Home Remedy for IBS

How to Self-Heal This Hellish Condition

Need a home remedy for IBS that actually works? On this page, you’ll find natural remedies for IBS that have proven successful for this challenging condition. Use one or all of them to give yourself the best chance of recovering. And, yes, people DO recover from IBS. I’ve seen it happen.


What causes IBS?

IBS is confusing because it has several causes. © Karen Alison

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is confusing because it has several causes, including…

  • parasites
  • food intolerances
  • dysbiosis (disrupted gut flora)
  • SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth)
  • physical or emotional trauma that triggers the autonomic nervous system into producing gastrointestinal symptoms. This is probably the least understood yet most common causes of IBS.

So which natural remedies for IBS can you use to treat these very different causes?

Home Remedy for IBS – 7 That Work!

Home remedies for IBS can be divided into two categories: the remedies that help you relieve or prevent symptoms temporarily, and the cures that actually tame this syndrome so you can get past it.

Two types of home remedy for IBS - remedies that help you temporarily and cures that tame this syndrome. © Karen Alison

In the first category are…

  • Soluble fiber
  • Peppermint oil capsules 
  • Digestive enzymes
  • Ginger root

In the second are…

  • Uncovering and dealing with food intolerances
  • Rebalancing gut flora with probiotics and cultured foods
  • EFT Tapping to retrain your brain and nervous system so they no longer produce symptoms

Both types of home remedy for IBS are valuable as you go through your healing process. So let’s look at them in more detail…

Home Remedy for IBS #1
Soluble Fiber

There are two types of fiber in foods: soluble fiber and INsoluble fibre. The kind that has proven to help with IBS is soluble fibre (soluble – meaning it dissolves in water.)

Insoluble fiber is tough to break down.

It includes bran and the “woodier” parts of vegetables, like broccoli stems. Insoluble fibre acts like a broom, sweeping through your intestines and it can be hard on your sensitive digestive tract when you have IBS.

By the way, you’ll get far more useful fiber from vegetables than you will from grains, so don’t be fooled into thinking that you “must” eat grains, especially when they are the source of many food reactions.

Soluble fiber has quite different properties.

It mixes with water in the intestines to form a sort of gel that both softens and bulks up the stool, so it helps whether you have constipation or diarrhea.

The ideal time to eat soluble fibre is at the beginning of a meal, to “pre-condition” your digestive tract to receive the rest of your meal.

Soluble fiber is in supplements containing...

  • inulin (chicory),
  • psyllium,
  • guar gum and
  • acacia.

For people with IBS, acacia seems to be the best tolerated. Guar gum can bring on uncomfortable symptoms like gas and bloating.

Ground flax seed added to a smoothie gives you soluble fiber. © Karen Alison

You’ll also find soluble fibre in foods such as...

  • ground flax seeds and chia seeds
  • vegetables like parsnips, carrots, squash, and mushrooms
  • fruits including apples (without the peel), mangoes, bananas, and berries.

Home Remedy for IBS #2
Peppermint Oil

Enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules relieve intestinal gas, bloating and gas-related cramping. Peppermint also reduces diarrhea, nausea and pain.

The coating allows the capsules to pass through your stomach to your intestines, where the peppermint oil is released.

You really don’t want it in your stomach – it’s strong stuff and will give you a tummy ache or heartburn – but in your intestines, it’s a powerful home remedy for IBS.

Peppermint is well-known for providing digestive relief. It is...

  • antispasmodic – the menthol calms spasms
  • it relaxes your stomach and intestinal muscles – which makes it easier to release uncomfortable gas
  • it helps you digest fats by improving bile flow in the gall bladder.

Not recommended if you have GERD.

Home Remedy for IBS #3
Digestive Enzymes

Digestive enzymes are a very useful home remedy for IBS because they help to break down the food you eat so it’s easier to digest.

This sounds obvious, but what's not so obvious is that many foods - especially processed foods - are basically dead, so there are no enzymes left in them to help with digestion.

I’ve found that a broad-spectrum enzyme that contains bile works best to digest fats – often the hardest thing for a person with IBS to deal with.

