IBS Herbs

Submitted by Thiruvelan on Sun, 09/20/2015
Irritable Bowel Syndrome Herbs

Herbs have been in use for centuries for the treatment of digestive complaints including IBS. IBS herbs relaxes smooth muscle thereby preventing and treating IBS, PMS, and painful periods.

Herbs useful for IBS

Below are some healing herbs for IBS:

Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) relieves diarrhea, reduce gastrointestinal spasms, intestinal inflammation, relieves GI tension, calm smooth muscle tissue, cure indigestion, expel gas, removes bloating, and relieve abdominal spasms. Many studies shows chamomile is a relaxing herb useful for anxiety and nervousness. Add 2 to 3 teaspoons of dried chamomile flowers in a cup of boiling water, steep for 10 minutes, strain, add lemon juice, and drink this herbal tea three times/day.

Peppermint (Mentha piperita) relieve digestive problems such as upset stomachs, intestinal spasms, gas, cramps, diarrhea, and colic even among children. Menthol oil it contain relieves bloating, gas pain and intestinal spasms. Moreover, peppermint help smooth passage of food through the stomach. Peppermint oil relaxes the smooth muscle in the intestinal tract to reduce muscle contractions. Add 2 or 3 drops of peppermint oil to 1/4th cup of warm water, drink it 3 to 4 times/day. Alternatively, add 1 teaspoon of dried peppermint to a cup of boiling water, steep for 10 minutes, and drink tea 2 to 3 times/day. Excess intake of peppermint may cause nausea, appetite loss, heart symptoms and nervous disorders. For supplementation, enteric-coated peppermint pills are preferable, because they dissolve in the intestine and relaxes intestinal smooth muscles.

Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) is effective against candida, stomach bug/flu, bacteria, microbes, E-coli, and salmonella. As a digestive, cinnamon reduce discomfort associated with IBS bloating. It kills bacteria, candida, and heal infections in the GI tract, thus enabling the gastric juices to work normally. Cinnamon helps arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ADHD, and PMS. Useful for depression, reduce irritability, enhance mood, and enhances alertness, memory & cognition. Add ½ teaspoon of cinnamon to a glass of milk and drink it every night.

Anise (Pimpinella anisum) helps aid gastric juice production and improves appetite, relieves indigestion, gas & bloating, prevents nausea & vomiting, settles colic, and prevent/treat gastrointestinal cramping. Anise is suitable for use in both constipation and diarrhea, because it normalizes bowel movement useful in IBS. It is a mild sedative and calms irritability and nervousness. Its antifungal activity prevents the candida albicans overgrowth in the gut, which in-turn prevent gas and toxins this yeast produces. It is safe, gentle, and tasty.

Kava Kava (Piper methysticum): Muscle relaxant and antispasmodic for internal organs and muscle tension. Sedative, pain & cramp reliever, and reduces sensitivity to pain. Strongly reduces anxiety, relieves sleeplessness, is a mild antiseptic.

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis): Eases cramps, spasms, bloating, indigestion, colic pains, and gastric acidity. Useful for stress, irritability, restlessness, and anxiety.

Fennel seeds (Foeniculum vulgare) relieve intestinal spasms and bloating. Fennel seeds removes fat from the digestive system and inhibits over-production of mucus in the intestine. It help eliminate gas, bloating, increase gastric juice production, aids digestion, and abdominal pain. Studies show it normalizes intestinal contractions & relieves colic, heartburn, abdominal pain, and indigestion. It also possesses antibacterial property, useful for post-infectious IBS. Add ½ to 1 teaspoon of crushed fennel seeds to a cup of boiling water, steep for 10 minutes, strain and enjoy herbal tea 2 to 3 times/day.    Alternatively, take one teaspoon of dry roasted fennel seed powder twice daily with warm water.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) is often advisable to treat IBS, because it reduces gas and bloating. In addition, ginger reduces intestinal inflammation and relax intestinal muscles. It is useful to treat nausea, indigestion, and gastrointestinal cramps (by normalizing gastrointestinal muscle tone). Add half teaspoon of freshly grated ginger to a cup of hot water, strain, add stevia, and drink this tea 2 to 3 times/day. Alternatively, grate a small piece of ginger, add a teaspoon of honey/sugar, mix well, leave it few minutes, and eat this before meals to improve digestion and avoid diarrhea.

Cumin seeds (Cuminum cyminum) aids digestion, improve immunity, insomnia, respiratory disorders, anemia, skin disorders, boils, and cancer. Make a fine paste of cumin seeds and guava leaves; take 20 grams of this paste along with buttermilk twice-daily help IBS-diarrhea by reducing frequency of bowel movement.

Pomegranate (Punica granatum) fruit cover (epicarp) is ground into fine paste with lemon juice and take this twice daily along with warm water to restores the capacity of small intestine. Drinking pomegranate juice or preferably eating pomegranate seeds is useful for IBS.  

