Simple remedies are the best for IBS

IntestinesPeppermint oil, soluble fiber, and certain antispasmodic drugs are the most reliable and effective treatments for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), according to a new study from McMaster University. Peppermint oil appeared to be the most effective therapy of those reviewed, the researchers found. There were no serious side effects associated with any of these treatments, in this study.

Irritable bowel can cause either constipation or diarrhea.  For those with pain and diarrhea the antispasmodics may be useful. People with constipation should try either fiber or peppermint oil, the researchers found.

Peppermint oil is sold over-the-counter and can be taken directly, swallowed in capsules, or applied to the skin once diluted with another oil.  Common oral dosages are 1 to 2 capsules 3 times a day for irritable bowel syndrome.   Peppermint oil has been used over the years for a variety of health conditions, including nausea, indigestion, cold symptoms, headaches, muscle and nerve pain, and stomach and bowel conditions. A word of caution, however, allergic reactions can occur, strong vapors of menthol or peppermint can cause breathing problems for some, especially infants, and it is known to worsen acid reflux in certain people.

Ispaghula husk, also known as psyllium, was found to be the best soluble fiber in this study.  Optimal dosage was 20 grams per day in another related study on IBS. There was no added benefit to increasing up to 30 grams per day.  Ispaghula Husk is a bulk-forming laxative and is used to treat constipation, but can also be useful in treating diarrhea. It is sold over-the-counter and is available in cereals and in dissolvable granule and powder form.  On the package, ispaghula husk may be labeled as Fybogel, Isogel, Ispagel, and Regulan. Brand names include Metamucil®, Perdiem®, Bran Buds® cereal, Heartwise® cereal, Effersyllium®, Fiberall®, Fybogel®,  Hydrocil®, I-so-gel®, Konsyl®, Lunelax®, Minolest®,  Prodiem Plain®,  Regulan®, Serutan®, Vi-Siblin®, and Yerba Prima® psyllium husk powder.

For antispasmodics, the most effective was found to be hyoscine, which is available only by prescription as Donnatal, Levsin, and NuLev. Image courtesy of National Cancer Institute

via Kumar A, Kumar N, Vij JC, Sarin SK, Anand BS, “Optimum dosage of ispaghula husk in patients with irritable bowel syndrome: correlation of symptom relief with whole gut transit time and stool weight” Gut 1987 Feb;28(2):150-5

via “Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel”, Health Day, November 2008

via “Peppermint Oil” National Center for Complementary and Herbal Medicine

Bookmark Bookmark this page
E-mail E-mail this story
Print this post Print this post

2 Responses to “Simple remedies are the best for IBS”


  1. I totally agree…

    Another really good natural method to help with IBS is extract of artichoke supplements.

    Clinical trials have shown that it can reduced IBS symptoms by up to 70%!

  2. SymptomsofIBS.org talks about Symptoms Of IBS, Non Colonic Symptoms of IBS and Signs and Symptoms of IBS

Leave a Reply

Currently you have JavaScript disabled. In order to post comments, please make sure JavaScript and Cookies are enabled, and reload the page.