Chronic Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Name Not Given
Posted on: July 22, 1998

I am looking for new ideas on how to treat chronic inflammatory bowel disease.

The most common inflammatory bowel diseases are Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease. A suggested remedy for Ulcerative Colitis follows. In Crohn’s the same treatment is used, but it is likely to take six months to heal.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is usually associated with stress and depression, and this must be treated first, possibly with St. John’s Wort or Ginseng. For Irritable Bowel, a healing tea can be made with Agrimony to astringe the bowel tissues, Meadowsweet and Chamomile as calming digestives. Hops can be used for bowel pain if depression is not involved. Peppermint can be used for spasmodic bowel pain and as a digestive stimulant. Coffee is an irritant, and must be avoided. It can be replaced with Dandelion coffee. Slippery elm powder, mashed in a babana, will soothe irritated bowel tissue.

The following suggestions for healing Ulcerative Colitis are used with success in herbal clinics, but as far as I know, there is no scientific data on the results. It is important that any changes that you make to your current therapy are approved and monitored by your health care specialist. Sudden changes, as in decreasing any of your medications, can lead to adverse effects possibly requiring hospitalization. Steroids depress the activity of the immune system. If you are thinking of reducing steroid treatment, a health care specialist must advise on a schedule to wean off them very slowly. Any use of herbal medicines and fasting must be monitored by health care specialist. The usual healing time for Ulcerative Colitis, using this method, is three months.

In Ulcerative Colitis, the mucous lining of the intestine is damaged. The treatment includes herbs for healing the intestine, a bland diet that will not aggravate the intestine and a fast that will speed the healing by giving the intestine a complete rest. References for this approach are found in "Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine" by Thomas Bartram (Grace Publishers, Mulberry Court, Stour Road, Christchurch, Dorset, BH23 1PS, England). The "Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine" by Michael Murray and Joseph Pizzorno (Prima Publishing, 1991) suggests a similar dietary approach.

The diet: Avoid coffee, spices, which lead to an increase in peristaltic movement, high fiber foods, dairy and wheat products and fresh fruit and vegetables which can cause further intestinal aggravation and bleeding. The best diet is mushy rice and boiled root vegetables such as carrots. (Note that this diet is not forever, but only until the intestinal condition is relieved!)

The medicines: 3 times a day

* Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) and Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) to relieve stress and calm the intestine.

* Slippery Elm (Ulmus fulva), Marshmallow root (Althea officinalis radix) and Psyllium seeds(Plantago psyllium) to provide a protective and soothing mucilage cover to the intestines.

* Calendula to heal ulceration

* Beet juice as a nutritive and to assist the processing of food and remedies by the liver

* Echinacea as an immune protector, to be used especially if reducing steroid medication.

The fasting schedule:

* Day 1: take all medicines and drink water

* Days 2 and 3: take all medicines and drink water. Additionally, in the morning and evening, take one clove of garlic, peeled, crushed and pureed, washed down with 2 or 3 glasses of water and 2 or 3 Slippery Elm tablets. This will go straight to the small intestine, where the garlic will exert its antibiotic, healing powers.

* Day 4: Return to the mushy diet. If the bleeding and diarrhea have stopped, you may try a little fruit and white bread with the crust removed. If bleeding or diarrhea continue, then return to the bland diet.

The 3 day fasting cycle should be repeated 4 or 5 times, until the bleeding has stopped and the stools are soft.

Continuation after this treatment: It is important that a good nutritional diet is followed, and monitored for possible allergens which may provoke Ulcerative Colitis. The usual allergens are wheat and milk products.

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