Dr Hafeel Ambalath, Healer's Clinic Image Credit: Supplied

Mouth ulcers, otherwise known as Aphthous ulcers or canker sore or Ulcerative stomatitis, are superficial and painful and lasts for 7-10 days. Occuring in any part of the mouth, it is also common in women prior to menstruation. The cause is unknown, but in severe cases, other causes of oral ulceration must be considered, such as viral, bacterial and inflammatory bowel diseases. 

Ayurveda understands it as a vitiated heat, which has displaced from the stomach upwards. This is also associated with heat changes in the liver, upper digestive tract and other associated organs in the digestive system. A person who is having a deranged digestion and of a pitta and vata constitution are prone to this condition, if their food and habits are not healthy. Ulcerous changes in any part of the digestive system is treated with seriousness and such a change in the digestive tract, considering its heat predominance, is considered catastrophic if not taken seriously early. The ulcers tend to remain or become difficult to treat when emotional stress, bad foods, smoking and sleeplessness are associated.

Overeating irritant foods, especially fried and spicy ones with too much of masala and those that are difficult to digest are considered culprits. Anything that can vitiate the fire and wind principle in the body are to be strictly avoided. This includes foods high in sugar, acidic, difficult to digest such as red meat, grills, rich in fat; spices such as red chilli, spiced and salty foods, pickles, processed and packaged foods, wines, spirits, carbonated drinks, white flour products, unripe fruits, cold drinks, untimely eating, overeating and eating before the earlier food digests and sleeping late. 

As the first approach, Ayurveda helps by regulating proper digestion. This will include foods or herbs that regulate your bowels and cool your stomach heat. Later a diet, herbs or yoga exercise are advised for a long-term maintenance. Gargling with juice of gooseberry with honey; lime in water with pinch of salt; sour buttermilk; and decoctions of triphala - a triple fruit combination are also used in Ayurveda as per traditionally documented recipes for common mouth ulcers.