Natural Remedies for Crohn's Disease

Crohn's Disease
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What Is Crohn's Disease?

Crohn's disease is a chronic condition that causes inflammation in the lining of the digestive tract, resulting in pain and digestive problems. Classified as an inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn's typically triggers swelling in the lower part of the small intestine (known as the ileum). It can also affect other parts of the digestive tract, including the mouth, esophagus, stomach, colon and anus.


Abdominal pain and diarrhea are the two main symptoms of Crohn's disease. Other signs and symptoms may include:

  • rectal bleeding (or bloody stool)
  • ulcers (including small sores on the surface of the intense, as well as mouth ulcers similar to canker sores)
  • weight loss
  • reduced appetite
  • arthritis
  • fatigue
  • fever
  • anemia related to bleeding
  • inflammation of the eyes or bile ducts
  • skin problems

Remedies for Crohn's Disease

So far, scientific support for the claim that any remedy can treat Crohn's disease is fairly lacking. It's important to note that alternative medicine should not be used as a substitute for standard care in the treatment of Crohn's, or any health condition.

1) Hypnotherapy

Also known as hypnosis, hypnotherapy is a healing approach that creates a state of deep relaxation and heightened concentration. A report published in 2000 indicates that hypnotherapy shows promise as a means of improving immune function and relieving symptoms in people with Crohn's disease, although more research is needed.

Since stress may aggravate Crohn's disease, alternative medicine practitioners often recommend using other stress-reducing practices (such as guided imagery and biofeedback) to prevent flare-ups.

2) Acupuncture

In a 2004 study, patients with mild to moderately active Crohn's disease had a decrease in disease activity after receiving 10 sessions of acupuncture (a needle-based therapy long used to treat inflammatory bowel disease in traditional Chinese medicine).

Study members also showed an improvement in general well-being. However, more study is needed.

3) Probiotics

Preliminary research suggests that treatment with the probiotic Faecalibacterium prausnitzii may help lessen inflammation associated with Crohn's disease. 

Causes of Crohn's Disease

Although the cause of Crohn's disease is unknown, research suggests that abnormal functioning in the immune system may prompt the body to attack harmless substances in the digestive tract. When chronically activated, this immune response may generate the tissue-damaging inflammation associated with Crohn's disease.

Heredity also appears to play a role in the development of Crohn's disease. In fact, about 20 percent of people with the condition are estimated to have a blood relative with some form of inflammatory bowel disease.

Getting Treatment

Since Crohn's disease can lead to serious complications (including blockage of the intestine, ulcers, nutritional deficiencies, kidney stones, and gallstones), it's extremely important to see a doctor if you experience significant changes in your bowel habits, or symptoms such as persistent abdominal pain and/or bloody stool.

Self-treating with alternative medicine and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.

Medical treatments for Crohn's disease may include the use of medication (such as anti-inflammatory drugs, immune-system suppressors, and steroids), surgery, or a combination of the two.


Abela MB. "Hypnotherapy for crohn's disease. A promising complementary/alternative therapy." Integr Med. 2000 21;2(2):127-131.

Joos S, Brinkhaus B, Maluche C, Maupai N, Kohnen R, Kraehmer N, Hahn EG, Schuppan D. "Acupuncture and moxibustion in the treatment of active Crohn's disease: a randomized controlled study." Digestion. 2004;69(3):131-9.

Sokol H, Pigneur B, Watterlot L, Lakhdari O, Bermúdez-Humarán LG, Gratadoux JJ, Blugeon S, Bridonneau C, Furet JP, Corthier G, Grangette C, Vasquez N, Pochart P, Trugnan G, Thomas G, Blottière HM, Doré J, Marteau P, Seksik P, Langella P. "Faecalibacterium prausnitzii is an anti-inflammatory commensal bacterium identified by gut microbiota analysis of Crohn disease patients." Proc Natl Acad Sci. 2008 28;105(43):16731-6.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

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