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ibd (colitis)

Parts of this were taken with permission from Essential Oils Overview and Reference Guide, published by: The Family Tree, 2008


Digestive systemIBD (inflammatory bowel disease) is not a single condition but rather includes a number of conditions that all result in the inflammation of various parts of the digestive system.  The two most common types are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.  Others will be listed below. 

    Ulcerative colitis.  This is restricted to the colon and the rectum and affects the innermost lining of the organ. It is uncertain if it is an autoimmune disease.

    Crohn's disease.   (see more detailed information on Crohn's on this separate page.) This can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract from the oral cavity to the anus and often is in multiple locations or patches (skip lesions).  It not only affects the lining but may go deep into the wall of the organ.  It is considered by most to be an  auto-immune disease.

Symptoms vary greatly from person to person but may include chronic constipation, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort or pain.  Discomfort often comes in episodes and may be triggered by stress, insufficient fluids, inadequate nutrition, allergic reaction to certain foods, or just not eating properly (gulping a meal down, eating on the run, etc.).

Other forms of IBD are:

    Infectious Colitis. Viruses and bacteria can cause colon infections. Most are food-borne illnesses or "food poisoning." 

    Pseudomembranous colitis. This is often seen in patients who have recently been taking antibiotics for an infection. The antibiotic alters the normal bacteria present in the colon and allows an overgrowth of the Clostridium bacteria which produces a toxin that causes diarrhea. This is an infection, and often there is a fever present. The diarrhea is usually not bloody.

    Ischemic Colitis.  The arteries that supply blood to colon the have the potential to narrow due to atherosclerosis (just like blood vessels in the heart) and other conditions. When these arteries narrow, the colon loses it's blood supply and becomes inflamed. 

    Microscopic Colitis. Two diseases make up this group of colon inflammation, collagenous colitis and lymphocytic colitis. In these diseases, the inflammation is caused by some layers of the colon wall becoming engorged with either collagen or lymphocytes.

    Chemical Colitis.  If chemicals are instilled into the colon, inflammation and damage can occur. One of the complications of an enema is the inflammation of the mucosal lining of the colon caused by harsh chemicals.


3 Problems with similar symptoms

IBS (irritated bowel syndrome), IBD (inflammatory bowel disease), and celiac disease.  What is the difference?

All three conditions can have similar symptoms hence sometimes leading to confusion.  Further complicating this is the fact that IBS is very common, occurring in as many as twenty percent of Americans while IBD and Celiac are less frequent.  Therefore, since the symptoms may be similar, there is often a quick diagnostic conclusion of the more common IBS.  Here is a summary of differences:

IBS – Irritable bowel syndrome

    Technically this is a disorder rather than a disease because the bowels are not damaged.  Some believe that nerves that control the contractions of the bowels that move food through the intestinal tract send incorrect signals to the colon or rectum.  These contractions, that are normally regular, may then increase in frequency or become spasmodic leading to the symptoms often experienced.

     Symptoms may include chronic constipation, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort or pain.  It can be triggered by stress, insufficient fluids, inadequate nutrition, allergic reaction to certain foods, or just not eating properly (gulping a meal down, eating on the run, etc.).

IBD – Inflammatory bowel disease

    This term refers to a number of different diseases of the bowels.  They are typically chronic conditions with inflammation of different areas of the intestine and may cause eventual damage.  Often they are associated with or are themselves autoimmune in nature.  The two most common forms are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. 

    Symptoms may include diarrhea, abdominal pain, weight loss, bloody stools, and/or a fullness and pain in the lower right abdomen.  Blood tests will show unique markers that are not present in IBD.

Celiac disease

    Celiac disease is genetic and an autoimmune disease wherein the body mistakenly attacks gluten and other proteins found in grains that are in the digestive tract.  As with IBD and unlike IBS, this is a disease causes damage to the intestinal system.  With celiac the damage is done to the lining of the small intestines but IBD can be anywhere in the intestinal tract.

