If you are reading this, you may already know that Crohn’s disease is a devastating type of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), indiscriminately causing chronic inflammatory digestive problems along the gastrointestinal tract. I have experimented with numerous natural supplements —not specifically for Crohn’s — but for similar ailments, to finally seeing very satisfactory end-results. Here I will discuss these various supplements and natural healing methods, including ayurvedic herbs that have been used to heal many digestive tract ailments, — including Crohn’s — throughout the centuries, and for me personally as a beneficiary.
The complete digestive tract shares direct relationship with the brain and the way we think. Often, people with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis have had a major traumatic experience or many traumatic experiences throughout their lives. These folks often live a life of severe depression. Just as depression stagnates the mind, it also stagnates the digestive tract. In the case of Crohn’s, the cecum, the beginning part of the large intestine that connects from the small intestine is often compromised with undigested food and bacteria, causing an inflammatory response. This inflammatory response radiates throughout the digestive tract, sporadically. Even worse, this inflammatory response will affect the entire thickness of the intestinal tract where it lays.
People with this disease often suffer from large amounts of intraheptic stones in the liver and extrahepatic stones in the gallbladder. This thus causes a lack of bile availability to the gallbladder. This lack of bile then compromises the digestion of food — especially fats — in the small intestine and a lack of lubrication to the wall of the large intestine.
To start the healing process of Crohn’s disease, you must increase the proper formation of bile in the liver. This is done by consuming both sour and bitter foods. You may also increase the flow of bile by performing a series of coffee enemas.
Now I recommend a series of procedures, starting with:
1. DGL (Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice): chewed 15 minutes before each meal. DGL soothes and promotes mucosal coating for the stomach and intestinal tract. You will feel the soothing effect quickly.
2. Shatavari: can be taken 2 hours before a meal or 2 hours after. Shatavari acts as peristalsis that pushes the entire intestinal tract, to prevent stagnation of undigested food and toxins.
Shatavari, used excessively, may increase estrogen levels in the body over time. So I recommend taking this herb only short-term, between two (2) to four (4) weeks, at a time.
3. Guduchi: this ayurvedic herb fixes many liver problems and causes bile to develop properly in the liver and flow properly from the gallbladder into the common bile duct, hence lubricating the intestinal tract for proper digestion of food.
Adding ginger enhances guduchi’s effectiveness also, particularly when it comes to healing Crohn’s disease.
4. Wild chaga tea: there are compounds, minerals and vitamins in the chaga mushroom that will soothe the intestinal tract over time. For instance, magnesium reduces inflammation throughout the body; so does copper. The chaga mushroom contains all these, and much more. This mushroom works on a microscopic level, healing and reinvigorating the inner networks of a cell, including the cell’s energy house — its mitochondria.
5. Olive leaf extract: This acts as a NATURAL antibiotic, killing some forms of bad bacteria, viruses, funguses such as mold and yeast, and parasites. Unlike synthetic drugs such as penicillin, pathogens WILL NOT/ CAN NOT build up a resistance to this herb. (There will be the Herxheimer-reaction for a short period of time while using this herb.)
6. Sunlight: most people with Crohn’s disease are low on vitamin D and a dysfunctioning of the hormone serotonin.
15 minutes of sun for light -skinned people and 25 minutes for darker skinned people, at least four (4) days per week, will provide about 10,000 IU’s of vitamin D per day. A lack of vitamin D can cause colon cancer and other cancers. (If you opt to take Vitamin D3 via supplements, make sure to take it with a whole-food multivitamin containing natural vitamins A, E, and vitamin K2 mk-7 to prevent kidney stones and arterial calcification.)
Serotonin, considered both a neurotransmitter and a hormone produced inside the body, is found mostly in the digestive system (95%) — and the brain (5%). Serotonin is said to improve mood and decreases symptoms of depression. However, it has actually been observed that too much (or a dysfunctioning of) serotonin causes more depression than low serotonin. My theory is this: Sunlight is a mega instigator/producer of serotonin. Darkness turns the serotonin into melatonin at night. If you are not sleeping at the right hours and for the right length of time, this old serotonin builds up and gets recycled and becomes toxic, since it was not timely converted to melatonin like it should have. If my theory is correct, it will not be unusual that low serotonin level will seem beneficial for some, while also causing problems for others, like depression and digestive issues. The problem is not with serotonin itself, but an interference of the process of serotonin being converted/synthesized into melatonin at the appropriate time.
7. Leaves: compounds in dark leafy greens (and otherwise) such as cooked watercress, collard greens, spinach, swiss chard, red cabbage, parsley, turnip greens and bok choy will alleviate the symptoms and causes of Crohn’s disease, over time.
As a bonus: I’ve heard Ayurveda tout the fruit bottle gourd — calabash — as a reliever of IBD symptoms, which may also improve symptoms of Crohn’s disease.
8. Sour and bitter foods: Granny Smith apples and bitter melon will surely help stimulate the flow of bile, for example. This will in turn help to decrease the need for inflammation throughout the digestive tract caused by Crohn’s disease.
9. Refraining/avoiding: Avoid certain foods and products that may cause or increase inflammation. Avoid packaged foods, frozen foods, microwave foods, peanut products, nut butter, tomato or tomato sauce or any commercial sauce, eggs, garlic, onions, black pepper, cow’s milk and cheese, unripened banana, alcohol or any other product that may cause flare ups. Focus on eating clean, fresh, organic foods.
10. Coffee enemas: Consider a series of coffee enemas — using organic, medium roast coffee beans. This may help stimulate bile production in the liver, and thus bile flow to the gallbladder. This procedure can be performed — occasionally — once or twice per week, sometimes more.
As a bonus, supplementing on a bile acid product called TUDCA during this time may enhance the production of bile flow.
11. Digestible oils: Certain oils may speed up the healing of Crohn’s disease, while others may aggravate the condition. For example, most people may find comfort in substituting coconut oil above all other oils, being that coconut oil does not need bile to be properly digested and absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract. Pure, cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil may work as well. So will butter.
On the contrary, certain other oils, even those with omega 3 fatty acids, may not be suitable for someone with Crohn’s. Avoid canola, soy, corn, safflower or any other “vegetable” oils, for example, which are almost always used in fastfood and other restaurants. Avoid ghee as well — very inflammatory, creating damaging end-products that are not suitable for proper digestion. Avoid margarine, butter-substitutes (imitation) and trans fats as well.
As a bonus, I’ve heard eating an orange or drinking fresh lemon juice on an empty stomach in the mornings may help reverse some of the damages caused by unhealthy oils!
For me personally, the combination of guduchi-ginger and chaga as a tea resolved many of my digestive ailments the way no other supplement has in the last 30 years of me trying, having failed to find something other that worked. Also DGL had a great impact in preventing me from having food allergies. However, the combination of all these recommendations, I believe, will set the path in alleviating most of the symptoms associated with Crohn’s, in my humble opinion.
I have updated this article significantly as I learn more. If you are suffering from this disease, or whatever it is, you will most likely have to deal with bacterial overgrowth and fungal overgrowth (SIBO, SIFO, for example) as well. So consider this reality in conjunction with tackling Crohn’s disease.