If you have irritable bowel syndrome, you know how painful it is. The diarrhea, bloating, fatigue, and depression are often debilitating. And during this time of year when we’re eating so much festive food, it can wreck your holiday cheer. But there’s great news for you. An herb from Peru can end your suffering almost instantly.
That may sound too good to be true. One of my patients thought so – until she tried it.
When I first talked to Alana, she found it increasingly difficult to cope with the pain and resulting tiredness of her stomach pain. She had tried all the pills, to no avail.
Her stomach pain was so severe, it was interfering with her work. She was taking more and more time off work. She was often late because her worst bouts of diarrhea would strike first thing in the morning. She said she felt washed out every day. Her excuses for taking the odd days off work were getting weaker and weaker. Her coworkers had no idea of her periodic, but chronic suffering.
Even her family couldn’t understand what she was going through. They thought she was moody, a complainer. Her husband even called her a hypochondriac. But she knew she was sick.
She spent most weekends in bed, just resting. It was depressing. The pain was unbearable, and the bloating made her look as if she were seven months pregnant.
Alana had been suffering with these digestive problems for over 18 years. She’d been tested for every major bowel disorder and, finally, her doctor diagnosed irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). At last, someone understood that she was not just “too high strung, or too sensitive.” While stress was contributing to her problem, it wasn’t the root cause.
IBS is a disorder of the intestines that can cause severe abdominal pain. It affects millions of Americans. At least one-third of Americans will have it at some time during their life, even if only mildly, and one person in seven is affected badly enough to consult their doctor. Most, like Alana, see several doctors before getting an accurate diagnosis. You see, IBS is a problem of bowel function rather than structure, so nothing abnormal turns up during examinations.
Although IBS can be very debilitating, it’s not usually life threatening. Nobody is entirely certain what causes the condition, but research suggests it’s related to dietary habits, stress, GI hypersensitivity, or a hidden infection. In my experience, gallstones, food allergies, hormone imbalances, parasites, and a sedentary lifestyle can also contribute to it.
Treatment of IBS presents a challenge to conventional physicians. Every IBS sufferer has a unique combination of symptoms and triggers. Most doctors simply don’t spend enough time with patients to discover which factors may be causing their problems. Instead, standard care for IBS usually includes a variety of dangerous drugs aimed only at reducing symptoms. One such drug, Lotronex, had to be pulled from the market after several people died while taking it.
Not surprisingly, IBS is often diet related. Many people with IBS have undiagnosed food sensitivities, and identifying and eliminating trigger foods often provides significant relief of symptoms. In addition, most IBS sufferers get too much sugar and not enough fiber in their diet. Sugar helps feed infections, which might explain the relationship of sugar to IBS.
IBS attacks happen when you’re stressed, and regular exercise is the healthiest way to combat stress and anxiety. Exercise can actually improve your brain chemistry, restoring balance and promoting a sense of well-being. Even a few minutes a day can make a huge difference in your health.
What Worked for Alana Could Work for You
I wish Alana had come to see me sooner. Her suffering lasted much longer than it needed to. Fortunately, her misery is over. And it disappeared right after she started taking a Peruvian herbal supplement that’s now becoming popular for its ability to fight Lyme disease.
It’s called samento. It’s a high-quality form of cat’s claw. It’s superior to regular cat’s claw because it’s free from TOA (tetracyclic oxindole alkaloids). TOA inhibits the active agents of cat’s claw. These active ingredients are called POA (pentacyclic oxindole alkaloids). Cat’s claw with even trace amounts of TOA can reduce POA effectiveness up to 80%. Many of the products available on the market contain significant amounts of TOA, so they’re virtually ineffective.
Samento is thought of as one of the most important botanicals in the rain forest. In Peru, cat’s claw tea is said to have unlimited curative properties. It’s used for the treatment of cancer, arthritis, rheumatism, irregularities of the female cycle, and acne.
And samento is incredibly effective at cleansing the entire intestinal tract. It helps patients who are suffering from many different stomach and bowel disorders. These would include: gastritis (inflammation of the stomach), leaky gut syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis, hemorrhoids, ulcers, parasites, and intestinal flora imbalance.