    Some of the symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, flatulence with a bad odor, fatty stools (pale, large, bad odor, floating), weight loss and others.  Celiac has been reported to be triggered by trauma after surgery, childbirth, stress, and even viral infection.


[Other search terms: crohns, colonitis, ulcerated colitis]

Oils, blends & products recommended:

Oils & blends: Digestive Blend, FrankincenseC, Ginger, Peppermint

Essential oils based products: GI Cleansing Formula, Basic Vitality Supplements (LLV), Probiotic Defense Formula

Also consider: Massage Blend Technique, Clove, Frankincense, Helichrysum, Lemon, Oregano, Rosemary, Thyme

Suggested protocols:

Because IBD includes a number of different disorders consider the best course of action from the following suggestions.

For immediate relief of symptoms:

·  Take internally 2-5 drops each of Digestive Blend and Frankincense

·  Rub 2-5 drops of Digestive Blend or Peppermint topically to the abdominal area

For long term support:

·   Basic Vitality Supplements (LLV) nutritional supplements.  These supplements should be started immediately and continued to add the daily nutritional elements most people lack in their daily diet.  The Basic Vitality Supplements (LLV) include antioxidants, omega fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.

·   GI Cleansing Formula. This (...) cleansing protocol or a similar blend of (xxx) oils should be used.  The normal procedure is to take the capsules as suggested for 10 consecutive days to rid the digestive tract of harmful pathogens.  This includes Candida, a common component of autoimmune concerns.  This should be followed by a probiotic such as Probiotic Defense Formula+ described below and then this complete procedure repeated monthly as required.

·   Probiotic Defense Formula+.  This is a (...) product that delivers friendly probiotic microorganisms to replenish those required in your intestinal tract to provide additional immune defense against unwanted pathogens

·   Periodic Massage Blend Technique.  Daily, twice weekly, weekly, or monthly, depending on the need, this procedure will relax, strengthen, and increase the overall health of the recipient.  It is a clinically developed and tested use of eight essential oils to reduce stress, strengthen the immune system, reduce inflammation, and promote homeostatis.

Autoimmune disorders:

·  Crohn's disease and any other disorders that are autoimmune diseases or seem to have similar symptoms will benefit from those protocols suggested for autoimmune disorders

Infectious types of IBD:

The following protocols use antibiotic oils internally and are reported to help with these conditions:

Colitis Antibiotic Blend #1

·  10 drops Thyme

·  10 drops Oregano

·  4 drops Frankincense

·  35 drops coconut carrier oil

·  Blend then put 10 drops of the blend in size 00 gel caps.

Take one cap with breakfast and another with dinner till symptoms subside, then continue for 5 days. Couple this with daily Massage Blend Technique massages.

Colitis Blend #2

·  10 drops Melaleuca

·  5 drops Rosemary

·  5 drops Clove

·  5 drops Lemon

·  5 drops Frankincense

·  30 drops coconut carrier oil

·  Blend then and put 10 drops of the mix in size 00 gel capsule

Take two capsules per day, morning and evening with meals till symptoms subside, then continue for 5 days.  Couple this with daily Massage Blend Technique massages.

Diet and digestive tract care is very important:

·  A number of cleanses are discussed elsewhere on this website

·  Avoid irritating and harmful foods such as alcohol, caffeine, carbonated beverages, refined sugars.  High fiber products including whole grains, dried beans, peas and legumes.  Sugar free products, especially products containing sorbital.  Spicy foods and sauces. High fat, or fried foods.

·  Consider a raw food diet in difficult situations

Experiences and Testimonials of others

(see Experiences and Testimonials on Crohn's on this separate page.)

Pat - Can anyone give me information regarding Colitis?

Kathy - Here is my experience with Colitis (IBD)

Please understand that there are many types and causes of Colitis, from ulcerative and Crohn’s colitis to chemical and lymphocytic colitis.  Colitis can also be caused by parasitic infections.

