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Ayurvedic Management of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common digestive system disorder. The exact cause of IBS is still unknown, but research has shown that it is triggered by lifestyle and stress.

IBS is described as a functional disorder of the small intestine, characterized by pain, discomfort and altered bowel habits.

In Ayurveda, IBS is named as Grahani. The word Grahani means retaining the ability of the small intestine or duodenum. If the function of these organs is altered or the bowel loses its control – weakening its absorption – the condition is considered Grahani.

Common causes of IBS

Ayurveda considers mandagni (poor digestive fire) and production of ama as the main cause of IBS. Some of the causative factors are:

  • Excessive fasting or excessive food intake
  • Eating before the digestion of previously eaten food
  • Eating improper or unwholesome food
  • Excess of heavy, cold, dry, junk and polluted food
  • Suppression of natural urges
  • Continuous diarrhoea or food poisoning
  • Irregular sleep habits (e.g. staying awake at night and sleep during day)
  • Grief, anger or fear
  • Some chronic illness leading to weak digestion
  • Weak immune system
  • Constant travel and change in places

Symptoms of IBS:

  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain and bloating
  • Anorexia
  • Weight loss
  • Headache and tiredness
  • Chronic constipation and/or diarrhoea
  • Mucus / blood in stools

Complication of IBS

As well as being a diagnosed condition, IBS is also a symptom of weakened absorption in the small intestine. Untreated IBS may lead to following complications:

  1. Skin disease
  2. Anemia
  3. Oedema
  4. Anorectal disease (like haemorrhoids, fissure or fistula in ano)
  5. Abdominal pain
  6. Abdominal tumour

Ayurvedic Management of IBS


Ayurvedic treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome involves alleviating the aggravated body energies, restoring the function of the digestive system and the elimination of accumulated toxins. As stress is often a significant cause of this disorder, an important line of treatment consists of lifestyle guidance and herbs to nourish the mind and nervous system.

Lifestyle Management

  1. Identify and remove the food intolerance – avoid an unwholesome diet (including things like curd, alcohol, fermented beverages, junk foods, and gas producing food such as egg plants, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.)
  2. Restore the healthy balance of good bacteria and flora in the gut (for this, Ayurvedic butter milk is wonderful)
  3. Mind therapy – usually IBS is related with psychiatric aspects; patients with IBS usually suffer from anxiety or depression. To attain a balanced mind, adequate sleep is advisable and mind control therapy for stress management (like Yoga, meditation, Tai chi, etc.) are recommended


Line of treatment in IBS:


Ayurveda Detox (Panchakarma)

Panchakarma is the process of eliminating toxins from the system. A detox program is tailored by an Ayurveda specialist who will diagnose your imbalance.

The commonly adopted Panchakarma treatment for IBS is Vasthi (medicated enema), which is a colon cleansing therapy. Here, a special medicated formula is administered through the anal route for the evacuation of toxins and metabolic wastes.    

Panchkarma & external therapies include:

  • Abhyanga (Ayurveda Therapeutic massage)
  • Shirodhara
  • Chakra Basti

Ayurvedic herbal treatment

The medicines should have following qualities:

  • Deepana – carminative property, to improved your digestive fire
  • Pachana – digestive, to promote digestion
  • Sangrahi – intestinal restorative, which increases the absorption capacity of intestines
  • Stress management

Ayurvedic herbs

  • Pomegranate
  • Kutaja- Holarrhena antidysenterica
  • Bilva- Aegle marmelos
  • Musta- Cyperus rotundus
  • Dhataki- Woodfordia fruticosa
  • Patha- Cissampelos pareira
  • Lodhra- Symplocos racemosa
  • Pushkaramoola-Inula racemosa
  • Chavya- Piper chaba
  • Daruharidra- Berberis aristata
  • Shalmali- Shalmalia malabarica

Some Ayurvedic preparation

  1. Vilwadi gulika
  2. Kutajaristham
  3. Pippalyasava
  4. Jeerakaristham
  5. Brahmi vati
  6. Chitrakadi vati

Note: This article is composed for the public’s general awareness. Please do not use this information for your own diagnosis and treatment. Prior consultation with an Ayurveda doctor is recommended for the right diagnosis and treatment.