The biggest health threat in this century is non-communicable diseases. Communicable diseases are to a certain extent, under control due to measures such as hygiene, affordability of nutritious food and wide use of antibiotics, the diseases of today are not amenable to any of the above-mentioned measures. They are due to a sedentary lifestyle, a culture of junk food and stress. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is one of the non- communicable diseases we now frequently encounter in medical practice.
Loose and sometimes frequent mucous bowel movements (especially after food) along with abdomen cramps are the main symptoms of IBS. The main causative factors of IBS are continuous intake of unwholesome food coupled with chronic stress. Refrigerated and reheated food is said to be slow poison as per Ayurveda for it changes the microchemical nature of the food.
Heated curds, the wrong combination of fish and milk, citrus fruits and milk products etc. are other causative factors of IBS. Good food habits make a big difference in preventing this disease. There is a saying that “Kale hitamita Bhoji” which means the one who eats the right food of the right quantity at the right time will be healthy.
This is very true in the case of IBS. It is an autoimmune condition and steroids are used for symptomatic relief. Drugs like Mesacol are the choices for rectal insertion and internal uses. Gradually the person loses weight and mucous erosion happens in the colon thereby leading to Chron’s disease.
Ayurveda has a very systematic treatment for this condition, especially in the early stages. IBS is very difficult to handle once it reaches Crohn’s stage. In Ayurveda parlance, this condition is roughly stated as Sangrahagrahani. People with IBS should eat only organic & freshly prepared food cooked at home. They should improve their immune system by consuming Phanta(cold infusion of Guduchi(Tinospora Cardifolia)and applying mildly cooling oils like Ksheerabalatailam on the head before a bath.
They should drink water in which Musta (Cyperus Rotundus), Sandalwood and Khas grass (Vetiver root) have been boiled. They should prepare a drink made with dates, kapikachu seeds. Shatavari powder and Masha (black gram boiled in milk with sugar candy). This is a good drink for those suffering from IBS.
As a curative measure without medical help, they can consume at bedtime two kadali plantains ( the smallest variety boiled in milk with jaggery, two tablespoons of freshly prepared gooseberry juice and one spoon of honey added when the mixture is lukewarm). This preparation will be in the form of a paste. Take 2 tablespoons of this at bedtime. This preparation can be used for a long time by patients suffering from IBS.
Pomegranate is a wonderful fruit and has many benefits. The fruit itself is a good energy enhancer, blood purifier and rich in iron. It has to be chewed well. Consuming pomegranate yields good results. The outer pod of the pomegranate, which people usually throw away is a wonderful remedy for IBS.
Take 15-ml of homemade buttermilk and store it at room temperature overnight to make it a little sour. Next morning add an equal portion of water and put the dried shell of one pomegranate fruit after crushing it slightly and breaking it into small pieces. Add a little turmeric and boil it under low fire. If the liquid tends to split, add one spoon of rice flour and stir well. When it reduces to half, i.e.,15-ml, season it with ghee, jeera and curry leaves). Take the liquid warm, twice a day after food. This is a delicious drink. One would love to take it daily. These home remedies for IBS are actually food supplement.
IBS survives on mental stress. One should learn to be calm and not get agitated easily by mundane issues. One should learn to do pranayama and meditation and understand how to be strong mentally. The methods are different for different people. There is no single path. Alcohol increases the intensity of IBS. Better to avoid it completely if one is looking for relief from IBS.
To conclude, timely healthy food and peaceful mental state are pre-requisites for relief from IBS. Many times it is observed that if these external factors are under control, IBS remains in dormancy. And over the long term, the dormancy will lead to its cessation. That means the autoimmune response will reverse and the vestige of this disease will fade from the immune system.
That is why Ayurveda recommends the quartet Dinacharya (diurnal routine), Ratricharya (nocturnal routine), Ritucharya (seasonal routine) and Sadvritta paripalana (code of conduct for an individual). If properly followed, this routine will provide blanket protection to all possible non-communicable diseases.