WHEN we talk about ulcer in Nigeria, many people think only about peptic ulcer or stomach ulcer. Not many people know about the duodenal ulcer, ulcer in the eye, throat, intestine or in organs. How many, indeed, know that ulcer can occur in the brain and that this ulcer can cause not only ulcer in the stomach, duodenum and intestine but can also actually cause perforations or holes in these organs?
Dr Harvey Cushing discovered linkages between increasing tension in the brain and ravaging ulcers in the digestive system….throat, stomach, duodenum, and intestine. He noticed that some of his patients who suffered from brain tumours, ulcers, traumatic head injuries, increased levels of intracranial pressure or pressure in the head, also went down with ulcers in various locations of the digestive system. In his days, it was taught that increased pressure in the head overstimulated the VAGUS NERVE and that the overstimulated VAGUS NERVE, inturn, overstimulated acid pumps in the stomach. The VAGUS NERVE also called X Cranial Nerve or 10th Cranial Nerve is the longest and most complex of the Cranial Nerves. The VAGUS NERVE originates from the lower part of the brainstem(MEDULLA) and covers the face, heart, lungs, stomach and digestive system, picking information from the various organ.
In the days of Dr Cushing, after whose name this type of ulcers was named, surgeons surgically removed portions of the Vagus Nerve in the stomach to cure the problems it was assumed to cause. It is interesting, if not ironic, that the medical doctor who discovered these events and probably helped to resolve some of them would himself in old age and failing health developed gastrointestinal diseases. The surgical butchering of the Vagus Nerve in those days to heal gastrointestinal disease abated only when Dr Barry Marshall(born on 30 September 1951) came on the scene. He told his colleagues the vagus nerve was not the cause of digestive system ulcers and cancer. He placed the blame on a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori. No one believed him. Surgeons were busy cutting out a tissue from perforated and damaged stomachs and intestines issues. The drug industry was also trying to push out Tagamet, and antacid for this excessive stomach acid disease. Both groups refused to listen to Dr Barry Marshall. So, he carried out a crazy experiment on himself. He scraped perforated tissue cut and thrown away for Helicobacter pylori, cultured it over a number of days and drank the solution. Almost immediately, he developed a stomach ulcer which he then successfully treated with antibiotics. These infuriated sponsors of Tagamet, the antacid which had gulped millions of dollars in research and development and was just about to start raking money for its owners. But Dr Marshall has made his point. So, antibiotics joined the arsenal of drugs prescribed by doctors for ulcers.
Dr F. Batmanghelidj, author of YOUR BODY’S MANY CRIES FOR WATER and YOU’RE NOT SICK, YOU’RE ONLY THIRSTY, soon came along to say ulcer was caused by dehydration and to treat it with increase intake of water. He also disproved the notion of the drug industry that there was an acid pump in the stomach that pumped out acids. Other researchers have found that potato juice can also neutralize excessive stomach acids, although it may exhibit unpleasant side effects which are frequent urination caused by potassium in the juice. Cabbage juice has joined as well the league of ulcer healers with its own side effect. It is a rich source of goitrogens which inhibit overactivity of the thyroid gland. While this may be good news for hyperthyroidism patient, it may increase the nightmares of the hypothyriodic.
My thoughts speed down memory lane last Monday when I listened to a RADIO DOCTOR interview programme. The doctor tried to show that ulcer was much bigger in nature than stomach ulcer and gastritis. But almost every caller kept pulling him back into the box. All he ended up saying outside the stomach box was that ulcer was an open surface wound which could occur in any part of the body, such as the leg ulcer which may cause gangrene (death of cells) and amputation.