It’s a good idea to keep digestive enzymes in your briefcase, backpack or purse, so you can take a couple before or during a meal, especially when you’re eating out, or if you feel uncomfortable symptoms coming on.

Home Remedy for IBS #4
Ginger Root

Like peppermint, ginger is well-recognized as an aid to digestion. It works especially well for nausea and vomiting – in fact, separate studies with sailors in the navy and with pregnant women showed that ginger was highly effective at reducing nausea.

Ginger root reduces spasms and cramps, relieves stomach ache, and is anti-inflammatory, so it helps with pain. © Karen Alison

Ginger root reduces spasms and cramps, relieves stomach ache, and is anti-inflammatory, so it helps with pain (whenever you have pain, there is inflammation, so anti-inflammatories are pain-relievers.)

Carry ginger root capsules or tincture with you. When you’re at home, there’s nothing like a pot of freshly-made ginger tea to soothe your tummy. I like it with a bit of stevia and some minerals drops for an added health boost.

Mineral drops restore electrolytes to your body – essential minerals that are lost when you have diarrhea or vomiting, and contain relaxing magnesium that relieves constipation.


Home Remedy for IBS #5
Rebalancing Gut Flora with Probiotics
and Cultured Food

Restoring gut flora is crucial to healing any digestive problem, especially Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Why?

Because most people have dysbiosis – or disrupted gut flora – and if you have IBS, you may have it even worse!

In North America and other countries where we use plenty of antibiotics, prescription drugs, chemical products and processed foods, this onslaught disrupts your flora (kills off good bacteria in the gut), and can turn you into a raging sweet or bread addict.

Refined carbohydrates are the food of the bad (pathogenic) bacteria.


Depression alert!

When you have more pathogenic microbes than good ones, they not only affect your gut with bloating, gas, cramping and nausea, but they also affect your brain and moods!

If you suffer from depression, anxiety and “brain fog”, it’s crucial to restore beneficial bacteria to your digestive tract. Those bad bacteria affect your nervous system and, if you have leaky gut syndrome, they send toxins to your brain.

Probiotics to the rescue!

Fortunately, there is a solution to this mess. Good quality probiotics and cultured foods restore your beneficial bacteria to take over from the bad microbes. This new healthy microbial population will clear up the physical and mental symptoms of dysbiosis.

What are cultured foods?

Cultured foods like sauerkraut restore your beneficial bacteria. © Karen AlisonRed cabbage sauerkraut

They include…

  • Fermented vegetables like sauerkraut, fermented carrots with ginger, and kimchi
  • Kombucha tea
  • Kefir

Cultured food expert, Donna Schwenk, points out that when you consume these three at the same meal, they give you a huge probiotic boost that’s far more powerful than if you eat them individually.

Why? Because they each offer you different strains of bacteria that work synergistically when you eat them together.

Her daughter ate cultured foods as a home remedy for IBS and healed her symptoms completely.

Many people find that, even before their digestive symptoms clear up, their depression and foggy thinking lifts, once they rebalance their gut flora.

SIBO and FODMAPs

SIBO is Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth. That bacteria should be in your large intestine (bowel) not your small intestine. It has migrated there and is causing symptoms.

FODMAPs is short for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols or sugars that are not well-absorbed in the small intestine.

In fact, the food of the bacteria in the small intestine is sugars. So, by avoiding FODMAPs and taking probiotics and anti-fungals, you can starve out that misplaced bacteria.

What are anti-fungals?

They are powerful herbs and natural remedies that kill off bad bacteria. Some of the most effective include…

  • Olive leaf extract
  • Capricin (comes from coconut)
  • Oregano extract
  • Cat’s Claw extract
  • Grapefruit seed extract

One caution to know about when you take antifungals is that you sometimes feel worse before you feel better. I know that's not encouraging, but it's the die-off of the bad bacteria that is making you feel bad. So it's actually a good thing.

Drink lots of water, eat protein, and get some rest.


Probiotics and Parasites

Blastocystis Hominis is a parasite that causes gas (flatulence), abdominal pain, diarrhea, and nausea (sounds like IBS, doesn’t it?)

