Stomach Ulcers and Tea: Caffeine and Herbal Remedies
For those that suffer from stomach ulcers, it is a good idea to avoid tea that contains caffeine because it promotes the secretion of stomach acids. Stomach acid is often the cause of ulcers and can cause make stomach ulcer symptoms worse and delayed healing of existing stomach ulcers.
There are other kinds of tea that do not contain caffeine and do not irritate stomach ulcers. Some of these types of teas are considered to be herbal remedies for all sorts of digestive conditions, including gastritis, stomach ulcers, and other related acid reflux disorders.
The Positive and Negative Effects of Tea on Stomach Ulcers
Since caffeine causes increased production of stomach acids, teas that contain the agent also cause an increase in stomach acids. Additionally, caffeinated teas are often mixed with sugar or lemon to add sweetness and flavor. As a fatty food, sugar can increase stomach acid production and as an acidic food, the same is true for lemons.
There are four components in tea that directly impact stomach acids and therefore, stomach ulcers. These four components are: caffeine, tannin, catechin, and flavonoids.
Caffeine and Tannin in Tea Can Harm Stomach Ulcers
A natural element in tea, tannin, creates varying levels of acidity when entering the stomach. Tannin gets stronger when tea is over-brewed, which means that brewing time is really an important factors to consider in relation to stomach ulcers and tea consumption.
Strong tea that is brewed for a long time tends to taste bitterer. That bitter flavor is tannin. Tannin is also the element that makes red wine taste dry or makes our mouth pucker when we eat sour fruit. It might be one of the reasons that people who suffer from stomach ulcers experience an increase in symptoms after eating some fruits (except citrus), nuts, spices, and even chocolate that contains tannin or tannic acid.
Tannin is a type of polyphenol, a plant-based molecule that helps to bind the nutrients found in tea leaves. While many believe that tea also contains tannic acid, a form of tannin, it actually is void of this direct acid. Instead, tea interacts with the stomach (especially if it contains caffeine) and causes acid production in the organ.
Many herbal teas that contain no caffeine can be beneficial in the treatment (and prevention) of stomach ulcers because they are caffeine free and have low acidity, but still contain beneficial properties.
As long as teas are not over-brewed, even darker teas can be inconsequential to stomach ulcers. The trick is to make the cup of tea as weak as possible, eliminated most of the caffeine and tannins.
Catechins in Tea May Help Stomach Ulcers
Catechins have been known to reduce the amount of acids that come into contact with stomach ulcers and are naturally present in many kinds of tea. (Though there is no evidence that it prevent acid secretion from gastritis.) The antioxidant properties in catechins might help with this.
These compounds may also promoted healing of stomach ulcers by neutralizing some of the components in stomach acid. At least one study found that cathechin in tea helps to protect the stomach lining and prevent stomach ulcers from forming by increasing the amount of mucus in the stomach lining.
Flavonoids in Tea May Help Stomach Ulcers
Flavonoids are well studied in the medical community. Teas that contain flavonoids can help to prevent stomach ulcers by adding to the mucosal lining that protects the soft tissue of the stomach from the extra acids secreted when gastritis forms.
Much like catechins, flavonoids are great antioxidants and protect cells from damage as well. Over a long-term battle with stomach ulcers, teas might help prevent cancer cause by cell mutations in the stomach ulcer area. Flavonoids in tea and other plants may also prevent stomach ulcers from becoming worse and are being considered for incorporation into the main-stream treatment methods for stomach ulcers.
Types of Teas to Avoid with Stomach Ulcers
For regular-brewed tea, there are some types of tea leaves a person with stomach ulcers should avoid.
Orange and black pekoe tea is the most common type of tea containing caffeine. Tea bags from the grocery store made available by Lipton and other brand names contain orange and black pekoe tea leaves.
This is type of tea you will drink if you order tea from a restaurant, drink pre-bottled “sweet tea”, and is the tea used in Brick, Nestle, and other commercially available tea products.
As a general guide:
Black Tea contains 23 – 110 mg of caffeine per cup
Oolong tea contains 12-33 mg of caffeine per cup
Green tea contains 8 – 36 mg of caffeine per cup
White tea contains 6 – 25 mg of caffeine per cup
If you drink these types of tea, try a cool brewing method. Also, most caffeine is leeched from the leaves and into the water within half a minute during brewing. To drastically reduce the amount of caffeine in a cup of tea, simply brew for 30 seconds, toss the tea water, and brew again in fresh water using the same leaves or tea bag.
Types of Teas that are Okay with Stomach Ulcers
Herbal teas that are steeped properly as described above can be beneficial to stomach ulcers. The leaves of many different types of plants contain flavonoids, catechins, and many other natural properties that soothe stomach ulcers and reduce acids in the stomach.
There are too many to list and a person with stomach ulcers must always consider possible interactions with medications that are prescribed to treat stomach ulcers. But in general, the following plants may be brewed into a tea that is beneficial to stomach ulcers.
Bael Leaf Tea
Flax Seed Tea
Black Liquorice Tea
Pomegranate Tea (Be careful with this one since pomegranate is a notable fruit containing tannin. and avoid over-brewing.)
Many home remedy experts taught the general benefits of green tea, too. However, it is important for a person with stomach ulcers to remember that caffeine is an enemy and green tea does contain caffeine.
It also contains antioxidants that are good for a healthy system, but new studies show that in doses that are too high, green tea can have a reverse effect and cause oxidation. Oxidation stress has been linked to ulcer aggravation in some studies.