Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It's a serious condition that can cause severe pain and diarrhea. There are many treatments available for ulcerative colitis, but the best one depends on the individual. In this article, we'll discuss ayurvedic treatment for ulcerative colitis. We'll also give you tips on how to find an ayurvedic doctor and how to prepare for your treatment.
Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation and ulcers in the digestive tract affecting the innermost lining of the large intestine and rectum. This can occur in people of any age but is more frequently seen in the age group of 15 to 30 years. It is less frequent between the age group of 50 and 70 years.
In children, it occurs usually at the age of 2 years. The incidence rate is 9 to 20 cases per 100,000 persons per year. The prevalence is 156 to 291 cases per 100,000 persons per year. Men and women are equally affected. The first description regarding ulcerative colitis occurred approximately during the 1850s.
Treatment includes antibiotics, aminosalicylates, corticosteroids, immunomodulatory, etc. When the medical treatment fails and the condition is very severe surgeries like colectomy, or proctocolectomy may be required.1,2,3,4,5
What causes ulcerative colitis?
No direct etiology is known but factors such as genetics, environment, and an overactive immune system have a significant role. This is an auto-immune disease where T- cells get infiltrated into the colon.4
Signs and symptoms of ulcerative colitis1,2
In the initial stages, the symptoms seen are
- Abdominal pain and cramping
- Weight loss
- Rectal pain
- Inability to defecate
- Urgency to defecate
In the later stages, the symptoms are as follows
- Blood, mucus, and pus in the feces
- Skin rashes
- Mouth ulcers
- Liver disease
Similar symptoms are seen in the pediatric group including delayed growth.
Types of ulcerative colitis 1,2
Depending upon the part affected it is divided into the following types
- Ulcerative proctitis – It occurs only in the rectum and rectal bleeding may be the only sign of this condition. This is the mildest form.
- Proctosigmoiditis – Inflammation occurs in the rectum and the sigmoid colon. This is also known as Tenesmus. Diarrhea, abdominal cramps and pain, and inability to pass the stools are the symptoms seen in this type.
- Left-sided colitis – inflammation is seen from the rectum up through the left side of the colon. Symptoms are bloody diarrhea and weight loss.
- Pancolitis – In this type, the entire colon is affected. The symptoms seen are bouts of bloody diarrhea, severe abdominal cramps, pain, and significant weight loss.
Tests advised in ulcerative colitis1,2
- Blood tests- Complete blood count
- Stool routine
- Common endoscopic tests are Colonoscopy and Sigmoidoscopy
- Computed Tomography and Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the colon and rectum are also advised.
What Ayurveda says about ulcerative colitis 6
Ulcerative colitis can be correlated with types of Atisara and those are pittatisara and raktatisara. This correlation can be based on the symptoms seen in ulcerative colitis. As per Acharya Charaka, the etiology of pittatisara is the intake of excessive sour, salty, pungent, alkaline food, constant exposure to the sun, and psychological factors such as stress, anger, and grief. According to
Acharya Sushrutha some other etiological factors for pittatisara are intake of improperly cooked food, intake of food even before the previous food is digested, excess intake of wine, drinking contaminated water, suppression of natural urges, microbial infection in the gastrointestinal tract, etc. Raktatisara occurs when a person constantly indulges in the etiological factors mentioned for pittatisara.
Signs and symptoms explained for pittatisara in Ayurvedic classics are as follows:-
Passing stools which are yellowish, greenish, bluish, and blackish discolored with foul smell, consistency resembling that of meat-washed water. Other symptoms seen are excessive thirst, giddiness, excessive perspiration, and fever.
Symptoms of raktatisara are bloody diarrhea associated with pain, a burning sensation in the abdomen, and inflammation in the anorectal region.
Ayurvedic treatment for ulcerative colitis 6
As Atisara has the root cause of agnimandya (Impaired digestion), the principle line of treatment is to enhance digestion by administering a certain group of drugs called ama pachaka (drugs which digest the indigested particles in the gastrointestinal tract), agni deepaka (appetizers) and grahi (drugs which absorb the excessive moisture of the intestinal mucosa).
