6 Causes of Mouth Ulcers and Their Natural Ayurvedic Treatments

( - Although mouth ulcers are common, most people disregard the underlying cause and opt for symptomatic relief. We have a choice when it comes to treatment. We can either ignore the sores until they disappear in a couple of weeks time, or tackle the problem with the aim of resolving the underlying cause. This write-up explores all the reasons for ulceration and suggests suitable diet and Ayurvedic remedies to keep one ulcer-free.

Common reasons for mouth ulcers are as follows:

  1. Impaired immune system
  2. Using certain painkillers
  3. Vitamin B12 deficiency
  4. Zinc deficiency
  5. Folic acid deficiency
  6. Iron deficiency
  7. Gastrointestinal tract disease
  8. Quitting smoking
  9. Using birth control pills
  10. Using certain beta-blockers

The first six reasons for mouth ulcers will be examined in this article. As far as the last three causes of ulceration go, there are not too many remedies either in Ayurveda or in alternative medicine; hence they will just be touched upon.

6 Reasons for Mouth Ulcers

Herbal remedies and diet modification can treat the underlying cause of mouth ulcers and keep one ulcer-free for an extended period of time. Here’s a more in-depth explanation on the first six causes of mouth ulcers:

1. Weakened Immune System

Mouth ulcers can be the result of weakened immunity because of diseases like AIDS or lupus. Chyawanprash is an Ayurvedic medicine that gives a boost to immunity. It is a nutritive jam that strengthens all the organ systems of the human body. It is made from clarified butter and the following herbs:

Indian gooseberry, Indian bay leaf, Premna integrifolia, Ceylon ironwood, Indian long pepper, Indian kino tree, zebrawood, Indian thorny bamboo, nutgrass, liquorice, Indian kudzu, Indian bael, sesame seed oil, spreading hogweed, common turmeric, chebulic myrobalan, rose flower fragrant, midnight horror, English beechwood, Uraria picta, poison berry, sal leaved desmodium, yellow berried nightshade, country mallow, blue wiss, true cardamom, wild gram, gale of the wind, Leptadenia reticulata, heart-leaved moonseed, elicampane, blue water lily, adusa or Malabar nut, Indian ginseng, common grape vine, clove and Ceylon cinnamon.

In addition to chyawanprash, one can take Ayurvedic pills made from gum acacia, mica, coral, silicon dioxide, and the following herbs to boost immunity:

  • Winter Cherry (root)
  • Red spiderling (root)
  • Heart-leaved moonseed (stem) extract
  • Holy basil (leaf),Centella asiatica (whole plant)
  • False black pepper (fruit)
  • Indian lilac (leaf)
  • Dwarf morning glory (whole plant)
  • Heart-leaved moonseed (stem’s starch)
  • Ginger (rhizome)
  • Long pepper (fruit)
  • Pepper (fruit)
  • Ceylon ironwood (flower)

The medicine eliminates toxins from the body and balances the bio-elements, viz.: vata, pitta and kapha. It promotes liver function and helps to rid the body of excess vata dosha. An excess of vata for an extended period of time can disrupt the balance of pitta and kapha. Hence, balancing vata is a must. When doshas are in harmony we enjoy good health and are ulcer free.

2. Painkillers

Some painkillers can also cause mouth ulcers. It is always better to opt for natural painkillers made from herbs so that there are no side-effects to the pain relief tablets. Ayurvedic painkillers are generally made from incinerated metals, mineral silicate, chemical compounds, mineral pitch, and the following herbs:

