Gastrointestinal Inflammatory Disorders

An oral mixture of Symphytum officinalis (comfrey) and calendula was beneficial in the treatment of duodenal ulcers and gastroduodenitis according to a study involving 170 patients. Of these, 137 were treated with the herbal combination and 33 also received an antacid. A dramatic 90% of treated patients became pain free and 85% had a reduction in dyspeptic complaints. Gastric acidity showed a statistically insignificant tendency to decrease in both groups. Gastroscopy later revealed that the ulcers had healed in 90% of patients (Chakurski et al 1981). Interestingly, a smaller study conducted by the same researchers involving only 32 patients with the same condition failed to detect a beneficial effect (Matev et al 1981).

A further study by the same authors found another mixture containing calendula to be beneficial in the treatment of chronic colitis. A combination of Taraxacum officinale, Hypericum perforatum, Melissa officinalis, Calendula officinalis and Foenlculum vulgarewas shown to relieve the spontaneous and palpable pains along the large intestine in over 95% of the patients (n = 24) by day 1 5 of treatment. Defecation was normalised in patients with diarrhoea and constipated patients were successfully treated with the addition of Rhamus frangula, Citrus aurantlum and

Carum carvi. The pathological admixtures in faeces disappeared (Chakurski et al 1981).

Although encouraging, the role of calendula as a stand-alone treatment is difficult to determine from these studies.

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