Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Ayurvedic Explanation of IBS or Sangrahani

As per Ayurveda, depending on the dominance of agni, pitta and kafa dosha the grahni can be agnaj, pittaj or kafaj. If the vata dosha dominates then the grahani is vataj grahni, if the pitta dosha dominates then it is pittaj grahani and if kafa dosha dominates then it is called kafaj grahani. Sometimes a mixed prakop of all three doshas is also seen... more in the transcript below.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Video Transcript

The disease that we are going to discuss today is said to be disease of stomach but it affects its patient so badly that he not only becomes very weak but also seems to be under mental stress.

Irritable bowel syndrome i.e. IBS is a disease in which the patient’s digestive system gets disturbed. The patient is not able to digest even a small amount of food. After repeated defecation also, he does not get the satisfaction of clear bowels. Considering the physical and mental connection in case of IBS, scientists have put this disease in the category of psychosomatic diseases. The impact of western culture seems to be rising day by day.The most affected area is our dietary habits. Today, most of us like to eat outside and there also we prefer to order things like pizza, burgar accompanied with cold drinks. These food items are high on calories and less in fibres. Most of the dangerous disease which happen to us is because of this reason only and that’s why it is said to be mother of all diseases.

We will be discussing IBS i.e. Irritable Bowel Syndrome today and for this we have a Senior Ayurvedic Expert, Dr. Parmeshwar Arora, at our studio. We welcome you to our show, sir.

Q. To start with, what are the symptoms of IBS?

A. We can divide the symptoms of IBS into various divisions depending upon the nature of defecation, composition of stool, symptoms of stomach, physical status of the patient and the mental status of the patient. Talking bout the nature of defecation, IBS patient defecates stool repeatedly, in small amounts and while defecation he experiences cramps or little pain. Starting from 5 pm in the evening till 5 am in early morning, the patient has relief form the symptom of frequent bowel movements while in the period between 5 am till 5 pm he has to defecate several times. The worst part is that he does not feel the satisfaction of clear bowels even after repeated defecation, several times a day. One distinct symptom of this disease is whenever the patient eats anything, he has an urge to defecate but when he wants to defecate there is very little stool passed which is not according to the pressure that they experience. This leads to sad and unsatisfied expression on patient’s face. Sometimes, the patients say that despite a strong urge to defecate, they are only able to pass gas or a little mucus instead of stool.

If we talk about the nature of stool then the stool passed by patients of IBS is very loose i.e. it is not bonded, it has a foul smell, it is slippery, and often contain froth. If we talk about stomach, it always feels heavy, there is continuous mild pain and burning, there is burping and loss of appetite. If we talk about his physical condition, then the patient if IBS continues to become weak day by day, he feels lethargic. When the disease attains its complete stage then the patients starts losing his weight day-by-day. Regarding his mental condition, the patient of IBS always remains under mental stress, his irritability keeps on increasing. If such symptoms are seen in a patient then his primary diagnosis is IBS. The patients of IBS are generally very disturbed in morning hours and hence they generally reach their offices late or if they are teachers, they reach their schools, late. Business people have to incur losses. What I mean to say is that the early morning hours which are considered to be the most useful hours of the day, are lost in efforts to get their bowels clear. These patients make continuous rounds of toilets to get the satisfactions but with no results. What their efforts ultimately lead to is only sadness, stress and physical weakness.

Q. Why do we call this disease, grahani roga?

A. When we talk about the digestive system, then according to Shastra the portion between large intesine and small intestine is referred to as grahani. In IBS, the small intestine somehow gets structurally as well as functionally, contaminated, and hence the digestion gets disturbed. That’s the reason why this disease is called as grahani. As the Shastra says, the part of digestive system which is the site of agni (where maximum enzymatic functions are seen) and acquires the food in order to digest it and after digestion divides it into two parts i.e. sara bhaga (i.e. nutritious juice which gets absorbed by the body for providing energy) and skita bhag (i.e. faeces which is excreted out of the body), is called grahani. Any kind or problem in grahani gives grahani disease or IBS to the person.

Q. You have already told us about what exactly IBS refers to. Now please tell us about the reasons for this disease.

A. If we talk about the reasons for this disease then there are two different types of reasons. According to Shastra, there are three diseases for which loss of agni is stated to be the direct reason. Loss of agni can be referred to as sluggish digestion or fall in digestive enzymes . So this is said to be the first or the main reason of IBS disease. For another reason which is said to be the specific reason, Shastra says, if we have lose motions and as soon as we get relief, we start eating oily/spicy food or those who have weak digestion but still he regularly eats unfavourable food items then sometimes his jathragni gets so upset that it contaminates the grahani thus affecting it structurally as well as functionally. Thus the person becomes the patient of IBS.

