Since colitis is a common and frustrating disease, it’s no surprise that Traditional Chinese Medicine has developed techniques to handle it. The cause of this inflammatory bowel disease is not fully known, but there are established Chinese healing secrets to help you deal with it.
Similar to Crohn’s disease, colitis inflames the lining of the colon or rectum with tiny open sores. One theory indicates that genetics may increase the risk of developing colitis.
Once you have it, colitis can last a lifetime, and it also increases the risk of colon cancer. It causes aggravating symptoms that will vary from person to person. They include abdominal pain, cramps, bloody diarrhea, disrupted sleep, fatigue, weight loss, and decreased appetite.
Colitis can also affect other parts of the body, causing inflammation in the eyes, skin, liver, joints, and back. This adds weight to the Chinese belief that disease is the result of the body not being in harmony.
Here is the beginning of a list of Traditional Chinese Medicine’s methods to fight colitis:
- Shen Ling Bai Zhu San: There are 10 natural substances in this formula. The common ones include licorice, citrus, astragalus, and sometimes ginger. This mixture can change depending on what the cause of the colitis is—a hyperactive liver, a deficient spleen, an overwhelming dampness. In a 15-day study, one dose of shen ling bai zhu san was taken each day. In 38 people with colitis, 28 reported complete relief from their symptoms, while eight saw at least some improvement. Two showed no response.
- Acupuncture: In one study, researchers used an herbal remedy along with acupuncture. An entire course of treatment consisted of nine sessions in which needles remained in the acupoints for 30 minutes at a time. Patients went through three courses, with the herbal remedies consisting of wild ginger, dandelion, white peony root, and others. After a month, 28 of 33 people showed complete relief from symptoms.
- Ginger: Ginger is reputed to help relieve abdominal pain and soothe the digestive tract. By stimulating digestive enzymes, it aids in moving food through the body. Ginger also helps relieve diarrhea, and it also has known anti-inflammatory qualities. Try to find wild ginger, since it is an ingredient in most Chinese remedies for colitis.
- Banana: This fruit has a cooling nature and has several functions in your digestive tract: it can lubricate the intestines, treat constipation, and help relieve ulcers. For colitis, the Chinese recommend eating partially ripe bananas (so there will still be green on the skin), as these have astringent properties.
Note: This is the first of a two-part series.
Sources for Today’s Articles:
Chinese Medicine’s Natural Ways to Ease Colitis
Zhao, D. X., et al., “Treating 38 cases of chronic non-specific ulcerative colitis with modified Shen Ling Bai Zhu San. Henan,” Journal of TCM Pharmacy, 1999; 14(5): 37.
Bai Ling, Zhong, et al., “Treating nonspecific ulcerative colitis with combination of acupuncture and herbs,” China Journal of Acupuncture, 1998; 18(5): 312.