Considered as a form of autoimmune disease, Ulcerative Colitis is an inflammation of the large intestines that causes bloody diarrhea and ulcers. No cure for this condition exists due to its unknown cause. Western medicine “treatments” for this drug include corticosteroids and anti-inflammatory medications. It has been reported in the World Journal of Gastroenterology that Chinese herbal formulas can be used as treatment for ulcerative colitis. Modern studies showed that Chinese herbal remedies have a more than 90% rate of success in treating IBS symptoms and that patients were able to wean themselves of all drugs after being given a number of acupuncture treatments. The treatments were so potent that after a couple of years, the patients were still okay.
Traditional Chinese Medicine considers ulcerative colitis as the result a certain internal imbalances, specifically an abundance of heat and damp in the body. People suffering from this form of imbalance usually report that eating greasy and oily foods worsens their condition. The aforementioned studies used Chinese herbs that were known to clear heat and damp.
Herbs such as long dan cao, ching bai, hsi cao, bai tou weng, and tu fu ling are usually taken in a concoction that may even contain up to fourteen herbs. These herbs are prescribed based on the symptoms and the specific needs of the patient. When it comes to ulcerative colitis, no one specific herb or even a combination of herbs can be used as a uniform treatment for every ulcerative colitis condition. This is because of the uniqueness of each patient’s symptoms and also due to the uniqueness of their constitution (body).
These studies show that the herb ching dai has anti-inflammatory attributes. This plant is also known to suppress certain forms of cancer cells. Some Chinese herbs are utilized as enemas that can help relieve ulcerative colitis symptoms.
Based on the viewpoint of traditional Chinese medicine there can be factors that may aggravate ulcerative colitis. Damp and cold accumulation in the intestine or even taking ching dai can exacerbate it.
One should seek treatment only from a licensed and qualified Chinese herbalist that has four years of full time training in Chinese herbology at the minimum. Besides that, the herbalist needs to have around 150 herbs in his/her repertoire from which customized herbal formulas can be created based on your specific needs. Usually, the herbs come in freeze dried granules that are easy to dissolve and mix with other herbs.
Christina Prieto – Board Certified Acupuncturist and Herbalist in Orlando, FL