Ayurveda Treatment For Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
IBS- A multifactorial gastrointestinal disorder
What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?
It may seem to be a nuisance to consult a doctor regarding abdominal pain and altered bowel habits, but in case if you are suffering from the same situation? Then you should immediately raise an alarm and consult your nearest doctor, as you may be suffering from Irritable bowel syndrome which may be quite bothersome and disruptive if not treated.
Irritable bowel syndrome is a functional gastrointestinal disorder characterized by unpleasant abdominal cramps, discomfort, and dyspepsia, alteration of bowel habits, increased flatulence, bloating, heartburn, belching, nausea, and vomiting. IBS can adversely affect the quality‑of‑life (QOL) of the patient. The exact cause behind IBS is still not explanatory and is found to involve multiple factors. One of the main causative factors is due to the brain-gut interaction. Whereas, others include stress, mental disorders like depression, anxiety, bacterial infections, and food intolerances. The worldwide prevalence rate of IBS is found to be ranging generally in the area around 10-15%, with the highest prevalence rates in developing countries like the Asia‑Pacific region where the male population is dominating leaving behind the female population.
Pharmacological measures available for IBS are predominantly symptomatic whereas ayurvedic treatment for Irritable bowel syndrome provides a comprehensive approach to that removing the imbalances with no unpleasant side effects. Ayurvedic treatments not only eliminate the root cause of IBS but also work to enliven the body’s natural healing mechanism that can support lasting results
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a very common digestive disorder that plagues innumerable people around the world. Scientific research has linked it to stress and worry but as yet the exact cause of the disease is unknown. Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treatment in Ayurveda works on both the digestive as well as the mind with the aim of providing long-term relief.
Irritable bowel syndrome is a condition affecting the large intestine in which patients develop symptoms such as abdominal cramps, gas, frequent bowel movements involving loose stools (diarrhea), and in some cases constipation.
For the most part, this condition tends to be difficult to manage by western medicine (allopathy). However, in Ayurveda, several clinically proven treatment options are available.
Ayurvedic view on IBS & causes
Ayurveda literature shows a resemblance to IBS symptoms with Grahani. Grahani is a pathological condition of the gastrointestinal tract that is known to affect the function and integrity of the digestive system. Ayurveda mentions that Grahani can occur due to a decrease in the absorption of food that results in various other symptoms like altered bowel movements, abdominal pain, dyspepsia, and others.
Irritable bowel syndrome is generally difficult to cure and takes time; the treatment totally depends upon an individual basic constitution, called Prakriti. Vata, Pitta, and Kapha are the three most important constituents that play a vital role in the prakṛti formation. Ayurveda mentions Vata vitiation and low ojas which results due to stress; overeating, sedentary lifestyle, dietary habits, and irregular sleeping patterns that can together develop IBS.
The vital insights into the prognosis of any disease are provided by Prakriti that helps decide appropriate therapy, lifestyle changes, and dietary modifications, that are best suited for an individual while treating IBS and its symptoms.
Stress and anxiety, infectious diarrhea, excessive consumption of alcohol, caffeine or carbonated beverages, and continued intolerance to lactose and/or gluten are often responsible for causing IBS. IBS can also be caused when Ojas becomes low or the person deviates from the natural bio-rhythm due to certain lifestyle reasons. Jiva doctor evaluates all of these causes before beginning Irritable Bowel Syndrome treatment.
Symptoms include the following:
- Abdominal pain and bloating
- A headache and tiredness
- Chronic constipation and/or diarrhea
- Mucus/blood in stools
IBS Treatment in Ayurveda
Ayurveda describes many different digestive disorders that would fit into the category of IBS. Any of the body energies may be aggravated and toxins are usually present in such cases. Irritable Bowel Syndrome treatment involves alleviating the aggravated body energies, restoring the function of the digestive system, and the elimination of accumulated toxins. As stress is often a significant cause of this disorder, an important line of treatment consists of lifestyle guidance and herbs to nourish the mind and nervous system.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome Ayurvedic Treatments:
- Peppermint Oil:
This natural medicine has a long history of use for digestive complaints. Mainly for treating nausea, gas, diarrhea, and poor appetite. In clinical research, Peppermint Oil has been quite effective in correcting the symptoms of IBS. Peppermint Oil is also effective in the management of SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth), a condition in which bacteria that usually lives in the large intestine travels to the small intestine and overgrows.