Q. We would definitely learn about its treatment but before that please tell us that how many forms does this disease have?

A. If we try to learn it in context of Ayurveda, I would like to tell you that depending on the dominance of agni, pitta and kafa dosha the grahni can be agnaj, pittaj or kafaj. If the vata dosha dominates then the grahani is vataj grahni, if the pitta dosha dominates then it is pittaj grahani and if kafa dosha dominates then it is called kafaj grahani. Sometimes a mixed prakop of all three doshas is also seen. In this case the grahni is called sannipataj grahani or sangrahani. Apart from this two distinct types of grahani have been described in Shastra, ghati yantra grahani and sam grahani. If you are interested in knowing about their different symptoms then the shlokas of Shastra have very beautifully described them. E.g. according to Shastra, in case of ghati grahani, the sound which emerges from patient’s stomach is like the sound which comes when a pitcher is submerged in water. The descriptions given are very well connected to the symptoms experienced by the patients. I mean to tell you that there is vast explanation of grahani disease in Shastra. This is a disease which disturbs our life in a big way and for which allopathy fails to provide effective remedies. But Ayurvada has a broad description of this disease and at the same time the treatment has also been suggested.

Q. You have talked about some symptoms but what are the specific symptoms on the basis of which we can say that a certain person is a patient of IBS?

A. The symptoms defined in Ayurveda are so clear, that you would not require a doctor to tell you that you are suffering from IBS. When grahani gets so contaminated that sometimes it excretes faeces in thin form and sometimes in bonded form and while excretion it gives twisting pain in stomach and the stool is oily, contains froth and carries foul smell then on the basis of these symptoms you may clearly say that the patient is suffering from grahani.

Q. What kind of treatments are available for grahani disease?

A. If you want to get rid of IBS disease then it is of prime importance that you consume restricted diet. Grahani which has become structurally as well as functionally contaminated, needs to be corrected. At the same time our eating also needs to be corrected. We often do five kinds of violations

  1. The quality of food that we consume is not appropriate
  2. The quantity of food that we consume is not right
  3. Violations in terms of combination of food items that we consume
  4. The timing of eating food is not correct
  5. The wrong way of eating food

All these five violations result in making our jatharagni or digestion, sluggish Anyone who wishes to get rid of this disease would have to watch for these violations. First of all, he would have to correct the quality of food consumed. he would have to put restrictions on hot/spicy/rich food and sour food. If we are eating large amount of food for dinner, then we will have to put control over quantity. We would also need to watch for the combinations of food that we consume. Eating junk food along with cold drinks is a deadly combination. This leads to contaminated and sluggish digestion. You would have noticed that I am repeatedly using the term sluggish digestion or manda agni. To tell you that what can this manda agni or sluggish digestion cause, I would again take help from Ayurveda. It says that manda agni is the beginning of every disease or it is the cause for every disease. This is the kind of importance that has been attributed to manda agni. In today’s life, as we see, we are messing up with this agni the most. It results into IBS. Though it is not fatal but it is one of the most disturbing diseases. Regarding the importance of agni, Shastra says, agni is the one which when stops, the person dies. If this agni is strong and healthy, the person enjoys logetivity. Similarly, if there is any disturbance in this agni, the person falls sick. This is why if something is the essence of life then it is agni. Shastra further says that the reason for our life span, our complexion, our strength, our health, our growth and our immunity and even our soul, is nothing but agni. So please don’t mess up with this and control your diet in terms of quality, quantity as well as combinations. For your knowledge on right combinations, you can meet an Ayurveda doctor. Besides, also correct the timings of eating food as well as the ways of eating food.

Simultaneously, also stay away from mental stress. So, according to me, these are the steps which should be taken by an IBS patient if wants to get rid of his disease.

Q. Sometimes, it becomes an embarrassing situation for IBS patients and there entire routine gets affected.

A. Since there is no timing for defecation and the patient doesn’t know that when he might have an urge to defecate, the patients remain in great stress. Sometimes the patient tell us that they feel like committing suicide. They start avoiding travels and outings, their work gets affected, they have problem if the meetings last long and their attention is lost.

Till now whatever I told you, might have scared you but I have something good to share as well. This is, Ayurveda has complete understanding of the disease and it offers complete cure of this disease as well. So there is no reason for worries. You just have to take restricted diet, watch your lifestyle, avoid stressful situations and as far as the medicines are concerned, I will provide it to you.

Q. We have learnt from you about what is IBS, what are its symptoms and even a bit about its treatment. But tell us about the complete treatment for IBS. What kind of treatment is available for this?

