Combined Chinese and Western Medicine for IBS?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common digestive issue that affects many people, and finding effective treatment can be challenging. However, recent research brings encouraging news: combining Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) with Western medical treatments might offer a new way to help those suffering from IBS.

Researchers examined 72 different studies conducted between 2009 and 2013, which focused on the effectiveness of TCM and Western medicine used together for treating IBS. They analyzed data from these studies to get a comprehensive understanding.

The significant finding from this research is that IBS symptoms improve more when TCM is added to Western treatments, as opposed to just Western medicine alone. This suggests that people with IBS have a potentially better treatment option available.

Another important aspect of this research is that the combined treatment approach seems to work well for all types of IBS, regardless of the specific symptoms. This is particularly beneficial since IBS can vary significantly from one individual to another.

The study also highlights two specific types of TCM – Chinese proprietary herbal medicine and compound herbal preparations – that, when used alongside Western medicine, showed positive results in treating IBS.

This combined treatment approach is exciting because it offers a new perspective on managing IBS, something that hasn't been fully explored before. However, it's important to note that the studies reviewed had some limitations, so further research is needed to confirm these findings.

TCM, especially Chinese proprietary medicine, emerges as a practical option due to its affordability, ease of use, and palatability. This makes it an attractive choice to complement traditional Western treatments.

In summary, if you're dealing with IBS, considering TCM as part of your treatment could be beneficial. This approach could offer better symptom relief and improve your quality of life. It's always advisable to discuss with your healthcare provider to see if this combined method is suitable for you. The study opens up a new avenue for managing IBS, providing new hope and possibilities for those struggling with this condition.


Li, Chun-Yan, Nurul Ain Mohd Tahir, and Shu-Chuen Li. "A systematic review of integrated traditional Chinese and Western medicine for managing irritable bowel syndrome." The American Journal of Chinese Medicine 43.03 (2015): 385-406.