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Culinary herbs

Herb Used in Salads Fights Ulcers

Monday, May 11, 2009 by: Sherry Baker, Health Sciences Editor
Tags: culinary herbs, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) According to the Mayo Clinic web site, at some time in their lives around 10 percent of Americans will suffer from a peptic ulcer. The treatment for this painful condition, which is marked by open sores that develop on the inside lining of the stomach, upper small intestine or esophagus, is usually drugs such as proton-pump inhibitors which can cause a host of problems themselves -- ranging from nausea and constipation to skin rashes. "It has been shown that long term use of these drugs leads to various adverse side effects. Relapses of the malady (peptic ulcers), ineffectiveness of different drug regimens and even resistance to drugs are emerging. Thus, there is an urgent requirement to identify more effective and safe anti-ulcer agents," a team of scientists at King Saud University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, noted in a statement to the media. Their new research, just published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology suggests they've found a natural and safe alternative ulcer treatment -- an herb long used in Mediterranean cuisine known as Eruca sativa (also called rocket or arugula).

Dr. Syed Rafatullah and colleagues validated the gastric anti-ulcer properties of arugula on albino rats that were exposed to chemicals, drugs and other stressors in order to induce acid secretion and ulcers. The levels of gastric wall mucus, acid and damage to gastric tissue were all examined by the investigators. The results? An extract of Eruca sativa significantly and dose-dependently reduced the basal gastric acid secretion. What's more, the lab animals pretreated with the arugula extract were protected from the development of gastric ulcers despite being exposed to a host of toxins and stresses.

The scientists concluded that the herb possesses anti-ulcer effects, possibly due to its ability to reduce stomach acid secretion and mediate the activity of hormones called prostaglandins. The plant's antioxidant properties could also be the key to arugula's stomach-protective abilities, the researchers noted in a statement to the media.

A member of the Brassicacae family, arugula is often eaten in salads, especially among Middle Eastern populations and Europeans. Traditionally, plants belonging to the Brassicacae family, including Eruca sativa, have been used by herbalists for their medicinal and therapeutic properties. Now a growing body of research suggests these herbs could help inhibit the growth of cancerous tumors and protect the liver, in addition to fighting peptic ulcers.

Alqasoumi S, Al-Sohaibani M, Al Howiriny T, Al Yahya M, Rafatullah S. Rocket "Eruca sativa ": A salad herb with potential gastric anti ulcer activity. World J Gastroenterol 2009; 15(16): 1958-1965

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About the author

Sherry Baker is a widely published writer whose work has appeared in Newsweek, Health, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Yoga Journal, Optometry, Atlanta, Arthritis Today, Natural Healing Newsletter, OMNI, UCLA's "Healthy Years" newsletter, Mount Sinai School of Medicine's "Focus on Health Aging" newsletter, the Cleveland Clinic's "Men's Health Advisor" newsletter and many others.

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