The term gastritis generally refers to inflammation of the stomach wall. Symptoms include uncomfortable sensations in the stomach area ranging from vague nausea and feelings of fullness to unpleasant burning and even vomiting. In some cases, gastritis may be the beginning of the road that leads to an ulcer, but it can also be a relatively mild, recurrent condition. In the latter case, the description “irritable” or “nervous” stomach is commonly used.
Note: Symptoms of gastritis overlap with more serious conditions, such as stomach ulcers or esophageal reflux. Physician evaluation is strongly recommended if symptoms are severe, recurrent, or prolonged.
Three studies, two of which were randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials, examined the effectiveness of treating mild gastritis with the homeopathic remedy Nux vomica. Overall, however, the results were not promising.
The first was a double-blind study enrolling a total of 147 participants, who received either Nux vomica D4 or placebo.1 The treatment group did not show a statistically significant improvement in symptoms as compared to the control group.
Two other double-blind studies included a total of 69 patients; one tested Nux vomica at a strength of D4, and the other used a D30 potency.2 In both studies, the patients who were treated with the homeopathic remedy did not demonstrate a statistically significant improvement in symptoms compared to the control group.
These reasonably sized studies of homeopathic Nux vomica suggest that it is indeed probably not effective for treating gastritis.
In classical homeopathy, there are many possible homeopathic treatments for gastritis, to be chosen based on various specific details of the person seeking treatment.
Homeopathic practitioners have traditionally used the remedy described above, Nux vomica, in the treatment of gastritis. Nux is said to be indicated for those who experience heartburn or stomach pain after eating; wake at night with stomach discomfort, including pain or bloating; and often have constipation or diarrhea. Symptoms are worsened by rich or spicy foods, and made better by warmth. Irritability and impatience are also prominent parts of the classic symptom picture of this remedy.
Lycopodium may be traditionally indicated when belching, bloating, and easy fullness are prominent parts of the symptom picture, along with indigestion related to social stress. Pulsatilla is frequently recommended for emotional, clingy people, who have rapidly changing symptoms, including heartburn and bloating, particularly after eating rich foods.
For herbs, supplements, and other alternative treatments that may be useful for gastritis-like symptoms, see the Dyspepsia article.
For a thorough explanation of homeopathy, including dilution of therapies, see the Homeopathy Overview.
1. Ritter H. A double-blind trial of the therapeutic effectiveness of a homeopathic medication and the problems that attend such a trial [translated from German]. Hippokrates. 1966;12:472–476.
2. Mossinger P. Failed effectiveness proofs [translated from German]. Allgem Homoopath Zeit. 1976;221:26–31.
Last reviewed July 2012 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
Last Updated: 7/25/2012