Hyoscyamine has been used for various conditions of the gastrointestinal tract including irritable bowel syndrome, colic and peptic ulcers just to name a few. Under the brand names Symax, HyoMax, Anaspaz and Cystospaz, the treatment, though effective, may cause dizziness, fainting, dry mouth and throat, and if taken to excess, hallucinations, short-term memory loss and coma. To avoid these side effects, there are herbal and natural remedies that can be used to treat the major disorders that hyoscyamine is effective against.
Hyoscyamine is a chemical compound (known as a tropane alkaloid) used to treat gastrointestinal disorders and in some cases respiratory and neuropathic conditions as well. The medicine is often given as an extended-release capsule, a liquid or as an injectable form to treat these conditions. It works by lessening the motion of the stomach and intestines leading to less acid in the stomach. It is important to take the medication only as directed and to avoid it if driving, pregnant, or if you’ve had any major organ diseases.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
This chronic condition involving irregularity in the muscles that control digestion can be treated with natural and herbal methods. Enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules have been used to calm and soothe the intestinal spasms that lead to discomfort and bowel problems. Each tablet typically has about .2ml of peppermint oil and should be taken three times a day in between meals. Acidophilus is a positive type of bacteria that can be found in yogurt cultures. This bacteria will help to restore healthy levels of gutteral flora, which can lead to regulation of the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). One pill should be taken once a day on an empty stomach. When persistent diarrhea is the main symptom, the herbal remedy brahmi can be used in a 3,000mg tablet each day to calm symptoms.
Colic is a painful condition that can occur in breastfeeding babies that results from indigestion and gas from eating during their first major growth spurt. This may lead to bouts of crying that seem to go on for extremely long periods of time. Peppermint can be used for colic as well as IBS, as it can be taken a tea before breastfeeding or given to babies four or five times a day at a dosage of 1 tsp. at a time. This will aid your baby’s digestion and increase the rate at which his stomach is emptied. Chamomile can be used as an herbal tea for either the mother or the baby. You can take a single cup of tea twice a day if you are breastfeeding, or you can mix 1 tsp. of the mixture into an infant’s bottle for a few days at a time to reduce the strong reaction to colic. There are various homeopathic remedies that can be of help, such as senna, which should be used if the child experiences extreme abdominal pain from trapped gas and flatulence. See a licensed homeopath for proper diagnosis and dosage.
Peptic ulcers come about from raw areas in the mucous membrane of the digestive tract caused by excess acid, along with stress and alcohol abuse. The herb licorice can be used to soothe damaged mucous membranes. Take it as an herbal decoction three times a day to suppress severe symptoms of pain and irritation. The marshmallow herb can be found in many “throat coat” teas as it coats a painful sore throat. A teaspoon of this herb in a single cup of boiling water taken as needed can provide similar relief for an irritated stomach lining. To begin to recover and regenerate damaged tissue, you can consume aloe vera gel. Aloe can be taken as a capsule (about 100mg) or simply in its gel form (30ml) once a day for up to 10 days.
If you are already taking hyoscyamine, do not stop taking the medication unless directed to do so by your doctor. Do not begin taking herbal remedies and the medicine at the same time as there may be negative interactions. Some herbal remedies can cause allergic reactions so it is important to consult your doctor before adding them to your diet. Licorice may raise blood pressure, so you should not take it if you are already experiencing that condition. Consult a doctor, herbalist or integrated medical practitioner to ensure that your treatment will be the most effective.
References and ResourcesIrritable Bowel Syndrome
Gastrointestinal Health: The Proven Nutritional Program to Prevent, Cure, or Alleviate Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Ulcers, Gas, Constipation, Heartburn, and Many Other Digestive Disorders, Third Edition; Steven R. Peikin; 2005
ResourcesHyoscyamine: MedlinePlus Drug Info