“Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the most common functional gastrointestinal disorder, leading to $1.6 billion per year in health-related spending in the U.S. Studies show that the prevalence of IBS may range from 10% to 25%.
IBS tends to be under-diagnosed, because people with symptoms of IBS may not seek medical attention and may not be properly diagnosed.
People may not seek medical attention, because there is a significant stigma associated with receiving a diagnosis of IBS. It has been reported that only 30% of people with symptoms of IBS, mainly IBS with diarrhea, will consult with a physician.”1
IBS can be quite painful, embarrassing and even disabling. Though it’s not as serious as Crohn’s Disease, it can inhibit you from normal activities.
Primary Symptoms of IBS are
- Abdominal pain and/or cramping
- Urgency to use the bathroom
- Constipation and/or diarrhea
- Mood swings
There several other symptoms that can appear too and vary from person to person.
How Cinnamon Can Help With IBS
One of my favorite spices, cinnamon, may help with your IBS. Cinnamon is known to relieve flatulence (gas), to improve digestion, nausea, and PMS queasiness.
It also contains a chemical called eugenol, a mild painkiller, which can help calm cramping and quiets the colon to help control diarrhea. Eugenol and cinnamaldehyde have carminative, astringent, stimulant and antiseptic properties. This natural disinfectant property is one reason it is able to help manage IBS.
Cinnamon also contains catechins, a form of anti-oxidant. This has shown to further ease stomach discomfort, bloating, gas and indigestion. Cinnamon also slows down the digestion of carbohydrates which helps to regulate blood sugar levels. It can also reduce indigestion and heart burn which is often triggered by too many carbohydrates.
Furthermore, another issue that is often seen in individuals with IBS is Candida. Cinnamon is a natural anti-fungal and coupled with its ability to control blood sugar, it can help fight a Candida yeast infection.
Not all Cinnamon is Created Equal
The Cassia variety, which is not true cinnamon. It contains significant amounts of the compound coumarin which is harmful in large doses. Ceylon (“true” cinnamon) is much lower in coumarin than the Cassia. Unfortunately, most cinnamon found in supermarkets is the cheaper Cassia variety.
One way I add cinnamon to my diet is by using dōTERRA cinnamon essential oil. I wouldn’t use and don’t recommend cinnamon essential oil as a dietary additive unless the label specifically mentions it's food grade or for dietary use.
As a result, I only use oils from dōTERRA. Because, I know that I’m not just getting a pure cinnamon oil. I also know that it meets a certain standard for therapeutic properties. Not all cinnamon is high in therapeutic properties. It depends on the environment, where it’s harvested and how it’s distilled. Furthermore, each oil distributed by dōTERRA has undergone several testing methods to ensure this standard.
How To Use dōTERRA Cinnamon Essential Oil
One of the quickest and delicious ways to add cinnamon to your day is to add it to your morning smoothie or sprinkle it on half an avocado. You can also enjoy a cup of cinnamon tea, which seems to be the fastest way to calm IBS. One way I like to drink tea, it to make lemon tea and add cinnamon oil. I also add it to an occasional cup of hot chocolate. I make a mean coconut milk, cocoa power, honey with cinnamon oil hot chocolate.
You should not overdo it though. For some people, cinnamon can have the opposite effect, so try it slowly and increase to where you see positive results, and stop there. Don’t think more is better. Even things that are good for you can be too much past a certain point.
Again, Ceylon Cinnamon is safe to use for extended periods of time. However, you should take a break once in a while, to prevent general toxicity. The recommended dosage of Cinnamon according to the US Department of health, is 6 grams daily for 6 weeks or less.
General Tips For Managing IBS
In addition, to adding cinnamon to your diet, you may want to review these general tips for managing or even curing IBS;
Avoid trigger foods. The best way to identify trigger foods is to go on an elimination diet. To do this, remove all suspect foods, then slowly add them back in to see what symptoms arise.
Keep a diary and track what happens when you remove a food from your diet and when you attempt to add it back in. Record anything that appears news to include cognitive issues, muscle weakness, fatigue, itchy skin, and of course IBS symptoms.
Focus on Fiber. Add more vegetables to your diet and include grains. You want to avoid grains that include gluten while on the elimination diet, but there are plenty to choose from. Rice, quinoa, amaranth are a few.
You can also increase fiber by adding flaxseeds, chia seeds and hemp seeds to cereals, soups, smoothies and salads. This helps calm the colon and reduces constipation and/or diarrhea.
Avoid stimulants. Caffeine, tobacco and other stimulants can irritate the bowels and worsen diarrhea. Even decaffeinated coffee can have the same effect.
Avoid dairy. Eliminate milk and milk products that include casein, milk protein. Ghee and butter don’t usually aggravate IBS.
Don't overeat. Too much food at once can hinder digestion and trigger IBS symptoms. Your stomach needs air and room to do its job. It’s better to eat smaller, more frequent meals.
Avoid artificial sweeteners. They can cause gas and some sugar alternatives such as sorbitol and xylitol can exacerbate diarrhea.
Include probiotics. Combine probiotics with prebiotics, food for the probitoics. These two together introduce “friendly” bacteria that can stabilize the digestive system.
Take peppermint oil. Again, I recommend you use dōTERRA essential oil. Peppermint oil can reduce muscle spasm or cramps and works well for abdominal pain and discomfort. It also helps with nausea.
If you want my support, post on my Facebook page, send me messages, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or hire me to coach you through it. Just know that it's is possible to feel better. You can be a more confident, functional you, and you don't have to do it alone.
If you have tips or strategies on how to include cinnamon in the diet or how to manage/cure IBS, please share in the comments below.
And if you would like more information about the oils I mention, or how to get them, email me at email@example.com.