Supporting IBS with Ayurveda

Supporting IBS with Ayurveda

by Kottakkal Support January 25, 2024

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, is a gastrointestinal disorder associated with a dysfunctional gut. The main symptoms include chronic abdominal pain with diarrhea that can alternate with constipation. In 2023, Cedars-Sinai conducted a nationwide survey of 89,000 people and found that an estimated 6.1% of the US population has symptoms associated with IBS.

Ayurveda recognizes a similar condition called Grahani, which is a Sanskrit word that means “retaining ability.” The grahani organ is the small intestine, specifically the duodenum. When the body loses its ability to retain partially digested food, it simultaneously loses the ability to properly absorb nutrients. Over time, the person becomes depleted from a lack of nutrients.

In Ayurveda, the process of digestion and absorption of nutrients is called agni. The strength of each person’s agni determines their lifelong health. The breakdown of food into absorbable nutrients undergoes thirteen different types of agni located throughout the body. The first one is called Jatharagni and is the most important one because it initiates the whole digestive process and determines the digestive ability of the other twelve agni. Over time, what you eat, in both quality and quantity, determines your digestive strength or agni. 

Charaka Samhita (one of the founding texts of Ayurveda) mentions the importance of dehagni, the thirteen bodily agni responsible for digestion and absorption of nutrients. If all dehagni function normally, the person will have a healthy, long life. Similarly, if the agni becomes abnormal, the person will suffer from various disorders that affect vital energy, complexion, strength, motivation, growth, luster, temperature, ojas, longevity, and even life itself. To maintain lifelong health, the food that we eat must nourish all thirteen dehagni.

What Causes Poor Functioning Dehagni and Grahani?

  • Excessive fasting for your constitutional type
  • Eating before the previous meal is digested
  • Overeating or consuming foods too heavy to digest
  • Incompatible foods like dairy and fruit together
  • Eating dry, old, or processed foods
  • Suppressing natural urges like elimination or coughing
  • Improper cleansing technique
  • Improper sleep: awake at night and asleep during the day
  • Excessive emotions grief, anger, or fear
  • Chronic illness, which leads to lower digestive strength
  • Excessive moving or traveling
  • Seasonal changes
Grahani can be triggered by infections, unhealthy foods, and/or chronic stress that hinders the strength of digestion and absorption in the small intestine. The small intestine fails to perform its normal function of receiving food from the stomach. The process of separating the nutrients from the waste materials is pushed along too quickly. This is how Grahani develops.

       Early Symptoms of Grahani

    • Feeling nausea or excessive salivation after eating
    • Having tastelessness or altered taste on tongue
    • Delayed digestion or bloating and distention of the abdomen
    • Feeling a burning sensation before or after eating
    • Vomiting and giddiness
    • Excessive thirst
    • Fatigue
    • Gurgling sound in the stomach

    Symptoms of Grahani by Aggravated Dosha

    Vataja Grahani - abdominal pain, increased frequency of stool, altered bowel movement, distention of the abdomen, flatus, headache, debility, chest pain.

    Pittaja Grahani - burning chest, belching, headache.

    Kaphaja Grahani - mucousy stool, sensation of incomplete evacuation of the bowel, nausea, vomiting, flatus, heaviness of the abdomen.

    Sannipataja Grahani - all three doshas are involved, causing mixed symptoms from all doshas. Symptoms include gurgling in the abdomen, fatigue, elimination with flatus or mucus, a frequent urge to pass stools, intermittent episodes, and an increased frequency of bowel movements in the daytime are common.

     Foods to Avoid for Grahani and Sannipataja

    • Curd or yogurt due to its sour taste.
    • Acidic beverages include coffee, tea, and soda.
    • Processed food, restaurant food, or leftover old food.
    • Potato, eggplant, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, or gassy foods.

    Healthy Foods for Grahani and Sannipataja

    • Drink Takra daily.
    • Chew cumin seeds after meals.
    • Drink fresh pomegranate juice.
    • Drink warm water rather than cold.
    • Consume only light, easy-to-digest foods.
    • Fiber-rich foods may relieve symptoms.

     Herbal Support for Grahani and Sangrahani

    • Musta Arishtam balances both kapha and pitta; the main herb, musta helps ease gas, bloating, and heaviness in the gut, kindles digestive fire and digests ama.
    • Kutaja Arishtam balances pitta dosha, the main herb, Kutaja, helps to remove ama from the gut, eases gas, bloating, and pain from the digestive system, and kindles digestive fire.
    • Pippalya asavam balances both vata and kapha dosha, the main herb pippalaya, helps improve appetite and digestion, eases gas, bloating, and heaviness, and removes ama from the gut.
    • Jiraka Arishtam balances both vata and pitta dosha. The main herb Jiraka, helps support healthy digestion, increases appetite, and eases gas, bloating, and heaviness in the gut.
    • Vilwadi Gulika balances all three doshas, and the main herb Vilva helps remove ama from the gut and supports healthy digestion by calming gas, bloating, and other issues related to digestion.
    • Vilwadi Leham is an Ayurvedic herbal product that supports gastrointestinal disorders and acidity. It helps strengthen digestion and balances all three doshas, especially the pitta. This leham helps improve the absorption of nutrients from food.
    • Ashta Churnam balances vata and pitta dosha, and the main herb hing, supports appetite and digestion while calming bloating and gas.
    • Dadimashtaka Churnam balances both vata and kapha dosha and the main herb dadima, which is pomegranate, helps improve appetite, indigestion, and loose stool.

    Ayurvedic Books on IBS and Agni

    For more information about AYURVEDA AND IBS, you may purchase this book by Ayurvedic experts from Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala.

    For more information about AGNI: THE AYURVEDIC CONCEPT, you may purchase this book by Ayurvedic experts from Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala.


    Kottakkal is committed to offering the highest quality Ayurvedic Healthcare. We offer two ways to have an Ayurvedic consultation. 1. Free 15-minute Consultation with our Ayurvedic practitioner, Julie Wardwell, for when you need a product recommendation for a basic health problem. 2. In-depth Consultation with our Ayurvedic doctor, Vaidya Vishwanath Guddadar for when your condition is chronic with multiple symptoms.

    Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Kottakkal Ayurveda products and information are not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease. If you have serious, acute, or chronic health problems, please consult a trained health professional. If you are seeking the advice of a trained Ayurvedic professional, call (800) 215-9934 or email us at We will provide you with information to consult with Ayurvedic professionals. Always check with your doctor before taking herbs when pregnant or nursing.


    Kottakkal Support
    Kottakkal Support

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