Herbal Medicines For Celiac Disease

Article by Franchis Adam

Celiac disease is an intolerance to gluten, normally hereditary but occasionally the result of a bout of gastroenteritis in childhood. The term is derived from the Greek word koiliakos, which means “suffering in the bowels.” As far as is known, there is an inability of the cells lining the upper part of the small intestine to break down gluten, which is a protein found in wheat, oats, barley, and rye. The disease reduces the intestines’ ability to absorb nutritive substances from the diet and so is a cause of malabsorption. It is a condition that presents itself in small children, but is only diagnosed by a biopsy, which means removing a small sample of tissue from the colon in order to analyze it. Tests for it using blood and urine are currently being developed.

Celiac disease is less prevalent in children who are breastfed or introduced late to foods containing gluten. Many complementary practitioners believe that restoring the balance of beneficial bacteria in the bowel and improving the efficiency of the immune system will provide a cure. Constitutional treatment by a homeopath may also work to make the sufferer less sensitive to gluten – to the point that a gluten-free diet may be finally unnecessary.

Signs of possible celiac disease include an inability to gain weight, constipation, or, alternatively, bulky, smelly, frequent bowel movements, decreased muscle tone, protruding stomach, and general lethargy. The only effective treatment is to remove gluten from the diet, permanently or temporarily, but this must be done under the supervision of a physician or practitioner. Some sufferers outgrow their intolerance and can eventually return to eating a normal diet.

Nontropical sprue is a disease that occurs in adults. It is very like celiac disease and is treated in the same way, by excluding all gluten from the diet.

Symptoms often mimic other problems such as lactose intolerance (a sensitivity to the sugar in milk), as well as allergies, cystic fibrosis, immune deficiencies, or emotional problems. It is important that these are ruled out first, before removing gluten from the diet.

Treatment

Diet and Nutrition Breastfeed babies if possible: research indicates a possible link between celiac disease and formula-feeding. Avoid foods containing gluten for the first year of the child’s life, including bread, cookies, cakes, and gravy thickened with flour. Switch to rice crackers and corn products. Avoid commercially prepared foods that often contain flour. Read all ingredient labels carefully. An allergy to milk may be involved in this condition: avoid cows’ milk where possible. Eat fresh fish, vegetables, fruits, and nuts.

Consult a qualified practitioner/therapist for:

Herbal Medicine

A herbalist may prescribe slippery elm, marshmallow, camomile, or papain. Research indicates that papain – an extract of papaya, which is available as a supplement – may break down the gluten so that it does no harm.

Read out for home remedies. Check out pregnancy and homeopathic remedies

Related Celiac Articles

Gluten Free Handbook