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Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Chakra Location

Dosha Imbalance

Emotions that Block

Anxiety, stress, and anger may cause spasms in the colon. Your brain and belly talk to each other through the network of nerves.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) from the point of view of Ayurveda

Irritable bowel syndrome typically affects the digestive tract and intestines. Common symptoms include the following: abdominal pain, gas, bloating, constipation or diarrhea, and cramping. These tend to come and go over time, and can last for days, weeks or months at a time.

Ayurveda describes irritable bowel syndrome as Grahani, which is a mix of belly discomfort and trouble with normal bowel functioning. In Ayurveda, the Agni (or digestive fire) is responsible for converting food into energy and nutrition. If for some reason the food isn’t fully digested, it can cause health problems. This may signal that Agni is weak. A malfunction of Agni leads to Grahani symptoms.  

As a result of the incomplete digestion, our body may develop Ama (toxins). The symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome are a result of a weak Agni and consequent accumulation of toxins. According to Ayurveda, irritable bowel syndrome or Grahani is mostly caused due to unhealthy dietary choices, intake of foods that causes allergy, intake of foods low on nutrients, overeating, eating at irregular intervals, and other physical and mental factors like emotional problems, stress.

Causes of IBS can be: 

  1. Muscle contractions in the intestine. The walls of the intestines are lined with layers of muscle that contract when food goes through the digestive tract. Contractions that are weak can lead to digestive system problems.
  2. Nervous system. Abnormalities in the nerves in your digestive system may cause you to experience discomfort greater than normal. Signals between the brain and the intestines can cause your body to overreact to changes that normally occur in the digestive process.
  3. Severe infection and microbes. Irritable bowel syndrome can develop after a bacterial or a viral infection.
  4. Stress. People exposed to stressful life, especially in childhood, tend to have more symptoms of IBS.

How Ayurvedic doctors treat irritable bowel syndrome

Treating Grahani or Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Ayurveda consists of: Panchakarma therapies, diet, and lifestyle changes. Panchkarma therapies are based on types of Grahani treatments like: Virechana, Basti, and Dhara - individualized therapies that are provided to patients for full restoration of their health. Anti-stress techniques, like: meditation, aromatherapy, and massage, may help reduce stress. Intake of herbal supplements is an important part of Ayurvedic treatment. An Ayurvedic doctor will suggest individual treatment formulation, diet plan, brief period of fasting if necessary to help reset the digestive system. Specific yoga positions or postures may be helpful for eliminating the symptoms of the disease.

Tips for effective Ayurvedic treatment of IBS

  • Chamomile is helpful in treating IBS
  • Aloe vera helps reduce gastrointestinal inflammation, abdominal pain 
  • Ginger reduces the backflow of stomach acid
  • Regular intake of fennel seed water is effective for treating irritable bowel syndrome
  • Turmeric treating abdominal pain and discomfort
  • Avoid junk foodAvoid stress, stress and depression disrupt the functioning of digestive system
  • Drink water mixed with cumin and ginger
  • Eat a well-balanced diet 
  • Avoid caffeine and carbonated drinks

Check the Ayurvedic treatment of other digestive diseases:

Acid reflux (GERD)Anorexia nervosaGastritisCrohn’s diseaseHyperacidityConstipationCoeliacAppendicitisFood poisoningColon polypsIntestinal wormsHemorrhoidsDiarrheaPancreatitisPeptic ulcerAnal fistulaLactose intoleranceMouth ulcers, herpes.


Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

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