Did you know that today – September 13 – is National Celiac Disease Awareness Day?
Celiac disease is an autoimmune digestive disease that damages the small intestine and blocks the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food. This reaction is triggered in a person with Celiac disease each time they eat gluten – a protein found in wheat, barley and rye.
According to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, it is estimated that 1 in 133 Americans – or 3 million people – suffer from Celiac disease. However, because of how difficult it can be to diagnose and a lack of understanding of the condition, up to 95% of Celiacs may be undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with other conditions. Importantly, there is no cure for Celiac disease – instead, people suffering from the condition must adhere to a 100% gluten free diet.
Bloating, pain and digestive upset are regular symptoms for Celiacs, and conditions for which Oriental Medicine can offer palliative treatments. While these approaches have not been shown to cure Celiac disease, there are several herbal remedies that have shown promise in helping Celiacs find relief. These include: fennel, nutmeg, Echinacea, goldenseal, slippery elm, burdock, sheep sorrel, dandelion and saffron.
Finally, while also not a cure for Celiac disease, acupuncture has been long used to help patients with a wide variety of digestive disorders and can bring some relief by calming nausea, reducing bloating and maintaining better digestive function.
Hopefully, you are now more aware of what our gluten-intolerant friends and family members are battling – think of them today!