Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes long-lasting inflammation and ulcers in the digestive tract. It is caused by a variety of factors, including genetic predisposition, epithelial barrier defects, dysregulated immune responses, and environmental factors.
Current treatment for ulcerative colitis involves the use of 5-aminosalicylic acid, steroids, and immunosuppressants. However, long-term use of these medications is known to cause several side effects, including hepatic and renal toxicity, drug resistance, and allergic reactions.
Plants used in TCM contain compounds that can treat ulcerative colitis
Researchers from Shanghai University of Traditional Medicine studied the use of TCM in treating ulcerative colitis. They found that this alternative medicine confers positive effects to patients. TCM also reduces the recurrence rate of the disease and causes fewer side effects than conventional treatments. (Related: Plant extract heals ulcerative colitis, may prevent colon cancer.)
The researchers attributed the effectiveness of TCM to anti-inflammatory plant compounds, such as flavonoids, acids, terpenoids, phenols, alkaloids, quinones, and bile acids from some animal medicines. These compounds target inflammation or oxidative stress by increasing the levels of anti-inflammatory cell signaling molecules or cytokines, decreasing the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, and reducing the activity of substances involved in the inflammatory process.
Natural treatments for ulcers
One of the symptoms of ulcerative colitis that requires treatment is the development of ulcers in the digestive tract. To get relief from symptoms associated with ulcers, you can use these natural remedies at home.
- Probiotics: Probiotics help fight ulcers by promoting gut health. They reduce the amount of bad bacteria present in the gut, accelerate healing, and improve other symptoms.
- Ginger: The gastroprotective effects of ginger are great for managing ulcers. Ginger not only treats digestive conditions like constipation, bloating, and gastritis, it also protects the stomach from ulcers caused by NSAIDs.
- Colorful fruits: Fruits with vibrant colors tend to be rich in beneficial compounds called flavonoids. They protect the stomach lining from developing ulcers by increasing the production of stomach mucus, which slows down the growth of Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria that causes ulcers.
- Plantains: Another fruit to add to your diet to keep ulcers at bay is plantain. Research suggests that plantains have positive effects on peptic ulcers. Like other colorful fruits, plantains have flavonoids. Unripe plantains contain a flavonoid called leucocyanidin, which increases the amount of mucus in the stomach.
- Honey: Honey is an age-old remedy that provides protection from H. pylori infections. This natural sweetener also offers other health benefits, such as faster healing from skin ulcers, burns, and wounds.
- Turmeric: Turmeric is known to contain curcumin, a compound that has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. These properties of curcumin make turmeric an effective remedy for stomach ulcers.
- Chamomile: Chamomile flowers and teas are often used to treat minor anxiety, intestinal spasms, and inflammation. According to studies, chamomile extracts also have anti-ulcer properties. Chamomile is believed to stop stomach ulcers and reduce their healing time.
- Garlic: On top of making food taste great, garlic functions as a strong antimicrobial and a natural remedy for stomach ulcers. Garlic can inhibit the growth of H. pylori, prevent the development of ulcers, and speed up the healing process.
- Aloe vera: Often used in topical lotions, cosmetics, and foods, aloe vera gel can also be ingested to treat stomach ulcers. One study reported that aloe vera is just as effective for ulcers as a popular anti-ulcer medication.
ChineseMedicine.news has more information about effective TCMs against ulcerative colitis.