When newly diagnosed with coeliac disease or gluten sensitivity or when accidental ingestion of gluten has taken place, then very often the gut wall of the small intestine will become inflamed. The small intestine is quite complex as it comprises of four compartments within the duodenum itself: these are called superior, descending, horizontal, and ascending. Tacked onto the duodenum are the second and third parts of the small intestine: the jejunum and ileum.
The villi of the small intestine run the entire length of the duodenum, jejunum and ileum and although the villi increase in number further down the small intestine, damage may occur in any portion.
There are suggestions that natural supplements may be of help in the healing process. The main one that is currently being praised as the best option for coeliacs to promote healing throughout the length of the small intestine is deglycyrrhised liquorice. Deglycyrrhised liquorice is used as unlike standard liquorice it does not cause hypertension (high blood pressure) also other standard liquorice may accelerate excretion of potassium whilst causing retention of sodium. Little note of warning: if wishing to try out deglycyrrhised liquorice, look for natural versions without added artificial sugars some of which either may be grown using wheat, others may cause irritation or diarrhoea. The best will contain few ingredients so when checking the ingredients list look for something similar to the following:
Standardised Deglycyrrhised Liquorice Root Powdered Extract; Raw Liquorice Root Powder;
PhytO2X ä (powdered blend of beta-carotene preparation and ascorbic acid).
A further herb that helps to heal the intestines and is particularly useful if leaky gut syndrome is suspected is Cat's Claw "Uncaria Tomentosa." Cat's Claw will cleanse the entire system of deep seated infection throughout the entire length of the bowel and promote healing. It has a good track record as it has been used for thousands of years. This is also the herb that is recognised as a strengthener of the immune system.
Mastic Gum, which comes from the Mastic Tree of Greece - Pistacia lentiscus is another good option for coeliacs and gluten intolerants. This has also been a useful healing and digestive problems as well as a soothing medicine for centuries. It coats the lining of the stomach and intestine with a natural resin that both promotes healing and acts as an anti-biotic as it has the ability to kill off bad bacteria including Helicobacter pylori. Initially, it is usually taken for thirty days without interval - for many people this is sufficient but there are some who remain taking the gum in smaller doses over a longer period of time. It is also know for its ability to decrease LDL (bad cholesterol) and to kill off oral bacteria in the mouth especially those known for the incidence of gingivitis.
Aloe Vera is also a safe and healing plant and although many coeliacs find its use helpful as to promote healing in the lining of the throat, oesophagus, stomach and intestines others find it may loosen the bowel and in some instances cause diarrhoea. So this is perhaps best considered by those who may normally have a propensity towards constipation.
There are two further options that a coeliac or gluten intolerant may wish to consider to improve health and these are:
L-Glutamine - this is thought to improve the gut barrier function helping it to return back to normal.
N-Acetyl-D-Glucosamine (NAG) - is mainly chosen as an extra aid by people that have osteoarthritis and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. The majority of supplements for NAG are made from marine life and so should be avoided for people with shellfish allergy!
Small additional note: when using natural healing aids it is always wise to follow the instructions and guidelines on the packet or bottle.