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Finding Relief Naturally: 8 Natural Treatments for Crohn’s Disease to Help Manage Chronic Symptoms

12 June 2023

Key Points

  • Crohn’s disease is a debilitating illness that causes chronic symptoms like abdominal pain, diarrhoea, fatigue and weight loss.
  • There is no single cure for Crohn’s disease. Currently, treatment for the condition largely involves medication and surgery.
  • Natural remedies for Crohn’s flare-ups may be effective in helping manage chronic symptoms. These include probiotics, dietary changes and herbal supplements.
  • There’s strong evidence supporting the use of medical cannabis to help address Crohn’s symptoms holistically. From pain management to relieving inflammation, medical cannabis can relieve those suffering from chronic symptoms.
  • Given the nature of the condition, Crohn’s disease flare treatment should involve a combination of therapies. It’s important to note that these treatments are not a one-size-fits-all solution.

Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory condition that can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract. It can cause diarrhoea, fever and weight loss. The disease is often treated with medications that suppress or modify the immune system.

However, several natural remedies for Crohn’s disease may help relieve symptoms or even prevent flare-ups. In this article, we’ll look at some of the best Crohn’s disease natural remedies.

Here at Lyphe, we’re committed to helping patients find an alternative solution to their chronic conditions. Whether it’s Crohn’s disease or lupus, our medical cannabis experts have the expertise to find the best treatment for your condition. Contact Lyphe today to schedule an initial consultation!

1. Medical Cannabis

While traditional medications may offer some relief, many individuals living with Crohn’s disease seek treatments to manage symptoms holistically. One such alternative is medical cannabis.

A 2023 analysis of 76 patients from the UK Medical Cannabis Registry found that patients treated with medical cannabis showed short-term improvements in refractory symptoms of Crohn’s. The study also found that cannabis helps alleviate anxiety and depression in some patients, as well as improve their overall quality of life.

From pain relief to anti-inflammatory benefits, cannabis has shown to be a promising natural remedy for Crohn’s.

Reducing inflammation

Medical cannabis contains active compounds called cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD. These substances have both medicinal and therapeutic benefits thanks to their anti-inflammatory properties.

Research has shown that these compounds can interact with the endocannabinoid system or ECS. The ECS is a network of receptors that play a vital role in regulating mood, appetite, inflammation and more.

One study published in Pharmacology suggests that the mechanisms involved are unclear but most likely include actions on cannabinoid receptors 1 and 2. By reducing inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, medical cannabis may help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with Crohn’s disease.

Managing pain

Crohn’s disease can cause significant pain and discomfort, often resulting from inflammation and damage to the gastrointestinal tract. Medical cannabis is known for its pain-relieving properties. It’s widely used as an alternative medicine for Crohn’s disease to help manage pain without causing many of the unwanted side effects of pain medications.

Improving appetite and weight management

Weight loss and malnutrition are common concerns of individuals with Crohn’s disease. These symptoms arise due to a combination of inflammation, pain and reduced appetite.

Medical cannabis has been clinically used to help stimulate appetite and promote weight gain. As such, medical cannabis may help those with Crohn’s disease maintain a healthy weight. However, dosage is key to preventing the adverse effects of medical cannabis from outweighing its benefits.

Reducing stress and anxiety

Living with Crohn’s disease can be emotionally challenging. Medical cannabis may help alleviate stress and anxiety, allowing individuals with the condition better manage their emotional well-being and potentially reduce the frequency of flare-ups.

Many find the task of starting a new treatment plan intimidating. At Lyphe, we make the process of getting your medical cannabis card easy. We have a team of compassionate and knowledgeable professionals ready to answer all your questions. Book a consultation today!

2. Exercise

Exercise can provide various benefits for people with Crohn’s disease. Exercise can ease gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms that people with Crohn’s disease often experience. Additionally, exercise can help reduce stress and improve mood.

With regular exercise, patients can experience an overall improvement in symptoms. A study published in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine suggests that low-intensity exercise can improve the quality of life in patients with Crohn’s disease. The patients in this study performed 30-minute walks thrice per week for three months.

