Western Herbal Treatment of IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME (IBS) part (1)

December 1, 2010 by  
Filed under FOR IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME

(en) Spearmint (Mentha spicata) (de) de:Grüne ...
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Even though insufficient research has been carried out, many people with IBS turn to herbal remedies to ease their symptoms. There are many traditional herbal remedies that can help a great deal in IBS. Since patients tend to react to remedies at a very low dose, it is always a good idea to start any remedy at low doses, gradually increasing the strength as necessary.

  • Carminative Herbs

Most important in easing spasms of the gut associated with IBS are so-called carminative (flatulencerelieving) herbs. Teas of mixtures of the following carminative remedies may relieve pain, bloating and flatulence: chamomile (Matricaria recutita), caraway (Carum cari), fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), aniseed (Pimpinella anisum), cardamom (Elletaria cardamomum), peppermint (Mentha piperita), spearmint (Mentha spicata), garden mint (Mentha arvensis), dill (Anethum graveolens), lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), rosemary (Rosemarinus

officinalis) and lovage (Levisticum officinalis).

These remedies combine well with bitter aromatics such as angelica root (Angelica archangelica), tangerine peel (Citrus reticulata) and bitter orange (Citrus aurantium).

The bitter, aromatic combination is particularly calming to the disordered gut.

The carminative herb chamomile also combines well with other relaxing herbs, such as valerian, to relieve IBS aggravated by anxiety. Peppermint oil is the main ingredient in several over-the-counter products for symptoms of IBS. A metaanalysis of five randomised controlled trials of special peppermint oil capsules for IBS suggests that this preparation can be effective in relieving symptoms.

  • Herbs to Aid Bile Output

A painful, bloated feeling after eating fatty foods may be due to poor bile output. In stimulating bile production and flow, these remedies enable the body to digest fats. Some herbs have an especially bitter action, which aids digestion.Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium), gentian (Gentiana lutea) and hops (Humulus lupulus) are extremely bitter and are given in small doses. Hops are sedative and relaxing to the bowel in low doses. Other bitter herbs effective for treating IBS include milk thistle (Silibum marianum), dandelion root (Taraxacum officinale) and globe artichoke (Cynara scolymus) leaves.

Artichoke Leaf Extract shows promise in treating IBS as well as dyspepsia (indigestion). It is an ingredient in many over-the-counter remedies for IBS and apparently relieves IBS symptoms in some patients. There have been no randomized controlled trials yet, but researchers at the University of Reading suggest “there is a growing body of evidence which indicates therapeutic properties for artichoke leaf extract”. In their small study, IBS patients had significant reductions in the severity of their symptoms after taking the extract. Both the patients and their doctors felt that it was effective, and 96 per cent of the patients rated the extract as better than or as good as other therapies they had tried.

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