If you know anything about diverticulitis, you know it is not fun. The pain and discomfort last for days and your body feels like it’s under attack. This past week I thought I overexerted myself on a hike, but I ended up having the symptoms of another bout of diverticulitis. I went into immediate action and provisioned the items for my natural medicine cabinet.
Anyone who knows me well knows that I do not like allopathic (Western) medicine. I never really went to doctors as a child, so when we got sick, my parents would figure out how to make us better with home remedies that always worked. Most of the time it involved healthy food, honey, being outdoors in the sunshine, or Vicks Vapor Rub.
While I believe there’s a place for allopathic medicine, most of the time it’s for a life-threatening emergency. These doctors aren’t trained in how to prevent disease. They are trained in how to treat it once you have it – and even then, their first line of defense are pharmaceuticals (and you don’t want to get me started down that road).
While the historical facts of how Hippocrates, considered the Father of Medicine, studied, taught, and practiced medicine are something I can’t go into great depth here (but it would be a fantastic project), I will say that if I had to label his type of medicine, it would be functional. He took a holistic approach to everything he did (some of which would be considered a bit “weird” today) and treated the whole person.
Natural forces within us are the true healers of disease.
Why am I writing about this now? It’s related to why I choose natural medicine over Western medicine. Natural medicine, for me, is to find remedies within nature – food, air, earth, water, environment, plants, and animals.
The onset of a diverticulitis attack is somewhat of a mystery in my case. I could have the perfect diet, drink lots of water, have three bowel movements a day, and still have it creep in. They say once you have experienced diverticulitis your chances of having more increase significantly. For this reason, I’m always on high alert.
The moment I started feeling the sharp stabbing pain in my left abdomen (descending colon) I knew what it meant. I started my protocol and got some rest – the next morning, on an empty stomach, I put to use the big guns in my antibacterial regimen, and within 24 hours I was feeling better.
So, what do I use when I have a diverticulitis attack? I’m glad you asked. I’ll list the items in my natural medicine cabinet and how I use them.
THE INFORMATION IN THIS POST IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND SHOULD NOT TO CONSTRUED AS MEDICAL ADVISE, DIAGNOSIS, OR TREATMENT. I AM SHARING MY PROTOCOL AND EXPERIENCE. ALWAYS WORK WITH YOUR HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL TO DETERMINE THE BEST COURSE OF TREATMENT FOR YOU. DIVERTICULITIS IS A SERIOUS SITUATION THAT NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED BY A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL. DO YOUR RESEARCH ON WHAT TREATMENT IS BEST FOR YOU.
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Below are the natural resources I use to treat my diverticulitis flares. I started using these items about four or five years ago after having a horrible experience with pharmaceutical antibiotics (one, in particular, made me deathly ill). I gladly pay the price for these items to make sure my body has what it needs to heal quickly and safely.
The only colloidal silver I use is from Utopia Silver. Colloidal silver is a mixture of microscopic silver particles suspended in water. It’s typically used to boost the immune system. It is a well-known antibacterial solution that kills bacteria on contact. I trust the product from Utopia and have used it exclusively. I take a large dose on an empty stomach at the onset of a diverticulitis flare, pushed into my gut by 32 ounces of pure water. I continue this for up to three days. By then most if not all of the pain associated with diverticulitis is gone. You can read more about the benefits of colloidal silver here.
I love this oil and use it often. The product I use is diluted in olive oil and contains 80% carvacrol. Essentially, carvacrol is a substance found in several herbs, including oregano. It is well known as an antibacterial and antifungal solution. During cold and flu season I use it to keep myself from getting sick (and it works!). During a diverticulitis flare, I use it as a secondary antibiotic along with the colloidal silver. In my case, about an hour after taking the colloidal silver, I will ingest a dose of oil of oregano in a gel cap. I take this just before having my first meal of the day (which is liquid – discussed later).
