, stand for ten minutes to allow for the process, that produces allicin in these plants when they are damaged, to take place. Allicin has many powerful properties that benefit the health.

Legumes (Three times a week)
Black beans, black-eyed peas, broad beans, chickpeas, legumes, lentils, lima bean, mung beans, navy beans, peas, pinto bean, red kidney beans, soya beans and winged beans.

Fruit (a selection of 2 or 3 colours per day meaning all have been eaten at least once a fortnight)
Apples,
apricots, avocado, bananas, berries, kiwi fruit, lemons, limes, grapefruit, apricot, plums, strawberry, red grape, cherries, peaches, pears, papaya, mango, maqui berries, mosambi juice, oranges, tangerines and watermelon. NOTE: grapefruit can interact with many medications.

Dried Fruit (as snacks or added to meals daily. Best eaten with a handful of nuts and seeds)
Apricots, dates, figs
, goji berries, raisins and sultanas.

Juice (pure, additive free, unsweetened - daily as often as possible)
Beetroot (raw), carrot, cranberry, elderberry, grape, lemon, lime, mosambi, nasturtium (freshly pressed), orange, papaya, pineapple, pomegranate and tangerine. See also Raw Juice Therapy for many raw juicing recipes.

Seeds (as snacks or added to meals daily)
Flaxseeds, hemp, nasturtium, poppy, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower and watermelon. Hempseeds provide the correct balance of omega-6 (inflammatory) to omega-3 (anti-inflammatory) fatty acids and should be consumed daily. A handful of pumpkin seeds can be sprinkled on any dish or in sandwiches daily and add many important nutrients.

Nuts (as snacks or added to meals daily. Best consumed with dried fruits to obtain the correct balance of vitamin C and E)
Brazil nuts (2 per week unless excessive sweating, through exercise or fever, has taken place, then eat 2 per day, cashews, chestnuts, coconut, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, walnuts (5 per day).

Sprouts (see the Micro Diet Sprouting page to find out how to grow your own then add to meals and snacks daily)
Alfalfa, almond, amaranth, barley, broccoli, buckwheat, cabbage, chickpea, corn, hazelnut, fenugreek, flaxseeds, kamut, leek, lemon grass, lentil, lettuce, milk thistle, mizuna, mung beans, mustard, oat, onion, pea, peanut, radish, rice, rocket, rye, quinoa, sesame, spinach, spring onions, sunflower, turnip and watercress.

Common Herbs (nutritious herbs to be used as often as possible daily in meals or as teas)
Basil, cardamom, coriander, cloves, dill, lemongrass, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, safflower, sage, tarragon and thyme.

Medicinal Herbs (consume as teas as required)
Aloe vera, alum root, andrographis, angelica root, anise, ash gourd, barberry, bayberry, blue vervain, burdock root, cascara sagrada, catnip, cinquefoil, dandelion, echinacea, gentian root, goldenseal, ho shou wu, liquorice root, mandrake, marigold, marshmallow, milk thistle, motherwort, pau d'arco, peppermint, pippali fruit pepper, sarsaparilla, schizandra, slippery elm, suma, white willow, wild strawberry leaf, wild yam, yarrow and yellow dock root.

Spices (nutritious spices to be used as often as possible daily. Can be added to teas also)
Cardamom, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, cloves (three ground), cumin, coriander, ginger, nutmeg, paprika, peppercorns (all colours) and turmeric.
A teaspoon of turmeric should be consumed daily due to its powerful compounds that can prevent many ailments. Sprinkle on to egg, fish and vegetable dishes or on brown rice and other grains.

Oils (cold-pressed only and used to cook with or dress vegetables and salads, especially with foods that contain fat-soluble nutrients, such as carotene, to enable absorption)
Coconut oil, flaxseed, grape seed, coconut oil, olive, rapeseed and a blend of sesame and rice bran oils. Also take one capsule of cod liver or krill oil daily, especially during the winter months between October and April in the Northern hemisphere.

Derivatives (to be consumed and used as desired on a daily basis)
Aloe vera juice, anise seed tea, apple cider vinegar, barley grass (powder or juice), bergamot tea,
black strap molasses, brewer's yeast, brine pickles, chamomile tea, green tea, honey, miso, olive oil, peppermint tea, pine needle tea, tea and tofu. Barley grass is one of the rare plants to contain vitamin B12 so is a useful addition to the diet of those that limit meat intake.

At least one (and ideally many more) natural foods and derivatives should be consumed each day from each of the categories above. Pick one of the six colours of fruit and vegetables to consume daily. Yellow/orange, white, red, green, black/blue/purple and cream/brown. Nature has kindly colour coded natural food for us and each colour provides specific nutrients and minerals in the right balances which are required daily. At least one iron rich green leafy vegetable or herb should be consumed daily.

If appetite does not allow enough consumption, juice them or make teas by steeping them in hot water for 20 minutes, then strain and drink immediately to gain the nutrients without the bulk. Teas can be gently reheated and honey and lemon added to make them more palatable and to add additional beneficial nutrients. See the Nature's Colour Codes page.

NOTE Non-heme iron is found in tea and dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale. However, tea and green leafy vegetables also contain oxalates that block the absorption of iron. To assist the body in the absorption of non-heme iron eat a couple of strawberries, an orange, tangerine or some mango at the same time.

To benefit from foods containing carotenoids like tomatoes & carrots always eat together with fat rich foods like rapeseed oil, olive oil, nuts or avocado because carotenoids are fat-soluble, meaning they are only absorbed into the body along with fats and can then assist with the manufacture of the essential vitamin A nutrient.

Try to avoid refined and processed foods, any foods with additives such as aspartame, coffee,  fizzy drinks, sugar, table salt (use Himalayan pink crystals or unrefined sea salt), white flour and white rice (choose whole grains and brown or wild rice).

"Nature cures not the physician..." Hippocrates 460 BC

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