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FoodMarble Health For use by physicians
  • 9 November 2022
  • Est. reading time: 3 minutes
  • Natural Remedies for IBS

  • There is a large reliance on prescription medications for the treatment of many conditions, including IBS. There is good reason for this, as these drugs are extensively studied to prove that they are both effective and safe. However, when prescription medications are unsuccessful, it is not uncommon for IBS sufferers to turn towards more natural therapies to help manage uncomfortable digestive symptoms.

  • Est. reading time: 3 minutes
  • Natural Remedies for IBS

  • There is a large reliance on prescription medications for the treatment of many conditions, including IBS. There is good reason for this, as these drugs are extensively studied to prove that they are both effective and safe. However, when prescription medications are unsuccessful, it is not uncommon for IBS sufferers to turn towards more natural therapies to help manage uncomfortable digestive symptoms.

Herbal medicines and remedies are becoming more common as alternative and complementary treatment options for IBS sufferers. These remedies range from herbal supplements, to certain teas, and even plant extracts. It is important however, when considering incorporating herbal or natural therapies into your treatment plan, that you consult with your doctor to ensure that it is the right option for you.

Some interesting herbal remedies used to help with IBS include:

1. Peppermint Oil:

Peppermint oil (PO) is one of the most well-studied herbal supplements used for the treatment of IBS. The American College of Gastroenterology recommends PO for IBS sufferers for the overall improvement of symptoms. The positive effect of PO on IBS symptoms is due to the myriad of inherent beneficial properties of the herb. These include its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, immunomodulating and anaesthetic effects. It has earned its classification as an antispasmodic due to its menthol content, which blocks calcium channels resulting in the relaxation of intestinal smooth muscle, helping to ease digestive symptoms.

2. Slippery Elm:

Slippery elm is a herbal medicine that comes from the inner bark of the slippery elm tree, Ulmus rubra. It is widely used for the treatment of gastrointestinal conditions, and has been shown to have antioxidant activity in cases of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Used in formulation with other natural medicines, slippery elm has also demonstrated potential for easing symptoms in diarrhea-predominant IBS (IBS-D), and in aiding symptoms and improving bowel movements in those with constipation-predominant IBS (IBS-C). The therapeutic effect of slippery elm is thought to be due to its ability to modulate the gut microbiome, reducing inflammation, protecting against infection, and improving the gut-barrier.

3. Psyllium Husk:

Psyllium is a dietary fiber supplement, commonly used for the treatment of IBS. It is a form of soluble viscous fiber, used to add bulk to stool, which can help to relieve gastrointestinal symptoms such as constipation and diarrhea. Psyllium husk has demonstrated superiority over other laxatives for the treatment of constipation. The benefits of dietary fiber supplementation for improving global IBS symptoms, especially with psyllium, are well documented.

4. Chamomile:

Chamomile is known for its soothing properties, and often consumed in tea form. The plant itself comes from the Asteraceae flower family, which resembles the daisy. Used for centuries as a natural anti-inflammatory agent, chamomile has been studied for its effects on the gastrointestinal system. Animal studies have shown that chamomile extract has antidiarrheal and antioxidant capabilities. The plant extract has also been shown, in a combination herbal preparation, to have comparable safety and efficacy to standard treatments for diarrhea. Although more research is needed, the long term use of this natural remedy is promising. Therefore, incorporating chamomile extract or tea into your treatment plan, under the supervision of your doctor, could help ease GI symptoms.

5. Artichoke Leaf Extract (ALE):

ALE is indicated for the treatment of functional dyspepsia, a condition characterized by symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea, gas, and bloating. Due to the overlap of symptoms of dyspepsia and those experienced by IBS sufferers, there is much interest in the use of ALE to treat IBS.  Studies have shown that ALE is effective in treating IBS symptoms, and improving health-related quality of life as a result of this improvement in symptoms. As well as this, artichoke has been shown to promote muscle relaxation in the small intestine of mice.

Yaseen

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