Arising from: Kearney DJ and Brown-Chang J (2008) Nat Clin Pract Gastroenterol Hepatol 5: 624–636 [doi:10.1038/ncpgasthep1257]

In their review, Kearney and Brown-Chang have very importantly highlighted the use and possible effectiveness of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies for IBS.1 Many of these CAM therapies, as discussed in their review, have been used for hundreds of years by people of different cultures around the world.

Many natural health products (NHP) like honey, olive, ginger, fig, fenugreek, dates, black cumin, saffron, etc. have been identified as beneficial for a number of conditions. There is special emphasis on diseases of gut with ginger,2,3,4,5 olive6 and black cumin7 having been shown to have significant gastrointestinal modulatory actions. Ginger, in particular, has been shown to have a laxative and an antidiarrheal effect, at differing concentrations, making it an ideal herb for possible use in the treatment of IBS.

I believe that more funding should be directed towards research into traditional systems of medicine, such as CAM therapies, as they have stood the test of time and with a minimal amount of effort and finances they could probably be brought into mainstream use and practice.