Why does samento work on IBS? We’re not totally sure yet, but I suspect it has to do with its ability to fight infection and parasites. Hidden infections and parasites are quite often at the root of IBS. This would explain why it works. Samento has some powerful anti-infection agents. In fact, TOA-free cat’s claw contains considerable quantities of quinovic acid glycosides. Many of the new quinolone antibiotics (such as Cipro) are based on these compounds. But the natural compounds are much safer and have very powerful antimicrobial effects.
I’ve seen reversals of IBS using samento that are nothing less than miraculous. There are many places you can purchase cat’s claw, but make sure you’re getting the TOA-free product. Here are two sources for samento: NutriCology (800-545-9960 or www.nutricology.com – ask for Prima Una de Gato) and Nutramedix (561-745-2917 or www.nutramedix.com – ask for Samento Plus).
Make sure you buy the capsule form, not the liquid. I find it much easier to take and more effective against IBS. Your dose starts with three 600 mg capsules of samento twice a day for 10 days. Then decrease the dose to a maintenance dose of two 600 mg capsules twice a day. Take samento by itself on an empty stomach.
Don’t Stop With Samento
In addition to taking samento, take a high-quality fish oil supplement at dinnertime. Take two 1,000 mg capsules. Fish oils alone can put folks with IBS into complete remission.
But that’s not all you need to take. You’ll need a good probiotic supplement to establish strong colonies of beneficial intestinal flora. Choose one that provides acidophilus and bifidobacteria to support both the small and large intestine.
However, if your IBS includes bouts of diarrhea, taking a probiotic by itself might not help much. It just doesn’t stick to your intestines well enough when you’re flushing it out so fast. Most of it goes straight through you and doesn’t have the desired effect. While I have seen probiotics help in some cases of diarrhea, there is one thing you can take with your probiotic to increase its effectiveness. And it’s quite simple and makes perfect sense.
If you want to slow down your bowel movements and help the probiotic “stick,” then it’s best to take some fiber when you take your probiotics.
Fiber is amazing stuff. It can help relieve many cases of diarrhea. And it can help with just the opposite problem – constipation. Since diarrhea is a condition where there’s too much water in your stool. Fiber helps get your digestive system back in order absorbing the excess fluid in the bowel. This serves to slow the release of the fluid by firming up a loose stool.
However, fiber is limited in its abilities. Most fiber is inert, meaning it’s not actively going to help your body heal. All it does is keep your pipes working correctly. It prevents backups and it absorbs excess fluid to stop diarrhea. This is vital for good health. And we all need to be taking about 30 grams of fiber daily to keep our pipes in good condition. But the fiber won’t act to heal your pipes if they’re injured or diseased. That’s where the probiotics come in.
Probiotics require two substances to really thrive: fiber and protein. When you take your probiotic with fiber, it helps the probiotic make it through the digestive tract at a pace that it can heal your gut of injury and disease. It can replenish the good bacteria and improve your digestive health. The protein feeds the good bacteria and helps it stay strong against all of the bad bacteria we ingest.
Don’t wait until you have diarrhea to use this powerhouse combination. Taking a good probiotic with fiber and some protein can keep your digestive system healthy and able to fight most bad bugs that come along. It might also help you avoid and even reverse digestive disorders like IBS, Crohn’s disease, and leaky gut.
Another Product Helps Fight IBS
Finally, there’s one other product you should consider to find immediate, but temporary relief of IBS symptoms. That’s peppermint. Peppermint oil is often used for GI issues because it helps the intestinal muscle and lower esophageal sphincter to relax. This is why we commonly eat peppermints after dinner (of course, fresh breath is another benefit).
In one study, researchers wanted to see how well peppermint oil performed in several different scientific studies. So they did a review study and evaluated a total of seven randomized, controlled trials. Each of these examined the use of peppermint oil for treating IBS.
Most of the participants in the trials evaluated were women. This makes sense, as women are more likely to suffer from IBS than men. Overall, the studies reported that peppermint oil worked more effectively than a placebo at easing the symptoms of IBS. One study even found that it worked better than the pharmaceutical treatment 1-hyoscyamine. This is good news, as this treatment often comes with unpleasant side effects.
The researchers did note that peppermint oil did occasionally contribute to heartburn, nausea, and even vomiting in some participants, so it's not for everyone.
And if peppermint oil proves to be a bit much for you, you can also try sipping some peppermint tea. Many people report that it can help settle an irritated stomach.