5 Herbs You Need in Your Life to Support Crohn's Disease
If you've been diagnosed with Crohn's Disease, you're probably dealing with a lot of pain and systemic inflammation. The great thing is, there are many natural healing interventions that support Crohn's and chronic GIT inflammation. Mother nature hasn't forgotten about you dear one!
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel condition to which various parts of the gastrointestinal system (small intestine or colon) can become inflamed leading to extremely painful conditions such as; tears, cracks, thickening of GIT wall or synthesise strictures (Crohn's & Colitis Australia, 2016). The aetiology of Crohn’s disease is still under research for a definitive cause however science suggests a close link with immunity, environmental stressors, family predisposition & dysregulation of the gut-brain axis (WebMD, 2016).
A Naturopathic Approach to Crohn's Disease
- Reduce inflammation, pain & cramping
- Sooth & protect gastrointestinal epithelial layers
- Improve & support digestion
- Reduce & eliminate diarrhoea symptoms, regulating bowel motions
- Regulate ‘fight or flight’ stress responses
- Increase vitality
- Re-inoculate gut flora
Turmeric (Curcuma Longa)
Turmeric is a leading herb in anti-inflammatory & antioxidant properties (Bone, 2007), it is involved in 120 plus anti-inflammatory pathways, essential for this case. There is a high amount of inflammation in the GIT & presumably, systemically that needs to be nourished & reduced. The rhizome key constituent curcumin reduces incongruous epithelial transport, increases cytokine anti-inflammatory gene activity, balancing of cellular communication, enzymatic reactions & cell cycles. It also has a direct reduction influence on IL-10-1082, to which is increased with GIT inflammation (McCann, 2014). These healing reactions are important & can make a significant different reducing inflammation.
Echinacea (Echinacea spp.)
Research suggests gut microbiome dysbiosis influences various attributes, initiating dysregulation of our immune systems. Impaired bacterial functionality is a close potential link to Crohn's disease (Styrk Furnes, 2015), and therefore, immune & bacterial modulation is required. Echinacea strengthens the immune system against pathogens, increases phagocytosis, fibroblast & leukocyte stimulation as well as containing anti-inflammatory & antioxidant compounds (Azadeh Manayi, 2015). Additionally, Echinacea has been shown to improve vitality, chronic fatigue (Bone, 2007) & overall this herb is an excellent herb when helping CD.
Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria)
Traditionally used in inflammatory diseases this herb provides a nourishing, mucoprotective, anti-inflammatory & astringent effects (Bone, 2007); perfect for this condition. The analgesic properties will aid in reducing digestive pain, additionally, the astringent properties show to be significant in reducing diarrhoea. Although meadowsweet is still fresh in research, traditional use demonstrates effective protective attributes for the epithelial cells within the gastrointestinal walls. (PFAF, 2016)
Lavender (Lavandula officinalis)
Lavender has a mild anti-depressive mechanism, relevant to this case. It also encompasses carminative, antioxidant, spasmolytic & anxiolytic actions (Bone, 2007) along with antimicrobial properties (Ali Shafaghat, 2012) useful for Crohn's disease. The antioxidant compounds in lavender protect the cells from free-radical damage, lipid peroxidation & are also neuroprotective. Studies suggest it is an excellent mood-stabilizer & mild sedative; by helping to relax the client it will reduce the sympathetic response & increasing digestive capacity & healing protocols. (Peir Hossein Koulivand, 2013)
Licorice – Glycyrrhiza glabra
Known for its neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, mucoprotective & demulcent properties, Licorice regulates intracellular antioxidant pathways, energy expenditure & works directly with the inflammatory cascade protein enzymatic reactions as well as gene regulation (Charlotte Simmler, 2013). By providing demulcent & mucoprotective compounds, it will initiate a protective layer for the intestinal wall & thus improve cellular & glycosaminoglycan synthesis, ultimately having a significant effect on health.
- Increase healthy wholesome foods, temporarily reducing gluten & preservatives to allow optimum nutrient intake.
- Incorporate bone broths, fermented foods & glutathione rich, slow cooked foods to help with epithelial wall repair. (AIAS, 2016)
- Increase fibre & lower caffeine levels (Davenport, 2008)
- Discuss a mindful activity to help with depression & stress
Contraindications, interactions & side effects:
- Turmeric: Caution with antiplatelet or anticoagulant drugs
- Echinacea: caution with immunosuppressive drugs
- Meadowsweet: Cautioned with warfarin drug, salicylates – take away from mineral supplements, thiamine or alkaloids.
- Licorice: Cautioned with heart & blood pressure issues, elderly, diuretics & diarrhoea