Traditional remedies like peppermint oil might be the best health resources for people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, a new study suggests.
Because of the ability to access newer drugs, traditional therapies like fiber and antispasmodics are used less often for IBS, but research published in the November 14 issue of the British Medical Journal reports that the older, less expensive treatments might be the best first-line of defense against symptoms.
Studying the effects of fiber, antispasmodics and peppermint oil on 2,500 IBS patients, researchers found that peppermint oil was the most effective of the therapies used with no serious side effects found in any of the treatments.
Insoluble fiber, such as bran, was found to be ineffective with only soluble fiber relieving any symptoms.
IBS causes abdominal pain, and patients with the disorder suffer from alternating constipation and diarrhea. IBS is not the same as inflammatory bowel syndrome like Crohns disease or colitis.
The International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders reports that between 10 percent and 15 percent of American adults suffer from IBS. It also states that 25 percent of the U.S. population suffers from impairment of their daily function because of gastrointestinal disorders.