Boswellia serrata, Cyperus rotundus, Vitex negundo, Zingiber officinale, Piper longum, Piper rectrofractum, Plumbago zeylanica,Ferula narthexs,Trachyspermum ammi, Brassica campestris, Cuminum cyminum, Carum carvi, Vitex negundo, Holarrhena antidysenterica, Cissmpelos pareira, Embelia ribes, Scindapsis officinalis, Picrorhiza kurroa, Aconitum heterophyllum, Clerodendrum serratum, Acorus calamus, Marsdenia tenacissima,Terminalia chebula,Terminalia bellirica, Phyllantnus emblica,Commiphora wightii, Pluchea lanceolata, Alhagi pseudalhagi, Sida cordifolia, Ricinus Communis, Cedrus deodara, Hedychium spicatum, Acorus calamus, Adhatoda vasica, Piper chaba, Boerhaavia diffusa, Tinospora cordifolia, Argyria speciosa, Anethum sowa, Tribulus terrestris, Withania somnifera, Commiphora mukul,Aconitum heterophyllum, Cassia fistula, Asparagus racemosus, Barleria prionitis, Solanum xanthocarpum, Coriander seed and Solanum indicum.

Incinerated metals, chemical compounds, mineral pitch, and mineral silicate found in the painkillers are: tin, silver, lead, iron, mercuric sulphide, ferric oxide, silicon dioxide, asphaltum and mica.

Not only are the above-mentioned herbs safe, the other ingredients have also been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries and are believed to be good for the body when ingested in small quantities. Thus, we can eliminate the risk of mouth ulcers from painkillers by going for natural alternatives.

3. Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause mouth ulcers. This vitamin is found only in animal products like meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products; thus, vegans and vegetarians are likely to have inadequate B12 levels in their system.

A shortfall of this vitamin can cause a multitude of problems, like muscle weakness, general fatigue, lack of energy, foggy mind, memory loss, mood swings, and lack of motivation. Tingling in toes and fingertips is a classic sign of vitamin B12 deficiency in the body. Depression, dementia, insomnia, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, anemia, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and permanent brain damage can also occur as a result of chronic deficiency. That’s because this vitamin is necessary for making DNA and red blood cells. It is imperative for good brain, heart, and bone health. It helps prevent nerve damage, and is needed to stabilize mood. Hence, it is necessary for you to ensure that your diet helps you meet the daily requirement of the vitamin.

The vitamin B12 daily requirements for different age groups are:

  • Infants in the age group 0 to 6 months need 0.4 micrograms
  • Babies in the age group 6 to 12 months need 0.5 micrograms
  • Children in the age group 1 to 3 years old need 0.9 micrograms
  • Boys and girls in the age group 4 to 8 years old need 1.2 micrograms
  • Boys and girls in the age group 9 to 13 years need 1.8 micrograms
  • Males and females in the age group 14 to 50 need 2.4 micrograms
  • After 50 years old, both males and females need 2.4 micrograms

Past the age of 50, both men and women should consume food that has been fortified with vitamin B12 since the body does not readily absorb enough B12 from food items.

Pregnant women need 2.6 micrograms of the vitamin. Lactating women, on the other hand, need 2.8 micrograms.

Vegetarianism has been lauded since a vegan or vegetarian diet reduces the risk of degenerative diseases, like coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and cancer; however, the diet fails to provide adequate levels of vitamin B12.

Octo lacto-vegetarians get their daily dose of the vitamin from yogurt, cottage cheese, Swiss cheese, milk, eggs, and ice cream. Vegans have to rely entirely on fortified whole grains and cereals to meet their daily requirement of the vitamin. Although many websites state that vitamin B12 can be obtained from plant sources like papaya and drumstick, they are wrong. Vegans and vegetarians are required to take vitamin B12 supplements to compensate for the lack of this nutrient in their diet.

Since, in addition to mouth ulcers, a deficiency of vitamin B12 causes a plethora of problems, one must consume enough of the nutrient to ensure overall well-being and good health.

4. Zinc Deficiency

Zinc deficiency can cause mouth ulcers. In fact, people who repeatedly get mouth sores for no reasons are given zinc tablets by allopathic physicians. Not only is this mineral necessary for preventing mouth ulcers, it also plays a vital role in helping the body break down carbohydrates. Your metabolism requires zinc for cell division, cell growth, and repair. Lack of this chemical element affects the way your senses perceive taste and smell. This element is found in certain herbs, spices, legumes, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. Thus, including these in your diet can help you overcome the shortage of the mineral in your system.

