Homeopathic Remedies for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Argentum nitricum: Digestive upsets accompanied by nervousness and anxiety suggest
the use of this remedy. Bloating, rumbling flatulence, nausea, and greenish diarrhea can be
sudden and intense. Diarrhea may come on immediately after drinking water. Eating too much
sweet or salty food (which the person often craves) may also lead to problems. A person who
needs this remedy tends to be expressive, impulsive, and claustrophobic, and may have blood
Asafoetida: A feeling of constriction all along the digestive tract (especially if
muscular contractions in the intestines and esophagus seem to be moving in the wrong
direction) strongly indicates this remedy. The person may have a feeling that a bubble is
stuck in the throat, or that a lump is moving up from the stomach. The abdomen feels inflated,
but the person finds it hard to pass gas in either direction to get relief. Constipation
brings on griping pains. Diarrhea can be explosive, and the person may even regurgitate food
in small amounts.The person may exhibit a strong emotional or “hysterical” element
when this remedy is needed.
Colocynthis: This remedy is indicated when cutting pains and cramping occur, making
the person bend double or need to lie down and press on the abdomen. Cramps may be felt in the
area of the pubic bone. Pain is likely to be worse just before the diarrhea passes, and after
eating fruit or drinking water. Problems tend to be aggravated by emotions, especially if
indignation or anger has been felt but not expressed. Back pain, leg pain, and gall bladder
problems are sometimes seen when this remedy is needed.
Lilium tigrinum: When this remedy is indicated, the person may make frequent
unsuccessful efforts to move the bowels all day and have sudden diarrhea the following
morning. A feeling of a lump in the rectum, worse when standing up, is common. Hemorrhoids may
develop. Constricting feelings are often felt in the chest. The person is likely to be worse
from excitement and strong emotions, and may tend toward irritability or even rage.
Lycopodium: This remedy is often indicated for people with chronic digestive
discomforts and bowel problems. Bloating and a feeling of fullness come on early in a meal or
shortly after, and a large amount of gas is usually produced. Heartburn and stomach pain are
common, and the person may feel better from rubbing the abdomen. Things are typically worse
between four and eight p.m. Despite so many digestive troubles, the person can have a ravenous
appetite, and may even get up in the middle of the night to eat. Problems with
self-confidence, a worried facial expression, a craving for sweets, and a preference for warm
drinks are other indications for Lycopodium.
Natrum carbonicum: This remedy is often indicated for mild people who have trouble
digesting and assimilating many foods and have to stay on restricted diets. Indigestion,
heartburn, and even ulcers may occur if offending foods are eaten. The person often is
intolerant of milk, and drinking it or eating dairy products can lead to gas and sputtery
diarrhea with an empty feeling in the stomach. The person may have cravings for potatoes and
for sweets (and sometimes also milk, but has learned to avoid it). A person who needs this
remedy usually makes an effort to be cheerful and considerate, but, when feeling weak and
sensitive wants to be alone to rest.
Nux vomica: Abdominal pains and bowel problems accompanied by tension, constricting
sensations, chilliness, and irritability can indicate a need for this remedy. Soreness in the
muscles of the abdominal wall, as well as painful gas and cramps are common. Firm pressure on
the abdomen brings some relief. When constipated, the person has an urge to move the bowels,
but only small amounts come out. The person may experience a constant feeling of uneasiness in
the rectum. After diarrhea has passed, the pain may be eased for a little while. A person who
needs this remedy often craves strong spicy foods, alcohol, tobacco, coffee, and other
stimulants—and usually feels worse from having them.
Podophyllum: This remedy is indicated when abdominal pain and cramping with a
gurgling, sinking, empty feeling are followed by watery, offensive-smelling
diarrhea—alternating with constipation, or pasty yellow bowel movements containing
mucus. Things tend to be worse in the very early morning, and the person may feel weak and
faint or have a headache afterward. Rubbing the abdomen (especially on the right) may help
relieve discomfort. A person who needs this remedy may also experience stiffness in the joints
Sulphur: This remedy is often indicated when a sudden urge toward diarrhea wakes the
person early in the morning (typically five a.m.) and makes them hurry to the bathroom.
Diarrhea can come on several times a day. The person may, at other times, be constipated and
have gas with an offensive and pervasive smell. Oozing around the rectum, as well as itching,
burning, and red irritation may also be experienced. A person who needs this remedy may tend
to have poor posture and back pain, and feel worse from standing up too long.
(See also Homeopathic Remedies for Allergies
Homeopathy Dosage Directions
Select the remedy that most closely matches the symptoms. In conditions where
self-treatment is appropriate, unless otherwise directed by a physician, a lower potency (6X,
6C, 12X, 12C, 30X, or 30C) should be used. In addition, instructions for use are usually
printed on the label.
Many homeopathic physicians suggest that remedies be used as follows: Take one dose and
wait for a response. If improvement is seen, continue to wait and let the remedy work. If
improvement lags significantly or has clearly stopped, another dose may be taken. The
frequency of dosage varies with the condition and the individual. Sometimes a dose may be
required several times an hour; other times a dose may be indicated several times a day; and
in some situations, one dose per day (or less) can be sufficient.
If no response is seen within a reasonable amount of time, select a different remedy.
For more information, including references, see What is Homeopathy? and Understanding Homeopathic Potencies.