Colitis, Diverticulosis, IBS, Ulcer and other Gastrointestinal Issues

Colitis & IBS



by Andrew W. Saul

Your digestive tract is well over twenty feet long. If you were to flatten out just your small intestine, its total absorptive area would be half the size of a basketball court. 

This is an important bit of real estate. 

I am not a physician and I am certainly not a gastroenterologist. People like me tend to annoy medical specialists by looking at gastrointestinal (GI) problems such as colitis, ulcers, spastic colon, irritable bowel syndrome and even Crohn's disease as manifestations of the same two problems, just in different places. These two fundamental causes of most GI disorders are systemic toxemia (a polluted body) and malnutrition. This means one is taking in too much of the wrong things and not enough of the right ones. 

Persons with GI troubles simply must stop doing things that hurt their guts. Smoking, alcohol, heavy meat intake, food additives, and stress need to be systematically eliminated. Yes, some red wine and some natural meats are OK. But like it or not, if a person is not willing to stop doing things that hurt, there is a greatly reduced chance of success with things that help. Need I add more about why drinking and smoking can your digestive system? Both behaviors are clearly linked to digestive tract cancers. Many of the no-nos I've listed are often condoned by doctors unwilling to stop those habits themselves. But one has to confront even the popular, little vices if doing so can save big suffering.  Persons who move towards a plant-based diet and far, far away from processed foods will not be disappointed. 

I may not make a lot of friends with this article, but these are the facts, ma'am: a plant-based diet has important advantages. It is high in bulk, high in vitamin C, and high in carotene vitamin A. A mostly-vegetarian diet is cheap and enables you to lose weight. And incidentally, there are fewer dishes to do. For those concerned about too much fiber, read on. A juice extractor will remove it for you.

The lining of your entire digestive tract is made up of epithelial tissue. Epithelial cells are "skin" cells. Your skin covers both the outside and the inside of your body. You might think of yourself as a sleeping bag: there is an outer waterproof covering and an inner, softer lining. Since epithelial tissue is very dependent on vitamins A and C for its health and integrity, and since a diet high in fruits, sprouts and veggies is quite high in these vitamins, you can see the vegetarian's advantage. The additional bulk of a mostly-veggie diet makes stools softer and easier to pass. Pressure is reduced inside the colon and straining to have a bowel movement is eliminated. Persons with very sensitive intestines can temporarily juice their vegetables and even put their salads through a blender if necessary. This tastes a lot better than it sounds, and is an extremely gentle and digestible way to instantly improve nutritional status. Fruits and especially vegetables are so high in carotenes that supplemental vitamin A is not needed if you are juicing.  Carotene vitamin A is non-toxic. 


Many years ago, I read a book titled Everybody's Guide to Nature Cure, by Dr. Harry Benjamin. At the time, I resisted the way he began practically every treatment the same way: with a fast.  His advice has withstood the test of time.  Persons with GI troubles often get the most relief by just shutting down the digestive system for a while. A few days fasting gives the body a chance to rest and repair.  Naturopaths believe, and anatomical evidence confirms, that given this chance the body will take advantage of it. 

Earlier I mentioned that your intestinal tract is lined with epithelial cells. These cells, called enterocytes, are replaced by your body every three to five days. This suggests that a fast of similar length would best enable the reconstruction. If I were going to work on Chicago's sewer system, I'd shut it down first. And, I'd certainly keep it shut down until the repair was done. How could it otherwise be done properly? Fasting is simply a temporary and logical measure. 

While it is possible for some people to fast on water alone, I think this is unnecessary. Equally good results will be obtained (with greater comfort) by vegetable juice fasting. One might argue that juice fasts are ideal because they provide the healing vitamins A and C. The minimal carbohydrate content of vegetable juices promotes normal blood sugar levels, provides electrolyte minerals, and prevents the "logy" feeling and headaches that some people (myself included) may experience on a water-only fast. And, vegetable juice fasting feels remarkably good and it works remarkably well. (You may want to read my article entitled "How To Juice Fast" for some helpful pointers.) 


To give you an idea of the therapeutic potential of vegetable juices, consider the work of Garnett Cheney, M.D. He had 100 peptic ulcer patients drink a quart of raw cabbage juice daily. The patients reported dramatically less pain, and X-ray examination confirmed faster healing time. There was no other change in their diet, and they did not have drug therapy. 81% of the patients were symptom-free within one week; over two-thirds were better in just four days. Average healing time for patients given standard hospital treatment was over a month. (Cheney, G: "Vitamin U Therapy of Peptic Ulcer," California Medicine, vol. 77, number 4, October, 1952)

Dr. Cheney used cabbage juice to also treat gastric ulcers and duodenal ulcers. He clearly was onto something, which he called "Vitamin U" (for ulcer) for lack of a better name. Today, the cabbage family (cruciform) vegetables including Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale and broccoli, are finally being recommended to help prevent diseases including cancer. Dr. Cheney was getting therapeutic results in four days with cabbage juice nearly 70 years ago! If it worked then, it will work now. Do we really have to wait any longer for orthodox medical approval of vegetables?