A. For complete cure we work on the principle of Samdeepan. Sam refers to establishing harmony in grahani. Deepan refers to continuous actvating jathragni. In this disease somehow the undigested juice to which refer as aam-rasa spreads throughout the body. This happens because the grahani, which is the site of digestion, is in deformed state. As a result it does not digest the food completely and the undigested juice produced by grahani gets contaminated. This is what we refer to as aam-rasa. Until this aam-ras, which is spread throughout the body, is completely digested with the help of deepan and pachan aushadhiyan, it will keep triggering this disease. Due to this you, will be attacked by this disease again and again. That’s why, for complete cure of this disease, it is very important that this aam-ras be digested completely. By establishing harmony in grahani, we aim at correcting the functional and structural deformity which it has undergone. For this we make use of grahi dravya like bilu. We use aanva shoshak dravya to deplete aanv. For this we have kutaj. To scratch out the deposited aam, we use kutaki. Saunf and makoi are used for antra shodhan which relieves swelling in the intestines. Towards our attempt to continuously inflame the jathragni, we have deepan aushadhiyan like chittraka, trikatu (mixture of saunth, peepli and kali mirch in equal proportions). As paachan aushadhi, we have nagar motha and jeera. As vata anuloman aushadhi, we use heengu, ajwain. Presence of 'Krimi' or worms is also seen in this disease, quite often. To solve this we use vidang. By putting all these herbs together, we have prepared a medicine called samdeepan.

Q. The name is quite interesting and I think these nominations are done after conducting research. Isn’t it true?

A. Of course, as I told you earlier, for complete cure, the patients would need to follow the principle of Samdeepan. This includes establishing harmony in grahani by correcting its structure as well as function. Apart from this, with use of deepan and paachan aushadhi, the accumulated aam-ras which has spread inside the entire body of patient would also need to be digested completely and all its traces be removed from the body. Sometimes, we also have to use panchkarma chikitsa on patients. The capsules which we have developed work so effectively that we feel very pleased to see patients getting rid of their pains. When we see those patients, who had at one point of time told us that they felt suicidal, resuming their work we feel very satisfied.

Q. You told us about Samdeepan medicine. So please tell us about what are its doses, how it should be taken and for how long?

A. We recommend the dose of 2 capsules, thrice a day. They should be taken after breakfast, before lunch and before dinner. On starting the medicines, you would observe relief from your symptoms in few days only. The problem of frequent urge to defecate will be resolved and after few days the thin stools will start binding, the stool will lose the oiliness, stickiness and foul odour. Additionally you will also recover from your physical weakness and feel strong. Also, the irritability which you used to have due to IBS, will vanish. I would say, Samdeepan capsule is a sort of complete remedy in itself.

Lets share the experiences of those who have been using Samdeepan and find out how their life has become happier again.

1. I used to have upset stomach since long time, regarding which I consulted Dr. Arora. He recommended me Samdeepan capsules. After use of one month only, I found a great relief. Now, I am perfectly fine. *

2. I had problems with my stomach. I used to frequently go to relieve myself but my bowels never used to get clear.My stool was quite oily. When I consulted Dr. Arora, he gave me Samdeepan capsules. I took the medicine for three months and my stomach is perfectly fine now. *

3. I was suffering from upset stomach for a long time. I could not get fresh completely. I used to have severe pain in stomach and it was intolerable. Also, I was continuously becoming weak irrespective of what I ate. I consulted Dr. Arora for my problems and he advised me Samdeepan capsules. I took the capsules regularly for 6 months. Now I have a healthy stomach and my weight has also improved. *

4. I had disturbed digestion for long time. I consulted Dr. Arora who gave me Samdeepan capsules. It provided me relief in 15 days of use. *

* Results may vary person to person

Q. Doctor, there are many diseases which reveal symptoms at a later stage only. Does grahani disease have any symptoms, which can indicate the disease in early stage itself for its early detection?

A. Ayurveda is famous for this. A pre stage of all diseases have been described in Ayurveda. For describing pre-stage of grahani disease, Ayurveda has a shloka which clearly gives the symptoms. But unfortunately, we don’t pay any attention to these symptoms. We take medicine for gas. If we have burning, we take antacid. So if I take you back to the causes then, in spite of poor digestion, if you keep on consuming unfavourable items or things which needs to be avoided, then you become a patient of IBS. Shastra certainly gives you clear indications like if your thirst increases, you feel weakness, you are full of lethargy, you feel burning after food intake and your stool becomes thin and includes froth. These are all initial symptoms. If you improve at this stage and follow precautions then you can avoid the possibility of grahani acquiring its advanced stage..