Ulcerative Colitis is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease of the colon and small intestine. The inflammation usually begins in the rectal region and spreads upwards to the entire colon. The disease can occur at any age but it is most common among the people between 15-40 years. Bleeding in stool with increased bowel frequency are the cardinal features of this disease. There is loss of water and blood in stools which lead to weakness in the body.
What are the symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis?
- Atipravahana of purisha (repeated defecation)
- Raqttayukt purisha (Blood in stools)
- Udarashoola (abdominal pain)
- Severe internal cramps in the region of pelvis
- Weight loss
- Dark patches under the eyes
Due to repeated relapses, severe morbidity, declining health and diminishing response to conventional drugs make the patient resort to unconventional treatments with a hope to decrease the symptoms of the disease.
Concept of Ulcerative Colitis according to Ayurveda:
According to Ayurvedic concept, agni (digestive fire) is responsible for digestion of food. In Ayurveda, ulcerative colitis is mentioned as a disease of Purishavaha srotas and Raqttatisara is mentioned as an advanced stage of Pittatisara or Pittajgrahani. According to Ayurveda, it is caused due to the imbalance of Pitta dosha with a little Vaata involvement.
Factors that are responsible for aggravation of Pitta dosha are:
- Consumption of hot and spicy food
- Intake of junk food
- Excessive heat exposure
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Skipping meals
Due to the above said factors, there is a vitiation of Raqtta dhaatu (blood tissues) and maansa dhaatu (muscle tissue). This leads to the formation of Aama (endotoxins). This aama gets deposited into the intestines, which impairs their functioning and there is a depletion of ojas in the body. There is also an aggravation of Vaata dosha in the lower colon which leads to the blockage of Pitta and Kapha channels. This causes inflammation and mucous formation.
Some Home Remedies for Ulcerative Colitis are:
- Pomegranate Juice: 50 ml of fresh pomegranate juice should be taken regularly as it is astringent in nature which stops bleeding and hardens the stools as well. Taking pomegranate juice also improves haemoglobin levels in individuals as haemoglobin level drops due to bloody stools.
- Indian Rosewood (Shisham): The leaves of shisham also provide relief in ulcerative colitis as these leaves are strongly astringent.
- Marigold Petals: Take 2 teaspoon fresh juice of crushed marigold petals every day in the morning and evening as these stop the blood loss.
- Banana and curd: Taking banana with fresh curd is also beneficial for ulcerative colitis patients.
- Decoction: Take decoction made of 1 teaspoon each of Cumin seeds (jeera), Foeniculum vulgare (saunf) and Carom seeds (ajwain). Any type of gastritis formed due to ulcerative colitis will be cured by the intake of this decoction.
- Coconut Water: Drinking fresh coconut water regularly also helps in the treatment of ulcerative colitis.
What is the treatment of Ulcerative Colitis?
In western medicine, some drugs like sulfasalazine may give mild relief in symptoms but after some time patients need more doses of the same drug. Some patients get benefit with steroids but they are not suitable because of their side effects. Even after taking compound sulfasalazine and steroids, patients suffer from the disease without getting any relief. So, the patients always seek some alternative therapy that promises more effective and safer outcomes. They prescribe immunosuppressants, steroids and suggest surgery at the end stage because according to modern medicine, there is no cure of ulcerative colitis.
What is the Ayurvedic treatment of Ulcerative Colitis?
There is a successful treatment of ulcerative colitis in Ayurveda. Ayurvedic treatment significantly controls bleeding in stools and bowel frequency is also reduced which are the cardinal features of ulcerative colitis. In addition, Ayurvedic treatment also improves the general condition of the patient.
In Ayurveda, medicines are prescribed which have Pitta-shamak, vranshodhana-ropana, grahi and stambhan properties.
Some Herbs useful in the treatment of Ulcerative Colitis are:
- Kutaj bark (Holarrhena antidysentrica): The bark of kutaj is a wonderful herb in the treatment of ulcerative colitis. It is a nature’s wonderful gift to the mankind because it has the power to stop all sorts of diarrhoea.
- The diarrhoea can be due to inflammatory bowel disease, colitis or diarrhoea related to infection.
- This herb helps in the elimination of toxins and prevents its formation in the body.
- It also stops inflammation and fermentation going on inside the intestines and heals ulcers as well.
- Arjuna (Terminalia arjuna): The bark of arjuna tree is very useful in stopping bleeding associated with ulcerative colitis.
- The arjuna tree bark is very famous in Ayurveda for cardiac disorders.
- It is known for its wound healing properties as well.
This bark works on the inner lining of the intestines as well. Therefore, it helps to heal ulcers, stops bleeding, controls diarrhoea and prevents inflammation.
- Bael (Aegle marmelos): Bael is a wonderful fruit for the treatment of ulcerative colitis. It is indicated in chronic as well as bloody stools.
- It relieves diarrhoea associated with ulcerative colitis without causing constipation.
- Bael is also indicated in healing ulcers in the gastrointestinal tract.
- It has anthelmintic action and also provides relief in abdominal pain.
Diet and Lifestyle:
There is a significant relationship between ulcerative colitis patient’s diet, lifestyle. This disease, when flares up can occur due to wrong diet and lifestyle. There are certain factors that can cause ulcerations in the intestinal lining.
- Have natural foods in the diet.
- Intake of coconut water is recommended.
- Avoid cucumber, peas, melon, mushroom, and cauliflower because these can cause excessive gas formation.
- Avoid artificial foods like cornflakes, cereals, biscuits, bread, and junk food.
- Drinking too much cold water along with warm water should be avoided.
- Limit the intake of high-fiber foods as it helps the intestines to remain stress-free and churn the food properly.
- Avoid milk and milk products. Fresh curd can be taken.
- Intake of alcohol, tea, and coffee is prohibited.
Thus, with proper Ayurvedic treatment along with changes in diet, lifestyle and managing stress can provide relief to the patients suffering from ulcerative colitis.
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