Case Study: Healing Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease)

“I would like to present a case to illustrate my approach to treating inflammatory bowel disease:

Russell was a thirty-two-year-old male with severe ulcerative colitis, an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks the colon, leading to inflammation and loose stools.

Despite being on the anti-inflammatory drug ‘mesalamine’, he still had elevated levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a blood marker that indicated persistent inflammation. He had eight to ten bowel movements per day with blood and mucus in his stools. He had been on a strict Paleo diet for six months, a diet that consisted of eggs, red meat, fermented dairy products, sauerkraut, and a limited number of vegetables.

After talking to him I realized that he had excess Pitta, which was manifesting as inflammation in his colon and causing bloody diarrhea as well as a frequent sour taste in the mouth. I realized the foods that he was eating were all very hot in terms of their qualities and properties. While meat, eggs, and dairy products are wonderful nutrient-dense foods, in his case they were actually not beneficial because of their heating properties.

I had him start a modified Paleovedic Detox diet without meat, eggs, or dairy products. For three weeks, he consumed bitter greens such as arugula, spinach, and kale, which have very cooling, energetic properties. I also encouraged him to eat khichadi once a day, which he was open to doing even though it contained rice (which is not strictly Paleo by some definitions), because of its soothing effect on the gut. I encouraged him to liberally incorporate turmeric into his cooking. I also advised him to temporarily reduce consumption of sour foods such as sauerkraut because they can potentially aggravate Pitta. Lastly, I recommended that he take a supplement containing Boswellia serrata, a herb that balances Pitta and is often used to reduce inflammation.

At a three-month follow-up visit, he reported that his symptoms had improved by 80 percent. He was having two to three bowel movements per day and there was no blood or mucus present in his stool. He was no longer experiencing the sour taste in his mouth. After continuing to work with me over the next year, he was weaned off mesalamine and was able to control his symptoms using diet and select supplements.
Therefore, we can see that a Pitta pacifying diet is absolutely essential in inflammatory bowel disease.

A Pitta-pacifying diet should include:

Turmeric should be incorporated liberally in both powder and supplemental form.
Boswellia – Reduces excess Pitta.
Shatavari – As part of a cooling herbal formula which reduces excess Pitta.
Aloe vera juice

The fundamental role of changes in the intestinal bacteria may need to be addressed with the strategies that we reviewed earlier during the presentation, such as using probiotics, prebiotics, and fermented food to shift the beneficial bacteria in the microbiome.”

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2 comments

  1. Thank you for this article, it has many helpful recommendations. I would like to use ayurveda to solve my colitis. I have mucus ulcerative colitis though… almost never blood. Would you consider this an excess pitta issue as well and recommend the same protocol? Currently I am drinking golden milk with rice milk daily and it seems to help some. Also, I began taking triphala yesterday. I don’t see that recommended here. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

    • Hello Jenna. I have ulcerative colitis too, I have been experimenting on myself. Few things I tried and it gave me the right healthy stool. I take fennel seed with mishri or you can just do fennel seed soak in water over night and in morning I grind and squeeze out the water and drink, its cools and removes acidity. I do kapalbhati yoga, start slowly and increased to 20 min sessions taking few sec or min break un between when I feel. Doing it in empty stomach. And the best I take bael fruit powder, I buy in kilos from india, 40 grams to 2 liters and heat till its 1 liter left, I drink 4 ounce every 2 3 hours. Since you have no blood just muscus you can try bael fruits, triphala ( it balance all dosha) and kapalbhati and another yoga related to only digestion. In some cases kapalbhati alone was able to helps a lot but diet what you eat is also important.

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