Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes the formation of ulcers (sores) in the digestive system. These sores are often accompanied by chronic inflammation, resulting in excruciating pain. This condition usually develops in the inner lining of the large colon, and may extend up to the rectum. Studies show that it is likely this condition is linked to an underlying autoimmune condition, but research is still underway in this field. One of the most disturbing things about ulcerative colitis is that the symptoms develop slowly and over a prolonged period of time. This debilitating condition requires immediate medical attention because it is potentially fatal.
Other symptoms that characterize this condition include recurrent diarrhoea (which may sometimes contain pus or blood that comes from the sores), intense abdominal pain and the constant urge to empty the bowels. Additionally, affected persons may experience immense fatigue, inexplicable weight loss as well as a significant loss of appetite. The severity of the symptoms is directly related to the extent of inflammation; the greater the inflammation, the more intense the symptoms are. For some, the condition is pretty mild and allows them to continue with their day-to-day lives; for others, the condition interferes with their everyday lives.
As mentioned above, the condition is chronic and progresses over a period of time. As such, there are periods of time where affected persons will experience a flare up that develops symptoms in other parts of the body such as the joints, the mouth and the eyes. Left unchecked, ulcerative colitis can cause irreparable damage. For this reason, it is important to get prompt medical attention. Treatment largely revolves around providing relief from the symptoms. Home remedies recommended at treating this condition naturally tend to have minimal side-effects. Listed below are some of the options available.
1. Aloe Vera:
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: 1/4 Cup of aloe vera gel. Alternatively, you will need 2 tablespoons of fresh aloe vera juice and 1 glass of warm water.
Aloe vera, one of nature’s best home remedies for the management of conditions that cause inflammation, is a top choice in the treatment of ulcerative colitis. The gel and juice sourced from the succulent plant has excellent anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce the intensity of the symptoms. The remedy is taken orally. If you opt to use the store-bought juice however, it must be diluted to avoid irritating the lining of the digestive tract. The gel may be taken on its own in small amounts at a time. Follow the directions below to get the most from this remedy.
- Extract enough the gel and take 1/4 cup of the gel orally. You will feel a cooling sensation as the gel goes down the food pipe, and this is often a welcome relief. Take note however, if you experience any discomfort a while after taking the remedy.
- The other alternative is to dilute aloe vera juice using water as follows:
i) Add 2 tablespoons of the aloe vera gel to the warm water and stir to mix evenly.
ii) Drink the mixture twice daily to help manage the inflammation as well as prevent the pain from escalating.
2. Fish Oil:
Time Required: 5 Min
What You Need: 1 Gram of fish oil supplement daily.
Fish oil is one of the best home remedies for the natural treatment of conditions that cause inflammation, and ulcerative colitis is one such condition. Fish oil contains high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids whose anti-inflammatory properties help alleviate the symptoms associated with the condition. Omega-3 fatty acids are not to be confused with saturated fatty acids that pose a great risk to the body. These fatty acids are, in fact, polyunsaturated fatty acids that help reduce the inflammation levels in the body.
- As a remedy for ulcerative colitis, it is recommended that you take 1 gram of the fish oil daily, and gradually increase this dosage to 3-4 grams.
- If you have any concerns using fish oil supplements, or have an underlying condition for which the intake of such oil is restricted, make sure you check with your doctor prior to using this remedy.
3. Olive Oil:
Time Required: 5 Min
What You Need: 2 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
Treat ulcerative colitis using olive oil, a befitting remedy because it has excellent anti-inflammatory properties that provide relief from the condition’s symptoms. Just like fish oil, olive oil is categorized as unsaturated oil. In addition to its anti-inflammatory properties, olive oil has also been shown to have properties that help regulate the immune system. As mentioned above, research shows that there could be a direct link between the immune system and ulcerative colitis. By increasing your intake of olive oil, you are better placed to reduce the inflammation and get pain-relief. There’s only one catch: It is recommended that you use extra-virgin olive oil for speedy recovery.
- Take 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil once a day.
- You may opt to break down this dosage so that you take 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil twice daily.
4. Fenugreek Seeds:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 1 Teaspoon of fenugreek seeds, 1 cup of water and a strainer.
