Does Iberogast Work for IBS?

Research suggests that Iberogast, an over-the-counter herbal formulation, may ease the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), such as bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. It may also be used to help with symptoms of functional dyspepsia (FD), like indigestion and abdominal pain.

Iberogast has been in use for over fifty years. It can be thought of as a "blend of bitters," harkening back to a time when bitters were used extensively as digestive aids. Iberogast was developed by a German company (Steigerwald Arzneimittelwerk GmbH) and is available without a prescription throughout the world.

Woman reading label on box in pharmacy
Caiaimage / Rafal Rodzoch / Getty Images

This article discusses the ingredients in Iberogast, as well as its effectiveness in managing the symptoms associated with IBS. It also covers its safety, including potential side effects, and who shouldn't take it.

Iberogast Ingredients

Iberogast (known as STW 5 in research articles) is a liquid preparation that is comprised of nine herbs:

  • Bitter candytuft (Iberis amara totalis recens)
  • Dried angelica root (Angelicae radix)
  • Dried chamomile flower head (Matricariae flos)
  • Dried caraway fruit - commonly known as seeds (Carvi fructus)
  • Milk thistle dried fruit (Silybi mariani fructus)
  • Dried balm leaf (Melissae folium)
  • Dried peppermint leaf (Menthae piperitae folium)
  • Dried celandine (Chelidonii herba)
  • Dried liquorice root (Liquiritiae radix)

Is Iberogast Good for IBS?

Research on Iberogast suggests that it supports healthy digestion through a variety of mechanisms. The bitter candytuft may be helpful in improving smooth muscle tone, while the other eight herbs appear to have antispasmodic properties. This double action explains why it is helpful for both functional dyspepsia and IBS.

Iberogast may also:

  • Promote motility, or the strength and movement of the muscles in the digestive tract
  • Stimulate the production of bile, which is a fluid responsible for the digestion of fats
  • Reduce the production of stomach acid
  • Reduce intestinal gas, as well as prevent and heal ulcers
  • Provide antioxidants
  • Have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects

What the Research Says

In Europe, regulatory agencies have more stringent standards for herbal remedies than those in the United States. Such formulations must meet the same strict requirements as prescription medications. Thus, Iberogast has been extensively studied for its effectiveness and safety in promoting digestive health in both the upper and lower parts of the digestive tract.

Studies have found that:

  • Iberogast is significantly more likely to be effective for dyspepsia symptoms than a placebo and its effects are comparable to those found in prescription medication.
  • In a fairly large, double-blind study, Iberogast significantly reduced abdominal pain and other IBS symptoms when taken for four weeks compared to a placebo.

Is Iberogast Safe?

Typically, Iberogast side effects are rare. This is due, in part, to the fact that the formulation acts on the digestive tract, with little impact on the central nervous system.

Iberogast side effects may include:

Does Iberogast Cause Liver Damage?

Iberogast is generally considered safe for long-term use. However, there have been occasional reports of drug-induced liver damage. In some cases, these symptoms resolved weeks after discontinuing Iberogast use.

Is Iberogast Safe for Children?

Iberogast may be a safe and effective treatment for children with functional dyspepsia or IBS. In a study of 980 children ages three to 14 years old who were treated for one week with Iberogast:

  • IBS or functinal dyspepsia symptoms decreased by 76% regardless of age group.
  • The overall treatment was considered "good" or "very good" by the children, their parents, and healthcare providers.
  • Healthcare providers rated Iberogast's tolerability as "good" or "very good" for 95% of the children.
  • Seven children had serious reactions to the treatment.

Who Should Not Take Iberogast

As with any over-the-counter product, you should always check with your healthcare provider to ensure that it is safe for you to use. You absolutely should get your healthcare provider's approval if you:


Iberogast is a dark brown liquid that comes in a dark glass bottle with a dropper. It should be taken before or during a meal.

To use Iberogast, you should shake the bottle vigorously. Using the dropper, you will add the correct number of drops to a small glass of water or other liquid.

