Eastern Medicine For IBS

Eastern Medicine For IBS
September 5, 2022 Jackie Gomez


And Similar Conditions

White Peony | Bai Shao

Traditional Chinese Medicine modalities have been used to deal with abdominal pain and digestive issues for thousands of years. Many people who suffer from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as Crohn’s disease may benefit from TCM methods such as acupuncture and herbal remedies. 

The biggest difference between how Western medicine and Chinese medicine treat patients is that TCM treats the person as a whole. In Western medicine, you may be prescribed a generic medication to treat a diagnosis, but in TCM all of your symptoms will be looked at and assessed. So, let’s look at the best remedies for IBS and IBD. 


To start, let’s talk about acupuncture. This practice is one of the oldest TCM modalities and dates back to at least 3,000 years ago. As for TCM methods, acupuncture was one of the first that began being used as complementary therapy with Western medicine. 

Acupuncture uses thin needles to hit certain pressure points in the body to eliminate pain. It has also been studied and found that acupuncture can ease IBD symptoms. So, if you’ve been trying out Western medicine treatments and they aren’t working, incorporating acupuncture may help. 

For example, a study was done in which a woman had been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and saw no difference in her condition with Western medicine.  The data shows that she went to 21 acupuncture sessions and started to see an improvement in symptoms. 

Traditional Chinese Medicine Herbal Formulas

While Western medicine approaches such as medication can relieve bowel disease symptoms, sometimes they may not work. Don’t worry, we have good news. Scientific studies have been carried out over recent years proving that TCM herbal formulas can relieve digestive symptoms.

When looking at Chinese herbal medicine, it’s important to understand that the ingredients are not just herbs. For example, some TCM herbal formulas include animal parts and minerals, so make sure you know exactly what you’re getting into.  

We’ve put together a list of Chinese herbal formulas with the research to back it up. 

Shun-Qi-Tong-Xie (SQTX)

Atractylodes | BaizhuShun-Qi-Tong-Xie (SQTX) is one of the most common complementary therapies used in China to treat IBS symptoms. Research shows that SQTX can effectively reduce symptoms such as abdominal pain, distention and diarrhea. SQTX ingredients include: 

  • Bai Shao 
  • Bai Zhu
  • Xie Bai 
  • Che Qian Zi 
  • FoShou 
  • Bo He You 

Tong Xie Yao Fang (TXYF)

Another well-known TCM herbal formula used to treat IBS symptoms is Tong Xie Yao Fang (TXYF). Studies show that TXYF has been widely used for the clinical treatment of IBS-D in China for almost 600 years.

Research also suggests that TXYF can tone the spleen and soften the liver. By doing so, it removes moisture and can stop diarrhea. The ingredients of this herbal formula are: 

  • Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae
  • Radix Paeoniae Alba 
  • Pericarpium Citri Reticulatae
  • Radix Saposhnikovia 

Xiao Yao San

Xiao Yao San is made of 8 different herbs, and can be used to treat symptoms associated with IBS and Crohn’s. Compiled research shows multiple studies proving the effectiveness of Xiao Yao San’s ability to relieve digestive symptoms associated with bowel diseases. 

It’s also said to improve liver function which can relieve constipation and abdominal pain. This TCM herbal formula is als great for PMS. The dried plant ingredients of this formula include:White Peony | Bai Shao

  • White peony root 
  • White atractylodes 
  • Peppermint
  • Fried ginger root 
  • Licorice root 
  • Bupleurum
  • Dong quai
  • Poria mushroom 

Hoxiang Zhengqi

This TCM formula has been studied for its benefits for relieving IBS-D symptoms. Less researched than others, the current data shows it being used in clinical trials. Study results showed that those who were in the trials with Hoxiang Zhengqi found relief from their IBS symptoms with use. 

Are There Side Effects to Using Chinese Herbal Formulas for IBS?

A question that’s probably on your mind is if there are any side effects to using this method of treatment. You’re already dealing with IBS or IBD, so the last thing you want are more symptoms. 

When you’re deciding which Chinese herbal formulas to use, make sure to do research and consult with your doctor. Having underlying conditions may mean that some herbs are off the table since everyone is different. You should also inform them of any medications you’re taking, even if you don’t think they are relieving your IBS symptoms.

While the data shows that Chinese herbs are typically safe, it’s always a good idea to consult with an herbalist before trying something new. This is especially important when you’re planning to treat a condition such as IBS. 

Final Thoughts

The bottom line is that IBS or any type of bowel disease is never fun. It can be a trial and error process finding what works best for you. If Western medicine hasn’t been helping, try using acupuncture or Chinese herbal formulas today! 

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