What is Iberogast Herbal Drug (STW 5)

Iberogast, or STW 5, refers to a herbal drug used to relieve stomach pains and other digestive symptoms like functional dyspepsia (FD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

It is produced from a combination of extracts from nine different herbs.

Iberogast was first produced by a German company “Steigerwald” in 1961 and is now available in over 30 countries worldwide.

Several studies to access the efficacy and safety of this drug proved that the drug has no serious side effects and is also effective in controlling all the functional digestive symptoms such as

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Fullness
  • Gas
  • Heartburn and acid reflux
  • Nausea and
  • Stomach pain.

Iberogast ingredients (STW 5)

Iberogast herbal drugs are produced using extracts from nine different herbs, including

  • Angelica root (Angelica radix)
  • Lemon balm leaves (Melissa Folium)
  • Bitter candytuft (Iberis Amara)
  • Caraway Fruit (Carvi Fructus)
  • Chamomile flowers (Matricaria flos)
  • Greater Celandine (Chelidonium Majus)
  • Liquorice root (Liquiritiae radix)
  • Milk thistle fruit (Sybi Mariani Fructus)
  • Peppermint leaves (Menthae Piperita folium)

Medicinal use of an iberogast herbal supplement

1. As a home remedy for heartburn relief (acid reflux)
Acid reflux, medically known as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), is a continuous passage of stomach acid into the oesophagus.
It occurs when the oesophagal sphincter muscle which is supposed to prevent regurgitation is not working properly, thus allowing stomach contents to spring up into the oesophagus.

iberogast and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

How iberogast works to regulate acid reflux (Gerd)
STW 5 being a multiple target drug, helps in relieving heartburn through
  • Protecting oesophagal mucosa against acidic reflux
  • Prevention of mucosal inflammation
  • Improve the muscular tone of the lower oesophagal sphincter which helps inhibit the gastric reflux into the oesophagus.
  • Relaxation of fundus and corpus, thus allowing a better adaptation of the volume of ingested food.
  • Prokinetic effect on gastric antrum
  • Inhibition of increased acid secretion which encourages acid reflux and heartburn. (2)

2. Iberogast for constipation

Using iberogast for diarrhoea, constipation, bloating and Ibs treatment has been reported to be more effective than placebo.
In the study, 208 patients with IBS were recruited and placed on medication for four weeks.
The results showed a 20% improvement, better than those on placebo and patients with total relief over 50% greater than placebo. (3)

3. Iberogast antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits

Iberogast liquid has both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, this is contained in the peppermint and lemon balm extracts which are parts of the herbal mixture.

The antibacterial properties of the drug prevent the overgrowth of E. coli bacteria in the gastrointestinal organ which causes Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

The anti-inflammatory effect also reduces abdominal pain and cramps.

How to use iberogast

According to the current manufacturing company “Bayer Global”, the drug can be taken up to 3 times a day.

Dilute it with a small amount of water, juice or tea and take it before or after a meal.

Here is the iberogast dosage for adults, adolescents and children.

  • Adolescents and adults from 13 years up should take 20 drops (10 ml) at a time, three times a day.
  • Children between the ages of 6 and 12, are to take 15 drops (0.75 ml) at a time, thrice a day while
  • Children of 3 to 5 years, should take 10 drops (0.5 ml) at a time, three times a day.
  • Children aged 3 months to 3 years and 8 drops (0.4 ml) 3 times a day.
  • Infants under 3 months, 6 drops (0.3 ml) 3 times a day.

Can I take iberogast while pregnant and during breastfeeding?

Using this herbal drug while pregnant and during lactation has not been fully investigated and should never be used unless recommended by your doctor.

Iberogast side effects

Several clinical reports on the iberogast review have been documented, with all the results showing little to no side effect on the use of the herbal drug.

However, a recent study linked the use of iberogast to liver damage.

This is because of greater celandine (Chelidonium majus) in the drug.

In a 2-year study to examine the hepatotoxic potential of greater celandine, 10 cases of acute hepatitis were recorded.

The victims were patients who used the drug to treat gastric and biliary disorders.

However, after the discontinuation of the medication, a rapid recovery was seen in all patients, and their liver enzyme levels returned to normal within 2 to 6 months.

This shows that greater celandine can induce acute (cholestatic) hepatitis.

STW 5 interactions with other drugs

No interaction with other drugs has been reported. Patients with unpleasant digestive symptoms should take the drug, under medical supervision.

Warning and storage instructions

Patients with existing liver disease, a pregnant and breastfeeding mother, should not take the drug unless under doctors’ supervision.

The drug should be kept out of reach of children and stored in a place at or below 25 degrees Celsius and away from direct sunlight.

Frequently asked questions

1. Will iberogast help with weight loss?

No, it does not help with weight loss. It is used to treat functional disorders of the gastrointestinal tract.

2. Can iberogast cause constipation?

It does not cause constipation, rather it treats constipation and other functional indigestion symptoms.

3. Can iberogast cause heart palpitations?

No record of iberogast causing heart palpitations has been documented. Heart palpitations are mostly caused by

  • Stomach problems like indigestion, GERD, ulcer, etc
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Strenuous exercise.
  • Caffeine.
  • Smoking
  • stress.
  • panic.
  • dehydration, etc.

4. Can iberogast cure sibo (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth)?

Yes, STW 5 has antibacterial properties derived from peppermint and lemon balm extracts. This helps control the overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine.

5. Can I use iberogast for babies?

No serious side effects have been recorded on the use of iberogast in babies, but should only be administered in doctors’ recommendations.

6. Can iberogast cause insomnia?

No, it does not cause insomnia. Insomnia is mostly caused by irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion, and heartburn.

7. Can iberogast cause heartburn (acid reflux)

Iberogast does not cause heartburn. Rather, it is used to treat heartburn and acid reflux.

8. Can iberogast be taken without food?

You can take it with or without food and still feel normal but make sure you’re not hungry as you may be weak and unable to carry the reactions of the drug.

9. Can iberogast help with diverticulitis?

Diverticulitis disease occurs when pouches form along your large intestine.  It is caused by a lack of fibre in the body.

Iberogast can help reduce the symptoms of this disease which include

  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting, etc.

But the most effective method to treat the ailment remains a change of diet. (inclusion of fibre in your diet).

10. What does iberogast taste like?

Iberogast, just like other herbal drugs, has a slightly bitter taste because of the extracts from the nine medicinal plants which make the drug effective.

11. Who manufactures iberogast?

Iberogast was first produced by Steigerwald, a german company. But the current producer is now Bayer Global.

12. How long can I take iberogast?

The duration depends on your ailment. Meaning that you can take it until your condition improves. See your doctor if your condition worsens while on medication.

13. Why does iberogast contain alcohol?

Alcohol plays a vital role in herbal medicine, it helps in dissolving, extracting the essential elements and in drug preservation.

14. Can I use iberogast for gastritis?

Yes, iberogast has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects which help control irritable bowel syndromes including gastritis.