Homeopathic treatments for IBS: Natural remedies and more

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a gastrointestinal disorder. Some homeopathic treatments may help ease symptoms such as abdominal pain, irregular bowel movements, and bloating.

Homeopathy is an alternative medicine system that uses small amounts of natural substances to promote the body’s own healing process.

Homeopathy looks at the person as a whole, taking into account the root causes and emotions behind the condition. Because of this, treatments will be different depending on the individual.

This article looks at how homeopaths treat IBS, as well as some conventional treatments.

IBS is a disorder that affects the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

Symptoms include:

IBS is a disorder that occurs due to problems with how the brain and gut interact.

There are mixed results regarding the efficacy of homeopathic treatments for IBS.

A 2019 review that looked at the effects of homeopathic remedies in 307 people with IBS was unable to conclude that they were safe or effective.

A 2021 study also looked at the efficacy of individualized homeopathic treatments on 41 patients with IBS. They found that 100% of the patients showed some improvement, and 63% showed major improvement.

However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that they cannot guarantee the safety and effectiveness of homeopathic products.

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH)there is little evidence that homeopathic treatments are safe and effective for any specific condition.

Homeopathic remedies may also interact with other drugs and medications, so a person should consult a doctor before using them.

This section looks at some homeopathic treatments for IBS.

Treatments will be different depending on the individual, so people should not try to treat themselves at home.

A person should consult a doctor and, once given the go-ahead, consult a professional homeopath about treating their IBS.

Nux vomica

The 2019 review and the 2021 study used nux vomica as a homeopathic remedy for IBS. Nux vomica comes from a tree native to China, Thailand, Australia, and East India.

It is available as supplement pills or powder, either online or in specialized homeopathy stores.

A 2020 study stated that nux vomica helps strengthen the central nervous system and reduces pain and inflammation.

asafoetida

One of the studies in the 2019 review also used asafoetida as a homeopathic treatment.

Asafoetida is the dried sap of a Ferula plant’s roots. It is native to Iran and Afghanistan, and people often use it in cooking to season foods.

A person can buy asafoetida in powder form or as blocks of dried sap which they can crush themselves.

A 2019 meta-analysis found that asafoetida was effective in reducing global IBS symptoms.

Lycopodium clavatum

Lycopodium clavatum, also called Stag’s-horn clubmoss, is another homeopathic remedy that the 2021 study used.

According to the study, this plant contains alkaloids with pain-killing effects.

A person can buy it in pill or liquid form either online or in specialized stores.

Natrum muraticum

Another 2019 study used natrum muraticum to treat patients with IBS.

It found that treatment with this, nux vomica, arsenic album, or lycopodium resulted in some level of improvement in 48 out of 50 cases.

Natrum muraticum is a remedy derived from table salt. A person can buy it in pill or liquid form online or in specialized stores.

Arsenic album

Arsenic album is another homeopathic remedy that the 2019 study found to be successful in improving IBS symptoms. It is a diluted form of a chemical called arsenic trioxide.

A person can purchase it online or in specialized stores in pill or liquid form.

Other treatments that may help to manage IBS symptoms include:

Diet changes

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) suggests people with IBS increase their fiber intake, particularly soluble fiber. Foods such as oats, fruit, and beans contain soluble fiber.

People may also find cutting out products containing gluten helps.

A low FODMAP diet may help to reduce IBS symptoms. This eliminates foods containing hard-to-digest carbohydrates, such as:

  • certain fruits, including apples, apricots, blackberries, and pears
  • dried fruit, fruit juice, or canned fruit
  • certain vegetables, including artichokes, asparagus, garlic, and onions
  • dairy products, including milk, yogurt, and soft cheeses
  • wheat and rye
  • honey and high-fructose corn syrup
  • sweeteners such as xylitol and mannitol

Exercise

According to the NIDDKincreasing physical activity and maintaining regular exercise may help ease IBS symptoms.

Other lifestyle changes, such as reducing stress and getting enough sleep, may also help.

Medication

Certain medications may help relieve IBS symptoms. If people have IBS with diarrhea, a doctor may prescribe:

  • rifaximin (Xifaxan)
  • loperamide
  • eluxadoline (Viberzi)
  • alosetron (Lotronex), for females

If people have IBS with constipation, a doctor may suggest fiber supplements or laxatives, or prescribe:

To help relieve abdominal pain, people may take antispasmodic medications or low doses of antidepressants.

natural remedies

Some natural remedies may help relieve symptoms of IBS, including:

  • Peppermint oil: According to a 2018 review, peppermint oil may have anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial effects and help relax smooth muscles in the stomach and intestines. The NIDDK suggests using coated peppermint oil capsules to relieve abdominal pain in IBS.
  • Ginger: Ginger is effective in treating nausea, and may help to decrease pain and changes in stools in people who have IBS with diarrhea.
  • Probiotics: A 2018 review suggests that taking multi-strain probiotics with 10 billion colony forming units (CFU) per day, or less, may help to improve abdominal pain and quality of life for people with IBS.

Learn more about treatments for IBS.

Some studies have shown that certain homeopathic remedies, such as nux vomica, asafoetida, lycopodium clavatum, natrum muraticum, and arsenic album may help improve symptoms of IBS.

A person should consult a doctor before they decide to pursue homeopathic remedies to treat their IBS. A doctor can advise on the best approach.

A person should also tell a doctor about any supplements or remedies they are considering taking, in case they interact with any pre-existing medications.

Once approved by a doctor, a person can consult a professional homeopath and devise a treatment plan with them.

Homeopathic treatments will differ depending on the individual, so a person should not try to treat themselves without medical advice.

A person should be aware that the FDA cannot guarantee the safety and efficacy of products marketed as “homeopathic” remedies.

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