A practical guide for nutritional and traditional health care.
The inflammation of the lower bowels or the colon is commonly known as colitis. The most serious and sadly the most common form of colitis is ulcerative colitis, though there are a number of other forms of the disease. Ulceration is the result of the inflammation in the colon, which leads to the formation of small ulcers in the mucous membranes of the intestine. The inflammation somehow subsides in most cases, after a brief period of flaring up or increasing. The typical physiological symptoms pertaining to colitis typically include the presence of persistent and cramping pains and the onset of diarrhea, which contains both blood and mucus in the excreta. The production of hard stools alternates with the onset of diarrhea, a prolonged and persistent constipation is sometimes felt which results in the hardening of the stool. Other concomitant symptoms during the phase of the inflammation are fever and physical fatigue. Deficiencies in nutritional components develop in the body, as essential substances are depleted, during an episode of colitis, this is due to the fact that an inflamed colon does not properly perform its water absorbing function, along with its task of the uptake of minerals ions. Other related physical problems faced during colitis are the onset of nausea and a dislike for food or poor appetite these are very unhelpful and complicate recovery. Other problems such as anemia may come on because of the presence of internal bleeding. Emotional stress in an individual often plays a great part in the onset of ulcerative colitis and this is one of the reasons, colitis may not affect different people differently. The risk for colon cancer increases in prolonged and persistent cases of intestinal inflammation as cells are constantly being irritated internally. Other more benign problems such as inflammatory bowel problems, including irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn's disease are sometimes mistaken or confused with ulcerative colitis. This is because of the fact, that some of the symptoms such as diarrhea, caused by the inflammation may be a result of other factors, such as bacterial infection, which might lead to things like dysentery. A proper diagnosis that can rule out all other possible causes of internal distress is therefore of the foremost priority.
An autoimmune reaction is ascribed to be the cause of ulcerative colitis, and hence it is even thought of as an autoimmune illness, diets low in fiber and high in sugar, and general incomplete diets, which are rich in a lot of other refined carbohydrates, like white flour, rice and pastas, are known to be linked to its onset, since these foods have largely been striped of essential fibers and nutrients. Some researchers suggest that allergic reactions could be responsible for some types of inflammatory bowel disease, therefore according to these researchers an allergy or hyper sensitivity of some sort could be the cause of ulcerative colitis, the colitis merely being seen as an allergic reaction from the colon caused possibly by some types of food. Some patients with ulcerative colitis have been shown to be sensitive to substances such as salicylate - the active ingredient in Aspirin (TM). Cow's milk and certain groups of food may also be responsible for generating, certain antibodies in the circulatory system. With regards to this, it is some very common food items such as milk, wheat and foods containing yeast that have been shown to be bringing on ulcerative colitis.
Persistent stress and internal emotional conflicts, though psychological in origin can over stimulate the sympathetic nervous system and have been linked as contributory factors to ulcerative colitis. Psychological triggers such as anxiety, restlessness and insecurity and a fast paced lifestyle can influence the sympathetic nervous system, bringing on spasms in the intestinal tissue. Beneficial bacteria in the intestines can be depleted through the use of antibiotics, which kill indiscriminately, thus increasing the chances of colitis. There is also a definite contribution in this regard as many common over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs can accelerate the usage of certain nutrients within the body effectively adding to the overall decrease in the levels of essential substances.
Supplements and herbs
Supplements given and prescribed in the treatment of chronic colitis, will be most effective if it is useful in alleviating the damage and reconstructing the affected mucous membranes due to colitis, with an added usefulness if it is able to supply some of the nutrient imbalances created by the illness. The best supplements are the ones that are easily absorbed.
To keep the flora in the bowels at a good balance, the supplement combination of Lactobacillus acidophilus strains should be utilized; this is so because colitis severely affects the population and distribution of beneficial bacteria. In tissue reconstruction and in rebuilding the cellular framework, many essential fatty acids are pertinent and they are also a good source of energy in this reconstruction. Their role as anti-inflammatory is particularly useful, since they are the precursors for the body's own prostaglandins, the body has no problem assimilating them into itself. Many herbs and extracts of herbs and other natural supplements such as the oil of evening primrose, fish oils, and herbal preparations such as cold-pressed flax seed oil abound in essential fatty acid content. There are other supplements that are equally helpful and are mineral based options such as medicinal clay treatment help recovery when ingested by lining the walls of the colon and protecting it from irritation by toxins and abrasive matter, this treatment is particularly useful in combating inflamed intestines and should be followed for at least a week. Clay water can be used as the dilution medium for any drug you are taking and can be safely ingested. The clay promotes healing because it helps in the absorption of toxic waste present in the intestines, and thus cleanses the bowels. People with intestinal problems might sometimes have a little trouble in assimilating and absorbing beta-carotene and vitamin E, which help in mucous membrane recovery. Supplements such as vitamin E should be used and persisted with even after complete recovery in order to minimize the chances of scarring internally. Deficiencies almost always exist in the case of the the B vitamins; therefore supplementation with folic acid can greatly reduce the chances of diarrhea occurring in such cases. To allay the onset of muscular spasm essential minerals like magnesium are effective. Signs such as cramps and weakness in the muscle are the first inkling of a lack of this mineral. The ideal multivitamin supplement should have a complete supply of all relevant vitamins and the essential minerals needed to bolster the bodies healing process. The regeneration of damaged cells in the colon can be greatly aided by substances such as glutamine. The digestive process is restored in affected individuals through the utilization of plant-based enzymes such as bromelain (found in pineapple) and papain from papaya.
