Shifts Can Harm, But Artichokes Can Help With IBS

March 26, 2010 by  
Filed under featured, Health


As recent figures show that 22% of the population in the UK suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, anything that can help is to be welcomed, especially if it is natural – but more of that later.

What certainly won’t help is if you are a shift worker, as new research published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology shows that it has a significantly increased risk of developing Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and abdominal pain. “We know that people participating in shift work often complain of gastrointestinal symptoms such as abdominal pain, cramping, constipation and diarrhoea,” says Sandra Hoogerwerf, M.D., assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School where the research was carried out.

These are also the same symptoms of IBS and so the study followed three groups of nurses who were either working on permanent day shifts, permanent night shifts or rotating shifts between day and night. Your colon has its own biological clock and that’s what increases the likelihood of having a bowel movement in the first six hours of the day and shift work can cause chronic disruption of that biological rhythm. This can result in that clock to be constantly thrown off and needing to adjust, creating symptoms of IBS.

The researchers say their study suggests that sleep disturbances do not completely explain the existence of IBS or abdominal pain associated with shift work but their findings suggest that nurses on shift work, particularly those who participate in rotating shift work, have a higher prevalence of IBS and abdominal pain than others.

Natural Help

IBs can be particularly difficult to treat medically and there are a number of self help options available that most sufferers turn to. Studies and clinical trials have shown that extracts of artichoke were able to relieve the symptoms for those suffering a constant upset stomach or indigestion. This led to the idea that artichoke could also have benefit sufferers of IBS and a UK study showed that an amazing 96% of patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) rated artichoke leaf extract as better than or equal to previous therapies administered for their symptoms.

If the idea of artichokes for breakfast, lunch and dinner doesn’t appeal you could take the easy way out and get the same benefit from a herbal tea from Natur Boutique that has the same benefit. If you can’t find it in your health store, go to

Please be aware that pregnant and breast feeding women should seek advice from their doctors before using artichoke extracts and it should not be taken in the presence of gallstones or other bile duct occlusion, due to its bile stimulating effects.

Natural help for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

December 15, 2007 by  
Filed under Food & Nutrition, Health, Wellness

Whether you suffer from a mild, or acute, form of IBS you will probably have worked out a strategy or have medication to deal with. However, there are also many herbs and spices which have a pacifying effect on the stomach and digestive process and it would be fairly easy to add these into your normal diet.

When cooking, bear in mind that all these herbs could help: dill, clove marjoram, rosemary, and black pepper. Parsley, that all-time garnish favourite, is also good as long as you remember to eat it!

Try a daily cuppa containing some of these herbs: aniseed, peppermint, spearmint, chamomile, fennel and lemon balm. You can buy them individually, but they are often used in combination so check the label and of a good natural, preferably organic, tea range and your digestive system will definitely thank you. I don’t have IBS, but I always have a peppermint tea after meals as it helps counteract rich foods, and any potential indigestion.

Although ginger is a stimulant, there is a herbal remedy for IBS that suggests you have a tea with peppermint and chamomile with a little sliced fresh ginger added. I would start with just one slice, and drink this 2 to 3 times a day.

If your IBS is really troublesome, then talking to a nutritionist can help as there are specific vitamins and minerals that help reduce stress, and that helps with IBS symptoms. Commonly used for this purpose are a good vitamin B complex with extra biotin, and also extra vitamin B5 but don’t self prescribe = see an expert.

If you want to find a nutritionist in your area, then you can visit to find a local practitioner. You just input your postcode and a number of suggestions will come up, if you see one that interests you then click on the more detail button to the right of their name and full contact details will come up.

As will all natural remedies, take it slow and monitor your response. If you feel fine then keep taking it, but if it makes any of your symptoms worse, then stop immediately.