Here’s the most potent home remedy for irritable bowel syndrome you’ll come across, along with other natural remedies for IBS that are guaranteed to treat, heal and cure this horrid health problem quickly and for good!
Irritable bowel syndrome can be a living nightmare for anyone who suffers from it. Statistics show around 1 in every 5 adults in the United States now display the symptoms of IBS, so its prevalence is definitely on the rise. IBS can go by a variety of different names including spastic colitis, spastic colon, mucous colitis, nervous diarrhea and nervous bowel, along with IBS.
Irritable bowel syndrome is also one of the most misdiagnosed health problems going around and many patients are mistakenly told by their physicians that it’s purely a psychological problem and “all in their head”. But the truth is IBS is primarily an internal health condition, and although depression and anxiety can be contributing factors, the underlying cause of irritable bowel syndrome is a poor functioning digestive system, rather than a physical condition such as a persons mental or emotional state. Unfortunately, millions of people around the world suffer terribly with this health problem, and the worst part is they don’t have to and never had to.
Of course, the first thing most people will do when they have IBS (or display the symptoms) is visit their doctor. Although a reliable and confirmed diagnosis is important, the orthodox medical treatments (if your doctor gets the diagnosis right in the first place) are woeful at best and do nothing at all to treat the underlying cause. In fact, taking sedatives, anti-depressants and anti-spasmodic drugs to treat IBS will do you far more harm than good! Apart from the fact that these medications do absolutely nothing to treat the real cause of IBS, the biggest problem is they suppress the good bacteria in your gut, which is actually the main cause of irritable bowel syndrome! Thankfully, IBS is easy to fix with natural and home remedies, as you’re about to discover.
IBS can sometimes be confused with inflammatory bowel disease, but the two are completely different. You need to pay attention to your symptoms so you know if it’s IBS you’re dealing with or something else. Here’s the most common symptoms and flare-up signs of irritable bowel syndrome…
If you display multiple forms of these symptoms then it’s very likely you have IBS. What’s really good about the home remedies we’re about to discuss too is even if you don’t “technically” have irritable bowel (maybe you only get gas and bloating, for instance) you will still benefit tremendously from these recommendations. And the best part is none of them come with harmful side effects and none of them are detrimental to your health in any way. The only thing they're going to do is help you become a much healthier and happier person!
So here we list our top 11 natural remedies for IBS in order of importance. Only #8 on the list is optional, the rest are considered “must do’s”. We also want to be up front and honest too before we get started. If you’re serious about wanting to cure your irritable bowel syndrome for good, then it’s absolutely crucial that you follow each of the recommendations listed to-the-letter. A half-hearted effort will only bring about half-hearted results. But it’s not that difficult to do either, so let’s get into them shall we...
Replenishing the supply of beneficial bacteria in your digestive system, particularly the small intestine and colon, is definitely your first point of attack for curing irritable bowel syndrome. Without enough “friendly” bacteria residing in the stomach and colon the bad bacteria literally go on a rampage… and this is what’s happening inside of you at the moment if you have IBS!
A toxic overload of these "bad guys" is also one of the biggest causes of many other horrible ailments and diseases including stomach and bowel cancer, along with IBS. But probiotics quickly send the bad bacteria packing, which then allows themselves (the good guys) to take over and flourish. This results in a healthy digestive system free from awful (and sometimes embarrassing) problems such as abdominal pain, gas, bloating and abnormal bowel movements. Even well-known health expert, Dr Mark Hyman, recommends probiotics for his IBS patients. 1
Note: If you regularly suffer from yeast infections then its official… you definitely have a severe overload of bad bacteria in your body and you need to get some probiotics into you fast!
The biggest mistake people make when they decide to supplement with probiotics is they just don’t take enough - then they wonder why they don’t work. Remember this important fact... you can never overdose on probiotics… EVER! In fact, the more you have the merrier! I don’t know why people are so worried about overdosing on probiotics - it's bizarre. In this case, you need to be more concerned with “underdosing” rather than “overdosing!”
The other mistake people make when supplementing with probiotics is they treat them like a prescription. So they'll usually take them for a few months then stop. This is pointless! Because your good gut bacteria have such a high turnover rate, you must constantly top up and replenish the supply every day - for the rest of your life! This is the only way to successfully keep your IBS (and any other health problems) away for good.
