What is Ulcerative Colitis and How it is Treated?

Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a disease that causes sores (ulcers) to form inside of the digestive tract (including the colon).

The symptoms of UC include stomach cramping, weight loss, diarrhea and stomach bleeds. When someone has UC there are times when sores are not being formed, this is remission. When someone in remission begins to have symptoms again, this is relapse.

UC affects patients in different ways. Some may have long periods of remission and others may not. Either way, trying to keep patients out of relapse is a huge target for doctors.

Doctors prescribe the anti-inflammatory drug mesalazine (Pentasa/Lialda/Canasa) more than anything else in order to prevent relapse of UC. However, past research as shown that alternative treatment with an herbal mixture of myrrh, chamomile and coffee charcoal might also work as a treatment.

What was studied?

Patients with UC in remission were split into two groups. For a total of one year, one group was given the drug mesalazine (49 people) and the other group was given the herbal mixture (47 people). Researchers then recorded when a patient from either group had a relapse and compared the differences between them. At the end of the study, both groups had similar numbers with 45% of mesalazine patients and 53% of  herbal mixture patients having relapses.

There are certain proteins that cause inflammatory response. When you have ulcerative colitis, your body  makes more than you need . The researchers, measured these amount of these proteins in both groups and found that both groups of patients had equal amounts.

Are there side effects when taking mesalazine or the herbal mixture?  

It was found that both groups had similar amounts of all of the side effects listed below:

  Mesalazine Herbal Mixture (myrrh, chamomile, coffee charcoal)
headache 34% 38%
common cold 51% 47%
joint pain 22% 25%
allergies 6% 4%
inability to sleep 2% 4%


What does this study mean for people with UC?

This study has shown that an herbal mixture of myrrh, chamomile and coffee charcoal is able to safely treat patients with UC just as well as the standard drug mesalazine. The herbal mixture may work as a drug to treat other diseases similar to UC, however  more research needs to be done to see if it will work.

Source: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/apt.12397/abstract

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