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World J Gastroenterol. 2012 Feb 21;18(7):589-600. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v18.i7.589.

Herbal medicines for the management of irritable bowel syndrome: a comprehensive review.


Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional gut disorder with high prevalence. Because of various factors involved in its pathophysiology and disappointing results from conventional IBS medications, the treatment of IBS is challenging and use of complementary and alternative medicines especially herbal therapies is increasing. In this paper, electronic databases including PubMed, Scopus, and Cochrane library were searched to obtain any in vitro, in vivo or human studies evaluating single or compound herbal preparations in the management of IBS. One in vitro, 3 in vivo and 23 human studies were included and systematically reviewed. The majority of studies are about essential oil of Menta piperita as a single preparation and STW 5 as a compound preparation. Some evaluated herbs such as Curcuma xanthorriza and Fumaria officinalis did not demonstrate any benefits in IBS. However, it seems there are many other herbal preparations such as those proposed in traditional medicine of different countries that could be studied and investigated for their efficacy in management of IBS.


Herbal medicines; Irritable bowel syndrome; Systematic review

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