The cornea, a section of the eye, may develop a surface wound or ulcer from trauma to it or from viral, fungi or bacterial infections which may follow the trauma or strike on their own. The eyes may become red, itchy, inflamed and present blurry vision. Bitter kola eye drops or chanka piedra eye drops which reduce ocular tension in glaucoma may help this condition. Bitter kola has exhibited anti-pathogenic activity in many cases of food poisoning. Chanka piedra is no less a germs fighter in addition to its well-known activity as a kidney and gallstones crusher which qualifies it to be seen as able to crush cataract of the eye lens, a stone in its own right. Some people say one drop in the eye of days first urine works wonders, for lowering Intra-ocular Pressure(IOP) and for starving off eye problems, including conjunctivitis (Apollo). A former Indian Prime Minister, Morarji Dessai, who drank the first glass of his own urine every morning and gripped some into his eyes popularised this therapy called THE WATER OF LIFE. I read John W. Armstrong’s THE WATER OF LIFE in 1980 while I was searching for a cure for my grandmother’s breast cancer. He said that urine was not a poison. Rather, it was an excess of every nutrient the body had to expel to create homeostatic balance. Only after urine had come in contact with the atmosphere for a while did it become infected and began to smell, the arguments went. This drugless therapy is likened to composting of the soil. When leaves fall from plants or trees, they provide the soil with nourishment to make it healthier and more fertile. Similarly, it is said, the rich array of minerals, hormones and other components of urine nourish the body without stress of mastication, digestion and assimilation.
What may start as a mouth ulcer and grow into cancer may start as a joke. A fishbone stick into the gum or impacted anywhere else could be the starting block. So can mouth sores food particles nestling in tooth and gum crevices provide nutrition for bacteria which may wear down the tissue. Mouth ulcers can become more dangerous than ordinary sources of bad breath when they are visited and colonized by candida and other pathogens which can make them transform into cancer. There are many kitchen remedies for these sources of ulcer. Some people acknowledge the efficacy of baking soda rinses. That is probably because baking soda is alkaline and these germs, like cancer cells, do not thrive in an oxygenated and alkaline environment. Propolis is another sure bet. Some people prefer to chew the tablets, others think syrup or spray. Propolis is that stuff in honey that the bees paint or coat their hives with to make them germ proof. When Egyptian mummies are found almost as intact as the corpses were hundreds of years ago before honey was piped into them to make them mummies, it is Propolis that is at work. It gives honey not only its anti-microbial energy and sting, but endows it as well with the hydroscobic potential. This muscle makes honey extract water from germs, that dehydrate them. What can live without water?
Coconut oil is another reliable help. It comes with lauric acid which fights bacteria and other germs. One of two tablespoonfuls taken with a meal has been shown to not only support digestion and often the stool but to also clean out the gastrointestinal tract of offensive unwanted “guests”. It is useful especially in HIV conditions in which the tract has begun to present diarrhoea and related opportunistic ailments. We all know about Hydrogen Peroxide FOOD GRADE solution rinses. I emphasize the “food grade” quality because hydrogen peroxide is a toxic waste material of the body’s metabolism. But the oxygen on the food-grade is considered worth its while by many therapists.
Some people speak of Potassium Alum Powder rinses. I pull back from it because of the aluminium, a soft metal that has been implicated in some health hazards. I guess it is popular because it “holds” the tissues together. But Bitter kola(Garama kola) does that, too when it is chewed or when it is grated and a water infusion of it is used as a rinse and then swallowed. As an eye drop, the brand made by Professor Adefule Oshitelu at the Guinness Eye Center of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) has proven just as good as pharmaceutical eye drops for glaucoma, although, sometimes, it may have to be applied a few more times than they are in one day. To the list above, we can add the germicidal and antiseptic Apple Cider Vinegar solution, Tumeric powder paste, Clove oil rinses, Neem oil, Garlic oil, Black seed oil, Oregano oil, Orange peel oil(obtained also by chewing the peel), warm saline(salt), water, preferably natural salt, Grape Seed Extract and Pure Organic sulphur.
