Indigestion and constipation, aversion to food, nausea after meals, and pain in the stomach immediately or one or two hours after taking food, are the symptoms of this disease.
Causes: Partially-digested food or its juice passes from the stomach into the duodenum or upper intestine for further assimilation. There the digestive fluids with the help of bile from the liver and digestive juices from the pancreas accomplish the task of digestion. But if, owing to defective working of these organs, the food is not completely digested here either, then it becomes spoiled and vitiated. At the same time, the unassimilated digestive fluids and bile also become spoiled and create an adverse reaction in the system. This spoiled digestive fluid and bile is the cause of gastric and duodenal ulcers. Habitually undertaking mental or physical exertion after a meal without having any rest slows down the blood circulation in the walls of the stomach and duodenum, due to which the membrane lining of the organs becomes easily susceptible to the acidic poison; and the ulcer appears.
If the acid-secreting organs of the body have to remain constantly active in order to digest non-vegetarian foods, or if, owing to constipation, dyspepsia or any other disease, the alkaline secreting glands become weak, then the alkaline secretions in the body cannot maintain a balance with the acids, and these extremely poisonous acidic fluids then go on with their work unimpeded. Wherever this excess acidic fluid gets an opportunity to accumulate, gradually an ulcer forms. In the stomach, in the duodenum, or wherever these fluids attack the membrane or the lining, they create wounds and there ulcers are formed – gastric (stomach) ulcers, duodenal ulcers and other types of ulcers.
If the blood loses its vitality due to excessive mental exertion coupled with a lack of physical labour; or due to the use of very strong and poisonous medicines (poisons are often used in large quantity in the form of medicines to destroy the germs of blood disease); or due to taking injections of poisonous medicines to cure or to prevent disease; or due to an unrestrained life; that weak blood makes the membrane of the duodenum weak and unable to fight the accumulated acidity, and it becomes ulcerated. If the ulcer is in the stomach, the patient suffers pain immediately after eating. But if that ulcer forms inside the duodenum, the pain starts after a short while but not immediately. In this case the pain originates to the right of the navel. With gastric ulcers, the consumed food has less opportunity inside the body to be digested, and therefore the patient becomes thin and worn out.But with duodenal ulcers, the change takes a long time to show externally.
Whatever may be the reason, if an ulcer is formed inside the body, blood oozing out of the wound tries to find an outlet and is emitted through vomiting, or through the anus or the urinary passage. That is why the patient feels nauseated when suffering from acute stomach or duodenal ulcers, and after vomiting always gets some relief. Often slightly darkish blood comes out with the vomiting (haematemesis). In a severe state of the disease the stool of the patient also appears blackish. Even when the disease is not in the severe state, the stool comes out in pellets and a darkish colour. This disease generally attacks people in early youth and kills them at the end of youth or in middle age.
Treatment: Morning – Utkśepa Mudrá, Yogásana, Diirgha Prańáma, Bhujauṋgásana, Agnisára Mudrá, Padahastásana, Ágneyii Mudrá, and Ágneyii Práńáyáma.
Evening – Sarváuṋgásana, Matsyamudrá, Naokásana, Pashcimottánásana, Karmásana, Agnisára Mudrá and Ud́d́ayana Mudrá.
Diet: In the severe state of the disease nothing except plenty of water and sweet or sour fruit juice should be taken. When blood is vomited, the patient should be fed durbá juice or kuksiimá-leaf extracts only. When the patient is a little better, he or she should be given a small quantity of diluted milk with honey to drink. So long as the stool remain darkish, the patient should be given only different kinds of fruit juice, sweet or sour; the filtered juice of ripe tomatoes; miśt́i nebu juice; or well-boiled potatoes thoroughly mashed with diluted milk.
After the severe state of the disease has passed, the patient may eat soup or stew made out of potatoes, pat́ol, jhiḿge, dhundula or similar easily-digestible vegetables, along with boiled old rice (grains a few years old), etc. In this state, a small amount of pure, warm ghee should be taken with rice or fresh rut́i. So long as even a vestige of the disease persists the patient should never eat much at a time. Instead, food should be eaten several times a day, eating only a small quantity each time. The cure of this disease depends largely on the selection of diet – therefore, even after getting well, the patient should observe the dietary provisions strictly for a couple of years.
Dos and don’ts: Acidity is the main cause of this disease, so it is desirable that food which can increase acidity be carefully avoided. An ulcer patient must give up non-vegetarian food and all types of intoxicants. Food which would stimulate or irritate the stomach should also be forsaken; extra-sweet, hot (spicy) and salty foods are unwholesome for an ulcer patient. Once the patient gets well, he or she will find alkaline food best. But it is better not to take fibrous food even after a complete cure. After normal health has been restored, the patient should include in the diet spinach, beto shák, mat́ar shák or jute leaves to help clear the bowels and to prevent the vomiting of blood. As a medicine, shushuni shák fried in ghee is also excellent. All ulcer patients must take daily at least two or three spoonfuls of honey mixed with water or milk. Habitually doing physical or mental work without taking rest after meals is most harmful.