Indus Valley Ayurvedic Centre

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

The digestive fire should be protected by every effort because when it is lost the person becomes lost (dies), when it gets seized by the doshas the person gets seized by the group of diseases, when it is normal (Sama Agni) the person enjoys a long life free from disease. – Astanga Hridaya


Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects about 10% of the adult population and 70% are women. It is a functional disorder of the gastrointestinal tract. The wall of the intestine exhibits rhythmic contractions called the peristaltic movements, which helps move the contents in the tract. In IBS, the walls of the intestine become sensitised to even mild stimulus which causes excess cramps. The intestines and the brain have the common embryonic origin.

The neurotransmitter Serotonin is secreted by both brain and intestine. In fact, intestines secrete more Serotonin than the brain. Some research suggests that IBS patients who suffer mainly from diarrhoea may have increased serotonin levels in the gut, while those with constipation-predominant IBS have decreased amounts.  Many, who suffer from IBS, also suffer from depression, negative thoughts, irritability and anxiety. Stress and IBS quite often go together.

What causes IBS?

The cause is not well understood. A combination of physical and mental health is blamed. IBS is more common in people who have strong family history of GI problems. Foods rich in carbohydrates, spicy or fatty foods, coffee, and alcohol all could trigger the symptoms of IBS.


  • A lower GI series
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy
  • Colonoscopy with or without a biopsy.
  • Stool test
  • Test for lactose intolerance

There is no satisfactory cure for IBS in modern medicine.

Irritable bowel syndrome treatment in Ayurveda:

In Ayurveda, IBS is called GRAHANI  DOSHA, which indicates the pathological state of function and integrity of the intestinal tract (mostly small intestine), known as GRAHANI. It is considered as one among the eight MAHA GADHAS  (Diseases, which are difficult to treat)

Grahani is the part of Maha Srotas (Alimentary Tract) which is the seat of digestive fire (Agni) and holds the food until it is digested and then releases it. Charaka Samhita describes that imbalance in the Agni is the root cause of this disease. This incorrect digestive fire causes accumulation of Ama or toxin and weakens the digestive system.

Imbalance in any one or more of the doshas namely Vata, Pitta and Kapha could affect the Agni and trigger the complex Grahani Dosha.

The three types of deranged Agni,

  • Vishama Agni – due to aggravated Vata,
  • Tikshna Agni – due to aggravated Pitta,
  • Manda Agni – due to aggravated Kapha.

However, Grahani may also be caused by untreated chronic diarrhoea.

Symptoms of Grahani caused by Vata:

These symptoms are related to five Vayus, which are as follows:

Prana vayu related symptoms:

  • Dryness of the palate,
  • Noise in the ears – tinnitus,
  • A cough, dyspnoea

Apana vayu related symptoms:

  • Constipation
  • Frequent bowel movements
  • Flatulence,
  • Passing wind on passing a bowel motion,
  • Frothy loose motions,
  • Painful bowel motions due to intestinal cramping,
  • Dry faeces,
  • Pain in the rectum.

Samana Vayu related symptoms:

  • Variable appetite
  • Loose bowel motions due to increased peristalsis in the small intestine.

Vyana vayu related symptoms:

  • Chest pain,
  • Pain in the sides of the abdomen, thighs, groin and neck.
  • Craving for all types of food.

The symptoms of Grahani caused by Pitta:

Ranjaka Pitta imbalance:

  • Faeces are of bluish or yellow in colour
  • Fetid body odour

Pachaka pitta imbalance:

  • Hyperacidity resulting in heartburn and sour belching
  • Liquid stool
  • Anorexia
  • Loss of thirst

The symptoms of Grahani  caused by Kapha:

Kledaka Kapha imbalance:

  • In the stomach causes Manda Agni, low digestive fire
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Heaviness in the stomach
  • Retention of undigested food in the stomach leading to fermentation and burping with bad smell
  • Loss of appetite.

Avalambaka Kapha imbalance:

  • A cough with mucus

Bodhaka Kapha imbalance:

  • Excess salivation
  • Loss of taste.
  • Excessive Kapha in the body causes lethargy,
  • Depression

Grahani can also be caused by a combination of two of the doshas or all three. The symptoms in such cases are related to different doshas as mentioned above.

An Ayurvedic Vaidya will be able to pinpoint affected doshas through the Ayurvedic Pulse Reading.

Line of treatment:

  • Agni Deepana – (Balancing digestive fire)
  • Ama Pachana – (Balancing and digesting the Ama)
  • Strengthening Grahani (Gastrointestinal system)
  • Balancing the doshas

Irritable bowel syndrome treatments:


  • Virechana karma and/ or Basti karma based on the condition of the patient
  • External therapies, Abhyanga, Navarakkizi, Shiro Dhara, Chakra Basti, Hrid Basti
  • Internal medications;   depending on the phase of Grahani
  • Deepana – Pachana (Medicines which improve digestive fire and help in easy digestion of food and ama)
  • Grahi / Anulomana (Medicines which bind and hold the stools in case of Diarrhoea / mild laxative in case of constipation)


  • Specific Yoga Asanas
  • Pranayama (breathing techniques)
  • Meditation
  • Deep relaxation techniques
  • Food and lifestyle changes:  specific to the individual’s constitution, nature of work and geographical conditions
  • An Ayurvedic approach to IBS gives the best results.


More Treatments

Acne Ayurvedic Treatments


Acne is usually a result of excessive oil secretions that develop on the surface of the skin, due to fluctuating hormone levels a variety of external physiological factors and, in some cases, a certain level of negligence pertaining to a skincare regime.



According to ‘Allergy UK’, research shows that one-in-four people in the United Kingdom suffer from an allergy at some time …



Alzheimers Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disease responsible for most cases of loss of memory and cognitive decline in humans. …

Ano-Rectal Disorders

Ayurveda treatment for fistula in ano-rectal disorders Fistula can be regarded as a condition, which results from an abnormal connection …

Ayurvedic Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis


Arthritis is a term often used to classify any disorder that affects the body’s joints. Symptoms can generally include pain and stiffness in the joints. Other symptoms can include redness, bodily swelling, a sense of warmth along with a decreased range of motion in the affected joints.

Arthritis – Osteoarthritis

Arthritis – Osteoarthritis

Definition: A degenerative joint disease due to the lack of lubricating (synovial) fluid in the joints,  leading to the damage …

Arthritis Ayurvedic Treatments

Arthritis – Rheumatoid

Definition: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) / Polyarthritis is an autoimmune, chronic, systemic inflammatory condition that affects various tissues and organs, but …



Ayurveda treatment for Asthma Asthma is a chronic inflammatory reversible lung disease that inflames, produces extra mucus, causes spasms and …



Definition According to Boston Children’s Hospital’, 1-5% of adolescents and 1.1 to 4.2% of females in the United States are …

Cardiovascular Diseases

Definition Cardiovascular disease includes all the diseases of the heart and circulation including coronary heart disease, heart failure, congenital heart …

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Definition Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is pervasive, and common amongst doctors, business executives, engineers and airline pilots.Chronic fatigue syndrome is also …

Scroll to Top