We would all pay more attention to the health of our throats if we pay visits to hospitals to see how people with throat challenges grapple with existence. I was privileged a few years ago to nurse a fifty-seven(57) year old woman from 38kg to about 65kg. She died only about 5kg away from when her surgeon considered it was wise to remove her challenged throat and replace it with a loop taken from her intestine. She has not paid serious attention to her throat when she began to suffer from hoarseness of the voice, sore throat, inflammation of the throat(esophagitis) and things like that. At a time, she could not drink water from a glass because she could choke on it. So, she had to use a straw. That was when I saw her. She was lean and dying and agreed to my suggestion to heed the surgeon’s advice that they punch a hole in one side of her body to pass a feeding plastic tube into the stomach through which another hole would be drilled. This feeding apparatus had to be changed every four or six months, depending on the quality, and at a great cost. Anything going in had to be liquefied…even fish. Because there was no liquefier for beef and fish, we had to rely more on ALOELITE from FLP for protein, and on LIQUIDAMINOS by Bragg. We sprouted beans to often it and, after cooking, liquefied it and ran the stuff through a funnel into the stomach. The stomach did not recognize the plastic delivery tube as a friend and tried to digest it. So, the stomach became more engorged with acid. Nothing alkaline, even in overdosages, quieten the acid fire. The only saliva flowed down the throat. Cancer barricaded even a drop of water. Thus, sore throat is not to be treated with kid gloves. It is a time to call herbal antibiotics(Oregano, Black seed oil, Clove oil, Goldenseal root etc) and the immune-boosting zinc to the rescue. Whatever happened to ZINCLOVENGES? Serious attention needs to be given, also, to difficulty in swallowing. For a growth may be developing and narrowing the passage.
Thankfully, doctors no longer cut the VAGUS NERVE in their attempts to cure peptic(stomach) ulcer. In my humble view, they still make other mistakes. The first thing many of them do is to prescribe an ANTACID and suggest that the patient consume cow’s milk to absorb the excess acid. Such doctors do not appreciate that many adults are LACTOSE INTOLERANT and that this may be a source of the ulcer in the first place. Lactose, a sugar in cow’s milk, is a dietary liability many adults cannot digest.
Secondly, milk is an acid-forming food. Thirdly, an antacid may not be the right medicine for an acidic stomach if the acid came not from excess stomach acid. Low stomach acid level may increase food transit time, cause food decomposition and acid flush. Some ulcer patients have, accordingly, improved on Apple Cider Vinegar solution or BETHANY HYDROCHLORIC ACID added to their meals for improved digestion.
The peptic ulcer of many people arises because they overloaded their stomachs with food, drank too much water with a meal or miscombined foods. To much food means a longer waiting period for digestion which may be inefficient because there may not be enough enzymes to digest the food overload. Too much water may dilute the enzymes and make them weak. When fruits that digest in about 30 minutes are eaten with foods that require about two or three hours to digest, the fruit will have to “wait” for these other foods while it would begin to ferment. The irritation caused by this and the gas it unleashes produced gastritis(inflammation of the stomach wall lining). The decaying food brings bacteria, including HELICOBACTER PYLORI which eat up protective stomach lining and exposes the stomach inner flesh wall to acid which may bore a hole through it.
Many natural remedies have been reported to help these conditions. Johanna Brandt of South Africa wrote THE GRAPE CURE to explain how and almost exclusive diet of grapefruit juice cured her extensive stomach cancer. Was it the Potassium in grapefruit which brought the cure? Dr Max Gerson who cured some cancers with a fruit and vegetable juice diet combined with organic coffee enema said it was potassium infusion into the fermenting cell which drove back sodium invasion and restored balance and health. Dr George Malkmus, the author of HALLELUYAH DIET, fasted almost exclusively on organic carrot juice to rid himself of stomach cancer. There are many cases of WHEATGRASS miracles. On the Nigerian scene today, the proprietary products ACIDIC STOMACH AND ALKALINE BALANCE does wonders for even stubborn peptic ulcers. It saved from surgery an acquaintance of mine whose brother was a gastrointestinal surgeon at LUTH and had booked him for an operation to end decades of suffering after a meal. Worth trying as well is CABBAGE JUICE. Standford university school of medicine has successfully treated many peptic ulcer patients with fresh cabbage juice. There are many more I would like to mention but for want of space. Nevertheless, I will mention the Yoruba parasitic root called OGBOLO(d:m:m) or AFATO(r:d:d). I knew about it for cell regeneration or youthfulness among old Yoruba men when Viagra was launched in Europe to help men with erectile dysfunction. As OGBOLO was reported to perform this function as well, I decided, as Editor of THE GUARDIAN, to run a kitchen experiment, using as the supervisor Declan Okpalaeke, a microbiology graduate from Lagos state university(LASU) who was training to be a journalist. With confirmations from two laboratories that it increased sperm count of our trial subjects several folds, we presented Okpalaeke’s report to that year CNN AFRICAN JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR AWARD…and it won the first prize. I took the root to Mr Adeleke, of the pharmacognosy department of LUTH to make an alcohol extract of a product named SPAMOGEN(sperm generator). Powdering and encapsulating was too expensive. Users of this product soon began to ask if it also cured peptic ulcer. I gave it to my sister who was a sufferer and she became free. I, too, had been challenged with a duodenal ulcer which woke me up at a particular hour of the night. Using water therapy as advised by Dr Batmanghelidj, this ulcer was abating. OGBOLO cleared it up. A pharmacist later told me it was a healing agent which cured wounds, stimulated mucous membrane growth to enable regeneration of tissue beneath. Today, the alcohol extract of this root is widely sold as AFATO(sperm generator) in Southwestern Nigeria. Traditional medicine mid-wifes give it to pregnant women from the third trimester to relax their pelvic muscles for hitch-free birthing.