A review in the Journal of Crohn’s and Colitis suggests that aerobic activity and muscular resistance training greatly benefit people with the condition. Physical exercise has been shown to help with patients’ emotional and social states and even sleep quality.

3. Stress Management

One of the most overlooked aspects of managing Crohn’s disease is stress management. While stress does not cause Crohn’s disease, it can exacerbate the symptoms and contribute to flare-ups.

When stressed, our body releases hormones such as cortisol, leading to inflammation and a weakening of the immune system. This can further aggravate the inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, thus worsening the symptoms of the condition.

Stress also affects mood, which in turn impacts the patient’s ability to cope and function effectively. One study published in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases found an association between perceived stress and exacerbation of Crohn’s disease. More specifically, anxiety and depression were found to make symptoms worse.

Moreover, stress can indirectly impact Crohn’s disease by influencing lifestyle choices. For example, stress may cause a person to have poor eating habits (e.g., high-fat meals, overeating, skipping meals). This, in turn, can negatively affect gut health and overall well-being.

Luckily, there are several ways for Crohn’s disease sufferers to manage stress:

  • Practice mindfulness meditation: Mindfulness meditation is a technique that can help patients become more aware of their thoughts and feelings. Regular practice of meditation has been shown to reduce stress levels and improve the quality of life for most people, regardless of their chronic conditions.
  • Prioritise sleep: Poor sleep can exacerbate stress and weaken the immune system. Maintaining good sleep hygiene is crucial to stress management. Create a relaxing bedtime routine, maintain a consistent sleep schedule and ensure your sleep environment is conducive to rest.
  • Engage in regular exercise: Physical activity can help release endorphins and reduce cortisol levels. Aim to incorporate moderate exercise into your daily routine.
  • Cultivate a support network: Connecting with friends, family or support groups can provide emotional support and help manage stress. Sharing your experiences with others who understand can be therapeutic and help you feel less alone in your journey with Crohn’s disease.
  • Seek professional help: If stress becomes overwhelming, consider seeking help from a mental health professional. They can provide guidance and teach you effective stress management techniques tailored to your needs.

Incorporating stress reduction techniques can potentially reduce the frequency and severity of Crohn’s disease flare-ups. A study published in Behaviour Research and Therapy found that a stress management program reduced symptoms.

In the study, the researchers randomly assigned 45 patients to three groups: stress management, self-directed stress management and a control group. Those in the stress management group noted better outcomes in terms of tiredness, constipation and abdominal health. Even those in the self-directed stress management group saw improvements compared to the control group.

4. Probiotics

Probiotics are live microorganisms that confer benefits to the body when administered in adequate amounts. They are present in certain foods and available as dietary supplements.

For most people, probiotics are generally considered safe to consume. Probiotics may help maintain or increase the helpful bacteria in the gut, thus playing a role in keeping one’s immune system healthy.

There are various ways to incorporate more of this natural treatment for Crohn’s into one’s diet, including:

  • Consuming probiotic yoghurts and kefirs
  • Taking probiotic supplements or eating foods that contain them
  • Eating more fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles and tempeh.

Some studies suggest that probiotics might help manage the symptoms of Crohn’s disease by reducing inflammation and promoting balance in the gut microbiome. Probiotics may also help manage the health of the gastrointestinal immune system and reduce inflammation.

There’s evidence that probiotics induce remission of patients with gastrointestinal diseases, including ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s and pouchitis. In a 2014 meta-analysis published in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, researchers found that probiotics could be beneficial for maintaining remission in patients with such diseases. The analysis also suggests that probiotic treatment can significantly reduce the chances of a clinical relapse of symptoms.

However, the effectiveness of probiotics for Crohn’s disease is not yet conclusive, and some studies have shown mixed results. It is important to speak with a healthcare professional before taking probiotics to manage Crohn’s disease symptoms.

5. Prebiotics

Prebiotics are dietary fibres that selectively stimulate the growth of beneficial gut microbiota, which can help improve gut health. They’re indigestible forms of fibre that act as food for the good bacteria in your gut.

