Here are the most effective herbs and natural remedies to relieve typical irritable bowel disorders: pain in the lower abdomen, bloating and frequent episodes of diarrhea.
Irritable bowel syndrome , also known as colitis , is an inflammatory disease of the colon ( large intestine ) characterized by periods of swelling and / or pain in the lower abdomen , alternating with episodes of constipation and diarrhea .
Although its cause is not well defined, it can be related to a period of severe stress, as well as a poor diet and, increasingly, an intolerance / sensitivity to some foods which we will discuss later.
In this article we will see in detail which are the most effective natural remedies capable not of healing, but at least of reducing the symptoms of irritable bowel .
Natural remedies to reduce symptoms
Nature provides us with numerous medicinal plants which, in the case of irritable bowel syndrome, can be a valuable aid, as they perform one or more useful actions on the intestine.
For example we find remedies:
- carminatives : which reduce the formation and promote the expulsion of intestinal gas;
- anti-inflammatory : that is, capable of reducing inflammation and therefore pain;
- spasmolytics (or antispasmodics): which reduce the number and violence of contractions of the gastrointestinal mucosa, which consequently also reduces pain;
- anxiolytics (sedatives): able to reduce anxiety, stress and nervousness, a problem often linked to the irritable bowel syndrome.
- antidiarrheals : as the word itself says, they are effective herbs in counteracting the phenomenon of diarrhea and dysentery.
All these remedies will certainly be useful for reducing various ailments related to irritable bowel. However, I want to clarify that none of these remedies alone can be definitive .
To really cure the irritable bowel syndrome, it is necessary to act at 360 ° , removing the factors that are the cause of the disease itself.
This is done primarily by improving your diet (by continuing to read I will give you some useful advice).
Also very important is the psychosomatic question . Colitis is often a reflection of our state of mind, so it is important to reduce stress . In this context it can be helpful to practice sports, meditation, yoga, but also dancing and in general any activity that manages to divert your thoughts and gratify you, improve the quality of your life.
Personally I love the activity in the countryside and even if it is very tiring, my work is very rewarding. This is why I chose to be a farmer :-).
But now let’s see what are the best natural remedies for irritable bowel .
Aloe is a succulent plant with evergreen leaves, inside which there is present a gel semitransparent viscous and rich in active ingredients with anti-inflammatory and soothing activity against mucous membranes with which it comes into contact.
There are over 350 varieties of Aloe, the most used and the ones that I also recommend are Aloe Vera and Aloe Arborescens . The gel contained in the Aloe leaves can be extracted and drunk in the form of juice .
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory power, Aloe juice is extremely effective in treating all those inflammatory disorders that affect the esophagus, stomach and colon, such as:
- gastritis ,
- hiatal hernia,
- stomach ulcers,
- irritable colon,
- Ulcerative colitis,
In addition, Aloe also acts as a detoxifier and antibacterial , which means that it can promote healing also by improving the elimination of toxins and pathogenic bacteria that have generated inflammation.
Beware of fiber and aloin
Although in the majority of cases the aloin and the fiber present in the Aloe peel are not a problem, people who suffer from irritable colon and who are often subject to episodes of diarrhea, or pain in the lower abdomen, are better they avoid taking it.
This is because aloin is a laxative substance and its consumption could be irritating to a person with irritable bowel problems.
In these cases we therefore recommend taking Aloe Vera juice without aloin, or filtered Aloe Arborescens juice, without peel.
How do you assume
Three tablespoons to be taken on an empty stomach 20-30 minutes before meals. A constant intake is required for a few months before you can see tangible results.
Aloe Vera without aloin is a safe natural remedy that has no particular contraindications, however it is not recommended for use during pregnancy.
Aloe Vera is a plant that we have been cultivating for years in our crops in Fermo, in the Marche region. The cultivation of these plants is 100% natural and in the open countryside, far from possible sources of pollution such as roads, highways, landfills, built-up areas, or shopping centers.
For those suffering from irritable colon we recommend taking our Aloe Vera juices, totally free of aloin.
2. Licorice root decoction
Used for millennia by Traditional Chinese Medicine as a remedy for flu, gastritis, stomach pain and liver disorders, licorice root owes its virtues above all to the presence of flavonoids and glycyrrhizin (or glycyrrhizic acid).
The former have in fact antispastic activity on the muscles of the stomach and intestines, while glycyrrhizin has a significant anti-inflammatory, mucoprotective and healing action .