With this in mind, some treatments with essential oils might work better than others depending on the type of colitis and factors of the person being treated.  Be patient and consistent when trying to search for the best remedy. No matter what the type or the history of the patient, diet may have as much to do with treatment as any natural or prescriptive remedy.

Those with extreme conditions might consider leaning towards a raw food regimen. Foods that have been found to trigger symptoms in sufferers of colitis have been:

·  Alcohol

·  Caffeine

·  Carbonated beverages

·  Refined sugars

·  High fiber products including whole grains, dried beans, peas and

·  legumes

·  Sugar free products, especially products containing sorbital

·  Spicy foods and sauces

·  High fat, or fried foods

Medical science’s objective has always been remission and system control rather that cure.  But there are testimonials of people that feel that they have been able to rid themselves of colitis using diet and essential oils.

Consider the following.  Internal use of essential oil blends as an antibiotic may prove to be very powerful.  These two are geared toward colitis.

Colitis Blend #1

·  10 drops Thyme

·  10 drops Oregano

·  4 drops Frankincense

·  35 drops coconut carrier oil

·  Blend then put 10 drops of the blend in size 00 gel caps.

Take one cap with breakfast and another with dinner till symptoms subside, then continue for 5 days.

Do daily Massage Blend back massages (5-10 drops of each oil) along the spine, the length of the back.


Colitis Blend #2

·  10 drops Melaleuca

·  5 drops Rosemary

·  5 drops Clove

·  5 drops Lemon

·  5 drops Frankincense

·  30 drops coconut carrier oil

·  Blend then and put 10 drops of the mix in size 00 gel capsule

Take two capsules per day, morning and evening with meals till symptoms subside, then continue for 5 days.

Do daily Massage Blend back massages (5-10 drops of each oil) along the spine, the length of the back.


Also consider Peppermint or Digestive Blend to ease symptoms of colitis.

Take 2 drops internally, or rub on the abdominal area.


·  For children that are too young to swallow capsules, consider applying oils topically to the bottoms of the feet or with a massage to the back.

·  Be sure the oils you use are (...) (xxx) oils.  Oils that are adulterated may cause more harm.


LJ - I have IBS, Colitis, Spastic colon...different doctors gave different diagnosis:  I carry Digestive Blend in my purse and 'drink' a few drops whenever I have issues from anxiety or foods, etc.  My colon, stomach is much better after regular use of essential oils.  I used to have problems all the time and now it is just every once in a while, and much easier to control. Have a happy, healthy day!


Christine - I have a sister in-law who has really bad ulcerative colitis. She went from being able to work and loving life to having to stay in bed or on the couch for most of the day.  The medications she is on has made it so she is not able to be outside because she is allergic to the sun and she breaks out.   I was hoping to find out what oils would be the best for her to take.  If you could give me any suggestions that would be great.  I know that I have tired the GI Cleansing Formula and found that I personally got sick from it and it made my yeast so I am scared to have her do that .  I was thinking maybe having her fill 00 capsules with Frankincense, Digestive Blend, Helichrysum, Clove, and Thyme.  I also would love to have her do the Probiotic Defense Formula.

Kirsten - If I were in this situation, there are a number of things that I would consider doing for myself.  I live in Australia so I'm not sure whether the things we have available here are similar to the USA, but here goes.  

Firstly, to soothe the gut I would consider taking slippery elm bark powder mixed with fresh natural live yoghurt.  This gives a soothing coating to the GIT from end to end.  I would have to look at my diet carefully and eliminate refined foods, sugars, alcohol, highly processed foods including white bread, cakes and cookies using white flour etc.  I would start eating whole foods, rice, rice milk and I would consider a gluten free diet at least for a while and choose low glycemic index foods, so that the body has a chance to rest from having to process a highly acidic diet.

