Celiac disease is a malabsorption syndrome and chronic digestive disorder. The intestine is not able to absorb vital dietary nutrients from foods containing gliadin, an alcohol-soluble portion of gluten. This condition which is often hereditary means the sufferer has a serious intolerance to wheat (including durum, semolina and spelt), rye, oats, barley, and related grain hybrids such as tritaclae and kamut.

Arthritis refers to inflammation of the joint. The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis which is characterised by joint degeneration and loss of cartilage. Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis which is also an autoimmune disorder. In this case the body's immune system attacks its own cartilage and tissue surrounding the joints.

Some detoxification experts advocate fasting, while others do not. It is known that the components of any well-designed detox program will stimulate the body to cleanse itself, but people who are underweight, are undernourished, have weak hearts, have blood sugar issues or are ill should avoid fasting. Some studies have shown that restricting food intake can actually lead to bingeing.

Hemorrhoids are extremely common in industrialised countries and it is estimated that fifty percent of persons over fifty years of age have symptoms of hemorrhoidal disease. Although most people may begin to develop hemorrhoids in the twenties, the symptoms do not become evident normally until in ones thirties!

COLIC: natural treatments

What is colic?

Colic is characterised by inconsolable crying for several hours during the day and frequent gas. About one in five babies, usually a firstborn boy, develops colic and it is usually seen between 2 weeks and 6 months of age.

Sometimes an infant's dietary choices become affected by a condition called colic. Food allergy has been identified as a common cause of colic. Consequently, a mother of a colicky breastfed infant may need to change her diet. Often, excluding dairy products can help. Formula-fed infants with colic may need a hypoallergenic formula. Colic is usually a temporary condition, but it can affect the infant's intake of food and should be addressed.

Signs and symptoms of colic are:

  • Your baby cries for more than three hours on at least three occasions a week, but is otherwise healthy.
  • Your baby kicks a lot, pulls his or her legs up close, and makes tight fists.
  • Your baby's tummy seems hard and he or she burps and passes gas often.
  • The crying sounds like your baby is in great pain.
  • Your baby spits up frequently after feeding.

It is thought that colic is caused by one or more of the following.

  • The baby's nervous or digestive system may be immature
  • The baby needs comforting, or is over- or under-stimulated
  • If breast-fed, the baby may be reacting to something in the mother's diet
  • Antibiotics given at birth, either to the infant or the mother

How can I treat colic naturally?

Eliminating gas-producing foods and using supportive herbal or homoeopathic therapies can help reduce or eliminate infantile colic. Try to remain as relaxed as possible, even though it can be terribly frustrating and exhausting to have a colicy baby. The less stressed you are the easier it will be for the baby to settle, so try to get time out for yourself and have someone else take over.

Colic - natural treatment and remedies

  • If breast-feeding, nurse on demand, usually every two to three hours. Mum should avoid caffeine, dairy products, citrus fruits, soy products, and spicy foods. Elevate the infant's head during and after feedings.
  • If bottle-feeding, ask your health care provider to recommend a formula that is not based on cow's milk and that is not iron-fortified.
  • Do not offer your baby solid foods before age 6 months.
  • Hold your baby close, offer a pacifier, try rocking or rubbing the back, take a car ride with the baby, play soft music, use a front pack or use an infant swing to ease the crying.
  • Burp your baby often
  • Do not overfeed
  • Keep baby warm and increase warm foods if on solids (not cold from fridge)
  • Try a little bit of slippery elm powder in the breast milk. Wait three days however before using regularly so as to check for any reactions (this is unlikely). The slippery elm can calm the stomach.
  • Acidophilus (especially Bifidus spp.) can be given to both the breast-feeding mother and infant. Use 1 capsule with meals three times per day for adults; 1 capsule per day for infants (break capsule open and administer powder in divided doses throughout the day).
  • Warm baths may help relax and soothe colicky infants. Add 3 to 4 drops of essential oil of lavender or lemon balm to enhance the benefit.
  • Clockwise abdominal massage may help relieve spasm and expel gas. Use 3 to 5 drops of tincture of catnip in 1 to 2 tsp. of almond or olive oil to enhance effectiveness. Apply warmth.

Herbs for colic

Herbs may be used as dried extracts (capsules, powders, teas), glycerites (glycerine extracts), or tinctures (alcohol extracts). Unless otherwise indicated, teas should be made with 1 tsp. herb per cup of hot water. Steep covered 5 to 10 minutes for leaf or flowers, and 10 to 20 minutes for roots. Drink 2 to 4 cups per day.

A tea made from fennel seed (Foeniculum vulgare) or anise seed (Pimpinella anisum) may be given directly to the infant (1 tsp. before and after feedings) or drunk by the breast-feeding mother (1 cup three to six times per day). Both fennel and anise act as gastrointestinal relaxants and help expel gas.

Other herbs that have relaxing effects and help reduce colic are lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), catnip (Nepeta cateria), Chammomile (Chammomila matricuria), passionflower (Passiflora incantata), wild yam (Dioscorea villosa), and linden flower (Tilia cordata). These may be added to the above tea as needed or prescribed in tincture form by a herbalist.

Homoeopathy for colic

A professional homoeopath, however, may recommend one or more of the following treatments for infantile colic based on his or her knowledge and clinical experience. Before prescribing a remedy, homoeopaths take into account a person's constitutional type. In homoeopathic terms, a person's constitution is his or her physical, emotional, and intellectual makeup. An experienced homoeopath assesses all of these factors when determining the most appropriate remedy for a particular individual.

  • Aethusa — for infants who cannot digest milk, who vomit, and have diarrhoea
  • Belladonna — for colic with spasms that come and go quickly; the abdomen may feel warm to the touch and symptoms may coincide with constipation; children for whom this remedy is most appropriate are often restless and shrieking
  • Bryonia — for pain worsened by movement and pressure; this remedy is most appropriate for irritable infants who lie still with knees drawn up
  • Calcarea carbonica — for fair-skinned infants with foul smelling vomit, stools, and perspiration
  • Chamomilla — for excessively irritable and screaming infants who are relieved by constant holding and rocking; infants for whom this remedy is appropriate are often teething and have green, foul-smelling diarrhoea
  • Colocynthis — for restless, irritable infants whose symptoms of colic are relieved by firm pressure; in these infants diarrhoea and pain may occur after eating fruit; infant tends to bring knees up to abdomen
  • Lycopodium — for infants who cannot stand pressure on the abdomen (even diapers must be worn loosely); symptoms tend to worsen between 4 and 8 pm and then again after midnight
  • Magnesia phos — for infants whose symptoms of colic are relieved with gentle pressure or warmth applied to the abdomen, or while they are bent over; bloating causes the infant to loosen clothing; belching does not relieve pain
  • Natrum phos —for colic with no other distinguishing symptoms
  • Nux vomica — for colic which occurs when breastfeeding mother eats rich food, drinks alcohol, or takes drugs (recreational or medicinal)
  • Pulsatilla —for infants with bloated abdomens after eating, and constipation alternating with diarrhoea; may be aggravated by warm rooms, heat, or if the diet of the breastfeeding mother includes fruits, fats, pastries, or ice cream; relieved by rocking

Body Work for colic

Chiropractors frequently treat infantile colic with a form of gentle spinal manipulation specially modified for infants. The duration of treatment is generally brief, consisting of three to four visits over a period of 2 weeks.

Cranial osteopathy, a very form of gentle body work seems to work particularly well for babies with colic and can relieve any imbalances that occurred during the birth.