Foods or Herbs to heal stomach lining with Gastritis?

A reader writes:

“My doctor informed me that I have gastritis and prescribed me medication.  Are there foods I can eat or herbs I can take that will help heal the lining of the stomach?”

There are indeed.  Some people are going to chime in:

“Slippery elm!”

But before we get to that, a more important question to ask is, what’s causing the gastritis?  After all, everything mentioned above is just symptom relief. 

It doesn’t do anything to alleviate the real problem.

In Functional Medicine, a diagnosis is certainly helpful, but it doesn’t tell you anything about why you have the problem or what’s causing it.  For example, “gastritis” is a very nonspecific term for “an inflammation (irritation and swelling) of the lining of the stomach”.  That’s a good place to start, but what’s causing the inflammation in the first place?  (Most doctors don’t attempt to look for the cause.)  Until we know the underlying cause(s), all you can do is treat the symptoms; by getting to the “why” and the root cause, that’s how we figure out the most appropriate course of action so that the problem can be corrected from the ground up.

The reason it’s so important to identify the root cause is, a single symptom or disease can have several widely different causes, and each of those causes must be addressed differently.  In this case, gastritis has two extremely common causes, and I see these all the time in practice.

  1. Reactive intolerance to certain foods – namely gluten, but definitely not limited to gluten only!
  2. Intestinal microbes – these can include parasites (hookworms, pinworms, etc), yeasts/fungi (candida and others), and/or bacterial infections (Helicobacter pylori or opportunistic bacterial overgrowth).

Practically every single patient I see in my office has BOTH of these problems!  They are both incredibly common.  They are also both incredibly overlooked or worse, met with skepticism by most doctors if a patient attempts to bring up the subject.

In this case, there are some diagnostic tests that can be ordered to figure out why your digestive lining is inflamed.

One is a gluten intolerance/reactivity test.  This isn’t the same as some of the tests they usually run at a hospital for Celiac Disease (which usually involves an endoscopy, which often produces falsely “negative” or “normal” results).  There are several ways to test for various aspects or evidence of gluten intolerance, and there are several different lab companies that each offer their own versions of testing options.  Some offer lab testing services directly to patients and don’t require a doctor’s order!  A variety of testing methods are available, and some results can be obtained from a simple cheek swab.  Please visit my SA Gluten Free website for my free, no-strings-attached e-book on Gluten Intolerance and various testing options.

The other test I typically need to order is a digestive analysis with microbe screening.  This is actually a combination test panel that offers a whole lot of info about any microbes you might be carrying around (as mentioned above, these can be any one or combination of the following: yeast, bacteria, and/or parasites.  The average patient comes into my office with no less than 3 separate species of these microorganisms!).  In addition, the version of this test I run tells us a lot about the environment of your digestive tract and it offers some indirect evidence of how well you’re absorbing nutrients.

It’s especially important to order these tests because:

Reason #1: Everyone has these problems.  Out of hundreds of tests I’ve done, I’ve had only one single initial test come back clean, which means in my clinical experience, the incidence of these issues is extremely high.

Reason #2: Other doctors are NOT checking for these and if they are, the tests are very invasive and outdated and frankly, can give you incorrect results.  They may appear “normal” or “negative” even if something is going on.  It’s crucial that sensitive, relevant test methods are used to ensure accurate information.

Reason #3: These issues wreak havoc until they’re dealt with.  Food intolerances do not go away, and neither do intestinal microorganisms.  Intolerance reactions build with time and may become severe enough to promote destruction of your own tissues, organs, or glands.  Intestinal microbes act like squatters on your property (your intestines) until they’re forcibly evicted.

Reason #4: Treatment approaches for these issues are very different.  Many people make the innocent mistake of attempting to treat themselves using information gleaned from a Google search (I used to be That Person myself), but until we have the test results in hand, how will you know which approach to take?

If the problem lies behind Door Number 1 (the food intolerance), one must eliminate that food, identifying the infinite number of possible hidden sources, and this dietary modification is usually for life.  Some choose to forgo the testing and simply attempt to eliminate (or “cut back” on) the reactive food, but this approach is rarely successful and besides – why go through the trouble until you know for sure that you need to?

If the problem lies behind Door Number 2 (the intestinal bugs), it takes a very potent synergistic blend of herbs, nutrients, enzymes, and probiotics to manage and help eliminate intestinal imbalance, and it can take a considerable amount of time and expense.  Again, there’s no reason to spend 3 months or more (to do it properly) and spend a heavy investment if you don’t know for sure that you need to.  And more importantly, without the proper testing, there’s no way to know for sure whether or not the efforts were successful.

Maybe the problem lies behind an unforeseen Door Number 3.  In that case, even if the first 2 tests I discussed above were truly negative, the effort and investment was not wasted, because it’s good to at least have ruled out those very common ailments so that we can begin to look at other possible issues without having wasted time or energy elsewhere.

Once we know what’s going on, we can address the root cause of the problem so that we can give you a permanent solution and real, long-term RELIEF with an approach that we know is going to truly make a difference!