Many foods are high in prebiotics. Here are some examples:

  • Whole grains
  • Garlic and onions
  • Leafy greens
  • Legumes
  • Berries.

A daily dose of 2.5-10 grams of prebiotics is necessary to experience their health benefits. While there is scant evidence regarding the use of prebiotics alone in Crohn’s disease, these possible natural cures for Crohn’s disease have been found to have promising therapeutic potential.

Studies have shown that prebiotics can improve the gut microbiome composition in inflammatory bowel disease patients, including those with Crohn’s disease. A clinical study published in Gut found that 15 grams of natural prebiotic fibres (i.e., oligofructose and inulin) resulted in a reduction of symptoms.

Therefore, prebiotics can potentially help with Crohn’s disease by improving the composition of the gut microbiome and reducing inflammation. However, further research is needed to fully understand the efficacy of prebiotics in Crohn’s disease management.

6. Fish Oil

One of the more promising supplements for individuals living with Crohn’s disease is fish oil. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil has been shown to provide several health benefits. From reducing inflammation to improving digestive health, fish oil may be advantageous as a treatment for mild Crohn’s disease.

One of the primary characteristics of Crohn’s disease is chronic inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. By reducing inflammation, fish oil may help alleviate some of the symptoms experienced by individuals with Crohn’s disease.

A review published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews suggests that omega-3 fatty acids derived from fish oil may help in the remission of Crohn’s disease. However, the data remains inconclusive, and more research is needed to determine the efficacy of this Crohn’s disease natural cure.

7. Biofeedback

Biofeedback is a mind-body technique that controls body functions like heart rate, breathing patterns and muscle reactions. This method provides individuals with information about their body’s physiological responses and how to control them. 

In a biofeedback session, the individual is connected to electrical pads that measure body functions such as breathing, heart rate, muscle activity and more. This therapy may benefit people with Crohn’s disease by helping patients manage physical problems. Symptoms such as constipation, faecal incontinence, stress and anxiety are common among people with Crohn’s disease, and these symptoms may be alleviated by biofeedback.

8. Herbal treatments

Several herbal treatments may help with gastrointestinal conditions, including Crohn’s disease. A 2012 review suggests that the following herbal medicines may help with such conditions:

  • Green tea – polyphenols found in green tea have been found to reduce inflammation and improve symptoms.
  • Aloe vera – known for its soothing properties, this natural cure for Crohn’s disease also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help with gastrointestinal conditions.
  • Turmeric – the active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, has been found to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Curcumin may also reduce acid secretion from the stomach, thus reducing the chances of damaging the gastrointestinal lining.
  • Bromelain – commonly found in pineapples, bromelain is used as a digestive aid and blood thinner.

Conclusion – Crohn’s disease natural remedies

Living with Crohn’s disease can be a challenging journey. Natural remedies and holistic approaches can offer newfound hope and relief for those affected by this chronic condition. By integrating these alternative treatments, patients can potentially experience reduced inflammation, improved digestion and enhanced overall well-being.

Addressing Crohn’s disease with a holistic perspective can be a powerful approach. From the potential benefits of medical cannabis to the soothing effects of herbal teas, these eight natural remedies offer options for individuals seeking alternative paths to relief. Keep exploring and stay informed in your journey towards a healthier, happier life with Crohn’s disease.

Ready to start your healing journey for Crohn’s disease? At Lyphe, we help patients take the first step in their medical cannabis treatment plan. Book a consultation with one of our experts today and learn more about how medical cannabis can help you manage your symptoms!

Frequently Asked Questions

What natural herbs help Crohn’s disease?

Several natural herbs have been researched and suggested to help with Crohn’s disease. Medical cannabis, Boswellia serrata (Indian frankincense) and wormwood are herbal treatments for Crohn’s disease that can help with flare-ups and other symptoms.

What is the best remedy for Crohn’s disease?

While many treatments can manage various symptoms of Crohn’s, there is no single best treatment for the disease. Instead, a holistic approach is best, including diet, exercise and stress management.

What calms Crohn’s disease?

While there is no cure for Crohn’s disease, several medications can be used to manage the symptoms and reduce inflammation. Additionally, lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of flare-ups from occurring.