According to the manufacturer:

  • Adults and children over the age of 12 should take 20 drops, three times a day.
  • Children ages six to 12 should take 15 drops, three times a day.
  • Children ages three to five should be given 10 drops, three times a day.

If you have skipped or missed a dose, wait until your next scheduled meal to take your next dose. If you think you have taken too much, you are unlikely to experience an overdose. However, you may still want to reach out to your healthcare provider.

If you, or your child, experience any negative side effects, stop using Iberogast and tell your healthcare provider.

Can You Take Iberogast Every Day?

Yes, you can take Iberogast every day for as long as you need. It's always best to speak with your healthcare provider if you plan on using Iberogast long-term.


Iberogast is an OTC herbal product that is said to help with functional dyspepsia and IBS. Research suggests that it tends to be safe and effective for use in adults and children ages three and older. However, side effects are possible.

Iberogast is a liquid that should be taken according to the manufacturer's instructions. Speak with your healthcare provider if you are interested in trying this product.

A Word From Verywell

IBS is a chronic health condition with limited options for effective treatment. In the past, healthcare providers have had a limited number of medications to offer individuals with IBS. Even with newer medications becoming available, few people experience full symptom relief. Iberogast seems to be an attractive option for people looking to manage symptoms of IBS, especially if they also have other digestive conditions.

11 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Fifi AC, Axelrod CH, Chakraborty P, Saps M. Herbs and spices in the treatment of functional gastrointestinal disorders: A review of clinical trials. Nutrients. 2018;10(11).  doi:10.3390/nu10111715

  2. Mueller MH, Seeliger H, Hering N, Kasparek MS, Abdel AH, et al. Differential desensitisation of afferent nerve fibres by iberis amara (STW 6) and iberogast (STW 5) in the murine colon. Am J Phytomed Clin Ther. 2018;6(1):4. doi:10.21767/2321-2748.100340

  3. Raedsch R, Vinson B, Ottillinger B, Holtmann G. Early onset of efficacy in patients with functional and motility-related gastrointestinal disorders : A noninterventional study with Iberogast®. Wien Med Wochenschr. 2018;168(3-4):89-98.  doi:10.1007/s10354-017-0578-y

  4. Allescher HD, Abdel-aziz H. Mechanism of Action of STW 5 in Functional Dyspepsia and IBS: The Origin of Multi-Target. Dig Dis. 2017;35(1):18-24.  doi:10.1159/000485456

  5. Wang H, Bastian SEP, Howarth GS. Newly Developed Synbiotics and the Chemotherapy-Damaged Gut. Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine.  2013;(18)3: 198-208.  doi:10.1177/2156587213477864

  6. Malfertheiner P. STW 5 (Iberogast) therapy in gastrointestinal functional disorders. Dig Dis. 2017;35(1):25-29. doi:10.1159/000485410

  7. Ottillinger B, Storr M, Malfertheiner P, Allescher HD. STW 5 (Iberogast®)--a safe and effective standard in the treatment of functional gastrointestinal disorders. Wien Med Wochenschr. 2013;163(3-4):65-72.  doi:10.1007/s10354-012-0169-x

  8. Grundmann O, Yoon SL. Complementary and alternative medicines in irritable bowel syndrome: an integrative view. World J Gastroenterol. 2014;20(2):346-62.  doi:10.3748/wjg.v20.i2.346

  9. Leroy A, Perrin H, Porret R, et al. Iberogast®-induced acute liver injury—a case reportGastro Hep Advances. 2022;1(4):601-603. doi:10.1016/j.gastha.2022.02.020

  10. Michael R, Bettina V, Eckehard L. Functional gastrointestinal disorders in children: Effectivity, safety, and tolerability of the herbal preparation STW-5 (Iberogast®) in general practiceComplementary Therapies in Medicine. 2022;71:102873. doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2022.102873

  11. Bayer. Iberogast.

Additional Reading

By Barbara Bolen, PhD
Barbara Bolen, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and health coach. She has written multiple books focused on living with irritable bowel syndrome.