Crohn's disease is a painful disease characterised by inflammation of the small intestine, usually at the joint where it joins the large intestine, called the ileum. Symptoms of Crohn's disease include pain, diarrhoea, fever and weight loss. Chinese herbal medicine offers many remedies for the causes and symptoms of Crohn's disease.
In Chinese herbal medicine, treatment of Crohn's disease involves a combination of a bland diet with antibiotic and anti-inflammatory herbal treatments. Remedies for Crohn's disease are available in many blends, including Zhen Ren Yang Zang Tang; a treatment containing cinnamon, nutmeg, ginseng and liquorice root; and Six Gentlemen Tea Pills, also known as Xiang Sha Liu Jun Wan.
A multifunctional healing herb, liquorice root is often combined with other herbs to treat digestive conditions. According to Alan Keith Tillotson, PhD ,in "The One Earth Global Sourcebook," liquorice root contains compounds called phytoestrogens, natural components with powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. For digestive disturbances, "One Earth" suggests 2g of liquorice powder per day to help strengthen the intestines. In Crohn's disease, strengthening the intestines is important due to the intestinal damage that can be caused by the disease.
Ginger root is a common digestive aid that has been used in many cultures across the centuries to improve digestion and relieve stomach pain. Though it is often prescribed in the form of a ginger root powder mixed with honey paste, ginger is most effective on Crohn's disease when it is eaten fresh. In addition to alleviating the pain and inflammation of Crohn's disease, ginger root can also help strengthen the immune system and protect you against parasites and intestinal infections.
In herbal medicine, fennel seed is prescribed to strengthen digestion. Fennel seed is a common cooking herb that is usually used to season soups or poultry. "One Earth" says fennel seed is helpful in reducing the inflammation and flatulence that can be an uncomfortable effect of Crohn's disease. In Chinese herbal medicine, fennel seeds are called Xiao hui Xiang, and are best taken chewed by the handful as needed for emergent digestive and flatulence conditions.
"One Earth" in Traditional Chinese Medicine describes how Ginseng root strengthens the Qi, which is the vital force. Ginseng is an overall healing herb that invigorates your body's DNA and RNA production processes, providing faster healing after an attack of Crohn's disease. Ginseng root--also known as Panax ginseng or Ren shen in Chinese herbal medicine--is usually prescribed in a dried powder extract with a dose of one to three grams a day. Tillotson warns that ginseng can disturb your sleep if taken near bedtime, and ginseng is not a good herbal treatment for a Crohn's disease patient who has a high fever.
Though interactions have been reported by people taking digoxin and liquorice root, studies of the two drugs have been unable to verify an interaction, according to Tillotson. Nevertheless, if you are taking digoxin, talk to your doctor before including liquorice root in your dietary supplement regimen.
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