IBS is a chronic disorder with stomach pain, bloating and abnormal bowel movements, often refractory to conventional treatment with pts having a feeling of poor quality of life. Herbal therapy with Foeniculum vulgare (Fennel seed), offers new therapeutic modality. IBS is 2nd important cause of work absenteeism after common colds and affects 9.4% of Americans. Conventional therapy consists of high fiber diet antispasmodics like hyocyamine and dicyclomine which benefit some pts however, the majority remain symptomatic. They have more frequent visits to hospitals, physicians, more abdominal surgeries, procedures and dependence on analgesics.
IBS is not a new disease and similar functional bowel dysfunctions were treated with FV seeds in the ancient writing of AVICENNA and RHAZES, and in medieval English herbal remedies. Five pts with IBS meeting Rome criteria, who were poor responders to available therapies were selected for FV treatment. These pts were given special sugar coated 4 FV seeds to chew and swallow after meals for one week then increasing gradually the dose to 8–12 seeds three times a day. Following IBS activity markers, were used for comparison before and after therapy. Frequency and regularity of BMS, number of visits to medical provider, abdominal pain and spasm, excessive bloating and dependence on pain medicine. After 2 weeks of therapy, there were marked improvement with less abdominal cramps, less dependence on laxative, Imodium, analgesics and less visits to physicians. Pts felt that they had more control of their social life. Fennel seeds extract contain essential oils like trans—trans-anethole and fechone which exhibit its spasmolytic effect through plant based Ca Channel blocker. It has also estrogenic and psychodelic adrenalin like effect.
Fennel seeds should be considered as a useful adjunctive therapeutic modality in refractory cases of IBS. It effectively controls many symptoms of IBS with significant overall improvement in quality of life.
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Indigenous traditional medicine: in vitro anti-giardial activity of plants used in the treatment of diarrhea
Parasitology Research (2009)