Perhaps you have tried to calm your gut with some herbal or natural remedies. Doctors or maybe friends can have given you the advice to try soothing products like camomile tea, fennel tea or artichoke and inulin.
How is it possible that these products are soothing for your gut but you cannot use them when starting the Low FODMAP diet. They are on the red list aren’t they?! We have consulted with two experts in the field of supplementation and this is what they had to say about it.
“The active substance of these products makes them indeed soothing and they can help you calm down your gut. However, when suffering from IBS there is a little problem; you are sensitive to one or more groups of carbohydrates (FODMAPS). And they can cause problems when suffering from IBS regardless of these other active substances”.
You can compare it to having a nut allergy: people who are allergic react to the protein in nuts and can get a severe reaction. For people who do not have this allergy it is a very healthy snack and not a problem at all!
Fennel: Fennel is known for relieving symptoms of bloating and gas. This because it helps with fermentation and access gas production in the colon. Fennel is also known for stimulating the production of milk during lactation. On the other hand Fennel tea is high in fructans and that makes it not suitable during the low FODMAP diet.
Camomile: Just like Fennel camomile is high in fructans when used as a tea. Normally camomile relaxes the small intestine because it reduces bowl contractions and has a soothing effect due to the reduction of acid from the stomach. This substance can really help the digestion but the high amount of fructans (and mannitol in the fresh product) make them not suitable during the low FODMAP diet
Artichoke: This leafy friend can be used when suffering from gall bladder or liver problems. Indirect these advantages help you better your digestion. Artichoke has been tested with people suffering from IBS and results have shown a positive effect. On the other hand the results are conflicting; because other IBS patients experienced more discomfort when using this product. Artichoke is high in fructans and therefor the advice is to skip it during the low FODMAP diet.
Inulin: This supplement is used in particular when suffering from constipation. This fibre absorbs water which makes the content of your colon bigger and softer and it improves the peristalsis of the colon. But… being an insoluble fibre this can be a trigger for the easily irritated gut, just like in IBS.
Off course we cannot predict whether you would have a positive or negative reaction to the mentioned substances. Fresh and/or teas have been tested bij Monash University and are mostly high in one or more FODMAPs. Supplements are not tested and we cannot say whether you would experience relief or more discomfort by using them. Because the use can conflict with your results we recommend not to use them during the low FODMAP diet.