Natural and Alternative Treatments and Home Remedies for Crohn's Disease

Simply, Crohn’s disease is inflammation somewhere or everywhere in the GI tract.

Image of homeopathic pills falling from a brown bottle

It may be an autoimmune or immunodeficiency disease but it is thought by some that genetics, smoking, viruses and bacteria all influence whether or not the disease will develop.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

Some or all of the following may be present

  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Bowel blockages
  • Anal fistulas
  • Abdominal pain
  • A feeling of fullness
  • Low fever
  • Fatigue
  • Cramping
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Anemia
  • Rashes

PREVALENCE

The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation estimates that 780,000 Americans have Crohn’s disease.

ALLOPATHIC TREATMENT

It is considered a lifelong disease (though remissions are possible) that may be treated by medications and/or surgery. Outside of mainstream medicine, some believe that everything is curable. Certainly, there may be a number of things you can do to support your health and healing. Some of the medications a doctor may prescribe are anti-inflammatories, but there are foods you can eat and foods you can eliminate from your diet to aid in reducing inflammation.

SELF TREATMENT

There is no one-size-fits-all diet since every sufferer is different.The substances and suggestions here are offered to you for further research.

DIET

A healthy immune system is always the first line of defense against disease and inflammation. To promote a healthy immune system, and balance your hormones, it is important to eat a balanced diet, with as much variety as you can manage, with lots of whole, fresh vegetables and fruits, quality protein and healthy sources of monounsaturated fat. The Zone is an excellent starting point. Crohn’s disease may not be caused by anything you ate but it makes sense to minimize inflammation in your body.

FOODS THAT MAY PROMOTE HEALING

  • Anti-inflammatory foods
  • Bone broth
  • Carrots, cooked
  • Low-fiber food
  • Yogurt

FOODS AND OTHER SUBSTANCES THAT MAY AGGRAVATE

  • Alcohol
  • Anything that triggers a flare
  • Dairy (for some)
  • Fatty foods
  • Gas-producing foods
  • Grains (wheat contains giladen)
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Pork
  • Raw food
  • Red meat
  • Smoking
  • Spicy foods

TEAS AND OTHER LIQUIDS

  • Aloe Vera juice
  • Chamomile
  • Green tea
  • Marshmallow
  • Peppermint
  • Slippery Elm

HERBS AND SPICES

  • Boswellia
  • Slippery elm
  • Turmeric

ESSENTIAL OILS

Essential oils can be administered via a diffuser for inhalation, administered topically in a carrier oil like coconut or undiluted drops can be added to a hot bath.  Add a few drops to a carrier oil and use as a massage oil.

  • Basil
  • Peppermint

OTHER SUBSTANCES AND SUPPLEMENTS

Here, too, each person is different and what may be needed by one may not be needed by another. It would be wise to have tests to determine nutritional deficiencies. Some of the suggestions here are just those things that sometimes are found wanting in individuals suffering from Crohn’s.

  • Omega 3’s
  • Prebiotics
  • Probiotics
  • Turmeric

HYDRATION

Crohn’s can increase the risk of dehydration.  Water is essential, and a main nutrient for the human body. Without it, you cannot survive for many days. Staying hydrated is fundamental for a healthy body, so how much is enough? There are so many differences in people (i.e., how much we sweat), as well as the diets we consume (a lot of water comes from healthy, whole foods), but a general rule is to consume enough water that your urine is clear, but not so much that you dilute your nutrients. If you are taking certain supplements that make your urine yellow, then you can start out with the formula of drinking ½ ounce to 1 ounce of water for each pound you weigh. If you weigh 130 pounds, drink 65 to 130 ounces of water a day. Definitely drink when you are thirsty.

EXERCISE

That exercise is beneficial for overall health is undisputed. If you are ill, you will want to take it easy, of course, but there is always something you can do to support your body. Do what you can do without making yourself feel worse. Exercise in fresh air whenever possible.

EMOTIONAL SUPPORT

Stay calm. Anxiety undermines health. Practice relaxation exercises, talk to a friend. Do what works for you to keep mellow.  If you have trouble relaxing, see the Stress post for some suggestions.

OTHER THINGS YOU CAN DO

  • Deep breathing
  • If you have small-bowel Crohn’s disease with a narrow ileum, a low-fiber low-residue diet may help ease some symptoms.
  • Read the book, Listen to Your Gut.

ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES

PREVENTION

  • An appropriate diet
  • Low stress levels
  • Quality sleep
  • Regular exercise
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