Ayurvedais a holistic approach to medicine that originated in India over 3,000 years ago. Ayurveda means 'knowledge of life' in Sanskrit. The concept behind the practice is that disease stems from an imbalance in one's consciousness.
Ulcerative colitis(UC) is a chronic disease of the colon in which the lining of the colon becomes inflamed and small ulcers develop. There is no known cure for ulcerative colitis, but several treatments are available, including medications, surgery, and diet and dietary changes.
Complementaryand alternative medicine (CAM) approaches, such as Ayurvedic medicineherbs and herbal medicines, oils and herbs, as well as acupuncture and meditation, which can help with reliefsymptoms of ulcerative colitis during exacerbation(time when symptoms worsen).
Wat is ayurveda?
Ayurvedait is an ancient system of healing. The basis of Ayurveda is the balance of body, mind and soul and their functions to maintain good health.
The basic principle of Ayurveda is that the body consists of five elements: air, water, fire, earth and space. Together, these elements form life forces called doshas: vata (space and air), kapha (earth and water), and pitta (fire and water). Each person has these doshas, but one is more common in each individual.
Ayurvedic practitioners believe that the balance of each of these doshas explains individual characteristics, but also the possibility of a health condition. An imbalanced dosha can cause stagnation of prana and further imbalances.
Doshe in ulcerative colitis
According to Ayurvedic thought, an imbalanced dosha disrupts the life force (prana) and can lead to digestive problems and the accumulation of waste. Ulcerative colitis is considered a disease caused bypitta pradhanavatadosha, an imbalance between pitta and vata, where vata is enhanced by hot and bitter tastes.
Doctors recommend avoiding spicy food. In a clinical study, 43 patients with ulcerative colitis were treated with a medicinal plant for one monthUdumbara kvatha basti(Ficus glomerata oforest figs), along with other ayurvedic medicines of plant origin that have antibacterial and antidiarrheal effects.
The researchers found that symptoms, as well as the use of steroids and other anti-inflammatory drugs, were reduced by more than 80%.red blood cells in the stool- the primary sign of ulcerative colitis - was reduced by 93.02%.Hemoglobinin blood increased by 16.76%. Steroid use decreased by 87.32%.
Benefits of natural treatments
There is no cure for ulcerative colitis, but your doctor can help relieve symptomsprescribe certain treatmentsdepending on the severity of your condition. Below are the recommended medications:
- Amino acids: For mild to moderate ulcerative colitis. This form of the drug contains 5-aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA), which helps reduce inflammation in the intestinal lining. Some other ways can also reduce joint inflammation.Side effects may include headache, nausea, stomach pain, cramps, loss of appetite, vomiting, rash, or fever.
- corticosteroids: For severe forms of ulcerative colitis. Corticosteroids are anti-inflammatory drugs. Side effects include increased appetite, acne, thin skin that bruises easily, increased risk of infection, depression, and/ormood swings, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis.Doctors recommend only short-term use.
- immunomodulators: The goal of these drugs is to control inflammation to achieve remission and then maintain remission. Side effects can include headache, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
- biological products: This type of medicine is derived from living organisms or contains elements of living organisms. Biologics are prescribed to treat moderate to severe ulcerative colitis by targeting parts of the immune system. Side effects vary depending on the drug.
- Januskinase (JAK) inhibitors.: Drugs in this category inhibit enzymes from the Janus kinase family to prevent them from causing inflammation. Side effects can include nasal and upper respiratory infections, nausea, indigestion, diarrhea, headache, elevated cholesterol, high blood pressure, and decreased kidney function.
While many patients find relief through Western medicine, some are also exploring holistic approaches that can alleviate symptoms.
Alternative treatments can include meditation and yoga to help manage stress,Herbal medicinesand certain mixtures of spices in food. Note that certain herbs such asturmericit can relieve inflammation, but it can also cause stomach problems, skin rashes and, in some cases, slower blood clotting.
talk to your doctor
If you decide to see an Ayurvedic doctor who recommends herbal supplements, always talk to your doctor to find out if there are any contraindications between Ayurvedic treatments and any of your medications.
Ayurveda for ulcerative colitis
If you find that Ayurvedic medicine complements your Western (allopathic) treatment for ulcerative colitis, here are therapies you might consider incorporating into your treatment for your condition:
Before making any drastic changes to your diet, consult your doctor or dietitian to see if certain foods may cause you discomfort. The Ayurvedic diet promotes balance and has specific guidelines for each dosha.
When pitta dosha is out of balance, it affects the function of the colon. Eggs are a food known to help balance pitta dosha. If you are lactose intolerant, you can drink milk, ghee, soy milk and butter. Ripe fruits are allowed, such as apples, pears, pineapples, melons and mangoes.