For these reasons, licorice is considered a very valid natural remedy for all those disorders affecting the gastrointestinal system , i.e. esophagus, stomach and colon, such as gastroesophageal reflux, hyperacidity, gastritis, ulcers, colitis, diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and inflamed hemorrhoids .
Furthermore, it exerts a mild laxative action thanks to the presence of mannite, a sugar capable of counteracting constipation by attracting water to the intestine and facilitating the emptying of the colon.
How do you assume
Licorice should be taken as a decoction. Here’s how it should be prepared:
Add 1 teaspoon of root powder to 250ml of water, simmer for 15 minutes without a lid, then strain. Drink up to 3 cups a day.
One cup every two hours for acute phase treatment.
Licorice is a safe product, but as it is known it tends to raise blood pressure and retain liquids, so it is contraindicated for those suffering from high blood pressure and those suffering from water retention .
It is also better not to use it for long periods (beyond a month).
PLEASE NOTE : To partially reduce the side effects of licorice, I recommend combining it with herbs that have a hypotensive action (i.e. that reduce pressure). These are the olive leaves and the leaves of Stevia rebaudiana . The latter is also an excellent natural sweetener. These herbs can be mixed in equal parts with licorice to make the decoction.
Where to buy
You can order pure and natural licorice root, useful for the preparation of herbal teas, directly on our website .
The ginger is a very good natural remedy and very effective for treating numerous ailments of various kinds. One of these ailments is irritable bowel .
The rhizome of ginger contains numerous active ingredients, among which gingerol, shogaol, paradol and zingerone, and essential oils stand out .
In particular, gingerol is the substance that gives the characteristic spicy taste and its anti-inflammatory, analgesic and digestive action is known from numerous studies .
For centuries, ginger has been used in the East as a remedy for heavy digestion, since:
- facilitates the absorption of nutrients,
- it has carminative properties, that is, it reduces the formation of gas;
- promotes the elimination of waste substances accumulated in the colon, which can cause swelling and intestinal dysbiosis.
- it is very effective in blocking diarera and is active against Escherichia Coli, one of the main pathogenic bacteria responsible for intestinal infections and dysentery.
Among other things, it must be added that ginger is the remedy of choice for vomiting and nausea. Also, due to its hot nature, it is very effective in the natural cure of cold symptoms.
Ginger is contraindicated for pregnant and lactating women and in cases of gastritis and ulcers, as it can excessively stimulate gastric secretions.
How to use
You can use both fresh and dried ginger.
In the case of dried ginger powder , one teaspoon of powdered ginger is used, to be infused in a cup of boiling water for at least 10 minutes. Then everything is filtered and drunk.
I recommend that you drink 2 to 4 cups a day of this herbal tea until the symptoms subside.
Where to buy
4. Lemon balm, Mallow and / or Chamomile
In addition to ginger, which I talked about in the previous post, there are many other herbal teas that can help reduce irritable bowel symptoms.
Let’s see them one by one:
- Lemon balm : this plant with the characteristic lemon aroma, is known for its sedative action on the nervous system and for its spasmolytic properties , i.e. it acts on the smooth muscles of the gastro-enteric system, reducing both the number and the pain of contractions. It also has carminative properties, that is, it favors the elimination of intestinal gas, thus reducing the sensation of gongiore. Lemon balm tea is indicated both when the problem is psychosomatic in nature, and when the disorder is derived from poor digestion.
- Chamomile : to soothe abdominal pain, chamomile tea is the classic grandmother’s remedy that never goes out of style. Simple, cheap and above all effective. Thanks to the presence of bitter principles and essential oils, chamomile boasts digestive, antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties on the entire gastrointestinal system . It also reduces menstrual pain and has a sedative effect on the nervous system . For this reason, chamomile tea is also very useful in cases of anxiety, nervousness and insomnia.
- Mallow : mallow is a plant that grows spontaneously throughout the territory. It is easily recognized by its purple flowers and lobed leaves. In phytotherapy, leaves and flowers are used for the preparation of herbal teas and decoctions. The decoction of mallow is very useful in case of constipation, for its mild laxative action , but also to relieve stomach pains due to reflux, gastritis, colitis, diverticulitis or hemorrhoids. The plant contains mucilage, which gives the mallow emollient and anti-inflammatory properties for all the soft tissues of the body. These active ingredients work by coating the mucous membranes with a viscous layer that protects them from irritating agents. At the same time, the mucilages lubricate the mucous membranes of the intestine, facilitating the passage and evacuation of faeces.