Can you treat Crohn’s disease without medication?

While there is no cure for Crohn’s disease, medical treatment can reduce inflammation and improve long-term prognosis by limiting complications. Lifestyle changes and natural treatments may also help improve one’s overall quality of life despite the condition.

Are probiotics good for Crohn’s?

There is some evidence that probiotics may help manage symptoms of Crohn’s disease, as bacteria play a key role in maintaining gut health. However, little scientific evidence is available on the effectiveness of probiotics in the specific treatment of Crohn’s.

References

Cámara, R.J.A., Schoepfer, A.M., Pittet, V., Begré, S., von Känel, R. and (2011), Mood and nonmood components of perceived stress and exacerbation of Crohn’s disease. Inflamm Bowel Dis, 17: 2358-2365. https://doi.org/10.1002/ibd.21623

Carlos Ayán Perez Pérez, Prescription of physical exercise in Crohn’s disease, Journal of Crohn’s and Colitis, Volume 3, Issue 4, December 2009, Pages 225–231, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.crohns.2009.08.006

García-Vega, E, and C Fernandez-Rodriguez. “A Stress Management Programme for Crohn’s Disease.” Behaviour Research and Therapy, vol. 42, no. 4, 2004, pp. 367–383., https://doi.org/10.1016/s0005-7967(03)00146-3.

Jun Shen, MD, PhD, Zhi-Xiang Zuo, PhD, Ai-Ping Mao, PhD, Effect of Probiotics on Inducing Remission and Maintaining Therapy in Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s Disease, and Pouchitis: Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials, Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, Volume 20, Issue 1, 1 January 2014, Pages 21–35, https://doi.org/10.1097/01.MIB.0000437495.30052.be

Ke F, Yadav PK, Ju LZ. Herbal medicine in the treatment of ulcerative colitis. Saudi J Gastroenterol. 2012 Jan-Feb;18(1):3-10. doi: 10.4103/1319-3767.91726. PMID: 22249085; PMCID: PMC3271691.

Lev‐Tzion R, Griffiths AM, Ledder O, Turner D. Omega 3 fatty acids (fish oil) for maintenance of remission in Crohn’s disease. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2014, Issue 2. Art. No.: CD006320. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD006320.pub4.

Lindsay JO, Whelan K, Stagg AJ, Gobin P, Al-Hassi HO, Rayment N, Kamm MA, Knight SC, Forbes A. Clinical, microbiological, and immunological effects of fructo-oligosaccharide in patients with Crohn’s disease. Gut. 2006 Mar;55(3):348-55. doi: 10.1136/gut.2005.074971. 

Nishaanth Dalavaye, Simon Erridge, Martha Nicholas, Manaswini Pillai, Lara Bapir, Carl Holvey, Ross Coomber, James J Rucker, Jonathan Hoare & Mikael H Sodergren (2023) The effect of medical cannabis in inflammatory bowel disease: analysis from the UK Medical Cannabis Registry, Expert Review of Gastroenterology & Hepatology, 17:1, 85-98, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/17474124.2022.2161046

Schicho, Rudolf, and Martin Storr. “Cannabis Finds Its Way into Treatment of Crohn’s Disease.” Pharmacology, vol. 93, no. 1-2, 2013, pp. 1–3., https://doi.org/10.1159/000356512.

Author: Alex
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Alex Frost, Marketing Manager at Lyphe Group, brings a diverse and creative background to his role. Prior to joining Lyphe, he spent five years as a freelance illustrator, where he not only honed his artistic and conceptual skills but also demonstrated his prowess in digital marketing. This hands-on experience provided him with valuable insights and a deep understanding of the intricacies of digital marketing and social media algorithms. Alex's marketing journey kicked off at The Sports Trust, where he managed large-scale events and marketing. At Lyphe Group, Alex applies this wealth of diverse experience to innovate and shape the narrative in cannabis marketing. His blend of artistic creativity, digital marketing acumen, and a literary foundation make him a dynamic force in the ever-evolving landscape of cannabis branding and promotion.

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