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The usual treatment of colitis with suppressive drugs is based on the assumption that colitis is due to germ infection, which it is not. The suppressive drugs drive back into the system the toxic matter in the colon which nature is endeavoring to eliminate in the form of mucus. They suppress the symptoms temporarily, without removing the cause. In such cases, the symptoms recur and colitis becomes chronic. Plain warm water or warm water with a little olive oil used as washout is the only method of softening and removing the accumulations of hardened matter sticking to the walls of the colon.
The diet plays an important part in the treatment of colitis. It is advisable to observe a juice fast for five days or so in most cases of colitis. The juices may be diluted with a little boiled water. Papaya juice, raw cabbage and carrot juices are especially beneficial. Citrus juices should be avoided. The bowels should be cleansed daily with a warm-water enema.
After the juice fast, the patient should gradually adopt a diet of small, frequent meals of soft cooked or steamed vegetables, rice, and well-ripened fruits like banana, papaya, yoghurt and home-made cottage cheese. Sprouted seeds and grains, whole wheat bread and raw vegetables may be added gradually to this diet after about 10 days. Tender coconut water is highly beneficial as it is soothing to the soft mucosa of the colon. Cooked apple also aids the healing of ulcerative conditions because of its ample concentration of iron and phosphorus. All foods must be eaten slowly and chewed thoroughly.
Foods which should be excluded from the diet are white sugar, white bread and white flour products, highly seasoned foods, highly salted foods, strong tea, coffee and alcoholic beverages and foods cooked in aluminium pans.
Vitamins and proteins are vital in the prevention and treatment of colitis. The colon is lined with mucous membrane, which requires, Vitamin A for its healthy maintenance. When the mucous surface of the colon is deprived of this vitamin, it gradually deteriorates and becomes sensitive, spongy, and ulcerated. During illness, the need for Vitamin A is greatly increased because the stored supply is rapidly exhausted. Vitamins of the B group are lacking in the modern dietary of refined and processed foods. As a result, stomach disorders arise which have an adverse effect upon the colon. Vitamin C is required for strengthening the connective tissue in which the cells are embedded, and also the walls of blood vessels. Calcium is of value too, in relieving the spasms in the intestines which occur in some forms of colitis.
The patient should also take protein-rich foods, as otherwise the muscular walls and ligaments will weaken and the colon will be inadequately supported. As a consequence, food will remain undigested, waste products will accumulate in the colon, and the subsequent use of laxatives to remove them will cause irritation and lead to colitis.
Ripe bananas are ideal in the treatment of ulcerative colitis, being bland, smooth, easily digested and slightly laxative. They relieve acute symptoms and promote the healing process.
An effective remedy for ulcerative colitis is the use of buttermilk. It is the residual milk left after the fat has been removed from yoghurt by churning. Buttermilk enema twice a week is also soothing and helps in re-installing a healthy flora in the colon.
Drumstick alleviates colitis. A teaspoon of fresh leaf juice, mixed with an equal quantity of honey and a glass of tender coconut water, is given two or three times daily as a herbal medicine.
Rice has a very low fibre content, and is, therefore, extremely soothing in colitis. A thick groal of rice mixed with a glass of buttermilk and a ripe banana, given twice a day, forms a very nutritious, well-balanced diet in this disease.