Natural Approaches to Aid Crohn’s Disease


Crohn’s Disease is part of a group of disorders known as Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. It causes chronic inflammation within bowel tracts. These diseases include, but are not limited to Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. Inflammation with Crohn’s can extend through several layers of bowel tissue, create bowel obstructions, ulcers, and fistulas producing major digestion issues.

Crohn’s is typically diagnosed by age 30, affecting between 0.2% and 0.3% of adult Americans, nearly one million people. The diagnosis codes for various forms of Crohn’s are between K50.0-K50.919 on the ICD-10. Crohn’s is primarily thought to be brought on by hereditary or bacterial conditions though the cause is not really known.

Crohn’s has no apparent cure, but there are treatments to relieve the inflammation and pressure. Doctors prescribe various medication regimens and sometimes even opt for surgery. Neither of these are ideal most of the time as symptoms return or leave people with side-effects from medication. Furthermore, many anti-inflammatory medications are steroids, which can have negative long-term effects. There are many ways to relieve the serious complications without traditional medication, though all methods still should be discussed with a doctor first.


To go along with the persistent physical problems, there is also a major risk of developing an anxiety disorder. Females are four times more likely to develop an anxiety disorder than males who have the same inflammatory bowel disorders. Physical conditions affect mental health. Moreover, side-effects of mental health issues may be reflected in physical health. Doctors can not medicate physical symptoms of a patient without considering the mental state. Medications taken to relieve physical disorders may interfere with mental ability, while medications for mental disorders may interfere with our physical condition.

It’s important to care about the anxiety as well as the inflammation. Choosing the correct therapy should take both mental and physical states into account. Though supplements are not evaluated by the FDA for effectiveness, they are at least judged to be safe, which more or less means that these medications won’t hurt most conditions. The trick then is to find which ones work for the person in question.

There are numerous supplements for anxiety and depression. These include folic acid, valerian, ginkgo biloba and omega 3 fatty acids.

Diet Modification

The first response to controlling Crohn’s symptoms is typically by diet. The Mayo Clinic advises to stay away from dairy, fiber, high fat foods, spicy foods, booze and caffeine. Small meals aid in digestion and multivitamins may help fill in the gaps of nutrition. Keeping a food diary is a good way to make sure that the proper nutrients are balanced with intestinal conditions.  

Emotional and Physical Support

dealing with anxiety and physical ailments together is quite crippling. Friends and family can help make life pleasant for the person, by cooking meals or helping clean to take some of the stress out of life. An ear for complaints is also a huge help. Here are some tips to remember for people dealing with anxiety. Sufferers should also be encouraged to seek therapy. Mental issues, as well as the physical issues of Crohn’s have better and worse periods. Just because something isn’t a problem one moment doesn’t mean it won’t return at any time.

Alternative Medicine

Healthline mentions some common alternative therapies such as probiotics, prebiotics, fish oil, acupuncture, biofeedback and herbal remedies. However, the Mayo Clinic notes that such supplements show little to no results. Here are a few other alternative therapies to alleviate symptoms:

Marshmallow root contains polysaccharide, which helps line the stomach to cut down on ulcers and other intestinal disorders while giving the immune system a boost.

Aloe vera is commonly taken for most any ailment, but also has polysaccharides to aid in digestive problems.

Turmeric, a spice related to ginger, has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

Iron and vitamin B12 are both valuable in establishing more and healthier red blood cells, which helps fight off anemia and malnutrition.

Medium chain triglycerides (MCT), found in tropical products like coconut oil, camphor tree drupes and palm kernel oil, contain fatty acids that provide quick energy that is easily broken down. Since it requires less absorption, it is easier on the body and works well fighting malnutrition, a common side effect of Crohn’s.

Barley grass is currently quite popular in health food circles and features digestive enzymes to combat gastrointestinal problems. Barley grass does, however, have a high fiber content, which may complicate Crohn’s symptoms, which is why it is always recommended to get a professional’s opinion.

If none of these or other remedies work, there are two other aces in the hole that are often not acknowledged.   

Worm Therapy

Pig worms have been shown to reduce chronic diarrhea in monkeys. They also can reduce inflammation in the colon and intestines. Helminthes, as these worms are called, used to be common in human digestive tracts. The developed world has taken a dislike to them because they are parasites that can cause infections. On the flipside, along with the demise of the worms, autoimmune diseases have consistently increased during the last 50 years. Helminthes work to restore immune regulatory networks by controlling levels of gut bacteria and stimulating mucus production. Gross, parasitic or not, this method would seem to be better than living with Crohn’s.


A study of people treating Crohn’s by smoking marijuana showed total remission in 5 of 11 people. This doesn’t seem to be a fluke. Many other examples are out there. A teacher from Germany used hemp oil to deal with Crohn’s. Within days, the apparently incurable disease and all the medication’s side effects had disappeared and at her next checkup the doctor concurred that the Crohn’s was gone. Even the National Institute of Health conceded that cannabis may be beneficial as an anti-inflammatory in bowels, and they note that it has been used as such since ancient times.

While Crohn’s and all the problems that come with it are debilitating and medications make it worse, there is hope. That hope appears to lie in alternative medicine and life style. With a little persistence, this disease can be handled.

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Daniel is a freelance writer and observationist, former English teacher and failed comedian. His interests include mindfulness, poverty, the environment and support for disenfranchised people worldwide. He is an ardent champion of terrestrial, freeform radio and a DJ at Radio Boise.