With the exception of rare cases of allergy or personal intolerance, they are all very safe plants that can hardly give side effects in the right dosages.
Mallow and chamomile are among the few plants that can also be used during pregnancy and breastfeeding, in any case it is always better to seek the advice of your doctor first. I would avoid with lemon balm instead.
It should be emphasized that an abuse of sedative plants, such as lemon balm and chamomile, can lead to an opposite effect, that is, greater nervousness and agitation.
As always, balance is needed in things, just as with drugs, even with plants we must not make an unregulated use.
Where to buy
5. Lavender essential oil
In this case we are talking about a product not to drink, but to be used externally for local massages in the area where pain is felt .
Lavender essential oil has an extraordinary relaxing power on muscles and mucous membranes, it is also an excellent anti-inflammatory .
How to use
Just pour a few drops on the lower abdomen and massage gently with your hands and in a clockwise direction. The essence of lavender quickly penetrates into the underlying tissues and thanks to its relaxing action, it reduces spasms and contractions and therefore also pain.
It is a first aid remedy that among other things works fairly well even with muscle contractures and neck pains.
Among the various essential oils, that of Lavanda officinalis is undoubtedly the safest , and therefore also the one with fewer contraindications. Suffice it to say that it is one of the very few essential oils that can be applied pure directly on the skin, even of babies, when generally for the application of these essences, it is advisable to use a vegetable oil as a carrier.
However, being a highly concentrated product (to make 1 liter of essential oil you need at least 100-150 kg of lavender flowers!), Caution is always recommended.
Remember that a few drops are more than enough to take effect.
Internal use is possible, but caution is also required in this case and should be used in minimal dosages, perhaps by first consulting a doctor, an aromatherapist, or a naturopath expert in aromatherapy.
Where to buy
Some advice on nutrition
I am not a nutritionist and I do not claim to draw up personalized diets.
However, working in direct contact with nutritionists, herbalists and pharmacists, I think I have accumulated some experience in all these years of working in the field of health and wellness.
These are dispassionate advice that you may or may not follow, it is simply a matter of trying, since it is not a question of buying supplements, or various products, but simply of varying your diet for a few days .
Gluten and casein, two problematic proteins.
We hear more and more often about intolerance and sensitivity to gluten and casein .
Attention, I am not speaking of celiac disease, but of milder intolerances and difficult to diagnose with laboratory tests. The only way to diagnose this type of problem is to eliminate foods that contain gluten and casein for a while .
It usually takes at least 2 weeks to see improvement, depending on the type of problem. If we are talking about a chronic pathology, it can take months.
Often the problem of irritable bowel is attributable to an intolerance to one or both proteins, which in general the human intestine is unable to digest properly.
These poorly digested proteins, especially if they are consumed daily, can cause serious damage to our intestines and lead to dysbiosis, constipation and inflammation.
The foods I’m talking about are:
- Cereals with gluten : wheat (therefore bread, pasta, pizza, etc.), barley, kamut, oats and spelled;
- Milk and derivatives : milk, yogurt, cheeses, mozzarella, butter, creamy desserts, ice cream, etc.
I realize that it is not easy, especially as we Italians are used to eating, but I can assure you that in many cases, the total elimination of these foods has led to a complete recovery and in a relatively short period of time. .
Fruit, never after meals
Simply consuming fruit only in the morning , when your metabolism is faster, will certainly make life easier for your gut.
Despite being rich in vitamins and mineral salts, fruit contains fructose , a particular type of sugar that ferments very easily in the intestine, producing intestinal gas and therefore bloating. And the likelihood of this happening is greater when fruit is eaten concurrently, or after consuming a carbohydrate-based meal, such as pasta, bread, legumes, potatoes, etc.
And it is even more so when this happens after lunch, or after dinner, when the metabolism slows down.
No to junk foods
It goes without saying that junk foods rich in preservatives should be avoided as much as possible, as well as fried foods and alcohol, all foods that can alter the balance of intestinal bacterial flora.
Among the junk foods I add chewing gum, candies, slimming drinks and all those products passed off as “diet” that contain sweeteners, which like fructose can ferment and lead to the formation of unwanted gases.
The natural remedies I have listed can be very helpful in reducing irritable bowel symptoms. In particular, swollen belly, abdominal pain, diarrhea and in part also constipation.
The fact remains that none of these medicinal herbs can cure your ailment. The big part will have to be done by you, improving your nutrition and your lifestyle.
NB : All information published on this site is informative and should not be considered as advice, or medical prescriptions, or other.