Natural Remedies for Ulcerative Colitis

5 min. read

Written by:

Ulcerative colitis is a serious inflammation of the lower bowel. This inflammatory bowel disease seems to be hereditary and usually begins between the ages of 15 and 40. Ulcerative colitis is rare in most populations that haven't adopted the typical "Western" diet that is high in refined carbohydrates and fats and low in fiber. And in some cases, ulcerative colitis has been linked to allergic reactions to certain foods. Corn, wheat, and milk products seem to be the most common culprits.

With ulcerative colitis, the inflammation of the lower bowel surface often results in ulcerations that lead to profuse bleeding, along with other symptoms including severe, chronic diarrhea and bloody, mucus-laden stools. If the condition persists, the individual will suffer from fat, protein, vitamin, and mineral deficiencies. If ulcerative colitis continues for 10 years or more, studies have shown the risk of developing colon cancer is almost 200 times greater than that of the general population.

Most doctors in this country rely on powerful drugs to treat ulcerative colitis, even though their side effects can be substantial and their success rate is relatively low.

My plan below, however, consists of proven all-natural therapies, along with a few additional alternative remedies to try for especially stubborn cases. Of course, because ulcerative colitis can turn severe in some instances, it should always be monitored by a doctor.

Cut Refined Carbs

To begin management of your ulcerative colitis, you need to eliminate refined carbohydrates (sugar) from your diet. Refined sugars can cause a couple of major problems. First, sugar can create an abnormally high pH problem (too acidic) in the lower bowel. This, in turn, disrupts the normal bacterial flora in the colon and can be a reason for chronic diarrhea.

Second, sugar helps feed certain forms of bacteria and yeast-like fungi such as Candida, which can get out of control and cause systemic infections.

Identify Any Allergens

In some cases, ulcerative colitis has been related to allergic reactions to certain foods. As stated earier, corn, wheat, and milk products seem to be the most common culprits. Elimination of these foods in the beginning of treatment may be required. 

Fill Up With Fiber

Gradually institute a high-complex carbohydrate, high-fiber diet. Include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains (excluding wheat and corn initially because they are potential allergens).

Seek Out Nutritional Support

Due to the chronic diarrhea and malabsorption issues that stem from ulcerative colitis, most sufferers will quickly become deficient in vitamins and minerals. Therefore, a high dosage multi-mineral/vitamin—one offering four or five times the RDA of most nutrients—should be taken. Extra vitamin C should also be taken, but not in quantities that could further irritate the lower bowel. Exact amounts have to be determined on an individual basis.

Add Oils

Increase your intake of omega-3 oils, such as those found in fish and flaxseed oil, as they have been shown to help reduce the inflammatory process. I recommend between 1 and 2 tablespoons of flaxseed oil daily.

Consider Protein

For long-standing cases of ulcerative colitis, I would suggest trying a predigested protein powder to correct any amino acid deficiency. You can find these powders at practically any health food store. Take about 15 grams (that's a little over one-half an ounce) three times daily.

Accelerate Healing With Aloe

Aloe vera gel and liquid chlorophyll, have been shown to be quite effective in speeding the healing of ulcerative colitis. When considering aloe vera gel, look for "whole" aloe vera gel, not products with aloe juice in them. I suggest taking about 2 ounces, six to eight times a day, on an empty stomach. Stick with this regimen for several weeks, even if your ulcerative colitis symptoms stop before then.

To make the aloe vera even more effective, add a teaspoon of liquid chlorophyll every time you take the aloe vera. 

Restore Colon Balance

Many of the treatments for ulcerative colitis, natural and pharmaceutical, address the problem of irritation to the bowel, but few are geared toward re-establishing the beneficial bacteria in the bowel.

I've seen remarkable turn-arounds in patients who have used retention enemas containing only 1) lukewarm water, 2) yogurt with active live cultures, and 3) pulverized lactic acid yeast tablets.

To make the enema solution, you can mix one quart of lukewarm (not hot) distilled water (not chlorinated tap water) with eight ounces of room temperature plain yogurt and 6 to 8 pulverized tablets of lactic acid yeast. Use half the solution as an enema and retain the fluid as long as possible, then repeat with the rest of the solution.

This procedure can be repeated two or three times a week for a month, if necessary. Normally, you’ll get some relief from your ulcerative colitis symptoms after the first or second treatment.

In the few cases where the above steps don't relieve symptoms in a few days, consider using an enema of butyric acid. Butyric acid is naturally produced by cells in the colon through the fermentation of fiber, and is the main source of energy for the cells lining the large intestine. Studies have repeatedly shown that butyric acid enemas can reduce diarrhea, inflammation, and the discharge of blood.

Try Bromelain

Bromelain is a protolytic enzyme (one that breaks down proteins) with strong anti-inflammatory powers that can help calm the lower bowel. It has also been shown to be effective at preventing the attachment of the bacteria Escherichia coli and the infection that often follows. Simply taking a couple of bromelain tablets with each meal can help resolve ulcerative colitis symptoms.

There are dozens of different brands of bromelain available at health food stores, but determining their strength is difficult because of the way they are labeled. So start with a couple of tablets with each meal and adjust that dosage depending on your symptoms. You should begin to see results within a week.

Have Some Honey

Researchers at the Chandigarh Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research have discovered that eating regular doses of manuka honey can help in cases of irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis. They induced the digestive ailments in experimental rats, then fed the animals manuka honey. At examination, the rats that received the honey showed greatly reduced levels of inflammation in the bowel, and improved values for cell changes and antioxidant levels.

The dose used in the studies was 5 grams per kilogram of body weight daily. (The rats didn't weigh a kilogram, though.) For a 100-pound person this would work out to about half a pound of manuka honey a day, obviously a huge (and costly) amount for a person to be consuming regularly. I would suggest starting with a much smaller amount, a teaspoon a day, to see what effect the honey has on your symptoms. You can increase the amount if needed.

Dr. David Williams

Meet Dr. David Williams

For more than 25 years, Dr. David Williams has traveled the world researching alternative therapies for our most common health problems—therapies that are inexpensive and easy to use, and therapies that treat the root cause of a problem rather than just its symptoms.

More About Dr. David Williams