Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Ulcerative Colitis- Natural Alternatives To Healing

Other than a great way to lose weight, there is NOTHING about Ulcerative Colitis (UC) that is fun.

I was diagnosed with UC back in 1990, or so, when I was living in Minnesota. I had just gone through a very stressful period of time, and after several weeks of profuse rectal bleeding I reluctantly made my way to a gastroenterologist. I have never been fond of, nor had any faith in allopathic medicine. In fact, it had been years since I had even taken any vitamin or herbal remedy, let alone an aspirin; but a toilet bowl full of blood and other nasty looking liquids was enough to scare me into seeing a doctor.

I was treated to my first humiliating (and painful) sigmoidoscopy, and was told I had severe Ulcerative Colitis. The doc was actually amazed that I wasn't in more pain, considering the severity, but I knew the healthy, high fiber diet I had been on for years had held me in good stead. I went on western meds, and after a while went into remission. Since then I have had quite a few flare-ups, but long periods of remission. In fact, my last flareup (until a month or so ago) was in 2001.

Although most doctors will tell you it has nothing to do with diet, they are WRONG. Yes, stress is a huge factor but diet plays a major role in UC, at least in mine. Every single flare-up I have had has been a combination of stress and diet. I just can't eat cheese. A little cream cheese isn't problematic, but any kind of hard cheese from swiss to parmesan, from cow to goat, has contributed to a flare-up. I have learned the hard way that dairy is not my friend. Prior to one flare-up I had read that goat's cheese did not have lactose. Not true. I used a little goat cheese to add a little zest to my tasteless soy cheese, and within a short time, there I was bleeding again. Needless to say I stopped using dairy cheese altogether, because I realized that it was a major source of my UC. But, I didn't stop dairy altogether. I used a little parmesan very occasionally, and didn't worry about eating something that had milk in it, like a pudding, once in a while, but that was an enormous mistake. While my sister was visiting at the end of December last year, and then again in Feb, I overindulged in dairy-based desserts and used parmesan cheese too often, and after 8 years in remission, it came back with a vengeance.

Although I have used western meds in the past, for flare-ups, I have had much success, at times, with various herbal protocols, which I am going to share with you here. Although, please note, I am not giving medical advice, just sharing what has helped me in the past.


During one flare-up, I was able to go into remission after a few months of juicing. Juice fresh carrot and spinach, about half and half and drink 3 times daily. Sip slowly. I was not on allopathic meds, at the time. However, I did try this the following flare-up, and it didn't seem to help. But it's worth a try.


During my last flare-up, after 9 months of zero relief from the western medicine I was on (Asacol and Rowasa Suppositories) and my gastro basically giving up on me, I decided to experiment with some herbal protocols. I did some research on the Internet, and read a great book by Jini Patel Thompson entitled "Listen To Your Gut" that gives some great advice regarding a holistic approach to dealing with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). I chose the following 3 products:

George's Road Runner Aloe Vera Juice - 1/3 cup, 3 times daily. Has great healing and antiviral properties and helps with the inflammation. Tastes like distilled water. Thompson recommends this particular brand because it has no additives, and the Aloin is removed, which is the component in Aloe Vera that has a laxative affect. Something, none of us needs.

Intestinew (by Renewlife)- 2 capfuls per day, upon rising and at bed time. Mix in glass of water. I use a small wire beater to mix the product in the water. Intestinew

Supports the integrity and healthy function of the intestinal lining.
Robert's Formula- I used the product made by Gaia Herbs, but they recently took it off the market for other than licensed practitioners. It was a liquid, that worked wonders. It is specifically for IBD sufferers. They do sell it in pill form, though some contain animal derivatives,whereas Gaia's did not. It isn't easy to find, however.

I immediately started the protocol, while weaning myself off the Asacol and Rowasa. Within several weeks I noticed a marked change. The symptoms started disappearing, and except for a setback after a month, because I started eating too much fiber too soon, within 3 months I was totally symptom free.

So when I started noticing problems a few months ago, I immediately started on the same regimen. This time, however, I did not have the results I expected. I also had to stop the Robert's Formula because the main ingredients are Echinacea/Goldenseal, and since they are immune boosters, they started kicking in the R.A. (Rheumatoid Arthritis), which started making me feel very achy.

So, I have chosen to go to a gastroenterologist, but in the meantime, consulted with a medical intuitive who has me on some homeopathic and herbal remedies. No improvement yet, but I will update this if I do.

Good luck with your path to healing. And remember, please research before you take any herbal remedies, and check with your doctor if you are on any western meds that might not sit well with the herbs.