South East Wales

Crohn's disease 'cured by bark recipe' claims Marlene Barnes

Marlene Barnes
Image caption Marlene Barnes used to cut bark from a local park to try out her recipe

A woman claims she has cured herself of the bowel condition Crohn's disease through the medicinal properties of tree bark.

Marlene Barnes, 72, of Cardiff, had part of her colon and intestine removed due to the illness and began grinding up bark for a remedy 16 years ago.

Her consultant told her: "Recent investigations have shown no evidence of active disease."

An estimated 90,000 people in the UK suffer from Crohn's disease.

The former RAF clerical officer said she began the treatment because she had "a whole cupboard full of things which didn't work" and read that tree bark might be able to help.

She first used to cut bark from trees in a local park but was soon travelling around Europe to find a wider range of species.

Ms Barnes said "sheer determination" led her to continue with a trial-and-error approach, even when it made her sick.

"The first bark I tried came from a hazel tree - it felt like a dozen ferrets were having a fight in my stomach," she said.

"I thought I'm for the morgue this time. Then I started to feel better, a lot better than I felt in a long time and I thought there must be something in it.

"I started trying to work out which was the best, it was real trial and error, I nearly poisoned myself on so many occasions.


"I tried quite a lot of trees until I found which ones were the real miracle cures. The majority taste woody but not unpleasant although some are a little bitter.

"Some people who see me must think 'what a vandal - fancy cutting things off trees'."

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Media captionMarlene Barnes and consultant gastroenterologist Dr Simon Gabe discuss the health benefits of bark

Doctors had told her the Crohn's disease she was diagnosed with at age 14 was incurable but her consultant gastroenterologist has since said she has no more signs of the disease.

Ms Barnes currently consumes 120ml of bark daily and hopes to sell her recipe to a pharmaceutical firm.

She said: "I think these drug companies should be researching what nature has put there for them.

"I'm not anti-conventional medicine but I just think we should try other things as well.

"Bark has changed my quality of life so much - my only regret is that I didn't discover it sooner."

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