I have struggled with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) for much of my life.
Q. Dear Terry, “I have struggled with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) for much of my life. I don’t really know what triggers my flares, but they are really disruptive to my life. Lately, it seems like my flares have become more frequent. I want to use natural ways to heal my IBS. What do you suggest?” – Katelin J., Las Vegas, NV
A. Dear Katelin, I think one of the biggest changes we can make to promote healthy digestion is to adjust our diet. When it comes to diet, I believe it’s important to eliminate all sugar and foods made with sugar, refined flour, and carbohydrates. While I understand this takes a huge effort, it can make a real difference. Click on my healthy diet plan for more information. For additional information, I also recommend visiting the following websites: www.ketogenic-diet-resource.com and www.drperlmutter.com, and www.dietdoctor.com. You should also read the books, Grain Brain by Dr. David Perlmutter and Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis.
Research has shown that the majority of chronic health conditions seen today, including gastrointestinal issues like IBS, have their roots in chronic inflammation. To address inflammation in the stomach and intestinal tract, we need to use a compound that can help modulate a certain kind of inflammation-promoting pathway, called 5-LOX (5-lipoxygenase). One of the best botanicals I know to control this type of inflammation is boswellia.
The boswellia I prefer is standardized to contain high levels of the key compound, AKBA, which gives boswellia many of its health benefits. While most of the compounds within boswellia are anti-inflammatory, there is one compound that is actually pro-inflammatory. Therefore, I recommend a boswellia that is low in beta-boswellic acid, which can actually cause inflammation.
In addition to boswellia, there are other safe and effective herbal medicines that keep the intestines free of inflammation and digestion running smoothly. Oils of coriander, fennel, caraway seed, and peppermint all help to regulate digestion by controlling bacterial populations, relaxing the stomach lining, and helping to control the symptoms of IBS.
I would take boswellia, coriander, fennel, caraway seed, and peppermint with each meal.
I think digestive issues can also benefit from adding in human-strain probiotics like Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, and Bifidobacterium bifidum. I would take these once or twice per day.
You may also want to consider a blend of Ayurvedic herbs that has been used for thousands of years to support digestion. These herbs help to fight inflammation, stop stomach and digestive disorders, soothe and relax intestinal tissues, bolster the ability of the liver to detoxify, and much more. I would take a combination of turmeric, greater galangal, andrographis, boerhavia, Indian laburnum, gotu kola, cyperus, licorice, East Indian sarsaparilla, long pepper, chebulic myrobalan, Indian tinospora, ginger, and curry tree each night before bed.
Terry . . . Naturally