14 responses to “Foods or Herbs to heal stomach lining with Gastritis?

  1. Dr. wants to do a CT. I had a bout with fleas in my home with new rescue dog. Would that cause paracites?

  2. Very interesting article. I a wondering though, what are the tests to run/ cheek swab & the test to tell what kind of worms, parasites,etc. we may have? I would like to have my chiropractor check for these & be more specific if possible? Thank you

    • The best tests for screening for those kinds of issues are comprehensive stool analyses, offered by several specialty lab companies. These tests are quite reliable and accurate, and cost-effective too! Some Doctors of Chiropractic run these tests, while others do not. If your DC has any questions about this test and which labs are best for which purposes, please have them contact us at (210) 340-2150 🙂

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  4. Elayssandria Kasongo

    Good article but lousy advice as to what a person can do to at least begin to “help” themselves! It is true that most doctors do not go to the root of the problem, so what can we do? I am sure this doctor does not live in my state and I am sure I cannot fly out to his practice!!!!

    • Hi Elayssandria, and thank you for your question. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be ethical to give out specific treatment advice, as each person’s individual needs vary too greatly. What does the trick for one may very likely make another much worse. However, all hope is not lost! Although many people do make the flight to our clinic in San Antonio from around the country (and then consult by phone/mail/email for follow-up contact), many prefer to work with someone closer to home. Please visit to locate a practitioner in your area who has taken similar training to Dr. Sweeney. 🙂

  5. alicia carmona

    My gastritis was caused by h pylori, I have been on prescription medicatins, didn’t help, now I am on several herbal medication, still don’t get any relief, one day I feel good and next day back to it again

  6. Carol Lochridge

    I have an NSAID induced injury to my stomach lining. I don’t have h-pylori and not gluten intolerant. Besides the usual medications for reducing acid in the stomach which don’t work. I was told that with this condition blood flow doesn’t get to the stomach lining because of the injury so it stays irritated causing the symptoms. What is a good remedy for this problem?

    • Hi Carol, and thanks for your question! That’s a tricky one. Lots of possible factors at play here… Too little stomach acid can feel like too much; many people with GERD-like symptoms often have too little stomach acid (strangely enough). The bad news is, there’s no one remedy that works for everyone. The good news is, it is absolutely possible to solve this problem once and for all, and as long as too much damage wasn’t done (or permanent damage), then full healing IS possible. The key is to work at the cellular level. Blood oxygen levels, blood nutrient delivery, proper hormone balance, etc all play important roles – if any piece is missing, you won’t function at your best. A professional who can work with you on a cellular level is important here. He or she can measure cell functions, blood nutrient levels, cell nutrient levels, and more, and come up with a plan that starts you healing from the inside out. Each person’s needs are different, so only settle for someone that pays attention to YOU. 🙂

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  8. Dr. Sweeney, where is your practice? I live in Dallas TX and have chronic gastritis and microfocal IM, I was not aware of my gastritis a few years ago when I had an endoscope and was never informed that’s what I had. After 6 ct scans in a month and gallbladder removal a hospital doctor told me I had gastritis but my former GI doctor never mentioned gastritis, and I know this due to pulling my own pathology report years after. I’m currently working with a doctor but doesn’t seem too concerned. I asked what I can do for gastritis,(also I have no symptoms) and he said nothing and well I want to find the root of this problem. I’ve developed fundic polyps due to irritation as well. I had a gluten test done and was told it was negative. Please help! Also I was tested for ANA and it was also negative.

    • Hi Diana! I’m so sorry that you’ve had to go through all of that! Indeed, there IS help and hope for your situation. True healing is indeed possible in almost all cases. I practice in San Antonio; however, we’ve helped patients from all over Texas and the rest of the US. I’ve received excellent training from multiple entities and invested lots of time researching the very best labs–and lab tests–for each situation. Please let me know if there’s any way I can help you! 🙂

  9. Debra Kington

    Hello, my name is Debra. I had a endoscopy in March & diagnosis was gastritis. I have a weak lower esophageal sphincter. I’ve had digestive problems/heartburn for years. It began about 15 years ago. I was on Nexium for approx 8 years. I took myself off them & was great for about 2 & 1/2 years, but back in January accidentally ingested 1 drop hydrogen peroxide in 8 oz water, which flared up my symptoms again. I’ve been taking DGL licorice & Reflux Relief from a herbalist which has helped greatly & I am eating a very bland diet, no acidic or irritating foods. Im hoping this will heal soon. Negative for celiac & H Pylori. What other tests should I have to find the cause??? Please reply….!!!!

  10. Debra kington

    I’ve been suffering from mild eyrethematous for 4 months & taking 40mg Nexium, 5 ml DGL licorice & iron supplement 10 ml 2 x daily. My gastroenterologist has no idea why I have this & has no intention of getting to the root cause. I live in Australia & don’t know what tests or who will do these tests. Please help !!!!!

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