Herbs for Irritable Bowel (IBS or IBD)

Herbs for Irritable Bowel (IBS or IBD)

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Chinese Medicine for IBS

The Truth About Irritable Bowel Syndrome

“IBS” is a catch-all category for intestinal complaints that are not otherwise understood by your doctor. If your doctor diagnosis Irritable Bowel Syndrome, it means he or she hasn’t a clue about what is causing your problems. A diagnosis of IBS usually means that tests such as colonoscopies, X-Rays, etc. have revealed little or nothing.

TCM, which dates from antiquity, has more experience in understanding and treating these ailments. To the TCM doctor, IBS symptoms are not mysterious. Varying patterns of diarrhea, constipation, cramps, bloating, etc., involve the free flow of energy (qi), and/or the timing and balance (yin/yang) of the digestive organs. These patterns are well documented in the annals of TCM. Spleen Qi Deficiency, Spleen YANG Deficiency, Damp Heat in the Large Intestine, Liver Qi Stagnation, Liver Invades Spleen, Liver Invades Stomach are all lumped together by Western doctors as IBS.

Since all these differing patterns are called IBS by modern medicine, the diagnosis of IBS is useless to a practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine. Treating IBS requires a diagnosis according to TCM.

Some Herbal Medicines for IBS 


Depends on diagnosis. Requires consultation.


Acupuncture and IBS

To the acupuncturist, IBS symptoms are well documented in traditional Chinese texts. Patterns known as Spleen Qi Deficiency, Damp Heat in the Large Intestine, Liver Qi Stagnation, Liver Invades Spleen, are all diagnosed by Western doctors as IBS. To insure successful acupuncture treatment, IBS must first be diagnosed according to the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine.;

Acupuncture Research and IBS:

A study presented to the American college of Gastroenterology investigated the use of acupuncture versus relaxation therapy in IBS patients. The study found that patients' quality-of-life and gastrointestinal symptom scores were equally improved in both groups, with a statistically significant reduction in abdominal pain. However, when the patients were followed for a 4-week period post-trial period, pain reduction persisted only in the acupuncture group.

Furthermore, a significant reduction in stress perception was also observed in the acupuncture group, but not in the relaxation group. The conclusion drawn was that acupuncture is an effective form of treatment for IBS, particularly the pain and stress symptoms, and that its benefits exceed those of standard relaxation treatment.

(Lu B, Hu Y, Tenner S. A randomized controlled trial of acupuncture for irritable bowel syndrome. Program and abstracts of the 65th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology; October 16-18, 2000, New York, NY.)

Information on this site is provided for educational purposes and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your own physician or another medical professional. We make no claim as to efficacy or safety of herbs or herbal medicine appearing on this site. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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