- Cumin Oil:
This spice also has a history of use for digestive troubles such as gas, indigestion, poor appetite, and even obesity. Cumin essential oil is clinically proven to be beneficial in irritable bowel syndrome and improve the symptoms of abdominal pain, bloating, incomplete defecation, fecal urgency, and the presence of mucus discharge. Please note, that only a very specific form of Cumin oil can be used.
Irritable bowel syndrome is a condition with a psycho-somatic connection meaning that the nervous system plays a role in its pathophysiology. In my clinical experience, I see that the majority of patients experience dramatic improvement with the use of certain adaptogens. It is crucial to use these under Ayurvedic doctor supervision as some adaptogen herbs are not for IBS and may worsen the condition or interact with other medications that you may be taking.
Research for IBS Treatment in Ayurveda
A scientific study named Clinical evaluation of Bilvadileha in the management of irritable bowel syndrome.. The study involved 51 patients diagnosed with IBS, out of which 46 patients completed the treatment. During the course of treatment, the patients were administered with Bilvadileha ayurvedic formulation composed of 11 ayurvedic herbs at the dose of 10 g twice a day orally after food with lukewarm water. The duration of the treatment was for 12 weeks.
The clinical assessment of the patients conducted after the therapy showed statistically significant improvement in all of the clinical features of IBS like chronic and recurrent abdominal pain, bloating, the passage of mucus in stool, the urgency of bowel movements. The IBS severity score was also found to be minimalized.
The study concluded that the pharmacological activities such as antidiarrheal, antidysenteric, antibacterial, antiprotozoal, antispasmodic, antidepressant, antifungal, antigiardiasis, anthelmintic, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, in Bilvadileha formulation found to be efficacious in the management of Irritable bowel syndrome.
Another clinical study titled the management of Grahani (IBS) with Marichyadi churna and Brahmi Churna..
In this study 30 clinical diagnosed cases of Grahani (IBS) were selected for the study. Upon investigation, it was found out that all the patients were observing symptoms like bloating, loose motion/constipation, abdominal pain which was relieved with defecation, presence of mucus in stool, gurgling in intestine & fatigue for more than 3 months. The patients were selected for ayurvedic treatment where they were randomly divided into two groups, each group containing 15 patients.
Group A: Marichayadi churn 3 gm three times a day, with gud (Jaggery).
Group B: Was given Brahmi churna 2 gm three times a day with lukewarm water.
The duration of the treatment was 45 days. After 45 days the results showed that the patients treated with Marichayadi churna showed significant improvement in all the symptoms related to IBS. Marichayadi churna is a good stimulant for appetite and for digesting Ama.
Ayurvedic nutrition & lifestyle advice
Ayurveda recommends a healthy diet and lifestyle routine.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as fruit juices, should be consumed to reduce the amount of inflammation in the lining of the stomach.
- Avoid consumption of caffeine, alcohol, and carbonated beverages.
- If gas is a problem for you, you might want to avoid foods that tend to make gas worse, including beans, cabbage, and citrus fruits.
- Ayurvedic home remedies for IBS
Drink ginger tea or chew raw ginger to reduce inflammation caused by Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Prepare tea by boiling one teaspoon of flaxseed in a cup of water. Drink it at night.
Take one teaspoon of Psyllium Husks (Isabgol) with a half cup of fresh yogurt one hour after dinner.
- Common Ayurvedic Medicines for IBS (Should be taken after consultation with Ayurveda doctor):
- Kutajarishta is an Ayurvedic medicine prepared from the process of fermentation. It is useful in diarrhea, chronic dysentery, abdominal pain, and anorexia, Painful spasm of the anal & sphincter, ulcerative colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome.
