Herbal Supplements
Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Herbal Remedies
General
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is the digestive system condition characterized by abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. Luckily, the symptoms of this disorder may be controlled and do not lead to a serious disease, such as cancer. If not controlled with diet, stress management, and prescribed medications, IBS can be disabling causing discomfort and distress. It is the researched fact that IBS occurs more often in women than in men.

Symptoms
The main and most common symptoms of IBS are abdominal pain, bloating, and discomfort. More particular symptoms vary from patient to patient and include different conditions. Some people experience constipation with hard, difficult-to-pass, or infrequent bowel movements. Others suffer from diarrhea, which is a frequent, watery, loose, stool. In some cases symptoms may alternate between the mentioned above.
 
Causes
Not any specific cause of the IBS has been reported yet, though it is commonly considered that the reason of the condition is the large bowel sensitivity, which shows bad resistance to stress and certain foods. Bacterial infection in the gastrointestinal tract can also cause IBS. Worsening of symptoms may be associated with large meals, wheat, rye, barley, chocolate, milk products, alcohol, some medicines, stress, conflict or emotional upsets.

Medical Approaches
There is no universal cure for the IBS, but certain measures are taken to relieve the symptoms of this condition. Fiber supplements or laxatives are usually prescribed for constipation, antispasmodic medicines are commonly recommended to control colon muscle spasms and reduce abdominal pain. Antidepressants may relieve certain symptoms too.
 
Alternative Approaches
Herbal alternative medicine suggests a number of options to handle IBS symptoms and relieve the bowel.
 
Peppermint possesses anti-spasmodic actions, producing calming effects on the muscles of the stomach, intestinal tract, and uterus. Herbal tea, enteric-coated capsules and extracts increase gastric juices, relieve gas, nausea, vomiting, and morning sickness.
 
Fennel shows effectiveness in treating bloating and gas - the symptoms that are most difficult to overcome. Its value is in anti-spasmodic actions and the ability to stimulate the production of gastric juices. Fennel is widely produced in a dried, light greenish brown seed which is brewed into tea.
 
Ginger produces anti-spasmodic action, improves the tone of intestinal muscles and helps prevent vomiting. It also provides some light anti-inflammatory action.
 
Chamomile is the herb with anti-peptic, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-spasmodic, anti-fungal, and sedative properties. The infamous chamomile teas have been used for centuries for indigestion and gas, and to provide a sedative action.
 
Caraway treats indigestion, nervous disorders, and colic.
 
To prevent fermentation and gas in the stomach and bowels anise is often used. It has anti-spasmodic and anti-fungal properties.
 
All the above mentioned herbs are safe, if taken in proper doses.
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