Making inquiries about herbal treatment for ibs. My daughter is 24 and has been suffering with diarrhea predominant IBS for about 3 years. We are not sure how it started, gastric flu or glandular fever but it is really ruining her life. Constantly worrying where the nearest toilet is. Symptoms are worse during the time she has her period and she gets very bloated.
Conventional western medicine has been less than useful so we would like to know if herbal remedies would help.
We are certainly able to treat IBS effectively in clinic, and herbs are a big part of the treatment plan, but Chinese medicine addresses it many different ways; the ability to differentiate the individual’s imbalance is what makes TCM so effective. If your daughter is able to fill out the online evaluation form fully, I will try to help guide her.
Getting worse during her period could point to Liver Qi Stagnation, and the bloating could be Spleen Qi Deficiency. The diarrhea predominance in IBS often points to a condition called Damp Heat Draining down and we often use Peaceful Warrior and Restore the Middle Way formulas to address this.
My favorite herbal antacid is meadowsweet herb, and we include it in our Stomach Pills formula that addresses an array of digestive issues.
Meadowsweet herb is often misunderstood by practitioners tied to reductionist theories as it contains salicylic acid, the same compound as in aspirin. Actually, salicylic acid was originally isolated from plant compounds such as meadowsweet or willow bark and was then synthesised based on these natural sources.
Because meadowsweet does contain significant levels of a substance linked with causing stomach problems, some well-meaning, mis-informed souls deduce that it must also cause stomach problems. Actually, meadowsweet has been used throughout history to treat ulcers and a host of other stomach problems. As it turns out, the salicylic acid is not broken down and made available until the herb enters the small intestine, so it will not cause the problems that the isolated synthesised aspirin does. This is one of the reasons I advocate whole herbs and why I rely on historical uses of herbs tested over hundreds, and sometimes thousands of years of practical application.
My only issue with using meadowsweet this way is that it often is only a temporary solution that does not address the true underlying imbalances that truly lead to acid reflux or GERD; mainly being Liver Qi Stagnation. Unless herbs that sooth the Liver energetic system are used, those suffering with chronic acid reflux are unlikely to experience prolonged relief.