Research confirm you can reduce IBS pain with ginseng
01/29/2019 // Ellaine Castillo // Views

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of the most common gastrointestinal disorders in the world. According to the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD), this condition affects 10 to 15 percent of the world's population. Although the majority of these cases are considered mild, there are still a lot of individuals who suffer from the different symptoms of IBS, which include changes in bowel habits, excessive gas, bloating, and abdominal pain.

To get rid of the discomfort and complications associated with IBS, many people take medications such as antispasmodics since these have pain-relieving properties. Unfortunately, these medications can worsen the condition since some of their side effects involve digestion. Because of this, more and more patients with IBS are looking at complementary treatments like medicinal herbs to alleviate their symptoms. Recently, a study published in The Brazilian Journal of Pharmacognosy revealed that ginseng (Panax ginseng) has potential use in relieving abdominal pain associated with IBS.

Ginseng is a widely used Oriental herb that is known for its ability to improve physical, psychomotor, and cognitive performance, as well as the functions of the cardiovascular, immunological, endocrine, reproductive, and nervous systems. Moreover, this herb has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antitumor activity. The different properties of ginseng can be attributed to the presence of over 38 types of ginsenosides and triterpenoids. Currently, there are already commercially available ginseng products like capsules and tablets that are used to improve health. However, prior to this study, there was no information regarding the potential use of ginseng in treating IBS .


A team of scientists from various research institutes in Brazil conducted a double-blind, randomized, prospective and experimental study to determine the effects of ginseng on IBS patients. A total of 24 participants were divided into two groups, with one group receiving dried extracts from ginseng stem and leaves that came in the form of a capsule. Meanwhile, participants in the other group received trimebutine, a drug commonly used to treat trimebutine. Evaluation of the patients' conditions was done at baseline and one week, one month, and two months after starting the treatment.

The results of the study showed after one week of receiving the treatments, participants in both groups already exhibited significant improvements in pain scores. This effect continued until the fourth and eighth week of treatment. However, two out of the 12 participants receiving ginseng treatment experienced headaches while one patient in the trimebutine group suffered from diarrhea. Luckily, these side effects were only transient and did not require therapeutic intervention.

From these results, the researchers concluded that ginseng has potential use as a natural remedy for abdominal pain associated with IBS since it had similar effects as the conventionally used trimebutine. Moreover, ginseng is well tolerated by most people, with only a small portion of the sample size exhibiting transient side effects.

Other health benefits of ginseng

There are many other reasons why should include ginseng in your arsenal of herbal remedies. Some of its other health benefits include the following:

  • Improving brain function -- The ginsenosides and compound K found in ginseng have been shown to protect the brain against oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Because of this protective effect, the consumption of ginseng has been associated with improved memory, behavior, and mood.
  • Protecting against cancer -- Ginsenosides are known for their potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities that can reduce the risk of certain cancers such as lip, mouth, esophagus, stomach, colon, liver, and lung cancer. Moreover, taking ginseng can alleviate the side effects of chemotherapy.
  • Increasing energy levels -- If you've been suffering from fatigue, ginseng can help you fight this off. This is possible due to the polysaccharides and oligopeptides in ginseng that don't just reduce oxidative stress but also increase the energy production in cells to give you a much-needed energy boost. (Related: Both American and Asian ginseng are effective at treating fatigue in people with chronic illness.)

For more articles on natural remedies for IBS, visit

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