Inflammation of one or more diverticula, potentially leading to obstruction or perforation, and to abscises and fistula formation.
Diverticula are small sac like herniations of the mucosal lining of the colon though the muscular wall. They are found in 30-40% of people over the age of 50. When they become inflamed the condition is called diverticulitis. It is thought that a highly refined low-fibre diet is a primary cause. The characteristic signs and symptoms include pain and tenderness associated with constipation that alternates with diarrhea. Fever is often observed. Differential diagnosis is very important to rule out colon carcinoma.
Actions indicated for the processes behind this disease
Anti-spasmodics will help relieve pain caused by abdominal cramping around the diverticula.
Anti-inflammatories to ease a generalized inflammatory response within the colon.
Anti-microbials are the basis for helping the body deal with any infection that might occur.
Carminatives will help discomfort due to flatulence.
Nervines will ease the stress involved, which may be causal or the result of the condition.
Problems of the large bowel of this kind will be effecting elimination in general so support for the liver and kidneys are especially called for. In addition there may be a need to help the nervous system. However this problem is often associated with the aging process and can be linked to a whole range of health issues, from diseases to drug side effects.
The Wild Yam is a very useful specific here. It is a good anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory but has a quite specific impact upon this condition.Care has to be taken to not induce constipation through over use of astringent herbs.
One possible prescription
- Wild Yam – 2 parts
- Valerian – 1 part
- Cramp Bark – 1 part
- Peppermint – 1 part of tincture to 5ml in total 3 times a day
- Valerian – 1 part
Infusion of Matricaria or Peppermint sipped slowly throughout the day will help. Garlic should be eaten raw in the diet or as a supplement in capsule form. One clove a day
This supplies the range of actions needed as well as specific help:
- Anti-spasmodics (Wild Yam, Cramp Bark, Peppermint)
- Anti-inflammatories (Wild Yam, Peppermint)
- Anti-microbials (Garlic)
- Carminatives (Valerian, Peppermint)
- Nervines (Valerian, Peppermint)
Diverticular disease appears to be associated with a low fibre diet and there is little doubt that most patients gain some relief from their symptoms when on a high-fibre diet. The underlying bowel abnormality remains but it does not cause the same degree of problems. However when the symptoms are acute and severe, an initially low fibre diet is called for to ensure not physical irritation from the roughage. This is especially the case where the person is not used to a high fibre content. As soon as the discomfort is brought under control, the proportion of fibre can be increase gradually to that of a high fibre diet.