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Complementary Treatments for Kids With Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Health Brief

Complementary Treatments for Kids With Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Treating children with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can be complex, and parents are looking for complementary and alternative therapies. A paper published in the journal Nutrients evaluated studies regarding the effect of herbal remedies and spices in youngsters with this painful disorder.

The researchers found that iberogast, or STW-5, an herbal remedy containing licorice, peppermint and chamomile, improved symptoms in children with functional gastrointestinal disorders including IBS, and that peppermint oil reduced the severity, duration and frequency of IBS pain. Peppermint oil’s primary benefit in IBS seems to be its anti-spasmodic effect, although more research is needed to understand its impact on the gut microbiome of pediatric IBS patients. Psyllium was also found to offer effective, short-term relief in children with IBS, but further studies are needed.

Although not yet studied for childhood IBS, remedies found to provide IBS symptom relief for adults are curcumin, the active component of the turmeric spice; fennel in combination with curcumin; and artichoke leaf extract.

Photo credit: designer491 from Getty Images/CanvaPro

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