Irritable Bowel Syndrome Herbal Remedies

IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME (IBS)

BENEFICIAL HERBS

  • Enteric-coated peppermint oil is the best choice for herbal treatment of IBS (0.2-0.4 ml twice/day between meals). Peppermint aids in digestion, soothes an upset stomach and relieves gas. Do not take any other form, or esophageal reflux and/or heartburn may result.
  • Ginger and turmeric promote the elimination of intestinal gas and relax and soothe the intestinal tract.
  • Mullein can relieve gastrointestinal stress, stomach cramps and help control diarrhea.
  • Alfalfa is an excellent source of nutrients and is a good laxative and a natural diuretic.
  • Aloe vera can be soothing to the digestive tract. Take 1/2 cup of aloe vera juice three times daily, on an empty stomach.
  • Scullcap and valerian root can be used as a general tonic and relaxant. These are good taken forty-five minutes before bedtime or when an upset occurs.
  • Other herbs that can be beneficial for irritable bowel syndrome include lemon balm, chamomile, goldenseal, marshmallow, pau d’arco. Caution: Do not use chamomile on an ongoing basis and avoid it if you are allergic to ragweed. Do not take goldenseal on a daily basis for more than a week at a time, and do not use during pregnancy. Do not give goldenseal to children under two. Do not use goldenseal without consulting a physician if you have had heart disease, diabetes, glaucoma, a stroke, or high blood pressure. Use it with caution if you are allergic to ragweed.

DIETARY RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Eat a high-fiber diet including plenty of fruits and vegetables, plus whole grains (especially brown rice) and legumes. Note: It is very important to drink lots of water on a high-fiber diet. Without it, you may well end up constipated.
  • When an intestinal upset occurs, switch to a bland diet. Put vegetables and nonacidic fruits through a food processor or blender. Organic baby food is good. If you are on a soft diet, take some type of fiber and a protein supplement.
  • Take a psyllium supplement daily. Take one teaspoon in water once a day and every 3-4 days increase this amount by another teaspoon in another glass of water until you reach 4 teaspoons in four glasses of water daily. Also use oat bran and ground flaxseeds daily, on an alternating basis.
  • Add coarse miller’s bran found at your local health food store, 2 tsp. three times a day, added to fruit juice, cereal, or soup.
  • Avoid wheat bran as a fiber supplement; many people have reactions to wheat
  • Do not eat right before going to bed. Wait 1 or 2 hours before lying down.
  • Include lots of garlic in your diet. Garlic aids in digestion and destruction of toxins in the colon.
  • Avoid animal fats, butter, all carbonated beverages coffee and all other substances containing caffeine, candy, chocolate, all dairy products, fried foods, ice cream, all junk foods, the additives mannitol and sorbitol, margarine, nuts, orange and grapefruit juices, pastries, all processed foods, seeds, spicy foods, and sugar-free chewing gum. These foods encourage the secretion of mucus by the membranes and prevent the up-take of nutrients.
  • Cut down or eliminate gas-producing foods including beans, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and onions
  • Do not sip fluids with your meals. This facilitates air swallowing and increases gas production.
  • Avoid alcohol and tobacco; these irritate the linings of the stomach and colon.
  • Investigate the possibility of food allergens or food sensitivities as the cause of your symptoms

NUTRIENT SUPPLEMENTATION

A well balanced diet is a more natural source of nutrients and it is best to get as much as possible from food. If you are not eating a varied mixture of the main food groups or foods high in a certain nutrient needed for your health situation then make up the remaining through vitamin and mineral supplementation.

  • Vitamin B complex: 50-100 milligrams 3 times daily, with meals.
  • Take acidophilus to replenish the “friendly” bacteria. It is needed for digestion and for the manufacture of B vitamins. Use a non-dairy formula.
  • Calcium: 2,000 milligrams. Caution: Do not take calcium supplementation without your doctors approval if you have heart or kidney problems
  • Magnesium: 1,000 milligrams. Caution: If you have heart or kidney problems, you should always check with your doctor before taking magnesium supplements
  • Charcoal tablets: 5 tablets as soon as this problem arises (relieves occasional gas and bloating). Caution: Do not use charcoal daily, because it absorbs needed nutrients, and do not take it at the same time as other supplements or medications.

NON DIETARY RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Eliminate nicotine in the form of cigarettes or nicotine gum

In some cases, herbal products can interact negatively with other medications.  Such interactions can be dangerous.  Herbal remedies are not regulated and their quality is not controlled.  Moreover, while there is an abundant supply of information circulating about herbs, not much of it has been scientifically proven.  Consult your physician.  Informing your doctor and pharmacist of what herbal products you are using is just as important as letting them know what drugs you are taking.  Your physician and the pharmacist on duty at your pharmacy can assist you in deciding which herbs
are safe.

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