Natural medicine for IBS-related nausea

Nausea can stem from many causes. In this case, Cindy (name changed for privacy), a young mother and sole parent, presented with severe nausea leading to occasional vomiting with increasing frequency.

A full case history also revealed a mouth ulcer, bloating, alternating constipation and diarrhoea, lower abdominal pain, back pain, excessive thirst and cravings for chocolate. Excessive thirst is a red flag for high blood sugar. Cravings are a sign of probable inadequate protein and/or fat intake.

Cindy was kept busy working part time and caring for her young daughter. She had recently been advise to go on a gluten-free diet by her GP and, whilst this helped with some of her symptoms, others remained or were becoming worse. It was when her son young son began to notice her discomfort and enquire “Sore tummy Mummy?” with increasing frequency, that Cindy realised she needed to take action and seek professional help from a natural medicine practitioner.

From Cindy’s description of her diet, I could see that she was eating according to official dietary guidelines, which meant she wasn’t consuming enough natural fats,protein or salt. Her low-protein breakfasts and lunches were setting her up for sweets cravings during the later part of the day and evening.

Use Celtic sea salt or Himalayan rock salt

I was concerned that the mouth ulcer was a sign that Cindy was becoming increasingly malnourished due to her poor digestion. I recommended Cindy increase her vitamin B intake, take cod liver oil, add butter to her vegetables, home-made dressing to salads and incorporate a good quality salt into her diet (salt provides chloride to make stomach acid which is essential to absorb many nutrients). I also advised her to avoid refined sugar which acts like a poison in the body (tip: increasing protein and fat consumption helps eliminate cravings).

Two weeks later Cindy reported improving bowel movements and reduced back pain. I then prescribed Calamus root (Acorus calamus), known for its ability to restore stomach function (CAUTION: this herb must be taken in very small doses!). At her next appointment one month later, Cindy reported she was feeling the best she had in a long time with regular firm bowel movements, no abdominal pain and no nausea. She had even eaten some gluten-containing foods without problem. She was feeling great and now ready to incorporate a gentle exercise regime into her routine including walking and strength building exercises.

Cindy told me she had come to realise just how much sugar she had been consuming and how badly this must have impacted on her health. By reducing the refined sugar and replacing it with more delicious, nourishing natural fats, protein-containing foods and quality salt, she had given her body the nutrients it needed to function well and heal.

Please do not self-prescribe herbs – see a qualified herbalist first!