Ulcers dot the intestine of many people. Long faecal transit times and lack of soluble fiber in the diet cause the stool to harden. Hardened stool, like gas, impacts the intestinal wall, abraising and ulcerating it. Added to this is the deficiency of such basic nutrient as Vitamin A, Cannabinoids, Vitamin B-complex, Calcium and Magnesium. Vitamin A is friendly to the mucus lining and soothes it. THC (tetrahydro cannabinoids)- free cannabinoids strengthen the intestine, which is the organ with the largest number of cannabinoid receptors throughout the body. It is not for nothing that Nature made this provision. Vitamin B-Complex is to ease stress. Vitamin B1 especially is for nerves. Nerves move muscles and muscles move food and stool along by both contracting and relaxing. Calcium causes contraction and Magnesium causes relaxation. Many people supplement their diet with cheap calcium and magnesium products which are not readily absorbed. Many do not take their Zinc(for healing) as a single supplement. We do not aid the digestive system with digestive enzymes. We also do not routinely clear the system of dross. I eat raw pawpaw leaves with meals when I remember. The leaf has all digestive enzymes. Sometimes, it is the juice I drink. The powder can also be sprinkled on food. The same goes for orange peel. It helps digestion, breathing and inflammation. There are many digestion supplement in the market.
Many of us wait until problems come before we rise to the aid of this system. As the intestine is loaded with parasites, and microbial overgrowths, It is important to care for them in the diet. There are for this purpose supplement such as PARASHIELD, PARASITE CLEANSE, CLEANSE, INTESTINAL CLEANSING and WEIGHT CONTROL among many others I do not toy with BLACK SEED OIL and OREGANO OIL. I add them to corn pap, rice, beans or yam porridge. When the intestine is uncared for, toxins, parasites, candida, bacteria, viruses and fungi may poison and damage the mucous membrane which protects the tissue beneath. The membrane responds by becoming inflamed. Inflammation brings pain as a warning but we ignore the message and take pain killers to quieten it. Yet this is the time to go for such remedies as Orange peel, Curcumin, Tumeric and other digestive and anti-inflammatory aids. Soon, the mucus membrane becomes thinner or eroded and an ulcer forms on the skin of the intestine, leading to ulcerative colitis (ulcer and inflamed colon). If the ulcer is bleeding, it may be defected through blood in the stool or, if the bleeding is far away, through colonoscopy or occult blood tests. By the time candida invades the ulcer, the stage is set for cancer. This is a scenario that demands lightweight and heavyweight herbs. Among the heavies are Calamus root, Confrey root, Pau’ DArco, Organic enema coffee. Invading germs must be eradicated. Toxins must be taken out. Blockages must be cleared. Inflammation must be stopped. The healthy pH balance (7.4) must be re-established. The system must be alkalized and oxygenated. Cancerous cells must be killed or made apoptotic, which is made to commit cell suicide.
This is a long “to do” list which requires money, time, energy and perseverance. Surely, it is better to prevent these events than to wait to trouble and then call in the firefighters.