So to receive your daily supply of beneficial bacteria, make sure you invest in a good quality probiotic supplement. Take at least the highest recommended amount listed on the container for 6-9 months before dropping back to the maintenance dose. Of course, you can choose to continue to take the highest dose if you want to. There's no harm whatsoever in doing this.
The other thing you must do is start making and consuming your own “probiotic rich” fermented food and drinks such as kefir, kimchi, miso, kombucha and sauerkraut. These foods are a powerhouse source of virtually every type of probiotic your gut needs for perfect health and digestion. To find out how to easily make your own fermented foods, we suggest you take a look at this terrific website. It gives you all the information you need… Cultures for Heath.
Olive leaf extract (OLE) is a potent healing remedy for IBS. Another contributing factor for irritable bowel syndrome is a toxic overload of parasites and other harmful organisms in the stomach and colon. These nasty little buggers survive by feeding off the host (you!) and steal your valuable nutrients, along with disrupting your entire digestive system. Parasites breed like flies in the body, and given the chance, they'll quickly build up a healthy colony in your colon. Of course, any live organism also has to excrete (I know this sounds disgusting but it happens) so the toxic mess these little creatures leave inside you is horrendous and vial. And because your bowel is already not working properly, these toxins accumulate and eventually re-enter the bloodstream where they gradually poison the whole body. And the worst part is, because these parasites are so small, you usually don’t even know they‘re there unless you get a stool test done!
Don’t worry, you don’t need to rush out and have a stool test. All you need to do is go out and buy some olive leaf extract instead. The fact is if you’ve never done a colon cleanse or an internal cleanse (or haven't done one in the last 12 months), you'll definitely have a build-up of parasites and protozoa’s in your digestive system. But taking some olive leaf extract every day will destroy all parasites, bacteria, viruses and protozoa’s residing and breeding in your body… and kill them quickly! OLE will also give your immune system a strong and welcome boost, which will help with your IBS symptoms even more.
Olive leaf extract is not harmful to the body in any way. It’s very safe to use as long as you stick with the recommended dosages and observe a few cautions (see "note" below). The best way to have OLE for a complete parasite cleanse and immunity boost is to take it for 6 months solid to begin with, then have a rest for 3 months, then take it again for 3 months, rest for 3 months, and so on. You can continue on this 3 on 3 off cycle for as long as you want. This also works out to be more cost effective than taking it permanently. However, if you can afford to there’s no harm at all in taking olive leaf extract every day for the rest of your life!
You can purchase olive leaf extract from just about any health food store, pharmacy or online shop. Just make sure you go for the super strength varieties and not the standard OLE supplements. The standard olive leaf extract is NOT strong enough so you won’t reap the full health benefits by taking this. In addition, it's a good idea to avoid the cheaper brands too if you can. Unfortunately, many do not contain high amounts of oleuropein (the most important ingredient), which is why they're sold at a discount price. One reputable supplier we recommend to our clients is Island Nutrition Inc. Their Real European Olive Leaf Extract is exceptional and one of the strongest available anywhere in the world. The laboratory tested bio-activity of oleuropein contained in their products is also top shelf. You can view their product information and authenticity here if you're interested… Super Strength Olive Leaf Extract.
Note: In the beginning (usually the first week), olive leaf extract can cause a phenomena known as herxheimers reaction. This is basically a "die off" effect caused by the eradication of parasites and other microbes from the body. Herxheimers reaction can produce "flue like" symptoms for some people, however, others will suffer no adverse reactions at all. Herxhermers reaction is a sign that the OLE is doing its job. This is actually a good thing, so don't be scared off by it. You can read more about herxheimers reaction and how to cope with it here... Cautions When Using OLE.
Apple cider vinegar is definitely one of our all-time favourite “cure all” remedies. And as an effective treatment for IBS, it works like magic! ACV is one of the best (and cheapest) internal cleansers and digestive aids available. It helps to soothe and heal the small intestine and colon, kill internal parasites, and boost the supply of beneficial bacteria in the gut (3 things every IBS sufferer needs). As with olive leaf extract, there are no negatives associated with taking ACV every day, only positives. Even the great man Hippocrates regularly treated his patients with apple cider vinegar way back in 400 B.C. - so it’s certainly stood the test of time!
When it comes to purchasing apple cider vinegar, only ever buy the raw, unprocessed, organic ACV that still contains the “mother” apple. This is extremely important. All other apple cider vinegars are refined and processed in some way or another, and for this reason, should be completely avoided.