The daily requirements of zinc for men, women, and children are as follows:

  • Boy and girl babies need 2 milligrams from the time of birth until the age of 6 months
  • Between the ages of 7 and 12 months, zinc requirement for babies is 3 mg per day
  • Between the ages of 1 and 3 years, the amount of zinc needed is 3 milligrams
  • Boys and girls need 5 milligrams of zinc between the ages of 4 and 8 years
  • Boys and girls in the age group 9 to 13 years need 8 milligrams
  • Girls in the age group 14 to 18 years need 11 milligrams, while boys need 9 milligrams
  • Pregnant and lactating girls need 12 milligrams and 13 milligrams, respectively
  • After the age of 19, females need 11 milligrams, pregnant or otherwise, and 12 milligrams while lactating
  • Males 19 years and over need 8 milligrams

You can include the following herbs and food items in your diet to increase your zinc intake:

  • Alfalfa (Medicago sativa)
  • Cayenne (Capsicum annuum)
  • Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)
  • Chickweed (Stellaria media)
  • Dandelion (Taraxacum)
  • Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
  • Milk thistle (Silybum marianum)
  • Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)
  • Sage (Salvia Officinalis)

You can also try these zinc-rich legumes and food items made from legumes: Chickpeas, lentils, green peas, endamame bean, black beans, pinto beans, tempeh, peanut butter, and soybeans fermented with salt, and the fungus Aspergillus oryzae.

These foods are also rich in zinc:

  • Vegetables: Mushrooms, spinach, broccoli and kale
  • Grains: Wheat, rice, oatmeal, amaranth, quinoa, rye and corn
  • Nuts and seeds: Pumpkin seeds, cashews, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and almonds

Nutritional yeast also contains zinc. Since it has a strong nutty and cheesy flavor, it is often used by vegans as a substitute for cheese.

Phytate or phytic acid is found in plant-based food items. This acid has the tendency of binding with zinc (chemical element) found in the digestive system and preventing the absorption of the mineral. Legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains are high in the chemical element and also rich in phytic acid. Since vegans and vegetarians meet their zinc requirement by consuming the aforementioned food items, they face the problem of reduced zinc absorption due to the binding action of phytic acid. Thus, their zinc requirement is 50 percent higher than people who consume non-vegetarian food.

One of the ways you can reduce the phytic acid content of grains, legumes, and seeds is by soaking and sprouting them. Bread that is made from whole wheat is low in phytic acid since bread is proven before baking, and science has shown that grains that rise reduce phytate.

Although zinc is absorbed at a higher rate from white bread as compared to whole wheat bread, the amount of zinc contained in the latter is high enough to make up for the slow absorption. Soy milk is not very rich in zinc, so it is not a great milk substitute for vegans. Hence, vegans should use a lot of nutritional yeast in their diet.

Ayurveda states that zinc boosts ojas, which is believed to be the nectar of life and the finest product of digestion. Ojas basically refers to physical strength and good health. If we want perfect health, we have to eliminate ama, which is the waste product of digestion, and focus on becoming robust.

Only food that can be completely digested can bring forth vigor and vitality. Non-vegetarian food and processed and canned food produce ama and make one feel unwell. Ojas ensures good digestion, energy and enthusiasm. It also improves concentration and bestows glowing skin that reflects good health. It also increases your ability to concentrate and also increases manifold. Since only vegetarian food can create ojas, you have to ensure that you get your zinc requirement from plant-based food.

5. Folic Acid or Folate Deficiency

A deficiency of folic acid, folate, or vitamin B9 causes mouth ulcers. The vitamin can be directly applied to the gums for treating ulcers or infections. The nutrient is also necessary for the proper development of the human body. It is needed for producing deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), and for other functions, like creation and repair of red blood cells. In fact B9 deficiency makes one anemic.