I know of people who have utilized cabbage juice along with vegetarian diet and fasting to heal all forms of gastrointestinal diseases without drugs and without surgery.  One person even cured her untreatable rectal bleeding with cabbage juice. The attending physician confirmed her excellent but unexplained progress, asking her what she was doing. She told the doctor of her diet and about cabbage juice. His response was, "No, that couldn't be it." 

Her story is at

I have first-hand knowledge of people who, instead of using cabbage, juiced broccoli, broccoli leaves, or kale and obtained success with fairly severe, chronic GI pain. They juiced the kale or broccoli along with carrots to keep the juicer from clogging or running too warm.

GERD and Barrett's esophagus patients do not usually come home from the doctor's office with a prescription for cabbage juice. That is regrettable, since the juice of any of the cruicform vegetables hastens healing of the inner lining of the throat, as well as the stomach, as well as the intestine, as well as the bowel. Yes, that includes Crohn's disease. I am well aware of how sweeping these statements are. There is only one way to prove me wrong - or right - and that is to try it. Most people won't. But Dr. Cheney's patients probably were't wild about the idea at first, either. However, they were out of the hospital far sooner, with far less pain, that patients who were not juicing. If cabbage juice can heal a bleeding stomach ulcer, crater and all, in a patient with the condition so bad that it requires hospitalization, then it is plausible that it will heal above the stomach (Barrett's) or below it (Crohn's). I stand for broad application of the doctor's demonstrated clinical success. I challenge anyone, anywhere, to tell me how cabbage can hurt you. What will hurt is not trying it.

Supplemental vitamin C is very valuable to help heal lesions and inflammation all along the GI tract. Thousands of milligrams in divided doses are necessary for best results. Enough "C" should be taken to improve the condition, but not so much as might cause excessively loose bowels. A non-acidic vitamin C is ideal, because it will not irritate the digestive tract. Sodium ascorbate or calcium ascorbate both work well. Magnesium ascorbate will to, but it is pricey. Dosage is determined by personal experimentation. This website has a large amount of material on vitamin C, as a search from the home page will show you.  

Some organized form of stress reduction is essential for digestive system health and healing. Whether it is prayer, meditation, yoga, music or another approach, what matters most is if you will actually learn how to relax efficiently and take the time to do it every day! 

That goes for juicing, too. What is the best juicer to buy? Ah, I'll bet you were expecting a sales pitch now, weren't you? Well, there isn't one. I have no financial connection with the health products industry. I do not make a dime from any juicer or supplement purchase. So my answer is, buy the juicer you will actually USE! If you don't want to begin juice fasting just yet, you can certainly begin by adding some cabbage juice to your diet. Just a glass with each meal plus one more equals a quart a day. Can you sweeten it with fruit juice? To quote Curly the Stooge: "Why, soitenly!"  Do what it takes to get it down . . . and feel better. 


Cheney G. Prevention of histamine-induced peptic ulcers by diet. Stanford Med Bull. 6:334, 1948

Cheney G. Rapid healing of peptic ulcers in patients receiving fresh cabbage juice. Calif Med. 70:10, 1949 

Cheney G. The nature of the antipepticulcer dietary factor. Stanford Med Bull. 1950 Aug;8(3):144-61.

Cheney G. Antipeptic ulcer dietary factor. American Dietetics Assoc. 26:9 September, 1950.

Cheney G. Vitamin U therapy of peptic ulcer. Calif Med. 1952 Oct;77(4):248-52.

Cheney G. Vitamin U concentrate therapy of peptic ulcer. Am J Gastroenterol. 1954 Mar;21(3):230-50.

Cheney G. The medical management of gastric ulcers with vitamin U therapy. Stanford Med Bull. 1955 May;13(2):204-14.

Cheney G, Waxler SH, Miller IJ. Vitamin U therapy of peptic ulcer; experience at San Quentin Prison. Calif Med. 1956 Jan;84(1):39-42.

Pauling, Linus: How To Live Longer and Feel Better, Freeman, 1986, revised 1996, pages 112-113 

Stone, Irwin: The Healing Factor: Vitamin C Against Disease, Grosset and Dunlap, 1972, Chapter 21. 

An internet search (if you wish, with the assistance of a good librarian) will help you locate any hard-to-find article or book.  Try an Interlibrary Loan if necessary. 

Copyright C 2019, 2004 and prior years Andrew W. Saul.

Andrew Saul is the author of the books FIRE YOUR DOCTOR! How to be Independently Healthy (reader reviews at ) and DOCTOR YOURSELF: Natural Healing that Works. (reviewed at )


Andrew W. Saul


AN IMPORTANT NOTE:  This page is not in any way offered as prescription, diagnosis nor treatment for any disease, illness, infirmity or physical condition.  Any form of self-treatment or alternative health program necessarily must involve an individual's acceptance of some risk, and no one should assume otherwise.  Persons needing medical care should obtain it from a physician.  Consult your doctor before making any health decision. 

Neither the author nor the webmaster has authorized the use of their names or the use of any material contained within in connection with the sale, promotion or advertising of any product or apparatus. Single-copy reproduction for individual, non-commercial use is permitted providing no alterations of content are made, and credit is given.



| Home | Order my Books | About the Author | Contact Us | Webmaster |