These drugs can be given in two stages of atisara:
In amavastha (indigestive stage) – primarily langhana or fasting therapy is advised and then intake of yavagu (thick gruel) processed with ama pachaka and agni deepaka drugs like Shunti (Zingiber officinale), Chitraka (Plumbago zeylanica) etc.
In pakwavastha – grahi drugs like Kutaja (Holarrhena antidysenterica), Musta (Cyperus rotundus), etc.
Shodhana chikitsa or a purificatory procedure called piccha basti (a special kind of enema therapy) is specifically indicated in raktatisara.
Ayurvedic medicines for ulcerative colitis
Various kinds of ayurvedic medications have been mentioned based on the symptoms which can be classified under the following categories.
Kutaja Ghana vati
- Kamadugha rasa ( with or without mookta bhasma)
- Sutashekhara rasa
- Pravala pishti
- Pravala panchamruta rasa
- Dhatri lauha
- Karpura rasa
- Vijaya parpati
- Panchamrita parpati
- Mukta panchamrita rasa
- Chitrakadi vati
- Grahani kapata rasa
- Vilwaladi gulika
- Triphala guggulu
- Avipattikara choorna
- Triphala choorna
- Lavana Bhaskara choorna
- Panchasharkara choorna
- Panchasama choorna
- Hingwashtaka choorna
- Vaishwanara choorna
- Shuntyadi choorna
- Dadimastaka choorna
- Gangadhara choorna
- Talisadi choorna
- Vatsakadi choorna
Ghee preparations (Ghritha)
- Shatavari Ghrita
- Dadimadi Ghrita
- Sukumara Ghrita
- Indukanta Ghrita
- Drakshadi Ghrita
- Bhunimbadi Kwatha
- Patola katurohinyadi Kwatha
- Udumbaradi kwatha
Avalehas (herbal jams)
- Bilwadi avaleha
- Kalyanaka avaleha
Syrups and Rasayanas
- Madiphala rasayana
- Kushmanda rasayana
- Amalaki rasayana
- Amlapitta mishran (Dhootapapeshwar product)
Asavas and Arishtas
Diet for ulcerative colitis 6,7,8
Milk and milk products – Goat’s milk, cow’s milk, curds, buttermilk.
Grains – an old variety of rice, barley,
Pulses – green gram (moong dal), red lentils (masoor dal), pigeon peas (toor dal), kidney beans (rajma), flax seeds, chia seeds
Vegetables – coriander, cumin, ginger, cucumber, mint, bottle gourd, ridge gourd, ash gourd, carrot, turnip, radish, spinach, potato, red bell peppers
Fruits- raw banana, java plum (jamun), bilwa (Indian bael) fruit, pomegranate, strawberry, walnuts
Non- vegetarian diet – fish, chicken, and eggs
Liquids like rice water, coconut water, carrot juice, rose petal juice, marigold flower juice, coriander leaf juice, and Indian rosewood leaves juice.
Home remedies for ulcerative colitis
Turmeric powder is mixed with one glass of warm milk and taken before bedtime for one week.6
Wheatgrass juice – take two spoons of wheatgrass powder and mix it in warm water. This mixture is to be taken two times a day for seven days.6
Fenugreek seeds– take some fenugreek seeds and add it to water. Keep it boiling for about ten minutes. Later filter it and add some jaggery powder. This mixture can be taken on an empty stomach once a day for seven days.6
Olive oil- two teaspoons of olive oil is mixed with one glass of warm water and taken twice a day for one week.6
Apple cider vinegar– two spoons of apple cider vinegar is mixed with one glass of water and honey is added. This liquid is consumed twice a day just before meals.6
When to see a doctor 1
- Diarrhea is persistent and it does not respond to non-prescription medications.
- Diarrhea awakens you from sleep.
- Persistent abdominal pain and blood in the stools.
- Unexplained fever for more than two to three days.
Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It’s a serious condition that can cause severe pain and diarrhea. There are many treatments available for ulcerative colitis, but the best one depends on the individual. From the modern perspective, this condition can be managed with medications and in the most severe cases, perhaps surgery is required. Indian system of medicine focuses on the stages of diseased conditions for treatment and tries to treat it from the root.
“This article does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on this website. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call or visit your doctor.”
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References and citations