The GI Cleansing Formula and Probiotic Defense Formula would be high on the list, but if my gut were as irritable as this and I was getting a strong reaction to the GX and Probiotic Defense Formula, I would persist with the slippery elm bark and the yoghurt with the restricted diet until things settle down.

I would consider Peppermint tea, but taken carefully.  I would start by dipping a toothpick into the bottle of Peppermint to get a fraction of a drop and making a tea with that - just stir the toothpick around the cup of hot water.

I would also find someone able to do  the Massage Blend Technique and have that administered often!

Christine - Thanks.  So would you suggest not doing the 00 capsules with Frankincense, Digestive Blend, Helichrysum, Clove, and Thyme. Also, I forgot to ask if there are any drug interactions I should be aware of because she takes medications for asthma  and depression and for the UC (ulcerative colitis).  Thank you.

Pat - No, I think the capsules are a great idea also. The information that I have from others tell me that their colon and stomach is much better when using the oils. Their episodes are much further apart and not as severe.

Here are the blends that we have used and the protocols:

Blend #1:

10 drops Thyme

10 drops Oregano

4 drops of Frankincense

30 drops of fractionated coconut oil

Take one 00 capsule with breakfast and another with dinner until symptoms subside, then continue for five more days.

Optional Blend #2:

5 drops Rosemary 5 drops of Clove

5 drops of Lemon

30 drops of coconut oil

Repeat same protocol as above. Also the oils will not interfere with her medications.


Carla - I'm wondering if someone can give me a reminder on colitis, and what oils to use.  I have a friend that is desperate for relief!

Kathy -  Oregano and Thyme - found that suggestion but I don't have any personal experience with it!  I was just reading that ulcerative colitis is an auto immune disease - if that is the case then the Candida cleanse would be a place to start.

Christine - My baby was born with colitis and what I did to help her get over this is I had to cut out wheat, milk, soy, corn, oats, Oranges or citrus fruit, peanuts, yams, and yeast.  She is now healed from the colitis and we are adding in one food at a time to see which one set off her colitis.  So maybe they should start with allergies testing or just cut out the five main foods: milk, soy, wheat, eggs, and peanuts. The Basic Vitality Supplements (LLV) pack has helped her sleep better at night and feel better too.  I hope this helps.


Elaine - I know a lady who has just been diagnosed with lymphocytic colitis. Her doctor has prescribed Pepto Bismol because he says there isn''t enough known about this to do anything else.  What advice might you have.

Rob - I would think that Digestive Blend and/or Peppermint would help at least with symptoms.  If there is direct involvement of the lymph glands, I would suggest lymph massages as well. Use cleansing oils like Grapefruit, Cypress or Helichrysum.

Dehaas5 - I recently went through a bout of extreme diarrhea that seemed to come out of nowhere and lasted nearly 2 months!  I had tried everything and finally scheduled a colonoscopy.  The results were colitis, and the doctor told me the same thing - 2 tablespoons of Pepto Bismol 2 times daily for two months!  I did also use Digestive Blend and Peppermint daily, and it did help some with symptoms, but didn't cure the problem.  I have finally gotten on top of it by taking a Probiotic called VSL #3 that you can only get through prescription and costs $80, but it is a whopping 450 billion yogurt bacteria per sachet!  I usually take a probiotic, as I am prone to sinus infections, but i thought I was really taking a high dose at 36 billion. This brought results in one day and cleared up the problem in 3 days, although I have to take it for a month.

I highly recommend this for your friend for the colitis part - The suggestions for the lymph massages is also great.

