People have always resorted to botanical remedies to alleviate symptoms of common health problems and regain mental and physical well-being. Disorders related to gastric discomfort are no exception: hyperacidity, heartburn, nausea, and sickness affect 70% of the adult population.
Stress, poor diet, alcohol consumption, drug intake, age, and a hectic lifestyle are among the leading causes of digestive disorders, which, if not appropriately treated, can evolve into chronic gastritis or far more serious diseases, such as peptic ulcer and gastric cancer.
Whatever the causes or symptoms, gastritis consists of inflammation of the stomach’s inner wall due to the weakening of its defensive barriers, that is, an imbalance between aggressive and protective factors.
When gastric juices and digestive enzymes prevail over protective factors, the gastric wall experiences progressive injury, which can lead first to mild-to-moderate symptoms and later to ulcers in the stomach and duodenum.
In addition to those, one of the main causes of gastritis is Helicobacter pylori, a common gram-negative bacterium. Based on literature data, Helicobacter pylori infection affects about 50 percent of the world’s population, and is responsible for about 90% of duodenal ulcers and 80% of gastric ulcers, according to ISS (Istituto Superiore di Sanità).
Its action focuses on the gastric mucosa, of which it progressively destroys the protective linings, exposing it to the corrosive action of gastric juice. The bacterium also causes lesions to the structure of the glands, which may evolve into neoplastic transformations. In many cases, the infection is asymptomatic, while in others common symptoms include heartburn and epigastric pain (upper abdomen), especially on an empty stomach.
The first-line treatment for Helicobacter pylori eradication involves the use of antibiotics, in combination with a proton pump inhibitor to reduce gastric acid production, but this therapy may prove ineffective, due to the high bacterial resistance to antibiotics and the side effects caused by them. Therefore, in recent years, research has turned to therapeutic alternatives such as phytotherapy.
Plants used to aid digestion include lemon balm, mint, cinnamon, cumin, sage, and thyme vulgaris; the latter (Thymox®), has been shown to release proximal stomach smooth muscle in a mouse model, suggesting possible use even in functional dyspepsia, i.e., in those gastric disorders in which no organic pathology is found.
Now joining these traditional remedies is Gastalagin®, the new patented EPO extract standardized in castalagin and vescalagin. Gastalagin® is a blend of Castanea sativa Mill. and Cistus x incanus L. with anti-inflammatory activity on the gastric mucosa and specific antibacterial action on Helicobacter pylori.
In vitro studies demonstrated that Gastalagin® inhibits the release of IL-8 in GES-1 cells (normal human gastric epithelial cell line) previously infected by Helicobacter pylori. The effect is mediated by NF-kB, a nuclear transcription factor, that plays a key role in regulating the response to infection. Moreover, Cistus incanus has shown anti-adhesive properties. To learn more, download the dedicated brochure.
Chestnut leaves mainly come from an Italian supply chain and are collected by the Consorzio Castanicoltori of Brinzio, Orino and Castello Cabiaglio, in the frame of an important requalification program of Lombardy chestnut forests, which we presented in this article.
More and more, at EPO, the development of new products comes together with an ongoing commitment to the promotion of ethical and sustainable local supply chains. Our goal is to create a virtuous circle in which health, nature, and territory are intrinsically linked.