Herbs as supplements are at their most effective when they help in the nourishment of the mucous membranes, the affected glands, and greatly aid the digestive process, these herbs should also aid in bolstering the nerves and general intestinal health while improving circulation.
The uninterrupted functioning of the colon can be greatly helped by using the juice of the aloe vera , this juice also aids in the healing process of the colon. Dosage should be about 1/2 a cup a day of aloe juice for a period of six months for full effect. For daily use after full recovery 1 tbsp of the juice a day should be enough. Intestinal inflammation can be cured using a cocktail of herbs such as burdock root, sheep sorrel, slippery elm and Turkish rhubarb, this combination of herbs should be taken in dosage levels of about 2 oz, two times in a day for a cure. Inflammation can also be minimized using the herb stinging nettle to reduce inflammation in a couple of weeks, take 2 tbsp of juice with a little water 15 minutes before mealtime, about three times daily depending on the time you eat. Connective tissue is strengthened and taken care of by silica in the intestines, this mineral will also lessen the inflammation. Dosage of silica can consist of about 2-4 capsules in vegetal form twice at mealtime, sourced from the herb called the spring horsetail. Nerves can be soothed and calmed using hops, normally used to flavor beer, this herb also promotes sleep and in cases of nervous origins of colitis aids in the strengthening of the stomach and intestinal tract. Hops can be taken just before mealtime by adding 2-3 tbsp. Of whole hops soaked in 1 cup of cold water, in this form it can be sipped during the day. A combination of herbs can also be utilized in soothing the affected nerves, the combine must be drunk before bedtime, and this mixture can be made by pouring a cup of boiling water over one tbsp. of whole hops, the herbs valerian and lemon balm. Bacterial toxins accumulated in the colon can be effectively removed through enemas using the herb chamomile. Bleeding ulcers can be healed using enemas made from the comfrey herb. These enemas are also good against bacterial infections internally. Intestinal bacteria are effectively dealt with using the herb Echinacea in enemas. To make use of this herbal property, a mixture of enema water and 10-20 drops of Echinacea tincture is enough. Bowel irritation and hard stools can be treated using psyllium seed husks as a supplement. For an effective dose of this substance, about 1 tbsp, of the seed husks can be added to a glass of water or juice. The herb eliminates trapped matter in the bowels by forming a soft, gelatinous bulky substance that joins itself to the collected matter in the bowels and eliminates it in hard, rope-like fecal form. This sometimes causes bleeding, as this waste matter is sometimes so hard that it has become encrusted onto the wall, and will pull off almost like a scab, causing much blood flow. As the herbal treatment continues however, the colon is fully cleared up. To soothe inflammation of the tissue in the colon, 4 capsules of slippery elm a day can be used, this capsules also help in controlling diarrhea. Bleeding will be stopped by the herb goldenseal which is also a natural antibiotic. When the inflammation is particularly severe, and during flare ups, this herb can be taken several times daily for about two days for effective remedy. To reduce the other signs of inflammation, the herb myrrh can also be used. The accumulation of undigested waste collecting in the colon can be prevented by using yucca saponin; these collected matter produce offensive gases as they stay for a long time unless removed and decompose producing, foul emissions. Therefore matter that is undergoing putrefaction in the intestinal tract tends to become ideally suited for all manners of harmful bacteria, many types of parasites, and worms to multiply uncontrollably.
Additional things you may do
Physical treatment methods such as dry brushing and hot body wraps greatly aid in recovery, during the recovery phase the use of methods such as the sauna and exercises like swimming promote circulation and boost the healing process. The condition is also greatly improved by a lot of rest and relaxation and prolonged rest in bed. Aerobic and brisk walking greatly aids in stimulating the bowels, and abdominal exercises that strengthen muscles, should be carried out as they greatly aid in gently and gradually building up strength and in full physical recovery.
Other beneficial herbs
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