Is Your Digestion in Good Working Order?
Careless eating habits, drugs, emotional upsets and stress can all trigger a variety of digestive symptoms. To keep the digestive system in good working order is essential and is the foundation of overall good health.
How Food Has Changed in the Past 50 Years
Our intestinal health changed in the past 50 years to a downhill direction. Before this time all food was fresh from the farm and not processed like today. This happened due to more manufacturing of refined white flour and more packaged and processed foods became common in most households.
This stripped away most valuable fibers, good bacteria and nutritional supplies like minerals and vitamins.
Digestive disorders are a sign that the immune system is not functioning. Any of these chronic issues can increase your rate of aging.
Let’s discuss some of the key herbs for digestive health.
Many of the herbs involved that aid digestion are carminative and warming herbs.
Here are some of the signs and symptoms that not all is well with your gut.
1. Diarrhea can occur when viruses or bacteria get into our system either by contaminated foods or undigested food particles that end up fermenting in our intestine.
- Eating apples which are high in pectin helps the diarrhea by adding bulk, fiber, and soothes the digestive tract. You can also use Fenugreek, high in mucilage, which coats and absorbs water moving food by products thru the digestive system.
- All herbs are anti-bacterial and anti- viral so add them to your salads and other dishes. Examples are Thyme, sage, rosemary, parsley, basil, cilantro and mints.
2. Flatulence or gas, belching and burping are very common complaints caused by food issues, too much acid or too high fat in food.
- Drink an infusion of lemon balm, peppermint or ginger to help relieve these symptoms.
3. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) which they feel is due to erratic peristalsis of the intestines which moves food through your gut and out the colon. This can cause pain, cramps and the whole realm of the above symptoms.
- Any dark leafy greens will help; or use the herb dandelion, which help increases bile flow and prevents constipation. Or ginger that stimulates the chemicals needed to cause the muscle contractions to move your food through the intestines. It also helps gas and other uncomfortable symptoms.
4. Heartburn or Reflux (GERD) is due to stomach acid moving back up the esophagus which it should not be doing; unless the muscle is weak. This can cause actual burning from the acid. This could be from obesity, pregnancy or simply eating too much!
- Ginger tea or fennel tea can calm these effects of heartburn. Licorice has a compound that can help soothe the digestive tract and protect the lining of the stomach and intestines.
More Herbs and Spices to Aid Your Tummy Woes
Aniseed is very popular in France, Turkey and Mediterranean countries usually as “digestifs”, an after dinner drinks, traditionally used to soothe and ease digestion.
Cardamom stimulates digestion and circulation.
Turmeric is great for pain and inflammation, also reduces acid levels.
Dill is food for upset tummies, especially helpful for colic in children.
Cinnamon, one of the world’s oldest healing herbs, is an aid for diarrhea and indigestion.
Basil has been used for indigestion, cramps, constipation and nausea.
Chamomile calms down gastro-intestinal spasms or a nervous tummy.
Peppermint helps relieve a range of digestive complaints. Essential oil capsules are used for IBS patients.
Many of these herbs can be used as teas after a meal.
Some of the green herbs can be taken with a meal to help with digestion.
Others like peppermint or fennel can be used as an essential oil or in a capsule form.
Of course, in addition to herbs I always recommend to add prebiotic and probiotic foods to your diet. This helps maintain good digestion, stimulates immune system and protects against bad bacteria and toxins.
Look for prebiotics in your cruciferous veggies and berries. Then use probiotics in kefir, yogurts and pickled, fermented vegetables.
All these good bacteria can ensure your digestive tract is in good working order.
If your symptoms do not get better or worse please seek professional advice.
Cindy Burrows, B.S., M.T., Herbalist, is a Natural Health Consultant helping individuals start health programs to improve their life, wellness and happiness. Cindy is a speaker, writer and entrepreneur of several businesses.