This study found that treatment with a probiotic yeast called Saccharomyces boulardii had a clinical cure rate of 94.4%. The cure rate of the drug metronidazole – the usual treatment for the parasite – was only 73.3%. 

S. boulardii sometimes provokes gastro symptoms while it is killing off the parasite, however, it has none of the dangerous side effects of metronidazole. Among other health problems this drug can cause, the WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer lists it as a possible carcinogen.

Parasites flare in cycles – often increasing around the full moon. The cycle is because when one generation dies off, another generation of the parasite is growing. So it can be helpful to take a natural remedy like S. boulardii over a couple of months, to make sure you’ve dealt with all of the parasite.

Home Remedy for IBS  #6 
Uncovering Food Intolerances

For some people, uncovering and dealing with food intolerances or sensitivities is the only home remedy for IBS you'll need.

Two allergy-causing foods that often cause problems for people with IBS are...

  • dairy foods and
  • gluten-containing grains

Many people (though not all) find that the Paleolithic or Paleo diet clears up their Irritable Bowel symptoms.

Other foods that can cause trouble are cruciferous vegetables like...

  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • Brussels sprouts.

While these are healthy foods, they contain a sugar called raffinose.

Humans don’t have the enzyme required to break down raffinose so, when you have IBS, you may find it causes gas and abdominal discomfort.

Should you avoid crucifers forever then? Probably not. Make sure they are well-cooked to help break down the insoluble fiber and work on your gut flora. As you become healthier, you are likely to have less trouble digesting these health-promoting vegetables.

How do you uncover your food intolerances?

There are a couple of ways: professional testing or DIY.

DIY - Here’s how to do it yourself...

  • Choose ONE food group to avoid at a time, so you will know for sure whether it is a problem.
  • You have to be scrupulous about staying away from all forms of the food category. For example, if you’ve chosen dairy, make sure you avoid all cheeses, butter, milk, milk chocolate, ice cream, goat and sheep milk or cheese, cream soups, yogurt, etc.
  • Stay off the food group for at least a week (two is better) and see what happens.

Watch out for this...

If the food is a problem, chances are you’ll crave it.

You may also go through a detox period, especially with gluten, where you feel as if you’re having withdrawal symptoms (headache, depression, fatigue, etc.) after you go off it. This is NORMAL and can last from several days to several weeks.

Once the detox is over, if the food was causing problems, you should find that you feel better and your symptoms are reduced.

If this doesn’t happen, there are two possibilities...

  1. The food was not a problem.
  2. The food was a problem but there are other foods you’re still eating that are also causing symptoms.

As you can see, if you have to check every food group yourself, it will take some time and effort. That’s where…

Professional testing

…comes in handy. It saves time because many foods and food groups can be tested quickly.

And you may discover some totally unexpected food reactions you’d never have found on your own.

For example, Dr. Dahlman mentions a patient who reacted badly to only one food: olives! But olives and olive oil were a frequent part of his diet so, once he cut them out, his IBS symptoms cleared.

Professional testing include methods such as…

  • Applied kinesiology
  • Electro-dermal testing
  • Blood tests (There is considerable controversy about whether or not the blood tests work, but I’ve heard from people who’ve used them to their benefit.)


Home Remedy for IBS #7
EFT Tapping

EFT Tapping is one of the most powerful home remedies for IBS that you will ever use. Why? Because it transforms the unconscious brain patterns that bring on IBS symptoms.

Once you change those brain patterns, your nervous system stops triggering inexplicable attacks of gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation and anxiety, so your body no longer produces symptoms.

Exciting stuff! But a big enough topic that it gets its own page.



Related Articles

Here's a Constipation Home Remedy that helps when stress keeps you stuck...

Leaky Gut Syndrome - Is your leaky gut causing your chronic health problems? Discover what it is and what to do about it.

Gluten Allergy Symptoms - the cause of a shocking number of health problems!

These Healthy Living Tips will protect your sensitive digestive tract from dangerous and unsuspected toxins in everyday life.


Find more articles on our Site Map and Articles List


Questions?

Have health questions or questions about natural remedies? Ask them here. Your success stories, comments and ideas are welcome, too!

Have EFT Tapping questions? Ask them here. Or share your interesting Tapping experiences.


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