Mouth ulcers are painful ,round, oval sores, usually white, red, yellow or grey in colour and are inflammed (red and swollen) around the edge. Oral Ayurvedic medicines and local application of coconut oil or ghee is an excellent remedy for mouth ulcer.
Types of mouth ulcers:
Minor ulcers – 2-8 mm in diameter usually clear up in 10 days to 14 days
Major ulcers – These are bigger and deeper, often with a raised or irregular border. They can take several weeks to heal and may leave a scar in the mouth
Herpetiform (Herpes) ulcers: This type of ulcer is a cluster of dozens of smaller sores the size of pinheads.
Causes for mouth ulcers:
Excess intake of Pitta aggravating foods and spices – such as black pepper, Long pepper, ginger, chilli, etc.
Tissue injury caused by external injury or by dental appliance, ill fitting braces etc.
Citrus or acidic fruits and vegetables – lemons, pineapples, figs, tomatoes
Low immune system, exposing the oral mucosa to bacterial and viral infections.
Deficiency of Vitamin B 12, Zinc, Folic acid and Iron.
Diseases such as Crohn’s disease, Gastritis, Ulcerative colitis etc.
Sores on the lips, tongue, soft palate.
When the symptoms are severe, fever, debility and swollen lymph nodes are observed.
Oral thrush is caused by candida fungus in mouth. They are caused due to lowered immunity, as seen in diabetes, HIV infection, excess use of antibiotics, cortico-steroids etc.
In Ayurveda, oral ulcers are explained as Mukhapaka.
Mukha refers to mouth and paka means maturation, suppuration or ulceration.
Mouth Ulcers as per Ayurveda
In Ayurvedic literatures detailed descriptions are available regarding its causation and treatment measures, both internal and external.
Here is a brief review of oral thrush.
Causative factors for mouth ulcers:
1) Excess intake of dry (ruksha), light (laghu), rough (khara), penetrative (spicy or teekshna) food and beverages
2) Improper sleep or disturbed sleep
3) Food and beverages which vitiate vata and pitta dosha
4) Excess intake of fried foods
5) Insufficient intake of liquids or water or fasting
6) Excess of talk
7) Improper brushing
8) Oral unhygienic conditions
9) Stress and Strain etc
Origin of mouth ulcers:
Due to the above said causative factors, Pitta gets aggravated in stomach and oral cavity, leading to ulcers.
Features of Mouth ulcers:
1) Pain, tingling sensation
2) Ulcers over the tongue
3) Burning and painful ulcers in the lips
4) Cracking in the angles of the mouth
5) Burning while masticating the food
7) Watering of the mouth
8) Dissatisfaction even after taking water or liquids
11) Difficulty in swallowing the food etc
Line of treatment
In the severity of mouth ulcers and in its chronic condition Shodhana (purificatory therapy) is recommended. In recently originated and mild mouth ulcers, local applications and coolants (Sheetala dravya prayoga) are suggested.
Mouth gargling (gandusha) and oral medicaments (kavala) yield considerable results in mouth ulcer.
In case of reduced immunity, leading to mouth ulcers or oral thrush, Ayurvedic rejuvenation (anti ageing) treatment is administered with medicines like Chyawanprash, Giloy, Brahma Rasayana, Amalaki Rasayana etc.
In case of candida infection leading to mouth ulcers, anti fungal, anti microbial herbs are commonly used for the treatment. Medicines like Panchanimbadi Gulika, Nimbadi Kashayam tablet, etc are useful.
Ayurvedic home remedies
Simple and effective home remedies useful in mouth ulcers:
- Apply ghee or coconut oil over the mouth ulcers. This gives instant soothing effect and healing process gets initiated very quickly.
- The tender leaves or fruit buds of guava are taken and chewed; this helps to reduce the pain and it accelerates the process of healing of mouth ulcers.
- Bottle gourd is boiled, cut into pieces, mixed with cucumber pieces and curd and a little salt is added. This is called Raita. This is served along with Chapathi, Roti etc. for healing mouth ulcers.
- Taking paneer or cold milk is useful.
