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There are two major types of colitis: ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel syndrome. Although similar in symptoms, the two forms of colitis have different possible complications. Colitis can either be acute or chronic.

Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory, chronic disease which deteriorates the mucosa of the large colon. Most often, the inflammation begins at the rectum and extends up through the colon. The inflammation can progress until ulcerations and, eventually, abscesses develop. The intensity and progression of the disorder is not uniform. The disease can be mild and localized, or excruciatingly painful and perforated. Sudden attacks followed by periods of remission are typical.

See Also:
Irritable bowel syndrome


Ulcerative colitis
Bacterial infection
Overproduction of enzymes which destroy mucous membrane
Familial predisposition
Emotional stress
Autoimmune reactions such as arthritis

Signs & Symptoms

Ulcerative colitis
Recurrent bloody diarrhea often containing blood and pus
Spastic rectum and anus
Abdominal pain
Weight loss

Nutritional Supplements

Structure & Function: Intestinal Health

General Supplements

Calcium 500 - 1,000 mg200 - 500 mg
Fiber3 - 5 tbsp2 - 3 tbsp
Vitamin A10,000 - 20,000 IU5,000 - 10,000 IU
Vitamin E400 - 800 IU100 - 400 IU
Zinc Chelate20 - 30 mg10 - 20 mg


Calcium is recommended to be taken in the form of: Calcium Pantothenate.

One particular form of fiber has been singled out: Glucomannan.

Note: All amounts are in addition to those supplements having a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). Due to individual needs, one must always be aware of a possible undetermined effect when taking nutritional supplements. If any disturbances from the use of a particular supplement should occur, stop its use immediately and seek the care of a qualified health care professional.

Dietary Considerations

Acute colitis
Should be treated with intravenous fluids or a Clear Liquid Diet as this diet replaces fluids lost through diarrhea, with minimal irritation to the gastrointestinal system.

Chronic colitis
Is a symptom of an underlying condition. Nutritional management will depend on the primary illness; in general, chronic colitis can be treated with a Low Fiber Diet as well as with calcium and zinc supplements.

Ulcerative colitis
May be of acute or chronic symptomatology. During the acute episode, intravenous fluids or a Clear Liquid Diet are administered. After acute episode subsides, measures are similar to those of chronic colitis: the individual should adhere to a Low Fiber Diet and take multivitamin supplementation. The Low Fiber Diet should be high in calories and high quality proteins such as egg, meat and cheese. Protein is needed to replace protein lost in blood, and as exudate from open intestinal ulcers.

The following symptom-provoking foods should be restricted in an Elimination Diet:

VegetablesHot drinks and foods
JuicesCold drinks and foods

Homeopathic Remedy

Colitis - General

1. Mercurius dulcis6C to 15C
2.* Allium sativum15C
3. Arsenicum Album15C

Colitis - Ulcerative

1. Carbo vegetabilis30C
2.* Nitricum acidum6C, long time
3. Ferrum metallicum6C

Colitis - Chrohn's Disease

1.* Nitricum acidum6C long term use
2. Carbo vegetabilis30C
3.* Nux vomica30C

Treatment Schedule

Doses cited are to be administered on a 3X daily schedule, unless otherwise indicated. Dose usually continued for 2 weeks. Liquid preparations usually use 8-10 drops per dose. Solid preps are usually 3 pellets per dose. Children use 1/2 dose.


X = 1 to 10 dilution - weak (triturition)
C = 1 to 100 dilution - weak (potency)
M = 1 to 1 million dilution (very strong)
X or C underlined means it is most useful potency

Asterisk (*) = Primary remedy. Means most necessary remedy. There may be more than one remedy - if so, use all of them.


Boericke, D.E., 1988. Homeopathic Materia Medica.

Coulter, C.R., 1986. Portraits of Homeopathic Medicines.

Kent, J.T., 1989. Repertory of the Homeopathic Materia Medica.

Koehler, G., 1989. Handbook of Homeopathy.

Shingale, J.N., 1992. Bedside Prescriber.

Smith, Trevor, 1989. Homeopathic Medicine.

Ullman, Dana, 1991. The One Minute (or so) Healer.

Herbal Approaches


Marshmallow root
Slippery Elm Bark (Ulmus fulva)

Note: The misdirected use of an herb can produce severely adverse effects, especially in combination with prescription drugs. This Herbal information is for educational purposes and is not intended as a replacement for medical advice.


Ginger compresses may provide symptomatic relief.

Marshmallow root is used to soothe tissues and aid healing. (1,000 mg t.i.d. between meals.) Slippery Elm Bark is another option.

An extensive list of herbal irritants (i.e. herbs to avoid when you have colitis) has been compiled by Newall (1996):

AlfalfaIrritant, canavanine in seeds
ArnicaIrritant to mucous membranes
AsafetidaIrritant gum,
Blue Cohosh, Irritant to mucous membranes;
spasmogenic in vitro
Blue FlagIrritant gum and oil
Bogbean (Buck Bean)Irritant to GI tract
BoldoIrritant oil
BuchuIrritant oil
CapsicumCapsaicinoids, mucosal irritants
Cassia (see Cinnamon)
CinnamonIrritant to mucous membranes, oil
CowslipIrritant saponins
Drosera (Sundew)Plumbagin. irritant
EucalyptusIrritant Oil
False Unicorn RootLarge doses may cause vomiting
FigwortPurgative effect
Garlic PlantRaw clove
Ground Ivy Irritant oil
GuaiacumAvoid if inflammatory condition
Horse chestnutSaponins, contra-indicated in renal disease
Horse radishIrritant oil
HydrangeaHydrangin, possible gastro-enteritis
Jamaican DogwoodIrritant to humans
JuniperIrritant oil
Lemon VerbenaIrritant oil
Lime FlowerIrritant to kidney
NettleTea irritant to stomach
Parsley PlantIrritant oil
PennyroyalToxic & irritant oil
PilewortIrritant sap
Pleurisy RootGI irritant
PulsatillaIrritant to mucous membranes
Queen's DelightDiterpenes
Skunk CabbageInflammatory & blistering to skin


Hoffmann, D: The New Holistic Herbal. Element, 1983. Third edition 1990.

Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-care Professionals. London: The Pharmaceutical Press, 1996.

Aromatherapy - Essential Oils

It may be difficult to distinguish between an inflammatory condition (which colitis strictly speaking is) and an infection.

Chamomile Essence is noted for its gentle, soothing effect.

Intestinal infections:

Basil Essence,Bergamot Essence,
Cinnamon EssenceLemongrass Essence,
(Red) Thyme Essence.

Two folk favorites, which have been applied to every gastro-intestinal condition through the ages, include:

Ginger Essence,Peppermint Essence.

Related Health Conditions

BleedingIrritable bowel syndrome



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