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Natural Treatments for Irritable Bowel Syndrome


Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a condition that primarily - though not exclusively - affects woman, typically between the ages of 20 and 40 years of age.  The condition has only been given this term relatively recently, and is characterised by a disorder of the bowel.  This may include constipation, diarrhoea, bloat, wind, nausea and general discomfort of the stomach.  This is thought to be the result of food intolerance, stress and bacterial infections; though in many cases there is no identifiable cause.

Natural Treatments for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

There is no cure for IBS, though there are a range of treatments including medication, diet and stress alleviation. The range of natural treatments for IBS includes:

  • Herbal Medicine and Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Herbal medicine uses portions or elements of plants, including the stem, roots, leaves and flowers for healing a wide range of conditions.  It has been practised across most indigenous cultures and is still utilised widely in the form of Traditional Herbal Medicine (TCM) in the Chinese culture, as well as in the Ayurvedic tradition of India.  Herbal remedies for IBS focus on alleviating symptoms such as nausea, discomfort and cramping.

  • TCM and Irritable Bowel Syndrome: TCM, or Traditional Chinese Medicine, is a holistic healing tradition that has been practised for centuries.  It has two central elements, namely the yin and yang; and the concept of energy meridians or chi throughout the body.  Both elements must be balanced and free of blockages for optimal health. TCM makes use of acupuncture, meditation and herbal medicine; amongst other practices.  Treatment under TCM will be aimed at reducing IBS symptoms such as nausea and rebalancing the digestive system.

  • Ayurveda and Irritable Bowel Syndrome: The Ayurvedic tradition is an ancient healing approach for the treatment of any ailment or condition.  It is similar to TCM in that views any condition as an imbalance in one of the doshas or metabolic types.  All Ayurvedic treatments are holistic and for IBS will treat the condition with herbal remedies, dietary advice, yoga and massage – or a combination of these.

  • Yoga and Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Yoga is a mental and physical approach to unifying mind, body and spirit. It does this with a combination of meditative poses and breathing techniques which are aimed at enhancing relaxation and reducing tension.  As stress is one of the known triggers for IBS, this discipline has many potential benefits for sufferers of this digestive disorder.

  • Flower/Essence Therapy and Irritable Bowel Syndrome: People that suffer from IBS may find that they have difficulty in expressing their emotions.  Using flower or essence therapy (see flower remedies) can help to relieve any blocks that are causing people to be unable to express what they are feeling and promote a more positive sense of thought.  Some essences that you can use include cerato (for self-doubt), gorse (for hopelessness), and vervain (for anger).

  • Relaxation Therapies and Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Many people with IBS suffer from anxiety as a result of their condition and relaxation therapies such as meditation can help to reduce anxiety, thus helping with the symptoms of IBS.  Just fifteen minutes of relaxation a day can work wonders in reducing your stress levels and anxiety, and as you become more adept at practicing meditation, you can call upon it in times of stress.

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  Herbal Medicine
  Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
  Yoga - All