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Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs Relieve Ulcerative Colitis

Updated: Jan 27

Ulcerative colitis is a chronic digestive disorder that can be difficult to manage in daily life.

Most people diagnosed are in their mid-30s, but ulcerative colitis can occur in anyone at any point in time. For those suffering from ulcerative colitis, acupuncture and Chinese herbs can relieve the symptoms and start the path to recovery!

What is Ulcerative Colitis?

Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease caused by an abnormal response in the body's immune system that sends antibodies to attack the intestinal lining, causing inflammation and ulcers. It affects the lining of the large intestine (colon) and the rectum. The causes of this abnormal response are still unknown, though studies indicate it could be related to genes as well as environmental factors.

Ulcerative colitis can be extremely debilitating and can have life-threatening complications.

Symptoms of ulcerative colitis include:

  • Abdominal pain/discomfort

  • Fever

  • Weight loss

  • Frequent diarrhea

  • Fatigue

  • Loss of appetite

  • Blood or pus in stool

  • Tenesmus (sudden and constant feeling that you have to move your bowels)

Though it may present with similar symptoms to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), IBS is not characterized by intestinal inflammation. Everyone's experience with ulcerative colitis is individual, and they may present different symptoms. A licensed functional medicine practitioner can confirm the diagnosis before starting treatment.

Acupuncture for Ulcerative Colitis

A certain substance secreted by cells, known as tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-a), plays a central part in the inflammation of the colon in ulcerative colitis patients. In studies, electro-acupuncture, where the acupuncture needles are stimulated with a light electric current, has been shown to reduce the concentration of TNF-a in the body, alleviating inflammation damage.

Acupuncture improves circulation in the body, increasing the flow of healthy blood through the digestive system and flushing out toxins that build up in the system. Increased blood flow helps reduce inflammation and speeds up tissue regrowth and healing. Acupuncture also acts on the nervous system and releases hormones that relax the body and reduce stress, which can irritate ulcerative colitis.

Many Chinese herbs have anti-inflammatory properties, as well as the ability to improve blood flow and detoxify the body to increase recovery when implemented alongside acupuncture. Each Chinese herbal prescription is tailored to the individual and their diagnosis, and should only be prescribed by a licensed Chinese herbal medicine practitioner.

In a study that combined acupuncture and herbs with Western anti-inflammatory medication mesalazine, acupuncture and herbs had a 93.1% effective rate at eliminating ulcerative colitis. Mesalazine alone only had a 75.86% effective rate at treating ulcerative colitis. Patients taking acupuncture and herbs with mesalazine also didn't significantly experience the side effects of depression and anxiety that patients taking mesalazine alone suffered.

If you have or believe you have ulcerative colitis, we can help you today! Call us at (321) 972-2940 to schedule your initial health consultation.


Crohn's and Colitis Foundation. "What is Ulcerative Colitis?" (2018). Retrieved from

Hunstad, Eric P. "Acupuncture Information Manual (AIM)." (2017).

HealthCMI. "Acupuncture & Herbs Relieve Ulcerative Colitis." (June 3, 2014). Retrieved from

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