- Gulkand – prepared with rose petals, is advised 1-2 teaspoons once or two times a day before food. This heals the ulcers quickly and relieves burning sensation. Gulkand is often prescribed with Praval Pisti for the treatment of oral thrush.
- Equal quantity of Tankana bhasma (dehydrated borax) and honey are taken and mixed well. This is applied to the lesions of mouth ulcers. 2-3 days medication cures the mouth ulcers.
- Badara (Zizupus zuzuba) is made into decoction. This is added with 1-2 drops of Castor oil. If it is used for gargling, intensity of mouth ulcer is reduced.
- Spinach (Upodika – Basella rubra) is chewed repeatedly.
Pitta balancing measures:
People with Pitta body type are more prone for mouth ulcers. They are advised to follow below advice –
Use an umbrella while going outside.
Do not skip food. Do not do fasting.
Avoid excess spicy food.
Have light sweet food frequently.
Include ghee, raisins, cucumber, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, almond, dates in diet.
For burning of eyes – dip a cotton swab in rose water and apply it to closed eyes. – for five minutes.
Take coriander seed powder – 1 teaspoon. add it to one cup of water, leave it as it is at night, next day morning, drink it on empty stomach.
Soak 5 raisins and 5 almonds in water at night, next day morning, eat them.
Have tender coconut water / sugarcane juice – twice / thrice a week.
Home made creams to apply on mouth ulcers:
Chew a piece of dry coconut slowly. It soothes the wounds, quickens healing and reduces pain.
Apply coconut oil over the ulcers.
Apply ghee over the ulcers.
You can mix a pinch of turmeric to coconut oil or ghee, before applying, for quick healing.
Chew a couple of leaves of Basella alba (Malabar spinach – Basale soppu) once a day.
Chew a couple of leaves of Coffee senna (Cassia occidentalis – Elemuri soppu), once or twice a day.
Have foods rich in zinc – sea food, cooked oyster, beef, lamb, toasted wheat germ, pumpkin seed, squash seed, cashew nuts, cocoa, chocolate, pork, chicken, beans, mushrooms.
red meat, poultry, beans, nuts, seafood, whole grains, fortified cereals, and dairy products
Have foods rich in Vitamin B 12 –
Veg source – Cheese, raw eggs, whey powder, milk, yogurt, whole cow milk
variety meats and by-products, liver, Egg (raw, whole chicken’s egg), Whole cow’s milk, chicken .
Ayurvedic medicines for mouth ulcers:
Oral rinse / chewing:
1) Khadiradi vati – Patient is asked to chew this tablet and swallow the saliva slowly. An adult patient can chew up to 6 – 8 tablets per day.
2) Yastimadhu (chewing) – coarse powder of Licorice is chewed slowly.
3) Arimedadi taila (gargling)
4) Triphala kashaya (gargling) – Learn how to prepare Triphala Kashaya
5) Panchavalkala kashaya (gargling)
6) Eladi vati (chewing) etc
Oral Ayurvedic medicines for Mouth ulcers:
6) Lavangadi vati
7) Kamadugha(mouktika yukta)
8) Pravala bhasma
9) Pravala panchamruta etc
Single herbs useful in mouth ulcers:
(click on each herb name to know more about it)
1) Khadira-Acacia catechu – purifies the blood and heals due to astringent nature.
2) Badara- Ber fruit – helps to restructure the discontinued tissues of the ulcerated area.
3) Amalaki-Amla-Indian Gooseberry-rejuvinative, coolant and supplements micro nutrients.
4) Draksha-Raisins-Vitis vinifera- coolant,laxative and rejuvinative.
5) Hareetaki – Chebulic myrobalan– restorative, laxative and heals the wound due to astringent principles.
6) Chandana -Sandal wood– soothers the tissues.
7) Usheera -Vittivera zizinoides – coolant and soothes the area.
8) Parpataka – Pumaria parviflora – purifies the blood and calms down the vitiated pitta.
10) Raktika – Ixora grandiflora – coolant, soother and rejuvinative.
11) Musta – Cyperus rotundus – digestive and carminative and corrects the patho-physiology from its base level itself.
12) Peruka – Guava – Psidium guava etc-astringent and coolant nature helps to reduce the ulcerated lesions.