Pregnant women are prescribed this nutrient because it reduces the incidence of fetal deformities. It is useful in preventing heart attack, Alzheimer’s disease, colon and cervical cancer, age-related hearing loss, eye disease, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), osteoporosis, restless leg syndrome, sleep problems, depression, nerve pain, muscle pain, AIDS, vitiligo, and Fragile-X syndrome. It reduces the harmful side effects of certain medications, and is useful in slowing down the aging process.

Although most people think that folate and folic acid are one and the same, there is a subtle difference between the two nutrients. Folate is the natural form of vitamin B9 that is found in plant and animal food. Folic acid, on the other hand, is the synthetic form of the vitamin. Nowadays, food items are fortified with folic acid. From the metabolic perspective, folate is better utilized by the body as compared to folic acid because the body has an inbuilt excretory mechanism for getting rid of excess folate.

The following is the daily requirement of folate for people of all ages:

  • Infants in the age group 0 to 6 months need 65 micrograms
  • Babies in the age group 7 to 12 months need 80 micrograms
  • Children between the ages of 1 and 3 years need 150 micrograms
  • Children between the ages of 4 and 8 years need 200 micrograms
  • Children in the age group of 9 to 13 years need 300 micrograms
  • Boys and girls in the age group 14 and up need 400 micrograms
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding girls in the same age group need 600 and 500 micrograms, respectively

The following is the list of food items that are rich in folate (unit of measurement is 1 cup)

  • Spinach – 263 micrograms of folate
  • Collard greens – 177 micrograms of folate
  • Turnip greens – 170 micrograms of folate
  • Mustard greens – 103 micrograms of folate
  • Romaine lettuce – 76 micrograms of folate
  • Cooked asparagus – 262 micrograms of folate
  • Cooked broccoli – 168 micrograms of folate
  • Lentils – 358 micrograms of folate
  • Pinto beans – 294 micrograms of folate
  • Garbanzo beans – 282 micrograms of folate
  • Black beans – 256 micrograms of folate
  • Navy beans – 254 micrograms of folate
  • Kidney beans – 229 micrograms of folate
  • Lima beans – 156 micrograms of folate
  • Split peas – 127 micrograms of folate
  • Green peas – 101 micrograms of folate
  • Green beans – 42 micrograms of folate
  • Strawberries – 25 micrograms of folate
  • Raspberries – 14 micrograms of folate
  • Cooked okra – 37 micrograms of folate
  • Boiled Brussels sprout – 94 micrograms of folate
  • Boiled beets – 136 micrograms of folate
  • Almonds – 46 microgramsof folate
  • Raw celery – 34 micrograms of folate
  • Carrots – 20 micrograms of folate
  • Winter squash – 57 micrograms of folate
  • Summer squash – 36 micrograms of folate
  • Cooked corn – 76 micrograms of folate
  • Cooked cauliflower – 55 micrograms of folate
  • Avocado – 90 micrograms of folate

In addition to the above-mentioned food items, papaya, oranges, grapefruit, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, and peanuts also contain folate:

  • One papaya – 115 micrograms of folate
  • One orange – 40 micrograms of folate
  • One grapefruit – 30 micrograms of folate
  • Flax seeds – 54 micrograms of folate
  • Sunflower seeds – ¼ cup – 82 micrograms of folate
  • Peanuts – ¼ cup – 88 micrograms of folate

There is no need for vegans or vegetarians to take any medication for folate deficiency since many plant-based food items are folate-rich and a deficiency can be set right by eating the right food stuff.

6. Iron Deficiency

We all know that a deficiency of iron causes anemia, which is a condition marked by the lack of red blood cells or hemoglobin. For that matter, a deficiency of folate or vitamin B12 can also cause anemia. Red blood cells store and carry oxygen; thus, if we don’t have sufficient red blood corpuscles, our organs and tissues will not get enough oxygen. Even though we all know the importance of iron in preventing anemia, most of us don’t know that a shortage of iron in the blood can cause mouth ulcers.