Editor’s note:  After this contribution above (...) introduced a probiotic product.  The specifications on that product are 1 million CFU (colony forming units).  We asked Rob Young, vice president of (...) about the effectiveness of Probiotic Defense Formula since the CFU count is lower than some other products.  A summary of his reply follows (complete reply):

There are a number of products for sale that have much higher CFUs on the label than the billion in Probiotic Defense Formula, but the key is how many CFUs actually make it to the site of action in the gut. The friendly bacteria in probiotics are "alive" and can "die" very easily if exposed to air, heat, and moisture. So purchasing a fresh probiotic product off the shelf is an important consideration. But by far the biggest issue is survival of the bacteria in your stomach.. Most probiotic supplements with billions of CFUs on the label are hoping that enough can survive the acidic environment of the stomach to make it to the gut. Most if not all of the bacteria is killed. Probiotic Defense Formula is unique in that it has a triple-layer enteric coating that protects the CFUs both in manufacturing and in your stomach. The capsule opens in your gut at the site of action so the bacteria can adhere in the gut. So with Probiotic Defense Formula you are delivering 1 billion CFUs to the site of adherence in the gut, while other products, although claiming billions of CFUs may never make it to the site of action.

Kathy - Virgin coconut oil is an anti-inflammatory and it seems that it plays a role in alleviating and curing the inflammation and damage in the digestive tract that are characteristic of colitis and Crohn's disease. Coconut oil's antimicrobial assets also affect intestinal health by destroying bothersome micro-organisms that may cause the chronic inflammation symptoms of ulcerative colitis and crohn’s disease. Synergize the effects of VCO with Frankincense and Peppermint.

I would consider a coconut oil regimen.  Make a morning smoothy using 2-3 tablespoons of melted organic virgin coconut oil.  Have VCO (virgin coconut oil) coconut macaroons twice during the day.  Begin using VCO in your cooking. Also take a capsule of 5 drops Frankincense and 3 drops Peppermint daily. Frankincense taken rectally can also be very effective for colitis. Use 5 drops Frankincense, 5 drops coconut carrier in a rectal syringe and retain over night.

I have seen many people relieved of symptoms using VCO and essential oils.

Protocols folks recommend for children



Diet and Nutritional complements to essential oils


What Science & Research are saying

From PubMed February 2006 Feb

A combination of Peppermint oil and caraway oil attenuates the post-inflammatory visceral hyperalgesia in a rat model.

Adam B, Liebregts T, Best J, Bechmann L, Lackner C, Neumann J, Koehler S, Holtmann G.  Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and General Medicine, University of Adelaide, Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.


OBJECTIVE: Visceral hyperalgesia plays a pivotal role in manifestation of symptoms in patients with functional gastrointestinal disorders. In clinical studies combined treatment of Peppermint- and caraway oil significantly reduced symptoms. Thus, the aim of this study was to characterize the effects of Peppermint- and caraway oil, individually and in combination, on visceral nociception in a rat model of post-inflammatory visceral hyperalgesia.

CONCLUSIONS: These data show that combined treatment with Peppermint- and caraway oil modulates post-inflammatory visceral hyperalgesia synergistically. The exact mechanisms have to be further investigated.


Candida, Inflammation & Auto-Immune Illnesses

Kathy - This summary is based on Dr. Bruce Semon's book An Extraordinary Power to Heal (2003). This summary gives general explanations about how yeast can cause so-called autoimmune illnesses and chronic disease. For detailed explanations, including an extensive chapter on how the immune system is supposed to work--and how yeast prevent it from working correctly--we recommend that you read An Extraordinary Power to Heal.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Crohn's Disease, Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, Numbness in the hands, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Ulcerative colitis:  What do these have in common?  They all respond to dietary intervention and anti-yeast treatment.

Why might chronic diseases ranging from psoriasis to ulcerative colitis to arthritis respond to dietary intervention and anti-yeast treatment? These diseases are all marked by the body appearing to attack itself. They are called "auto-immune" diseases.

I have always considered the idea of the body attacking itself as a strange idea. Why should the body do that? In 40 years of research, the biomedical research community has been unable to come up with any answer. Maybe the concept is wrong.

Maybe the body is not attacking itself primarily. Maybe the primary target is not the body but the yeast Candida albicans. To understand how such terrible diseases can occur, we need to look at the interactions of Candida albicans and the immune system.

