Celiac disease is a disease of the small intestine in which there is an immunological reaction within the inner lining of the small intestine to proteins (gluten) that are present in wheat, rye, barley and to a lesser extent, oats. This reaction causes inflammation that destroys the inner lining of the small intestine. This reduces the absorption of dietary nutrients and can lead to symptoms and signs of nutritional, vitamin, and mineral deficiencies. Celiac disease is also known as sprue, non-tropical sprue, gluten enteropathy and adult celiac disease. Common symptoms include diarrhea, malodorous flatulence, abdominal bloating, increased amounts of fat in the stool, weight loss, fluid retention, anemia, osteoporosis, easy bruising, peripheral neuropathy, infertility and muscle weakness.
Most patients with celiac disease improve with a gluten-free diet, however a few patients may still have refractory symptoms. The Ayurvedic treatment of celiac disease is aimed at improving the symptoms and treating the basic cause of the disease by repairing the inner lining of the small intestine. Medicines like Shankh-Vati, Chitrakadi-Vati, Laghu-Sutshekhar-Ras, Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Sunthi (Zinziber officinalis), Marich (Piper nigrum), Pippali (Piper longum), Chitrak (Plumbago zeylanica), Chavya (Piper retrofractum), Samudradi-Lavan, Lavan-Bhaskar-Churna, Hingashtak-Churna and Lashunadi-Vati can be used to treat symptoms of flatulence and bloating. Medicines like Sunthi, Musta (Cyperus rotundus), Kutaj (Holarrhina antidysentrica), Kutaj-Ghan-Vati and Kutaj-Parpati can be used to treat diarrhea. Fluid retention is treated using medicines like Punarnavadi-Qadha, Saarivadi-Churna, and Gokshuradi-Guggulu. Anemia and osteoporosis can be treated using medicines like Tapyadi-Loh, Punarnavadi-Mandur, Shankh-Bhasma, Shrung-Bhasma and Praval-Panchamrut-Bhasma.
Medicines like Panchamrut-Parpati, Suvarna-Parpati, Suvarna-Malini-Vasant, Yashtimadhuk (Glycerrhiza glabra), Saariva (Hemidesmus indicus), Praval-Bhasma, Sutshekhar-Ras, Suvarna-Sutshekhar-Ras, Musta and Bilva (Aegle Marmelos) are used on a long term basis to regenerate the inner lining of the small intestine. Once the inner mucosa becomes normal, absorption of nutrients from the digested food starts taking place and this can itself cure symptoms like weight loss, fluid retention and weakness.
It is important for all patients with celiac disease to take vitamin and mineral supplements regularly. Affected individuals should consult dietitians for lists of gluten-free foods, and should take care to read the food and product labels before buying and consuming any food product.