Have you ever had indigestion, bloating, and/or severe stomach pain for days and wondered what was causing it? Chances are you have SIBO, which stands for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. SIBO is a serious disorder of the small intestine and is a result of bacteria from the other parts of the gut growing in the small intestine. This may be caused by a number of factors such as:
- abnormality in the structure or functioning of the small intestine
- pH changes in the small intestine
- improper functioning of the immune system
- improper functioning of the small intestinal muscles, leading to accumulation of food and bacteria that should ideally be eliminated
Apart from abdominal pain, bloating, and indigestion, you may also experience symptoms such as cramps, gas, constipation, and/or diarrhea.
While this condition – like almost everything else – can be treated with medicines bought at a drugstore, here are 4 natural remedies you can try to treat SIBO at home.
4 Natural Remedies For Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth
1. Grapefruit Seed Extract
Grapefruit seed extract is abundant in compounds called antioxidants and bioflavonoids. The antioxidants eliminate free radicals in the body, reducing the chances of illnesses affecting you, while the bioflavonoids fight against bacteria, decreasing their number in the body.1
Use grapefruit seed extract in the liquid form for easy consumption. Simply add a few drops of the extract to a glass of water and drink it between meals for relief from SIBO.
While garlic is a favorite ingredient in many foods, it can also work quite well against the bacteria that cause SIBO. It is rich in a sulfur-containing compound called allicin, which contributes to its amazing antibacterial properties.2 What’s noteworthy is that allicin eliminates the harmful bacteria in your body while preventing harm to the useful bacteria.
Include crushed garlic in your diet to destroy the harmful bacteria in your small intestine and experience relief.
3. Oregon Grape Root
Oregon grape root is popular as a natural remedy for treating a number of digestive disorders, including SIBO. It is rich in a compound called berberine, which has been found to effectively eliminate harmful bacteria from the body. This compound has also been found to reduce inflammation in the cells of the small intestine, reducing the pain caused by SIBO.3
To use it, boil 1–3 tsp of the chopped roots in 2 cups of water for about 15 minutes to prepare tea. Strain the herb and cool the tea before drinking it.
You could also use goldenseal instead of Oregon grape root for SIBO as it contains berberine too.
4. Oregano Oil
The essential oil of oregano has been found to be a powerful antibacterial substance. It contains antioxidants, which destroy harmful bacterial cells without causing harm to the useful bacteria in the body, proving to be quite useful in treating SIBO.4
To use it, simply add 1–2 drops of the essential oil to a glass of water and drink it before every meal to ease SIBO symptoms.
You could also use peppermint oil as an alternative to oregano oil.
Dietary Changes For Treating SIBO
A diet that includes foods that the small intestine can digest easily works great for SIBO. Include fruits like bananas, blueberries, grapes, and citrus fruits and vegetables like celery, carrots, tomatoes, lettuce, and eggplants in your diet. If you’re looking for ideal meat options, fish and eggs work well. Gluten-free grains are also an ideal choice of grains to include in your diet.5
Avoid foods that cannot be digested well by the intestines if you have SIBO. If there is undigested food in your intestine, it is likely to increase the growth of bacteria. So, avoid fibrous foods like whole grains, fermentable foods like beans and legumes, and dairy foods.
Try these natural remedies to treat SIBO at home. However, if you continue to have SIBO symptoms, visit your doctor at the earliest.
|↑1||Heggers, John P., John Cottingham, Jean Gusman, Lana Reagor, Lana McCoy, Edith Carino, Robert Cox, and Jian-Gang Zhao. “The effectiveness of processed grapefruit-seed extract as an antibacterial agent: II. Mechanism of action and in vitro toxicity.” The Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine 8, no. 3 (2002): 333-340.|
|↑2||Ankri, Serge, and David Mirelman. “Antimicrobial properties of allicin from garlic.” Microbes and infection 1, no. 2 (1999): 125-129.|
|↑3||Yu, Hyeon-Hee, Kang-Ju Kim, Jeong-Dan Cha, Hae-Kyoung Kim, Young-Eun Lee, Na-Young Choi, and Yong-Ouk You. “Antimicrobial activity of berberine alone and in combination with ampicillin or oxacillin against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.” Journal of medicinal food 8, no. 4 (2005): 454-461.|
|↑4||Rhayour, Khadija, Touria Bouchikhi, Abdelrhafour Tantaoui-Elaraki, Khalid Sendide, and Adnane Remmal. “The mechanism of bactericidal action of oregano and clove essential oils and of their phenolic major components on Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis.” Journal of Essential Oil Research 15, no. 4 (2003): 286-292.|
|↑5||Diet for SIBO. Oxford University Press.|