Yeast are normal residents of the intestinal tract. After antibiotics, yeast grow to fill in the space left by dead bacteria and the yeast continue to grow at this higher level. The body still must contain the yeast so that the yeast does not invade the rest of the body. If Candida invades the body, the result is often death.

The best way to look at the immune system is to understand that the immune system has both defensive and offensive weapons. The main defensive weapon is inflammation. Inflammation is like putting up a wall, a hot wall, which makes it difficult for invading foreign microorganisms to get through. Inflammation will occur anytime the immune system contacts a foreign invader. But as you know the inflammation is painful. Along with the inflammation, should come the offensive weapons which kill the foreign invader. The problem is that Candida has many tricks to evade the offensive weapons of the body's immune system.

Candida is a very difficult organism for the body's immune system to clear.   Why?

Yeast have a capsule on the outside which prevents the first line (phagocytic) white blood cells of the body from engulfing the yeast and killing it. So the body must rely on the other parts of the immune system.

Candida has other tricks to evade the body's immune system. One of these tricks is to change its outside. The immune system recognizes the outside receptors of the invading organism and then sends out signals to start an immune response. Some of the immune responders then look for cells with those receptors. Candida albicans can change the receptors which it is displaying, making it difficult for the body's immune cells to react appropriately. In essence, Candida albicans is a moving target, which changes its form.

The most important thing to know about Candida is that Candida albicans can make factors which suppress the immune response to itself. These factors can be found in the circulation of people with significant Candida infections. When these factors are purified and placed in cultures of immune cells, these immune cells do not develop the responses to Candida which they are supposed to develop. In other words, Candida can make factors, which prevent the body from reacting to and killing the Candida. These factors prevent the total eradication of Candida from the body.

The Candida can suppress the offensive weapons of the body's immune system. But the inflammation will still be generated because when the immune system detects a foreign invader, there will always be inflammation. The problem is that the foreign invader, the Candida, is not going away, because the immune system's offensive weapons are suppressed. The inflammation will remain and inflammation is painful.

In the intestinal tract, there is Candida, which tries to invade the intestinal wall, and the immune system responds with inflammation. The problem is that the Candida suppresses the immune system's offensive weapons, so the Candida stays and the inflammation is prolonged. This prolonged inflammation is called ulcerative colitis if it occurs in the large intestine and it is called Crohn's disease if it occurs in the small intestine. These disorders are prolonged inflammation resulting from the immune system's inability to clear Candida.

In ulcerative colitis, there is painful inflammation of the intestine rather than regulated containment. As the body fights the yeast in the intestine, some of the cells fighting the yeast circulate and come into contact with yeast on the skin and start an inflammation there, leading to eczema and psoriasis .

Candida causes autoimmune problems such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis in this way. Candida puts out receptors on its cell surface which are actually human receptors for connective tissue and the immune system. If the body attacks the Candida in the intestinal tract, the body's immune system will attack anything which looks like the Candida. Because of the connective tissue receptors on Candida, the body's immune system may attack other cells in the body which have these receptors.

Many tissues such as the joints have connective tissue and as the body attacks the Candida, the body will also attack these cells. The result is painful joints or other inflamed tissues.

Candida also has receptors which are similar to those in the brain. When these cells are attacked, the result is multiple sclerosis.

In other words, Candida acts as a long term vaccination displaying the body's own cellular receptors to the body's immune system. When the immune system sees such receptors for a long enough time, it will attack cells which display such receptors, which includes the cells of the body. There is research which shows that such immune system reactions occur. The yeast Candida is the primary target. If the Candida is removed the body stops attacking itself.


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NOTE: The advice shared in this site has not been evaluated by the FDA. The products and methods recommended are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease, nor is it intended to replace proper medical help. As members offer or look for answers, kindly understand that essential oils work to help to bring the body into balance - thus helping the body's natural defenses to restore homeostasis. Essential oils are not used to "treat" medical problems.