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Ayurvedic Management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is characterized by recurrent abdominal pain associated with abnormal defecation in the absence of a structural abnormality of the gut.

  • There is an altered bowel habit.
  • It is a disorder of the small intestine.

In Ayurveda, IBS can be described as Grahani.

Grahani’ is named as retaining the ability of ‘grahani part’ of small intestine i.e duodenum. In grahani disease/IBS, the retaining function is altered and hard or soft stool is passed frequently.

Causative Factors/ Etiology

According to the modern medical view,

  • Hereditary factors
  • Enteric infections
  • Inflammatory action of the small intestine
  • Altered food habits
  • Stress, anxiety

In Ayurveda, Nidana (Cause ) is given as:

  • If the person is suffering from Atisara (Diarrhoea)
  • Intake of incompatible diets
  • Weak digestive fire i.e. Mandagni
  • And also stress, anger and fear
  • Suppression of natural urges (Vega Dharana)
  • Intake of heavy, cold, dry, junk foods.

Clinical Symptoms:

Early symptoms:
  • Anorexia (Aruchi)
  • Nausea, excessive salivation (Praseka)
  • Delayed digestion
  • Burning sensation, vomiting, bloating, distension of abdomen
  • Fatigue (Klama)
  • Giddiness (Bharama), Thirst, etc.
Major symptoms:
  • Alteration of bowel i.e sometimes hard, sometimes-soft stool is passed.
  • Weight loss (Krishata)
  • Acidic eructation
Clinical features:
  • Abdominal pain
  • Cramps, bloating and gas
  • Abnormal bowel habits

Type of IBS:

According to modern medicine, it is divided into 3 types viz:

  1. IBS with constipation (IBS C) – Constipation is seen
  2. IBS with diarrhea (IBS D) – Diarrhea is seen
  3. IBS with mixed bowel movements (IBS A) – Diarrhea and Constipation both are seen.

According to Ayurveda,
General- 4 types:

  1. Vataj Grahani – Abdominal pain with increased frequency of bowel, flatus, abdominal distention, headache, debility, chest pain etc
  2. Pittaj Grahani – Belching, acidic eructation, burning sensation in chest.
  3. Kaphaj Grahani– Sensation of incomplete bowel evacuation, nausea vomiting, the heaviness of abdomen, stool with mucus
  4. Sannipataj Grahani – All above 3 doshas are involved and mixed symptoms are seen.

Specific- 3 types:

  1. Sangraha Grahani
  2. Ghatiyantra Grahani
  3. Aamaj Grahani

Management of IBS through Ayurveda: 

Ayurvedic Management of IBS aims to manage the root cause of the problem rather than just treating the symptoms. It is recommended to visit an Ayurvedic doctor for an initial consultation to get personalized advice on diet, lifestyle, herbs, and detox program.

Panchakarma program is considered as the best management of IBS. Panchakarma therapies at Sunshine Ayurveda are tailored by Dr. Ram Mani Bhandari according to your bodily need, age, season, symptoms, and other complications.

Panchakarma includes the preparatory procedures like Snehapana (drinking of medicated ghee) followed by a therapeutic oil massage and swedana (medicated steam)

Panchakarma therapy in Ayurveda is a very profound way of cleansing the body (Detoxification of the body). Some of the best therapies for IBS are :

It is one of the popular therapies for IBS. This classical Ayurveda therapy affects the hypothalamus of the brain & maintains normal physiology of the body i.e temperature, sleep, etc.

In this therapy, medicated oil is poured on the forehead in a continuous, gentle flow for about 30-45 minutes. It helps in constipation, cramping, bloating, and stress management. It calms the body, which ultimately restores the normal functioning/physiology of the body.

This therapy is available in Sunshine Ayurveda and is performed by experienced therapists and doctors.

Anuvsana Vasti (Medicated Oil Enema): It is a type of enema where medicated oil is administered through the anus. It nourishes & cleanses the intestine.

Niruha vasti (Herbal Decoction Enema): It is a non-oil-based enema, mainly of herbs preparation. It also pacifies & cleanses toxins from the body through the properties of herbal medicine, thus healing the body.

This is a therapeutic cleansing of the stomach and upper intestine and flushing the toxins.

Ayurvedic Herbs for IBS

Some of the most effective Ayurvedic herbs for IBS are listed below

  • Mustakaristha
  • Kutajaristha
  • Pippalyasava
  • Kutajaristham
  • Jeerakaristha
  • Vilwadi gulika

How do Ayurvedic herbs work?

  • Deepana: Carminative property, to improve the digestive power and reduce flatulence.
  • Pachana: to promote digestion
  • Sangrahi: intestinal restorative which increases the absorption capacity of the intestines.

Ayurvedic Advice for IBS:

  • Do pranayama (Breathing techniques) and Yoga regularly, which aids in stress management.
  • Always eat healthy home-cooked foods and avoid alcohol.
  • Do not eat foods that degrade your digestion like processed food, heavy junk foods, etc.

Some of the Yoga postures beneficial for IBS:

  1. Dhanurasana (Bow pose )
  2. Pawanamuktasana (Wind relieving pose)
  3. Ananda balasaba (Baby pose)
  4. Ardha matyendrasana (Half seated spinal twist )

Note: This article is designed for the general management of IBS according to Ayurvedic principles. Please do not use this information for your self-diagnosis and treatment without the proper guidelines of a professional. If you wish to follow the Ayurveda program, you are advised to book a consultation with a qualified Ayurveda doctor who is specialized to design a personal program comprising a diet, a combination of herbs, and a detox program according to your personal needs. Sunshine Ayurveda offers an effective and holistic weight loss package based upon the ancient principles of Ayurveda.

Dr. Ram Mani Bhandari
Dr. Ram Mani Bhandari


Registered Member of AAA

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