Ulcerative Colitis is a disease in which the lining of the large intestine is overheated and becomes damaged. This can be described as a challenge of this era.
It is a very difficult disease to manage, with inexplicable causes, a short period of remission, and a return with increased strength when the situation is right, sometimes submissive and sometimes resistant to medication. Ayurvedic texts describe a group of diseases called Atisara (dysentery). The symptoms of ulcerative colitis described in modern science are closely related to some of the symptoms of dysentery subtypes described in Ayurvedic texts. It has been my clinical experience that the treatment principles of these sub-disciplines are very effective in overcoming the shortcomings of modern treatments and restoring health.
A basic principle to consider for treatment is the examination of the patient’s characteristics, whether the stool is raw (undigested) or mature (digested). Raw or undigested diarrhoea is characterized by excessively foul-smelling, infrequent, watery stools. A condition with the opposite symptoms is called mature dysentery. Symptoms of ulcerative colitis should be compared to vata sthanagata pitta. That means vata and pitta should be treated with their respective importance.
Frequent passing of stools with sputum or blood is the main feature in the active stage of the disease. In cases of Ama (undigested food in stools), Graahi medicines (stool tightening) should be avoided and Amapachana medicines (which are able to digest the undigested food) and easily digest food preparations should be adopted. Otherwise, the diseases like Pleeha Vruddhi (Splenomegaly), Paandu (Anaemia), Aanaham (Gastrouble), Prameha (Diabetes Mellitus), Kushta (Skin Diseases), Udara (Ascites), Jwara (Fever), Arsa (Piles), Shoola (Colic Pain), Hridgraham (Heart tightness), etc can happen and that may lead to death also.
Agnideepana (increases digestive fire), Amapachana (digests the undigested food), Graahi (tightens stool), Stambhanam (stops bleeding), Dhaatu poshanam (nourishment of body tissues) and Satwavajaya chikitsa (mental happiness treatment like counselling, meditation etc) are the remedies for this disease. After purificatory procedures, Anuvaasana Vasti (Oil Enema) and Piccha Vasti (Slimi Enema) are very useful in mild and moderate stages of the disease for bleeding, diarrhoea and abdominal pain of ulcerative colitis. Slimi enema is very beneficial in the severe stage of ulcerative colitis. Some applications of Putapaka (a method of preparation of medicine in Ayurveda) have also been found to be very effective in patients with chronic bloody diarrhoea without cramping or pain.
As the disease process of ulcerative colitis includes anxiety and depression, patients need proper counselling at all stages of the disease. Experience has shown that physical therapy along with physical therapy, Harshanakriya (mindfulness therapy) and relaxation is very effective.
Intestinal dysbiosis can also be corrected with natural probiotics to improve function and the immune system. It is helpful in reducing swelling and inhibiting the interaction of foreign bacteria. Thakram (buttermilk) is the best probiotic, that helps to maintain the intestinal microflora of the colon. The regimen should be followed very strictly during and after the treatment process.