To take your ACV, simply mix a tablespoon in a glass of warm filtered water and drink on an empty stomach (do this 3 times a day). You can also add a teaspoon of Manuka honey to the mix if you like for extra benefit and a sweeter taste (ACV is quite sour). Apple cider vinegar expert and author Paul C. Bragg also recommends taking a tablespoon of distilled water with 1/3 of a teaspoon of ACV five minutes before a meal. But before swallowing, hold and swash the solution in your mouth first for a few seconds to promote saliva production. Having the ACV right before a meal causes the digestive fluids to flow much better and faster, resulting in improved digestion and removal of toxic waste.
Note: It’s true that some people just can’t get use to the taste of apple cider vinegar, no matter how hard they try. If this is you then simply substitute the liquid for the ACV capsules instead. These can be much easier to get down and work just as well.
Coconut oil is yet another extremely powerful internal viral, bacterial and fungal killer. It helps tremendously with digestive function and IBS symptoms and flare-ups due to the high amount of essential fatty acids and MCT’s (Medium Chain Triglycerides) it contains. These fats are known to soothe and heal the stomach and colon faster than just about anything else. Coconut oil also helps to replenish the supply of much needed friendly bacteria in the gut, along with stimulating and healing the thyroid gland. Most people are unaware that a poor functioning thyroid is almost always a contributing factor and precursor to irritable bowel syndrome.
Once again, there are no negatives or side effects associated with coconut oil. It’s definitely one of the best all-round remedies Mother Nature has ever created!
Coconut oil has become so popular that you can easily buy it from any health food store, online store, or even your local supermarket. Just make sure that what you purchase is organically grown and is “virgin” coconut oil (doesn’t actually have to be “extra virgin” according to coconut oil expert, Dr Bruce Fife). For dosages and amounts, take a tablespoon 3 times daily (mixed in smoothies, etc) and use it in your cooking as much as possible. In addition to this, making your own coconut milk is highly beneficial and a great replacement for cow’s milk (processed dairy is a definite no no for anyone with IBS). Here’s how you can easily do this yourself.
Going on a gluten free diet - even for a couple of months - will do wonders for your IBS. Food allergies, and in particular, gluten sensitivity are one of the common factors associated with irritable bowel syndrome. Whether it’s a factor for you or not may remain to be seen, but of course there’s only one way to find out. By eliminating all wheat (gluten is a protein found in wheat) and processed foods from your diet, you'll quickly discover if gluten and food additives are a culprit and cause of your IBS flare-ups. In most cases they are so don’t skip over this one. Take the time and put in the effort to follow through on this... your insides will definitely love you for it!
Here’s some of the other high gluten foods and artificial additives you need to avoid for irritable bowel syndrome…
Taking a herbal fibre formula or blend mix every day is another terrific remedy for IBS, particularly if you suffer the symptoms of bloating, diarrhea or constipation. Fiber is important as it carries toxins out of the body, gently cleans and soothes the walls of the colon, and helps to promote normal bowel movements. Psyllium is the fiber of choice for IBS sufferers so find a formula that contains this. Herbs and seeds that are also excellent for IBS include dandelion, slippery elm, black walnut hull, marshmallow root, passionflower, linseeds and flaxseeds. So try and make sure all of these (or most of them) are included in your herbal fiber mix as well.
Yes I know, at first glance it seems this one goes against our #5 remedy (eliminating gluten from your diet) but it doesn’t. Wheat grass and barley grass are actually the young shoots of the wheat and barley plants. They aren't the same as the wheat and barley grains (matured plants) that are high in gluten and found in most breakfast cereals. The young shoots contain no gluten at all, but they do contain lots of valuable nutrients and naturally occurring fiber, which are perfect for IBS sufferers. Wheat and barley grass are also an excellent food source for the lactobacillus bacteria (prebiotic), so supplementing with these foods will help to increase the effectiveness and benefit of the probiotics you’re taking even more!
In addition to these, wheat grass and barley grass are also incredibly rich in chlorophyll - the green pigment in plants. Studies have found chlorophyll to be highly valuable in the healing of irritable bowel syndrome, along with reducing the symptoms including the pain and inflammation. Chlorophyll also helps to promote normal and regular bowel movements.
Even the American College of Gastroenterology agree that peppermint oil is an effective relief remedy for IBS. Because it relaxes the muscles of the stomach and colon, it helps to alleviate the muscle spasms associated with irritable bowel syndrome. Peppermint oil also works to release any excess gas from the intestines so bloating and “gassiness” are reduced as well.
