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Celiac disease

General characteristics

General characteristics

Celiac (coeliac) disease is defined as a hypersensitive immune response to the presence of gluten in the intestines.
Ingested gluten causes the delicate hair like projections (villi) of the small intestinal inner walls to be destroyed. These villi are responsible for absorbing nutrients from food and passing them into the bloodstream. When they are destroyed then malnutrition can occur as the amount of nutrition available to the body is reduced. Symptoms of celiac disease can include weight loss, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, bloating, constipation, foul smelling flatulence and stools, irritability and nausea. If malnutrition becomes severe it can lead to depression, menstrual irregularities, fatigue, weight loss, anemia, osteoporosis and many other problems.
With the avoidance of gluten, the villi can regrow and normal function of them restored.
There is a suggestion among some natural health specialists that implicate liver dysfunction and candida overgrowth as possible causes of celiac disease.
Natural and herbal remedies will aim to treat the liver, ease the hypersensitivity of the immune response and soothe symptoms.

Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

Obviously it is important to avoid gluten in all its forms whilst suffering from celiac disease. Foods include wheat, barley, rye,oats and even things like make up items so check ingredients carefully. Gluten is often added to medicines described as 'fillers' or 'starches', is present in the dusty lining of rubber gloves, on adhesive stamps and envelopes etc.

Have a look at this site for ideas for recipes and to get information on hidden sources of gluten www.the-gluten-free-chef.comand and this site for examples of gluten present in non food items  http://www.celiacsolution.com

Base your diet around fresh (organic if possible) vegetables, fruits, non gluten grains and starches,  unsweetened natural yoghurt, seeds, nuts and dried fruits.

Avoid processed foods in packet form, tins, ready meals, jars etc even if they don't contain gluten. Processed foods contain very little vitamin content due to the nature of processing ( heating, irradiating etc) and you need to ensure the food you eat  has the highest possible nutrient content.


Useful herbs

Useful herbs

Herbs that will moderate and balance the immune response, cleanse the liver and help improve the condition  include olive leaf, echinacea, ashwagandha, dandelion root, yellow dock root, astragalus, barberry root and siberian ginseng. Make a mix of the tincture using 50ml of each. Take a teaspoon in a little water 3 times daily for several months.
A useful formula containing herbs to soothe and calm an irritated digestive system is equal amounts of fengreek seeds, wild yam root, agrimony, lemon balm and chamomile. Put 3 heaped teaspoons in a pan with a pint and a half of water. Bring to the boil then turn off the heat, cover with a lid and leave overnight. Strain off and drink a cupful 3 times daily.
Drink a cup of alfalfa and nettle tea daily, using 2 teaspoons per cup for the high vitamin and mineral content.

Natural healing

Natural healing

Engage in regular exercise for its general health giving effects.
Use a good quality acidohphillus or probiotic product to maintain a healthy bacterial population in the digestive system. This can also help to calm an over zealous immune response.
Use a teaspoon of cider vinegar in a little warm water with a teaspoon of local honey at least once a day to re-balance bowel bacteria. Use honey made from wild flowers or manuka, not from bees fed on white sugar.

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