Now, I’m not a huge fan of the taste of aloe vera juice, but boy does it do the digestive tract some good. Both my husband and I drink aloe vera pretty regularly to keep things humming along. During a flare, I drink it for the analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as nourishing the gut and helping me maintain an alkaline level in my digestive tract. I take 2 ounces of juice in the AM before my first meal, with another dose in the PM with dinner (during a flare – otherwise, I take one dose a day).
Vitamin C is a super vitamin and is essential for many functions within the body. It is considered a key element for constructing our body, for it helps create new cells, new bone, muscle, tissue and is essential for wound healing. Diverticulitis is an inflammatory and infectious disease, so it makes sense to take therapeutic doses of Vitamin C during a flare. I take 4,000 mg a day, split between two doses morning and night.
Chronic constipation can sometimes cause diverticulitis. This was the case for me when I was first diagnosed, but it is not the case now. If I were to have constipation during a flare I would amp up my magnesium intake to ensure that I was passing stool efficiently – you don’t want it sticking around in your infected colon. During this flare, I don’t have constipation, so I take my usual daily dose.
Some folks will argue about how dairy is inflammatory to the gut, but you know what, everyone has a right to their own opinion. It’s true that pasteurized and homogenized dairy is not so great for your digestion since all of the benefits of dairy are removed. Thanks to the advice of a well-informed health practitioner I started using raw milk as my primary source of nutrition during a diverticulitis flare and found that the healing happened much faster. Because raw milk has not been pasteurized or homogenized, all of the health-promoting components of milk are intact. Dr. Mark E Gebhart, M.D. stated, “raw milk contains multiple, redundant systems of bioactive components that can reduce or eliminate populations of pathogenic bacteria.” He successfully treated his advanced diverticular disease using raw milk, and I do the same. I love raw milk so much I make kefir – it is so good! I am fortunate to live in a state where it is legal to buy raw milk – only one store in my area carries it – so it is difficult to find.
The moment I start feeling like a flare is beginning I put myself on a clear liquid diet (except for raw milk). This diet includes herbal teas (mostly ginger, turmeric, and chamomile), low-sugar juices (from fresh organic produce), and bone broth. During this time I drink a LOT of bone broth, and if I don’t have some of my homemade broth in the freezer, I can easily buy it at my grocery store. Homemade is so much better! The bones (any kind – I like chicken and beef) used in the broth are simmered for a minimum of 24 hours (48 hours is best for beef bones) and release the minerals within the bone and marrow. The resulting bone broth contains collagen (a protein), glycine, proline and glutamine (the last three are amino acids) – all of which help to heal the gut and reduces inflammation. I drink the bone broth, teas, juices and the raw milk as needed throughout the first three days of a flare.
By day three or four, if the pain has subsided, I will add easily digestible foods to my diet. The key is to have as little fiber as possible since my gut is still healing during this time. I don’t want to overwork it. They aren’t the healthiest for a long-term diet, but they provide more nutrition while I am healing the gut. These include:
After seven days my symptoms are usually gone and I will slowly, and I mean really slow, increase my daily fiber intake until I am back up to at least 25 grams a day from vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, and seeds. This could take a couple of months.
So, this post was supposed to be about paying money for natural medicine, right? Well, yes, it is. Everything noted above cost me about $233. Some people consider that way too expensive for a grocery store trip for one person, but for me, it’s medicine. If I didn’t do this, I would probably be having surgery to have part of colon removed and being ill for the rest of my life. Have you priced the cost of surgery these days, not to mention the deductible? To me, $233 is totally worth it.
What natural medicine do you buy to make sure you stay healthy?
Corrie Ann Gray is a writer, researcher, coach, and cookie enthusiast who lives in Los Angeles, CA. She started the Clean Body Project to share all of her knowledge and resources with others who are interested in running their own experiment into clean holistic living. She is also known as The Renaissance Soul Writer at www.corrieanngray.com.