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IBS, also called spastic colon, is a functional disorder of the large intestine characterized by chronic abdominal pain that comes and goes (normally occurs after meals and decreases or goes away after having a bowel movement), bloating, gas, loss of appetite, and change in bowel habits (constipation and diarrhea). Emotional distress will often trigger symptoms.
There is no specific test to diagnose IBS but one should consult with a health care provider to rule out other diseases. IBS can cause great discomfort but it does not harm the large intestines. There is no cure but there are ways to relieve symptoms.
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Herbal Remedies for IBS
Peppermint has been shown to be an effective herb for IBS by inhibiting gastrointestinal smooth muscle action in animals and humans. It can help relieve pain, gas, cramps, diarrhea, nausea, and stress.
For relief, you can either take enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules or drink peppermint tea.
To prepare a cup of peppermint tea, pour 1 cup of boiling water over 2 tablespoons of dried peppermint leaves, cover, steep for 20 minutes, and strain.
Fennel is another wonderful herb to relieve IBS symptoms. Fennel has antispasmodic properties and can help relieve smooth muscle spasms in the intestines. For relief, you can either chew the seeds or drink fennel tea.
To prepare a cup of fennel tea, pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1-2 teaspoons of crushed fennel seeds, cover, steep for 5 minutes, and strain.
Other herbal remedies to help relieve IBS symptoms include:
Oregano: Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 teaspoon of dried leaves (or 1 tablespoon of fresh leaves), cover, steep for 10 minutes, and strain.
Chamomile: Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 teaspoon of dried flowers (or 1 tablespoon of fresh flowers), cover, steep for 10 minutes, and strain.
Ginger: Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 3/4 teaspoon of fresh ginger root (small, thin pieces), cover, steep for 5 minutes, and strain.
Caraway and Anise: These seeds are wonderful herbal remedies for IBS that can either be chewed or made into tea by pouring 1 cup of boiling water over 1-2 teaspoons of crushed seeds, cover, steep for 15 minutes, and strain.
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 Gastroenterol 101 (1991): 55-65
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