Home Remedies For Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

By: Dr. Indu Arora

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a functional disorder of either the muscles of the organs or the nerves that control the large intestine, or the colon where a group of symptoms (syndrome) appears at once, affecting and/or irritating the digestive and excretory system. This abnormal function of the nervous system in IBS may occur in a gastrointestinal muscular organ, the spinal cord, or the brain.

Symptoms Associated
The main symptoms of IBS are nausea, vomiting, bloating, abdominal distention, diarrhea, constipation, immediate bowel movements post meals, and pain. It is generally characterized by abdominal pain/discomfort along with one of the following three characteristics:

  • Change in the consistency of stools.
  • Change in the frequency of bowel movements.
  • Relieved by defecation.

Home Remedies for Combating IBS
Abdominal Pain
Peppermint: Peppermint is considered a carminative herb, which means that it is used to eliminate excess gas in the intestines. Peppermint oil may reduce the abdominal pain and bloating of irritable bowel syndrome.
Asafoetida Water: Asafoetida is the dried latex exuded from the living underground rhizome of several species of Ferula. It has laxative properties which help relieve flatulence, prevent constipation, and cure spasmodic disorders. Mix two pinches of the powder in two teaspoons of warm water and drink before or after meals.

Bishop’s Weed/Ajwain: Ajwain seeds are a stimulant, relieve gas and spasms, and have an antiseptic effect in the intestinal canal. To use ajwain for abdominal pain, take one-fourth teaspoon of the seeds with two pinches of salt and chew this with warm water after meals, or when you feel the pain.

Nausea/Vomiting
Ginger: Ginger aids the digestion process and is effective in reducing vomiting and the feeling of nausea. Chew on a one- to three-inch piece of fresh ginger after meals or at the time you experience nausea. Alternately, you may also drink a cup of ginger tea or eat ginger candy.

Lemon: Inhaling the skin of lemon or even drinking warm lemon water is excellent to curb the sensation of nausea. Alternately, sprinkle rock salt and black pepper on the lemon and suck the juice of it slowly, allowing it to stimulate the salivary glands to curb the vomiting sensation.

Bloating/Abdominal Distention
Warm Water: Sipping warm water occasionally has a soothing anti-inflammatory effect on the mucosa and allows the gas to ease off.

Herbal Tea: Drinking tea prepared from one-fourth teaspoon of Bishop’s Weed, one-fourth teaspoon of fennel seeds, four leaves of mint, and one piece of ground green cardamom has high therapeutic qualities to relieve bloating.

Asafoetida Water: Mix two to three pinches of asafoetida powder in four teaspoons of warm water and apply the mixture around the belly button in a clockwise direction, making small circles around it. Leave it for fifteen minutes to relieve abdominal gas.

Diarrhea
Probiotics: Eating nonfat plain yogurt during the day is an excellent remedy to increase the strength, health and immunity of the colon.

Fennel and Coriander Seeds: Chewing a mixture of one teaspoon of fennel and coriander seeds after meals is a very fine habit to clean and refresh the mouth. It has the ability to absorb excess fluids from the colon.

Constipation
Clarified Butter: Heat a cup of water and add half a teaspoon of Clarified butter in it. Drink this slowly before going to bed. It lubricates the mucosa, relieves dryness, and allows the bowel movement to be smooth and easy.

Castor Oil and Milk: Drink a glass of warm milk at bedtime. In case of severe constipation, mixing two teaspoons of castor oil in nonfat milk before going to bed is an excellent remedy to relieve even old or stubborn constipation.

General Tips

  • Stress is one of the deep underlying causes of IBS. A regular meditation practice or any activity that slows down the mental activity to bring calmness is a great alternative route to relax the hyperactivity of the digestion system.
  • Keep proper timings for breakfast, lunch and dinner to build a routine, which in turn sends signals to the body to be more disciplined.
  • Avoid eating while working, or eating very fast.
  • Avoid overcooked meats and refined starches.
  • A brisk walk in the case of constipation and a gentle stroll in the case of diarrhea are excellent to reduce the symptoms of IBS.
  • Avoid drinking cold drinks with food – like iced water, sodas, shakes and smoothies that dull the gastric fire, causing nausea, bloating and constipation.
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