I recently met a patient who has had ulcerative colitis for the past 12 years. Ulcerative colitis is a continuous inflammation of the mucosal lining of the colon and/or rectum. She was able to get it under control with Prednisone, but still has a flare at least once a year. She wanted to explore if there was anything else she could be doing to avoid these painful yearly flares.


She also pointed out that during a flare, she also gets knee pain. This makes complete sense: as the lining of the large intestine is compromised, toxins and food particles get into the bloodstream and set off an inflammatory response in other parts of the body.  

In functional medicine, the first step for reducing inflammation is always to treat the gut. This can be accomplished by avoiding foods that irritate the gut, taking an herbal antimicrobial to wipe out bad bacteria, and taking a probiotic to restore the good bacteria.

In the case of ulcerative colitis, which affects the large intestine, there is another way of treating the inflammation: butyrate enemas. Butyrate is the “food” that the large intestine feeds on. Butyrate enemas can be extremely helpful in healing active distal ulcerative colitis.  

In addition to the butyrate enemas, we used some other tools to bring down the inflammation and heal the lining of the gut:

1. Diet: In the case of an inflammatory condition like ulcerative colitis, it’s important to follow an anti-inflammatory diet such as the Cleanse diet. It’s especially important to eliminate the most inflammatory foods: gluten, dairy and sugar. This patient had already done so and found that she was able to digest soluble fiber the best.   

Here is a list of foods containing soluble fiber:


Gluten-Free oatmeal





Sweet potatoes





Squash and pumpkins







2. Supplements: A powder formula that brings down inflammation, a strong probiotic to build up the microbiome and strengthen immunity, an herbal antimicrobial and a concentrated form of the powerful anti-inflammatory turmeric called curcumin.

3. Acupuncture to bring the body into balance.  

4. Testing for parasites. It’s possible that parasites are the underlying cause of the condition so we sent her to get tested.

Please share: have you had success with a holistic treatment for ulcerative colitis?