Ayurveda Treatment For Irritable Bowel Syndrome
What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?
A man experiencing abdominal pain, Credits: pixabay
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a group of symptoms that affect the digestive tract and intestines. It is characterized by abdominal discomfort, with alternate episodes of diarrhea and constipation. The common symptoms of IBS include constipation, bloating, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.
IBS affects 15 to 20% of the Indian population. It is more common in women. Psychological factors like stress and anxiety play crucial roles in the manifestation of the disease.
As the exact cause of IBS is not known, the treatment options are a little difficult. Western treatment aims at a combination of prescription drugs and few lifestyle changes. Holistic treatments like Ayurveda aim at reducing the symptoms of IBS.
What is Ayurvedic Medicine?
Ayurvedic medicine is an ancient form of treatment that originated in North India 3000 years ago. It aims at treating the well-being of the mind, body, and spirit. The underlying principle is to balance all three doshas (vata, pita, dapha) of the body. If the three doshas are not adequately balanced, a person may experience illness or disease.
Ayurvedic treatment aims to restore the balance and eliminate the toxins in the body.
Ayurveda Principles to Treat IBS
In Ayurvedic scriptures, Irritable Bowel Syndrome is mentioned as Grahani, which means a mix of belly discomfort and trouble in bowel functions. Grahani is thought to be due to wrong eating habits, consumption of spicy food, poor dietary choices, over eatingand consuming foods that cause allergic symptoms. In IBS, after consumption of foods, stomach pain and discomfort is noticed.
The Ayurveda approaches to treat IBS include
Treat the toxins
Treat the doshas
Treat the Toxins
It is believed in Ayurvedic practice that IBS is due to incomplete digestion of food, which is because the Agni (the digestive fire) is weak. Incomplete digestion results in the buildup of toxins. So the first step is to treat the Agni.
Patients with IBS find difficulties in digesting the lactose in the milk, and this undigested lactose acts as a laxative and causes the symptoms of IBS. Gluten intolerance is also seen which causes diarrhea. Coffee, tea, colas, and chocolates stimulate the muscular contractions and act as causative factors in diarrhea.
Treating the Doshas
The next step is treating the doshas. All the three doshas must be balanced so that the body restores its equilibrium.
Ayurvedic Treatment for IBS
The following are the steps involved in the ayurvedic treatment of IBS.
Soup, Credits: pixabay
Your Ayurvedicpractitioner maysuggest you be on a bland diet to help reset your digestive system. This diet includes soft warm foods like basmati rice and soups. A brief period of fasting may be necessary to eliminate the toxins from the body. Buttermilk is prescribed to reduce the symptoms of IBS. Medicated ghee and concentrated butter help stimulate the weak Agni.
Ayurvedic Formulations for IBS
The following formulations have shown to be effective in treating colic, indigestion, and anorexia symptoms of IBS. This ayurvedic formulation includes a powder of four sours (Vrukshamla, Amlavetasa, Dadimaand, Badara), trikatu(Pippali, Shunthi, Black Pepper), five salts added with sugar. This formulation should beusedwith vegetables, pulses, cooked cereals etc.
The Ayurveda practitioner advises you to take Panachakola in cereal soup and radish soups with black pepper.
As a post-meal drink, buttermilk, sour gruel, and arishta should be taken.
Some of the other formulations that are prescribed include
A woman doing Sun Salutation, Credits: pixabay
The practice of yoga helps increase strength and flexibility, eliminates stress, and reduces the physical symptoms of ailments. The specific yoga poses that help eliminates the symptoms of IBS include Corpse position and Sun salutations.
A woman undergoing massage, Credits: pixabay
If the practitioner feels that the underlying cause of IBS is stress, meditation, aromatherapy, and massage are suggested to reduce the stress.
Herbal tonics and supplements are an important part of Ayurvedic treatment.
Important Herbs to Treat IBS
The following are the herbs to treat IBS.
Chamomile tea, Credits: pixabay
Chamomile has pain-relieving, carminative, and anti-spasmodic properties. It helps treat digestive issues and dampen the symptoms of stress and anxiety. It is shown to effectively relax the intestines and treat diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and dyspepsia.
Aloe Vera is considered to be a powerful remedy for IBS. It has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that helps treat constipation and diarrhea. It also help reduce gastrointestinal inflammation, abdominal pain, and flatulence.
Ginger strengthens the stomach muscles and helps relieve gastrointestinal irritation. It helps calm the pain and inflammation in the gut. Ginger prevents acid reflux and indigestion.
This anti-inflammatory herb has wound healing and soothing properties and provides relief from stomach pain and indigestion. Regular intake of fennel water prevents helps prevent the symptoms of ulcerative colitis.
The constituents in this well-known anti-inflammatory herb help relieve abdominal pain and discomfort. It can be consumed as fresh turmeric pieces or taken with jaggery, or as a powder in a specific diet. It gets absorbed easily and helps attenuates the underlying symptoms of IBS.
Triphala is prescribed to address the symptoms of abdominal pain, indigestion, bloating, and constipation. It is effective in detoxifying the system. Triphala is a combination of three fruits namely Amalaki, haritaki, and Bibhitaki. These compounds have antispasmodic, anti-oxidant, and digestive properties.
Ayurvedic treatment aims to reduce the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and you must see the right Ayurvedic Practitioner.