If you decide to try peppermint oil for your IBS symptoms, make sure you buy the enteric-coated capsules. Normal peppermint oil can cause heartburn and reflux so this is best avoided. You can also drink peppermint tea after meals (combined with a little chamomile) to help improve digestion. If you suffer from heartburn or GERD, you may also want to avoid peppermint tea as it can sometimes make these conditions worse (you can read our article on home remedies for acid reflux and heartburn for more information on this).
Aloe vera is an amazing healing agent and its benefit to IBS suffers is well known. It helps to soothe and heal the digestive tract, along with boosting the immune system and providing some strong anti-inflammatory benefits to the gut. In fact, people have been drinking aloe vera juice for thousands of years to promote healthy digestion and detoxification. Even the ancient Egyptians and King Solomon (971-931 B.C.) drank aloe vera juice and considered it one the best "cure all's". The early Russians actually called it “the elixir of longevity”.
You simply can’t go wrong by drinking aloe vera juice every day. It’s suitable for everyone (man, woman and child) and has no harmful side effects at all. Try and grow your own aloe vera if you can as the fresh plant is always best. If not, you can buy natural aloe vera juice from most health food stores or online.
Diet plays a crucial role in the development, treatment, and ultimately, curing of IBS. Eliminating gluten and processed foods from your eating plan is certainly a step in the right direction, but you need to go further. All refined foods, take away foods, junk foods, soft drinks, sodas, caffeinated beverages and alcohol must also be eliminated. These foods are high in sugar, yeast, toxic fats and artificial sweeteners and additives, which will all exacerbate your IBS symptoms. Sugar and yeast are the worst (if you had to pick the worst ones) because they promote the growth of yeast fungus and bad bacteria in the body - two things you definitely don’t want if you have irritable bowel syndrome. Processed dairy must also be eliminated as this is a prime culprit in the development and worsening of IBS symptoms, and most people are lactose intolerant anyway.
For the foods you need to eating, the standards apply here. Plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs, along with nuts (except peanuts) and seeds such as flax seeds, pumpkin seeds (these are rich in zinc for your digestive enzymes), fennel seeds and chia seeds. Also eat plenty of oily fish such as mackerel, sardines and tuna to reduce inflammation in the gut or take a good quality fish oil supplement. And try and eat chicken and red meat only occasionally, at least until you get your IBS under control. In addition, drinks lots of clean, filtered water and eat 4-6 small meals a day rather than the traditional 3 big meals. Large meals are much harder to digest and put the gut under unnecessary strain.
Being able to live stress free 365 days of the year is very difficult in today’s fast-paced world. But there are some excellent ways to relax and lessen the stress in your life. Anxiety and depression can be contributing factors for IBS, so any techniques and exercises that can help to reduce these maladies will definitely benefit you health wise.
Meditation or yoga are the first two tried and tested ways to relieve stress and anxiety and elevate mood levels. We recommend you find yourself a good meditation or yoga class in your local area or invest in a good book on yoga and meditation techniques. Daily meditation and Yoga are terrific for relaxing the body and mind and both produce a mood stimulating effect that's quite exquisite.
Exercise is also a powerful way to relieve anxiety and stress and boost your moods. After a good training session you definitely feel a sense of relief and if you do happen to have a highly stressful day, you get to take it all out on your workout! It really does help alot. Exercise also releases strong chemicals called endorphins, which have a mood stimulating effect and put you on a “natural high” afterwards. In addition, exercise helps to stimulate regular intestinal contractions so your digestive system actually works better and more efficiently.
For more information on anxiety remedies, we suggest you take the time to read our informative article on this subject here... Home Remedies for Anxiety.
So there you have our top 11 home remedies for healing IBS. Like we said earlier, you must follow these recommendations to-the-letter (or as close as possible) if you want lasting and permanent relief from your irritable bowel syndrome. And most important of all, you must stick with these recommendations for the rest of your life!
Remember this crucial point… these remedies are not prescriptions - they’re lifestyle choices and changes that you must implement and follow every single day. They say it takes 90 days to create a new habit, so after 90 days you should be settled into a routine of taking your supplements, eating correctly and doing some moderate exercise and/or meditation and yoga. And once you do this, you’ll honestly wonder how you ever survived and got through the day before you started on this new and improved “health” journey.
Good luck and all the best!