Published: September 15, 2023

Most people dealing with irritable bowel syndrome do not experience severe symptoms, but the symptoms experienced can be debilitating. Some can effectively alleviate their symptoms through dietary adjustments, lifestyle modifications, and stress management techniques. Medication and counseling are viable treatment options for those with more pronounced symptoms. 

The standard approach to treatment involves the use of medications. While medications can alleviate irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, they are associated with limited and temporary relief and may have side effects, leaving patients somewhat unsatisfied. Psychological therapies have also been explored for managing irritable bowel syndrome, but their effectiveness remains uncertain.

Recognizing the limitations of conventional treatments, some have turned to complementary and alternative therapies, such as yoga, biofeedback, osteopathic manipulation, and massage. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is among these approaches, demonstrating its therapeutic potential through methods such as acupuncture and herbal formulas.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a prevalent gastrointestinal disorder that impacts the stomach and intestines. IBS falls under the functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, also known as gut-brain connection disorders. These conditions relate to issues with the communication between a person’s gut and brain.

These issues lead to heightened sensitivity in the digestive tract and alterations in the functioning of bowel muscles. Consequently, individuals with IBS may experience abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation.


Common symptoms include cramps, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and either diarrhea, constipation, or a combination of both. IBS is a chronic condition that requires long-term care management.

IBS is categorized based on the specific bowel movement issues an individual experiences, which can influence treatment options. Certain medications are effective only for particular types of IBS.

Individuals with IBS often experience inconsistent bowel movements, regular on some days and irregular on others. The type of IBS diagnosis depends on the nature of these abnormal bowel movements:

  • IBS with constipation (IBS-C): Most of a person’s stool is hard and lumpy in this subtype.
  • IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D): For individuals with IBS-D, most of their stool is loose and watery.
  • IBS with mixed bowel habits (IBS-M): This category involves hard and lumpy bowel movements and loose and watery movements occurring on the same day.

Irritable bowel syndrome can severely impact someone’s day-to-day and how comfortable they feel. It can prohibit people from going out and living more carefree due to pain, anxiety, and discomfort. However, there are many strategies to help manage symptoms and ease the discomfort associated with IBS. TCM offers alternative treatments for IBS, showing great promise for easing those debilitating symptoms.

Herbal Formulas

Numerous reviews have been done on studies involving TCM for treating irritable bowel syndrome. These have shown positive efficacy and benefits for various herbal formulas and TCM practices, including acupuncture. 

Xiao Yao San has been used to help those dealing with irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, including abnormal stool and frequency issues. It may benefit those with abdominal pain, distention, diarrhea, or constipation. A scientific review is being done to establish the efficacy of Xiao Yao San, as it is often used to help with this condition. 

Huo Xiang Zheng Qi is often employed to address conditions associated with the dampness pattern (Shi Zheng). These conditions can involve gastrointestinal disorders and acute gastroenteritis. There have been findings from animal studies and clinical trials that offer insights into why Huo Xiang Zheng Qi might be a beneficial intervention for IBS-D. Research showed that Huo Xiang Zheng Qi exhibits the potential to help with the regulation of gastrointestinal motility, enhancement of intestinal mucosal protection, and improvement in water, electrolyte, and metabolic imbalances.

Tong Xie Yao Fang has demonstrated notable efficacy and safety in addressing diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-D). Despite several studies and reviews on this formula, the precise mechanisms responsible for its therapeutic effects still need to be discovered. 


Traditional Chinese Medicine offers great potential for helping individuals with various symptoms caused by irritable bowel syndrome. Additional research and studies must continue to better evaluate and understand TCM  treatment efficacy. Chinese herbal medicine have helped many find alternative options outside Western medicine and heavily manufactured pharmaceuticals. However, finding a trusted source and receiving a proper diagnosis is essential when using herbal formulas.

KPC exclusively provides herbs through TCM practitioners, thus ensuring proper usage and reducing potential adverse side effects. KPC’s herbal formulas reflect a legacy of over a century of herbal expertise. This wealth of knowledge integrates with a cutting-edge quality control system at the forefront of scientific advancements. Learn more about the KPC’s manufacturing process and how herbal formulas are designed to see if they may be a good option for personal treatment.


*Please note: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This article is not intended to suggest specific treatments for patients or that any supplements mentioned prevent or cure diseases or problems. Before taking any herbs, all patients should discuss their options with a licensed practitioner, including any other medications the patient is currently taking, as there may be contraindications between pharmaceuticals and herbs.


Stay up to date on events, products, and more.

Take a Look at Our

Browse Catalog