Vegetables should be sweet and sour, such as asparagus, broccoli, cabbage and zucchini. Avoid most spices except coriander, cinnamon, turmeric,cardamom, fennel and black pepper. All legumes are acceptable.
In Ayurvedic practiceacupunctureit is used on specific points on the body that will lead to healing. In the United States, an Ayurvedic practitioner who performs acupuncture must be licensed as a TCM practitioner in most states.
Studies of Ayurvedic acupuncture are rare. According to the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation, research continues to assess the benefits of acupuncture beyond pain relief. But while some studies have shown that acupuncture can improve symptoms, the results are mixed.
Acupuncture for Ulcerative Colitis (UC)
In Ayurveda, practitioners focus on clearing the channels by moving and expelling toxins from the body. Practitioners use warming essential oil blends infused with herbs to promote relaxation and detoxification. Currently, the benefits of massage for ulcerative colitis are inconclusive.
Studies show that stress can make ulcerative colitis symptoms worse. In a review of eight studies, researchers found that meditation and mindfulness improved the quality of life of patients suffering from the stress of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), such as ulcerative colitis. However, more studies are needed.
Many ulcerative colitis symptoms can be made worse by stress and anxiety, but yoga is recognized as a means of reducing stress and anxiety.
In a study of 60 patients with ulcerative colitis and 40 patients with Crohn's disease (another type of inflammatory bowel disease), they were divided into two groups for eight weeks.The first group practiced yoga for an hour a day and continued medical therapy; the other continued his standard medical therapy alone.
After eight weeks, fewer patients in the first group experienced joint stiffness than those taking traditional medicines alone, and anxiety levels were reduced in the first group compared to the second group, which had no significant changes. The researchers concluded that yoga practice is safe and beneficial for patients with ulcerative colitis and other forms of IBD.
Yoga can also help balance your doshas. If your dominant dosha is vata, you will benefit from a contemplative, calm, and grounded yoga practice on a particular day and time of the week. The poses that work target the colon, bowels, pelvis, lumbar spine, and sacroiliac Vata balance by returning energy to the base of the trunk.
To balance pitta, which is related to digestion and the endocrine and enzyme systems, as well as heat, pitta types benefit from cooling positions. Suggested asanas that help reduce pitta include abdominal exercises, forward bends, and heart-opening poses.
The benefits of yoga for ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease
Choosing an Ayurvedic doctor
Before you decide to change your diet and embrace Ayurvedic medicine as an addition to your traditional medical protocol, find an Ayurvedic physician experienced in treating people with ulcerative colitis. Diet recommendations on the internet vary and can be confusing.
In Ayurvedic medicine, ulcerative colitis is considered to be the result of an imbalance in the pitta and vata doshas. Ayurvedic approaches to ulcerative colitis include dietary measures to balance the doshas, massage, meditation, and yoga. They can be in addition to medications prescribed by doctors to control the condition.
A word from Verywell
An Ayurvedic diet can help relieve the symptoms and worsening of ulcerative colitis. Before you decide to change your diet or add herbal supplements to your diet, always consult your doctor and an Ayurvedic doctor who specializes in nutrition for people with gastrointestinal problems.
Also remember that meditation and yoga help with stress, which can make ulcerative colitis worse. You may want to include a mindfulness practice for general wellness.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Ayurvedic Ingredients Treat Ulcerative Colitis?
A low-fat, low-fiber diet will help treat ulcerative colitis. There are several foods that fall into this category. It is preferable to eat whole foods, not processed ones. Consult an Ayurvedic doctor who treats ulcerative colitis for a complete list of foods to eat.
Is Ayurveda legal in the United States?
In the United States, Ayurvedic medicine is not recognized as a form of health care (as it is in India) and doctors are not licensed. They may not pose as doctors, they may not be able to diagnose Western diseases, and what they are allowed to do is limited. Otherwise, they could be prosecuted for unauthorized practice of medicine.
However, in many countries, Ayurvedic doctors can work as diet and lifestyle educators. You can get certified through the Certification Board of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association (NAMA).
To become certified, you must pass entry-level competencies in your practice category by completing NAMA-approved study and passing a rigorous exam. Then participate in continuing education as an expert through continuing education and other activities.(Video) Ayurvedic Home Remedies For Ulcerative Colitis Treatments
What should you pay attention to when buying herbal Ayurveda online?
Herbal supplements are regulated by the FDA and fall into a category called dietary supplements. However, supplement manufacturers do not require FDA approval. Do your research when shopping for herbal supplements. Always read the labels and if anything is not clear to you, consult your pharmacist or doctor.
Is one Ayurvedic treatment better than another for ulcerative colitis?
Not necessary. Meditation can help reduce stress levels so they don't exacerbate symptoms. An Ayurvedic diet can help relieve symptoms. Taken as a whole, in combination with medications prescribed by your doctor, it can relieve many of the symptoms of ulcerative colitis.