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Herbal Medicine and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)


Herbal medicine is an ancient healing tradition, and one of many alternative natural therapies that people are increasingly turning to. This is largely due to the absence, or near absence, of side effects, as well its non-invasiveness.

What is IBS?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a condition that has only recently been given a collective term, given that it has a variety of symptoms.  These include nausea, vomiting, bloat, gas and diarrhoea; amongst others.  There are a number of theories as to what triggers the condition, and may include specific foods, nervous disorders and bacteria. Dairy products and foods containing gluten are also often thought to be the culprit.  These elements are often excluded from an IBS sufferer’s diet in an effort to pinpoint the exact cause of the condition.  Some doctors may also prescribe a course of antibiotics if a bacterial infection is suspected.

What is Herbal Medicine?

Herbal medicine is an ancient healing practice that is utilised by cultures worldwide, and is increasingly being studied in an effort to identify the chemical constituents of effective plant remedies.  All parts of a plant may be utilised, including the roots, stems, leaves and flowers. A number of plants can be combined, or just a single plant may be used to produce a remedy, which is intended to reduce or alleviate the symptoms of a particular condition.  Herbal medicine is still used extensively in the developing world, and is increasingly used alongside conventional medicine.

How Can Herbal Medicine Help IBS?

Consulting a herbalist will typically involve an evaluation of an individual’s diet, lifestyle and general state of health. A remedy or combination of remedies, together with dietary advice, may then be prescribed.  There are a range of herbal remedies that are well documented in their relief of IBS and other digestive disorders, and includes:

  • Chamomile – a sedative herb that is useful in relieving tension and stomach spasms
  • Fennel – fennel prevents gas and bloat as well as aiding in the relief of stomach aches and indigestion
  • Ginger – a powerful herbal remedy for the relief of IBS symptoms such as nausea and cramping
  • Peppermint – has a calming and anti-bacterial effect on the muscles of the stomach, reducing nausea

Ensure that your herbalist is accredited and registered with a national association.  This ensures that their qualifications would have been vetted and also that they adhere to a code of conduct.

Find out about other effective natural treatments for IBS. 


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