Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome – The Ayurvedic perspective and the benefits of Takra (medicated buttermilk)

Around one in five Australians experiences the unpleasant symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) at some time. More women than men are prone to IBS, and symptoms tend to first occur in early adulthood.

IBS or spastic colon is a functional bowel disorder characterised by abdominal pain and changes in bowel habits. Other symptoms of IBS are

• Frequent bowel movement
• Diarrhoea
• Diarrhoea and constipation alternating
• A sensation that the bowels are not fully emptied after being to the toilet
• Bloating
• Gas and cramping
• Nausea
• Tiredness, weakness,
• Mucus in the stool

Looking at these symptoms we can only imagine what an impact this has on someone’s life. IBS can often lead to depression, anxiety (can you imagine you are driving on the freeway and you feel you need a Poo NOW).
It can affect relationships and make a person feel isolated.

According to Ayurveda the normal functioning of Jatharagni (main digestive fire/ enzymes located in the gastrointestinal tract) is affected in Irritable bowel syndrome.

Jatharagni is the vital essence of life. The normal functioning of Agni (digestive fire) largely depends on factors linked with the lifestyle of an individual .

IBS can be correlated to GRAHANI a disease mentioned by Mahadhava Nidana. Grahani is also a Sanskrit word which can be translated as duodenum.

Classical Reference of Grahani:
“GRAHANI so affected by the doshas either individually or in combination cause expulsion of food, undigested or digested, mixed with foul smelling, sometimes solid sometimes liquid accompanied with pain in the abdomen. Scholars of Ayurveda call this GRAHANI Roga” M.N/ 4:2-3

Nidana/ Causative factors
1. Agnidusti (low digestive fire) due to saririka and manasikabhavas (physical or emotional factors)
2. Ahara – unwholesome foods and wrong food combinations (Viruddhaharas), stale food (Vistambhi)
3. Sita Guna Ahara (cold foods)
4. Vataprakopa in Pakvasaya (increased Vata in colon)

Charaka explains C.S/Ci;15:56-57 that the functioning of the duodenum is not only to digest the food but to “hold on” to the food until it is digested, it then releases the food following it to pass into the colon where it is excreted under the influence of Apana Vayu.

Samprapti ghatakas/ Ayurvedic disease etio- pathogenesis


Dosha: Vata, Pitta, Kapha (it can affect all 3 doshas)
Dushya: Rasa/ plasma and purisha/ stool
Srotas: Annavahasrotas, Purisavaha srotas
Srotodusti: Atipravrtti or sanga (excess flow or obstruction – diarrhoea or constipation)
Agni: Jatharagni
Adhisthana: Grahani
Roga Marga: Abhyantara

Chikitsa Sutra/ Ayurvedic treatment approach

Samanya chikitsa
Treatment of Grahani is reliant on treating the aggravated dosha or doshas; the treatment focuses on correcting Agni and strengthening the small intestine.
CHARAKA describes in C.S/ Ci;15:52 that aggravated doshas that have vitiated grahani, should be treated on the line of ajeerna/ indigestion.

CHAKRADATTA (Ayurvedic author) explains:

“In condition of Ama, first of all, one should abstain from food and take digestive remedy. Thereafter, at the end of the fasting, light and thinly liquid diet should be taken.”
In ama stage, anulomana dravyas or laxatives should be given. Vagbhata considers Aragvadha, Draksha and Trivrit being the best herbs for this. In nirama stage grahi herbs will give strength to the grahani. These Pachana herbs will stimulate the digestive fire and further digest ama along with Langhana therapy. These reducing therapies will reduce the production of ama and eliminate that ama which is already in the body.

1. Deepana/ Pachana (AMA Pachana)

To increase agni formulations such as Pippalyadi churna, Marichadi Churna (for Vata), Bhunimbadi churna (for Pitta) and Shunthyadi churna (for Kapha) are prescribed.

2. Langhana (light diet)
3. Snehana/ Svedana
4. Shodhana treatment (Panchakarma)
Vamana – if AMA is in the Amashaya
Virechana – if AMA in Pakvashaya with eranda thailam or tilvaka ghrita
Basti – correct if ruksha/ drying in the colon.
5. Shamana treatment, in Nirama stage use grahi herbs giving strenght to the Grahani/ Duodenum. Formulations such as Dashamuladya Ghrta, Panchamuladya Ghrta, Madhwarishta, Mustaristham…
6. Apathya Ahara Vihara
• Avoid excess water
• Staying late at night
• Suppressing of natural urges
• Incompatible food
• Exposure to excess sun/ heat
• Avoid caffein and fizzy drinks
7. Pathya Ahara Vihara such as buttermilk and ghee
8. Rasayana / Rejuvenation treatment

TAKRA is buttermilk, it is easy digestible, stimulates and strengthens the digestive fire. Takra is also sroto suddhi (cleanses the bodily channels). Best when mixed with curry leaves.

Charaka describes this in CS. Ci 15:117-121
He who habitually consumes buttermilk does not suffer from diseases any time, diseases burnt (cured) by buttermilk do not recur; just as amrta (nector) is for the good of the gods, so is buttermilk for men in this world.” (B.B. IV:45) “

For a patient suffering from grahani-dosha, buttermilk is an excellent drink because it stimulates the power of digestion,

If you are suffering from IBS or other digestive complaints, Ayurveda has treatment options available to suit your individual need.

For more information or consultation enquiry please email:

We love to hear from you.
Your Lakshmi Ayurveda team.


* 𝘗𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘴𝘦 𝘯𝘰𝘵𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘴𝘦 𝘤𝘭𝘢𝘪𝘮𝘴 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘣𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘢𝘱𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘥 𝘣𝘺 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘛𝘎𝘈. 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘪𝘯𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘷𝘪𝘥𝘦𝘥 𝘪𝘴 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘮𝘦𝘢𝘯𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘦 𝘶𝘴𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘥𝘪𝘢𝘨𝘯𝘰𝘴𝘦 𝘰𝘳 𝘵𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘵 𝘢𝘯𝘺𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘴𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘣𝘦 𝘵𝘢𝘬𝘦𝘯 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘴𝘶𝘭𝘵𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘢𝘯 𝘈𝘺𝘶𝘳𝘷𝘦𝘥𝘪𝘤 𝘱𝘩𝘺𝘴𝘪𝘤𝘪𝘢𝘯. 𝘞𝘦 𝘥𝘰 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘨𝘶𝘢𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘢𝘴𝘴𝘶𝘮𝘦 𝘯𝘰 𝘭𝘦𝘨𝘢𝘭 𝘭𝘪𝘢𝘣𝘪𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘰𝘳 𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘱𝘰𝘯𝘴𝘪𝘣𝘭𝘺 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘢𝘤𝘤𝘶𝘳𝘢𝘤𝘺, 𝘤𝘶𝘳𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘺 𝘰𝘳 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘱𝘭𝘦𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘪𝘯𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘵𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘦𝘥 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘴𝘦 𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘢𝘭𝘴.

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