- Holarrhena antidysenterica is the main ingredient, which gives anti-dysentery and anti-diarrhoeal properties to Kutajarishtam. Other ingredients are Woodfordia Fruticosa, Madhuca Indica, Gmelina Arborea and Vitis vinifera, etc.
Home Remedies on how to heal your gut
There is no single treatment available for IBS but there are many things you can do yourself to help your symptoms. You can start by healing your gut with ayurvedic nutrition and following healthy and easy remedies that can be tried at home.
- Psyllium Husks (Isabgol)- It is known to improve your bowel movements if taken one hour after dinner with half a cup of fresh yogurt.
- Flax seeds – The lignan-rich component present in flaxseeds can help you deal with cramps and pain. Boil one spoon of flax seeds in a half cup of water and consume during the night
- Other home remedies that can provide temporary relief from symptoms of IBS include cinnamon, ginger, and cumin powder with honey, Radish soups, Panchakola soup.
- Mix 1 teaspoon each of cinnamon, ginger, and cumin powder with honey to make a paste. Take 1 teaspoon 3 times a day.
See: Ayurvedic Diet
Success stories from real patients
Are there any success stories from real patients who experienced Ayurveda a success therapy to combat IBS illness?
Management of IBS through Ayurveda - a case study..
A 38-year-old lady presented to the ayurvedic clinic complaining of irregular bowel movement (loose stools), decrease in appetite, heartburns, abdominal pain, gas & flatulence. She also reported mucus in her stool. The lady was subjected to ayurvedic treatment that included Bilwadi Churan 3gm and Takara Kutaj Ghanvati 500mg twice a day with lukewarm water along with Takrarishta 20ml mixed with an equal amount of water BD.
The study concluded that IBS can be effectively managed by Bilwadi Churan, Kutajghan Vati, and Takrarishta. This treatment is safe, cost-effective & can be applied to other similar conditions like Spru, Colitis, Amoebiasis, etc.
- A case study reported in AYURVEDIC MANAGEMENT OF GRAHANI (IBS): A CASE STUDY..
A 27 years old male patient having been diagnosed with IBS, Was complaining about various symptoms like Apakwa Malapravritti (Stool with mucus), Muhurbaddha Muhurshithil (altered bowel habit), Udarshool (abdominal pain) from past 6 months. He was treated with various ayurvedic formulations that included Pichhabasti, Shirodhara (pouring oil on head) Panchamruta Parpati, Shankha Bhasma, Naga Bhasma, and Sutshekhar Rasa and oral medications for 60 days. At the end of the treatment, the patient seemed to be very happy and satisfied with the treatment showing significant improvement in symptoms with 91.8% effect of overall therapy. It was concluded that oral medication and Panchakarma therapy are effective procedures in managing the symptoms of Grahani (IBS).
Many formulations have been mentioned in modern medicine for the management of IBS which may provide instant relief, but tend to develop a number of adverse drug reactions providing no permanent cure. IBS treatment in Ayurveda considers various aspects like ama, Agnimandya, and psychiatric problems along with Pathya that gives good result and patient a satisfactory level. This is the reason the current suffering population is looking towards alternative treatments that can provide relief without manifesting any inconvenience.
1. Tiwari R, Pandya DH, Baghel MS.Clinical evaluation of Bilvadileha in the management of irritable bowel syndrome. Ayu. 2013 Oct; 34(4):368-72
2. Dr. Jain Sapan B., Dr. Dwivedi O.P., and Dr. Jain Jinesh. A CLINICAL STUDY ON THE MANAGEMENT OF GRAHANI (IBS) WITH MARICHYADI CHURNA AND BRAHMI CHURNA
3. Kshitija Desai, Prashant Baghel , Parshuram Dongre , Priti Pusam. (2018).Ayurvedic management of Grahani (IBS): a case study.
4. Avneet Kaur, Radhakrishan Bishwal, Bharti, Subhash Sharma. Management of IBS Through Ayurveda – A case study