Ulcerative colitis: Role of Ayurveda

Ulcerative colitis is an Inflammatory Bowel Disease, which mainly impacts colon and rectum part of the gut. It is a long-term chronic condition in which the colon becomes inflamed and if the inflammation get severe, the lining of the colon is breached which may lead to ulceration and further to perforation of colon and rectum when become more severe. In Ayurveda, it can be consider as “Pittaj Grahani”. When an individual follow the pitta aggravating dietry habits and activities, the digestive fire is imbalanced which leads to formation of toxic bile juices impairing the immunity. Irregular, irrelevant dietary habits, consumption of food with opposite properties (eg. fish and milk), excess of spices, pungent, sour and acidic food, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, exccesive hot climate, indigestion and other Pitta aggravating factors imbalance and aggravates the digestive elements leading to toxic digestion and assimilation of food. These toxic secretion leads to detroation of mucous wall leading to inflammation and ulceration.

It can develop at any age but usually starts between age of 15 and 30. It affects the male and female equally and degree of inflammation and symptoms vary from person to person. The symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis may vary from mild to severe depending on the state of inflammation in the colon. The common symptoms include one or more of the following:

    • Diarrhoea with or without blood & mucous
    • Abdominal pain and discomfort
    • Sudden urge for toilet
    • Loss in weight and appetite

Other symptoms may include tiredness, Loss of Appetite, anaemia, dehydration and constant desire to empty the bowel.

Management: In conventional medical sciences, there is no cure for ulcerative colitis. However, the allopathic medicines can improve the symptoms and surgery may help in cases with complication. Ayurvedic medicine and therapies can be choice of management for ulcerative colitis as the herbs and therapies used in management targets the root cause of the disease. As Ulcerative colitis is a disease related to Digestive fire (Pitta), which is believed to be responsible for all enzymatic, endocrine activities, metabolism and assimilation. The ayurvedic treatment focus on pacification of aggravated PITTA and exclusion of Pitta aggravating factors.

Ayurveda offers “Shodana (Removal of causative factors) and Shamana (Pacification of symtoms and causes)” treatment for Ulcerative colitis. Shodana treatment include Panchkarma therapies which detoxify the colon and related organs and maintain the health of digestive system.  

In shamana treatment, ayurvedic preparation are given to heal the inflamed colon restoring the normal functioning of the gut. The ayurvedic treatment and medicines are pure herbal in nature and have no side effects. Dietary guidelines and restriction are also an important part of the ayurvedic treatment which is very essential for the management of Ulcerative Colitis.

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