Caraway (Carum carvi) seeds increases gastric juice production; thus, aids digestion and treat indigestion, colic, cramps, bloating, digestive upset, nausea, expel/prevent gas, prevent intestinal spasm, nervous tension, and good for menstrual cramping. Chefs add this spice to heavy digestible foods for preventing indigestion.

Cramp Bark (Viburnum opulus): Is a strong antispasmodic relieves painful abdominal cramp, stomach, uterus or bladder, menstrual cramps, and leg cramps. Relieves back pain, neuralgia. 

Dill (Anethum graveolens): Relieves intestinal spasms, cramps, infantile colic and indigestion. Dispels gas, calms, improves digestion, and has antibacterial action. Increases breast milk, which carries antispasmodic effects to the infant. 

Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra): It decreases spasms, relieves stomach ulcers, and body’s stress response. It assists in clearing poorly digested foods.

Wild Yam (Dioscorea villosa): It is useful for cramps, spasm, colic, gas, flatulence, belching, indigestion, and upset from tea.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium): It is useful for inflammation, spasm, pain, cramp, stomachache, distension, gas, and promotes tissue healing.

Angelica root is a female herb beneficial for menstrual cramps and symptoms of PMS among women with IBS. It is beneficial for intestinal cramps, gas, and bloating. 

The bitter herbs such as bitter orange peel, gentian root, areca seed, and dandelion root are all beneficial to intestinal health. Bitterness in these herbs stimulate and increase gastric juices and bile production, which helps proper digestion. It is useful for the treatment of parasites, abdominal distention, and constipation.

Artichoke Leaf Extract (ALE) have potential for treating IBS. In a study, 96% of the participants well tolerate artichoke leaf extract, and it worked well in reducing IBS symptoms. Artichoke can help digestive complaints, especially after eating fatty foods.

Cat’s claw (Uncaria tomentosa) is in use for hundreds of years to treat stomach pain, ulcers, and other GI problems. Cat’s claw stimulate immune system and have antiviral effect. It neutralizes free radicals thus prevent inflammation. It is beneficial for people with IBS, because it soothes irritated & inflamed tissues, and eliminates harmful microbes from the GI tract.

Grapefruit seed extract benefits people with IBS, because it prevent/remove harmful organisms from the intestinal tract. Clinical studies shows grapefruit seed extract has broad-spectrum antimicrobial properties; it also inhibits two ulcer-causing bacteria H. pylori and Campylobacter jejuni. In a study, grapefruit seed extract relieved constipation, gas, and abdominal distress after four weeks use. 

Oregano oil can relieve nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and muscle cramps. They increase gastric juice production and eliminate gas & bloating.

Taking 500mg of turmeric extract once a day can also help because of its anti-inflammatory properties.

Boswellia helps in reducing inflammation.

Herbal formula Triphala is excellent for digestive tract disorders specifically IBS. It consist of equal parts of Amalaki (Phyllanthus emblica), Bibhitaki (Terminalia bellirica), and Haritaki (Terminalia chebula). It is the most popular herbal formula for numerous digestive complains. It is useful as a gentle bowel tonic, helpful in digestion and supporting regular bowel movements.

Healing herbs for the relief of abdominal pain include ginger, anise, fennel, oregano, peppermint oil, chamomile, and skullcap.

For IBS bloating, studies have shown the surprising effectiveness of a mix of grapeseed extract, bilberry, and cranberry extract, for the relief of bloating.

For IBS nausea, take juice of lime & onion along with grated ginger.

IBS Anxiety

People with IBS usually suffers from anxiety or depression. Thus, along with treatment to restore digestive health, treatment is require to relieve depression /anxiety. Regular practice of pranayama is very effective and useful. 

Fear of an IBS attack can trigger anxiety, a forerunner to depressive illnesses and should treat as soon as possible.

  • Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) acts as antispasmodics to calm the heart and nerves without causing sedation and is useful for anxiety.
  • Passionflower possess sedative and analgesic properties, and has a calming and restful effect on the central nervous system.
  • Valerian root (Valeriana officinalis) affects the central nervous system and promotes restful sleep, and relieve pain related to anxiety & emotional upset. It relieves intestinal cramps, muscle tension, spasms, and diarrhea cramps.
  • Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) is commonly and successfully in use for the treatment of anxiety and insomnia. In addition, it eases indigestion and intestinal inflammations. 
  • Catnip (Nepeta cataria) relieves intestinal spasm, gas, diarrhea, upset stomach, and indigestion. Is especially effective for intestinal or gastric problem of nervous origin. It reduces anxiety, fever, and eases headaches.
  • Peppermint (Mentha piperta) relieves colic, spasm, spastic constipation, dispels gas, distention, and pain. It improves digestion, stimulates secretions including bile. It has sedative effect on the nerves. 
  • Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) and lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) are other herbs have shown to be effective in reducing anxiety.
  • Mind–body therapy help attain a balanced mind to fight IBS; taking herbs such as Ashwagandha and Brahmi are helpful.