My history with gastritis has been long but exceedingly sporadic -- i don't believe i've mentioned it here before. The first bad bout was when i was in either jr-hi or high-school, i don't clearly remember which. What i DO remember is that in junior-high, not once but twice did i have to run out of biology class to barf. I have no idea what might have been in the cages, beakers or petri-dishes that set me off, but they sure did. The two episodes happened close to each other, then didn't happen again -- hmmm, whatever the trigger was seems to have been cleared away.
The first "attack" was forgotten by me, until i had an exact recurrence here in StL several years ago. We had just had breakfast at our favorite diner and the pain immediately reminded me! I went home, "lightened the load" and used enzymes, and it faded away within the hour, but left me exhausted for a couple of days. This episode, i hypothesize, was where i picked up the bug that has been plaguing me since.
I had another episode, even worse, last year. Again, i had just eaten out, but not at the same place. The inflammation in my stomach lost me my appetite for days, and was more tender to the touch than the previous event, but soon subsided -- i was normal again within the week.
Thanksgiving day last week, something set me off again, though nothing on the menu came from a commercial source ... and it was not acute but what looked like the beginning of a chronic turn to the situation. I FELT stomach irritation on Friday (not the pain, just a hint of the inflammation), and it also seemed to manifest in LACK OF STOMACH ACID, a situation which has so abated with me that i don't have betaine-HCl on hand anymore! That's obviously a mistake.
But the acid situation on top of the gastritis spelled H.-P-Y-L-O-R-I to me! I started googling....
I used up what was left of my licorice tincture, broke out the peppermint, and put a serious dent in my ginger-teabags (all of which helped but didn't conquer) before i came across a mention of EPAZOTE. This is a culinary herb in Mexican food, as well as a medicinal with antibacterial, anti-parasitic, and anti-GAS properties. ... And coincidentally, i had some in my kitchen already!
With the first shot of the tea, my stomach felt better! It was like taking a modern instant-action drug as compared to the usual wait-for-it herbal remedy. No wonder that the traditional treatment time is three to four days, with a follow-up two weeks down the line to deal with any worm-eggs that might hatch after the original dosing. It's THAT powerful.
Immediately, the constant belching subsided. I no longer had the constant low-grade nausea. My digestion felt a lot closer to normal, but i'm still eating rather lightly and prompting enzymes and acid with the aid of bitters. I feel MUCH better than i did on Wednesday.
The fact that in semi-tropical America, this herb is a casual item in cooking is significant to me -- tropical locations offer generous opportunities for parasite infection! Using epazote in your soups and casseroles should give you ongoing protection. I didn't find it strongly flavored, so it can't be much of a contribution to the taste of dishes ... but there it is, in the recipe of a tamale-like chicken dish, from a mainstream purveyor of traditional Mexican ingredients.
The packet of epazote i had was only a half-ounce, so i used it all in making the 3/4 cup of tea for my first three doses. Our outstanding international grocery-stores in StL will make finding another couple of packages easy, though, and i WILL keep this valuable herb on hand from here out! I'll repeat my Thu-Fri-Sat dose next week, too, and i'll try to remember to include some of it in soups and stews from now on!
Herbs are a poor replacement for drugs? HA. Treating H. pylori with antibiotics takes a cocktail of different pharmaceuticals, not just one, and the dosage is continued for WEEKS ... and still doesn't have a 100%-effective record. In a modern world of filthy food-production methods where we get a constant trickle of antibiotics and pathogens in our diets, the value of traditional methods of health-protection must not be under-estimated.