Make the most of fenugreek seeds to treat ulcerative colitis. Fenugreek seeds, sometimes referred to as methi, are recommended for their ability to form a protective layer on the lining of the digestive tract. This coating goes a long way in reducing the effects of the inflammation, thus allowing for the healing of the sores on the tract.
What’s more, fenugreek seeds are rich in nutrients such as Calcium, iron and protein, all of which provide the nutrients required for quick recovery. You will need to prepare the tea in order to get the healing benefits of the seeds.
- Place 1 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds in extremely hot water and let them soak for about 10 minutes.
- Pass the mixture through a strainer and discard the used seeds.
- Drink this tea once daily until you notice an improvement in the condition.
5. Slippery Elm:
Time Required: 15 Min
What you Need: 2 Teaspoons of slippery elm (powdered form) and 1 cup of hot water.
Slippery elm has a similar mode of action to fenugreek seeds in that both home remedies work by creating a protective layer over the inner lining of the digestive tract. This not only shields the sores from inflammation, it also enhances the recovery of the sores. Slippery elm is able to do this thanks to its high mucilage content. In addition to this, slippery elm also helps deal with diarrhea that is a common symptom in ulcerative colitis. This is because it up the stool to eliminate loose motion. Prepare this remedy by following the simple steps below.
- Soak the powdered herb in a glass of hot water and let it steep for a few minutes.
- Strain the mixture and then drink it twice daily to alleviate the symptoms of ulcerative colitis.
6. Raw Ginger:
Time Required: 15 Min
What You Need: 1/2 Inch of raw ginger, hot water, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and some honey to sweeten the mixture.
Ginger is a herbal remedy renowned for its excellent anti-inflammatory properties, which is precisely why it is recommended for managing the symptoms of ulcerative colitis. The active ingredients in the ginger are known as gingerols, and they are potent in reducing inflammation. Another benefit of using ginger is that it is rich in antioxidants which eliminates free radicals in the body and prevents further damage to the digestive tract. Note however, that the ginger herb must not be used daily, especially if you are suffering from diseases of the cardiovascular system.
- Peel and clean the raw ginger before grating it. This improves the remedy’s efficiency.
- Add the grated ginger to a cup of hot water and let it steep for a few minutes. This allows the herb’s active ingredients to transfer to the tea you are preparing.
- Strain the tea and add some lemon juice and honey.
- Stir to mix well and drink.
- Take this remedy once daily to reduce the inflammation and abdominal pain caused by ulcerative colitis.
7. Chamomile Tea:
Time Required: 20 Min
What you Need: 2 Tablespoons of dried chamomile flowers, 1 cup of hot water and a strainer.
Use chamomile for its soothing properties in the management of ulcerative colitis. Additionally, chamomile tea also has anti-inflammatory properties that come in handy in the treatment of the condition. You will need dried chamomile flowers for this remedy. Chamomile tea is especially effective in the management of flare-ups.
- Place the dried chamomile flowers in the cup containing hot water and let them steep.
- After 10 minutes, strain the mixture to get rid of the soaked flowers.
- Drink this tea thrice daily until the symptoms subside.
8. Avoid Foods that Trigger Inflammation:
Time Required: Varies depending on the choice food
What You Need: Foods that heal, not those that trigger inflammation
A healthy diet is integral to the proper management of ulcerative colitis. As a general guide, it is advisable to take wholesome foods that are beneficial for the body. The most important thing is to avoid foods that trigger inflammation and worsen the symptoms of the condition. Common culprits in this category include processed foods and snacks, fatty foods, caffeine and alcohol. For some people, foods rich in gluten and dairy/ dairy products must be avoided as they tend to increase the severity of the symptoms.
- Eliminating the varied food groups is helpful for individuals, although the benefits are remarkably different. ‘
- Use the recommendations above as a general guide, and feel free to check with your dietician to narrow down to specifics.
Ulcerative colitis is a chronic condition, but this does not mean that it cannot be managed. Use the remedies above to deal with the symptoms of this disorder and allow you to carry on with your everyday life seamlessly. Remember, if the condition is accompanied by symptoms such as dizziness, shortness of breath or very high fever, you must get medical attention immediately.