These evidence-based botanical medicines proven to induce or maintain remission in the debilitating inflammatory bowel disease known as Crohn’s offer hope to those resigned to a fate of life-altering immunosuppressive drugs or surgery.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which is subdivided into ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, afflicts 1.4 million Americans and typically first appears between the ages of 15 and 30 (1). Whereas ulcerative colitis is more distal, affecting the rectum and spreading upwards toward the descending and transverse colon in an uninterrupted fashion, Crohn’s disease typically involves the ileum and colon and can affect any part of the digestive tract, often in a discontinuous pattern characterized by skip lesions (2).
In ulcerative colitis, inflammation is generally circumscribed to the mucosa, whereas inflammation can navigate down intestinal crypts, becoming transmural or penetrating the entire depth of the intestinal wall in Crohn’s disease (2). Due to this disparity, Crohn’s disease can ulcerate through the layers of the bowel into the mesentery, leading to complications such fibrosis or scarring of tissue that leads to strictures or perforations, as well as intestinal granulomas and fistulas (2). Fever, diarrhea, abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, and weight loss are hallmark symptoms.