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When I first read the big news in IBS research today that St. John's wort is not helpful as a treatment of IBS, I was less than impressed. What good is it to know what doesn't help? When I finally had time to access the study abstract, I changed my somewhat arrogant tune.

The study consisted of 70 participants, all with IBS diagnoses of varying sub-type, who received either St. John's wort or a placebo. Symptom improvement was assessed after 12 weeks. Both groups showed symptom improvement, but those who received the placebo reported significantly less bowel symptoms. The placebo group also experienced significant improvement in terms of diarrhea and self-report of "adequate relief" of IBS.

So I must reverse my initial skepticism. Studies like this are very, very helpful. There is scant research on the effectiveness of herbal remedies for IBS. Although it is disappointing to hear that St. John's wort was of no help, it is good to know this upfront. I applaud the researchers and I hope to see more such research coming down the pike.


[sub]Saito, Y., "A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial of St John's Wort for Treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome" American Journal of Gastroenterology Advance online publication. Accessed January 5, 2009.[/sub]

The IBS/St. John Wort Study originally appeared on Irritable Bowel Syndrome on Tuesday, January 5th, 2010 at 20:53:05.

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