Chronic pancreatitis is long-term inflammation of the pancreas that does not heal or improve. A condition that usually develops in people between the ages of 30 and 40, chronic pancreatitis occurs when digestive enzymes damage the pancreas and surrounding tissues, which causes bouts of abdominal pain. A qualified health care professional can provide information about herbal remedies, including their potential risks and benefits.
The primary symptoms of chronic pancreatitis are abdominal pain and poor digestion. If you suffer from chronic pancreatitis, you may experience occasional bouts of severe pain, although the pain associated with this condition is usually present to some degree at all times. The leading cause of chronic pancreatitis is long-term alcohol abuse, states the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Other possible causes of this condition include hereditary pancreas disorders, cystic fibrosis, certain autoimmune diseases and certain medications.
Certain herbal remedies may reduce the burden on your pancreas, bolster the health of your pancreas and up-regulate your pancreas' glandular functions. According to certified nutritional consultant Phyllis A. Balch, author of "Prescription for Nutritional Healing," herbs that may be helpful in treating chronic pancreatitis include burdock root, milk thistle, red clover, cedar berries, echinacea, gentian root, goldenseal, dandelion root, licorice root and olive leaf extract. An herbalist or health professional trained in botanical medicine can help you select the best herbs for your condition.
Gentian root is an herbal remedy that is often used to treat chronic pancreatitis, notes Balch, although it is also commonly used to treat circulatory problems. Gentian root also helps eliminate the organisms that cause malaria, aids digestion, stimulates your appetite and contains many important phytochemicals and nutrients. The University of Michigan Health System states that herbalists in Europe have used the leaves and roots of the gentian plant as a digestive aid for hundreds of years.
Pancreatitis is a serious health condition that requires medical intervention. If you experience symptoms of pancreatitis, visit your doctor for a full and thorough evaluation of your health status. According to Balch, there is evidence that cigarette smoking is associated with chronic pancreatitis. Avoiding secondhand cigarette smoke and alcohol consumption may be helpful. Consuming a diet that is low in sugar may also help speed your recovery. Herbal remedies for chronic pancreatitis are often used in combination with other treatments recommended by your doctor.
- Cleveland Clinic: Chronic Pancreatitis
- "Prescription for Nutritional Healing"; Phyllis A. Balch, CNC; 2010
Robyn Hughes has been writing since 2008 about health, nutrition, fitness and botanical medicine. She is a naturopathic physician and freelance writer based in Durham, N.C. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in cognitive science from Indiana University and a doctoral degree from the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, Ore.