Digestion [rate]

Colitis is the inflammation of the large intestines (colon or large bowel). After digestion which takes place in the stomach, the digested food flows to the small intestines where all the nutrients are absorbed into the body. The undigested food then flows to the large intestines or the colon where it mixes with the normal bacteria and mucus which aids the removal of waste through the anus.

In colitis, inflammation occurs in the inner layer of the colon. Inflammation of the colon can be caused by infection, poor blood supply to the colon, attack of the colon wall by the white blood cells and inflammatory bowel diseases. When the inner layer becomes inflamed, it grows tiny sores that produce mucous and pus then they later develop to ulcers. Persistent colitis develops to Ulcerative colitis. Ulcerative colitis is the chronic inflammation of the large intestines and it affects only the large intestines and the rectum.

Causes of Colitis

Although the causes of colitis are not proven, it can be caused by a variety of infections and illness. Some of the known factors that aggregate colitis are stress and diet. Malfunction of the immune system is believed to be a possible cause of colitis (Sandouka, 2008). When the immune system tries to resist the attacking bacterium or virus, abnormal immune response is created which causes the attack of the cells in the digestive track by the immune system. Colitis can be hereditary, too.

 

Symptoms and signs of Colitis

The symptoms of colitis are on and off which can last for months and years if not diagnosed early (Jewell& Truelove, 1974). These symptoms include:

• Weight loss and loss of appetite
• Fatigue
• Constant abdominal pain
• Bloody stool
• Persistent diarrhea
• Looser and urgent bowel movements
• Fever
• Inability to excrete despite urgency
• Slow growth rate in children
• Persistent diarrhea
• Bloody stool
• Dehydration

It is important to note that Colitis can occur at any age but older women are less likely to be diagnosed with colitis than older men.

 

Control and Treatment of Colitis

Treatment and control of colitis depends on the causes. Colitis caused by some infections can be treated using antibiotics but Boswellia has been proven to be effective for inflammatory conditions. Boswellia is a herbal extract from a tree called Boswellia serrate. The tree grows in the Middle East, Northern Africa and India. Resin is tapped from the trunk of Boswellia serrate which is later purified for herbal preparations. Boswellia is not only a painkiller but also an anti-inflammatory agent.

The anti-inflammatory action of Boswellia is equivalent to that of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Ammon, 2006). Although their anti-inflammatory action are similar, long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs causes irritation and ulceration of the stomach while Boswellia doesn’t. A comprehensive overview carried out in 2011 found that the synthesis of pro-inflammatory enzymes can be inhibited by the use of Boswellia acids.

Leukotrienes which are known to cause inflammation can be prevented by Boswellia acids. Boswellia is available as a pill, cream or resin.

 

Boswellia dosage

Since it is not clear what the optimal dose is, the amount to be taken depends on the level of Boswellia acids in the extracts or resin. Suggestions for general dosage is 300-500 milligrams two to three times in a day. Standardized extracts contain 37.5 to 65 percent boswellic acids. Boswellia should not be administered to pregnant or breastfeeding mothers.

 

References
– Sandouka, L. J. (2008). A Treatment Program for Ulcerative Colitis. ProQuest.
– Jewell, D. P., & Truelove, S. C. (1974). Azathioprine in ulcerative colitis: final report on controlled therapeutic trial. BMJ, 4(5945), 627-630.
– Ammon, H. P. (2006). Boswellic acids in chronic inflammatory diseases. Planta medica, 72(12), 1100.