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for IBS &


Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of the best known bowel conditions. Many people will have heard of it, particularly as studies suggest it affects between 10-20% of the adult population1.

IBS is a chronic condition of the digestive system, characterised by abdominal pain and changes in bowel movements. The cause of IBS is still little understood, however some theories include: anxiety or stress, changes in intestinal motility, changes in gut bacteria or hormonal changes1.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) describes two diseases: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Both diseases are long-term, chronic conditions involving inflammation of the gut. Symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhoea, weight loss and tiredness2.

A snapshot of herbal medicine research

  • Mentha piperita (peppermint) reduced every symptom associated with IBS (abdominal bloating, abdominal pain or discomfort, diarrhoea, constipation, feeling of incomplete evacuation, pain on passing a stool, gas or mucus and urgency) in a four week study. The study was placebo controlled so the participants did not know if they were getting peppermint oil or a placebo3. Read More
  • Artemisia absinthium was found to improve all Crohn’s disease symptoms in a group of patients in Germany, as well as allowing 65% of the patients to reduce and stop their steroid treatment. The symptoms of the placebo group deteriorated after the steroids were reduced and 80% had to restart the steroid treatment4.
  • Boswellia serrata improved the symptoms of 90% of ulcerative colitis patients in a study which treated patients for up to 6 weeks. 70% of these patients went into remission. Boswellia serrata was shown to inhibit the inflammatory pathways that are characteristic of ulcerative colitis5.
  • Probiotics can be very useful for improving gut health
  • There are many causes of bloating however it’s important to see a qualified practitioner to diagnose your symptoms and treat you accordingly.
  1. Justin, C. Y., & Wu, M. D., (2010). Complementary and alternative medicine modalities for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: facts or myths? Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 6 (11): 705-711.
  2. NHS Choices., (2011). Inflammatory bowel disease. Available from: <>
  3. Cappello, G., Spezzaferro, M., Grossi, L., Manzoli, L., & Marzio, L., (2007). Peppermint oil (Mintoil) in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a prospective double-blind placebo-controlled randomized trial. Digestive and Liver Disease . 39: 530.
  4. Omera, B., Krebsb, S., Omerc, H., & Noord, T. O., (2007). Steroid-sparing effect of wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) in Crohn’s disease: A double-blind placebo-controlled study. International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacology . 14; (2): 87-95.
  5. Gupta, I., Parihar, A., Malhotra, P., Gupta, S., Ludtke, R., Safayhi, H., Ammon, H., (2001). Effects of gum resin of Boswellia serrata in patients with chronic colitis. Planta Medica. 67; (5): 391-395. Close