The daily requirements of iron for men, women, and children are as follows:

  • From birth to 6 months, both boy and girl babies need 0.27 milligrams of iron
  • From the age of 7 to 12 months babies need 11 milligrams
  • Between the ages of 1 and 3 years children need 7 milligrams
  • Between the ages of 4 and 10 children need 10 milligrams
  • Between the ages of 9 and 13 both boys and girls need 8 milligrams
  • Boys between the ages of 14 and 18 need 11 milligrams, while girls in the same age group need 15 milligrams
  • Men in the age group 19 to 50 need 8 milligrams, while women need 18 milligrams
  • Beyond the age of 50 years, the daily iron requirement of iron for both men and women is 8 milligrams
  • Pregnant girls between the ages of 14 and 18 years need 27 milligrams. While lactating, they need 10 milligrams
  • Pregnant women between the ages 19 and 50 need 27 milligrams. If they are lactating they need 9 milligrams

A deficiency of iron can be set right by consuming dark-green leafy vegetables, such as watercress and curly kale. Yellow dock root is a natural iron supplement that works very well for anemia. Brown rice, pulses, beans, nuts, seeds, tofu, and dried fruits, such as apricots, prunes and raisins should be had in plenty.

Iron-fortified cereals and bread can also take care of this deficiency. In addition to eating an iron-rich diet, one can take Ayurvedic pills and tonics that have been used for centuries to tackle the shortfall of iron in the blood.

The Ayurvedicmedicines are as follows:

Navayasa Lauha Churna

This medication in powder form purifies blood, improves circulation, and bridges the shortfall of iron. It contains herbs and iron that have been processed with herbal juices and calcinated under high temperature to make iron ash. The herbs are as follows:

Zingiber officinale, Piper nigrum, Piper longum, Terminalia chebula, Terminalia bellirica, Phyllanthus emblica or Emblica officinalis, Cyperus rotundus, Embelia ribes, and Plumbago zeylanica.

Tapayadi Lauha

The medication in tablet form contains processed, purified, and calcinated silver and iron (20 grams of each); processed and purified copper pyrite and 10 grams of each of the following herbs:

  • Piper longum (root)
  • Cedrus deodara
  • Berberis aristata
  • Cinnamomum zeylanicu
  • Piper chaba

It also contains 320 grams of sugar and 5 grams of each of the following herbs:

  • Terminalia chebula
  • Terminalia bellirica
  • Emblica officinalis
  • Zingiber officinale
  • Piper nigrum
  • Piper longum
  • Embelia ribes
  • Plumbago zeylanica

It can be used as an iron supplement and is often used to treat anemia.

Dhatri lauha

The medicine in tablet form contains purified, processed, and calcinated iron. It can be used to treat iron deficiency. It also contains the following herbs:

  • Emblica officinalis
  • Zingiber officinale
  • Piper nigrum
  • Piper longum
  • Curcuma longa

Punaranavadi Mandur

This medicine is used to balance the doshas and can be used as a source of iron since it contains purified, processed, and calcinated iron oxide. It also consists of the following herbs:

  • Boerhaavia diffusa
  • Zingiber officinale
  • Piper longum
  • Piper nigrum
  • Emblica officinalis
  • Terminalia chebula
  • Piper chaba
  • Curcuma longa
  • Embelia ribes
  • Plumbago zeylanica

All the aforementioned medicines can be used in combination with an iron-enriched diet to treat the deficiency of the nutrient, thereby keeping one ulcer free.

Keep the Smile Going

Simple steps can go a long way in ensuring that one does not have to put up with irritants like mouth ulcers. Women are more prone to such ulcers as compared to men since they experience changes in their hormone levels on a monthly basis. Mouth sores just before periods are quite common among women of child-bearing age.

Some men too suffer from recurrent mouth ulcers and find it hard to consider the ailment minor because a simple task, like eating, becomes increasingly painful due to infection. The remedies given in this write-up will be of great use to the suffers of recurrent aphthous stomatitis, which is the medical term for repeated mouth ulcers. Diet modification and Ayurvedic medicines can give them respite and help them keep the smile going!


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