Chinese medical texts rarely differentiate Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or other chronic inflammatory intestinal disorders. In Chinese medical terms, most ulcerative intestinal disease is classified as spleen deficiency type, because it is believed that the spleen Qi is necessary to maintain the health of the intestines.

More specifically, any bowel-related issues can be caused by four major factors, all of them involving stomach/spleen deficiency.

  1. Stomach/Spleen Deficiency: Most common cause of any bowel-related and any other digestive disorders.
  2. Deficiency Complicated by Cold: Usually cold in the stomach and spleen meridians affect either the small or the large intestines.
  3. Deficiency Complicated by Damp Heat: Severe pain and/or bleeding can be caused by damp heat lodged in the intestines.
  4. Qi and Yin Deficiency: deficient Qi causes stagnation of the stomach and the spleen over time; not enough Yin (cooling element) makes Yang (hot element) invading the stomach, spleen, and liver meridians.

Chinese medical practitioners can establish protocols by examining the underlying causes of ulcerative colitis, not just symptomatic demonstrations. Quite often, acupuncture alone cannot effectively deal with this particular disease, and Chinese herbal concoctions (most notable is Jianpilling) are strongly recommended, along with strict diet changes.

A word of caution is that Chinese medicine, however, has its limitations. If the patient has such complications as toxic colitis or toxic megacolon, immediate hospitalization is required. In addition, serious complications such as massive hemorrhage, free perforation, or fulminating toxic colitis require immediate surgical intervention.