Treatment of irritable bowel syndrome using a selected herbal combination of Iraqi folk medicines

J Ethnopharmacol. 2013 Jul 30;148(3):1008-12. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2013.05.034. Epub 2013 May 23.


Ethnopharmacological relevance: Mentha longifolia, Cyperus rotundus and Zingiber officinale are widely used in Iraqi traditional medicine for the treatment of multiple gastrointestinal diseases. The aim of this study was to examine the effectiveness of a combination of three herbal agents that are widely used in folk medicine in Iraq for the treatment of patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Materials and methods: A prospective randomised clinical study was carried out on 40 patients of both sexes between 25 and 60 years of age who had been diagnosed with IBS for 5-10 years. The patients were allocated to one of two groups, each consisting of 20 patients. Group A was treated with mebeverine, and Group B was treated with a capsule containing a combination of the following three herbs prepared as fine powders: Mentha longifolia, Cyperus rotundus and Zingiber officinale. IBS symptoms were assessed before and after 8 weeks of treatment.

Results: Treatment of IBS patients with the herbal combination resulted in improvements in all of their IBS symptoms after 8 weeks, as revealed by increase in their individual symptom scores and in their mean total improvement percentages. These results were comparable to those produced by the standard agent mebeverine.

Conclusion: Patients with IBS showed significant improvements in their IBS symptoms after 8-weeks of treatment with the herbal combination and did not report any adverse effects during their treatment. These results support the efficacy and safety of the herbal combination for the treatment of IBS.

Keywords: Folk Medicine; Herbal Medicine; Irritable bowel syndrome.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cyperus*
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Ginger*
  • Humans
  • Iraq
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Medicine, Traditional
  • Mentha*
  • Middle Aged
  • Phenethylamines / therapeutic use
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Leaves
  • Plant Preparations / therapeutic use*
  • Plant Tubers
  • Powders


  • Gastrointestinal Agents
  • Phenethylamines
  • Plant Preparations
  • Powders
  • mebeverine