Prebiotics are contained in foods rich in dietary fibre
These include leafy greens, soy beans, leeks, asparagus, onions, wheat bran, garlic, chicory root, banana and artichokes. These carbohydrates are not broken down significantly by the digestive processes in the stomach and small intestine and are only processed by the bacteria in the large intestine. Herbs containing prebiotic compounds are also very effective in in combination with probiotics for maintaining gut function. The two preparations described here have proven effectiveness.
Bacto-C and GI from Mediherb
This combination of herbs is designed to support healthy intestinal function and for immune support. It is useful in treating malabsorption conditions, including fructose malabsorption.
Each capsule contains:
Phellodendron amurense (Phellodendron) extract equivalent to dry stem bark standardised to contain berberine 36 mg, (1.6 g)
Andrographis paniculata (Andrographis) extract equivalent to dry herb standardised to contain andrographolide 10 mg (1.0 g)
Pimpinella anisum (Anise) fruit essential oil 125 mg
Origanum vulgare (Oregano) leaf essential oil 75 mg
Dosage and Administration: Adults: 1-2 capsules 3 times daily.
Children 6-12 years: 1 capsule 2-3 times daily.
Phellodendron is rich in berberine, and is effective for the treatment of bacterially-induced diarrohea. It is bitter in taste and reduces inflammation. It has broad-spectrum anti-bacterial and anti-viral activity.
Andrographis, a green, low growing plant, native to India and Sri Lanka, yields an extremely bitter extract, due to andrographolide, a bicyclic diterpenoid active in wound healing and immune modulation. It improves resistance to infections and calms inflammation of the bowel.
Oregano essential oil alone or in combinations completely inhibited the growth of pathogenic organisms such as Candida glabrata, E. coli and Salmonella while encouraging the growth of commensal Lactobacilli and Bifidobacter.
Anise essential oil alone inhibited the growth of Candida glabrata, E. coli and Salmonella (Mediherb product information 2012).
Iberogast Active Ingredients and Pharmacological Effects
Over 350 chemical compounds have been identified in Iberogast, with four main classes of active substances identified in all nine herbs (Wegener and Wagner 2006).
The predominant pharmacological effects of these compounds were:
i) Improved gastrointestinal motility, seen with phenolic compounds that cross link proteins and reduce nerve reflex responses (Pengelly 2004). Studies showed that Angelica root, Chamomile flower and Liquorice reduced painful spasms of the gut muscles (Schemann, Michel et al. 2006). A subset of herbs (Celandine, Melissa, Caraway, Candy tuft) increased general gut muscle tone and contractile function. Iberogast showed improved gastric mobility compared with individual herbs (Wegener and Wagner 2006).
ii) Anti-inflammatory effects were also seen with the phenolic compounds. Liquorice root and Chamomile are known anti-inflammatory herbs, but the combination in Iberogast is more effective than either extract alone (Khayyal, Seif-El-Nasr et al. 2006).
iii) Anti-oxidant effects that improved gastric mucosal integrity were seen with flavonoids and phenol carboxylic acids. Iberogast showed greater inhibition of free radicals and LDL (low density lipoprotein) oxidation in vitro compared with any of the herbs used alone (Schempp, Weiser et al. 2006).
Clinical Findings: Iberogast has been tested extensively in clinical trails, with four double blind randomised, placebo controlled trials of treatment for irritable bowel syndrome published. A large number of patients (49,493) with gastric complaints and dyspepsia were surveyed retrospectively, and two meta-analyses of the trial data concluded that Iberogast was a safe and effective treatment for intestinal problems (Rosch, Liebregts et al. 2006).
Dosage: Take 5 mL x 3 times daily, with warm water or fruit juice, 20 minutes before meals.
Khayyal, M. T., Seif-El-Nasr, M., et al. 2006. 'Mechanisms involved in the gastro-protective effect of STW 5 (Iberogast) and its components against ulcers and rebound acidity.' Phytomedicine Vol.13 Suppl 5: pp 56-66.
Pengelly, A. 2004. The Constituents of Medicinal Plants. Allen and Unwin. Crows Nest, Australia,
Rosch, W., Liebregts, T., et al. 2006. 'Phytotherapy for functional dyspepsia: a review of the clinical evidence for the herbal preparation STW 5.' Phytomedicine Vol.13 Suppl 5: pp 114-121.
Schemann, M., Michel, K., et al. 2006. 'Region-specific effects of STW 5 (Iberogast) and its components in gastric fundus, corpus and antrum.' Phytomedicine Vol.13 Suppl 5: pp 90-99.
Schempp, H., Weiser, D., et al. 2006. 'Radical scavenging and anti-inflammatory properties of STW 5 (Iberogast) and its components.' Phytomedicine Vol.13 Suppl 5: pp 36-44
Wegener, T. and Wagner, H. 2006. 'The active components andthe pharmacological multi-target principle of STW 5 (Iberogast).' Phytomedicine Vol.13 Suppl 5: pp 20-35.