Discovering Digestive Health: Top Herbs
Our digestive system is one large system, with a lot of opportunity for things to go wrong along the way! The two major causes of almost every gastrointestinal disorder is diet and stress! Eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly and quitting smoking if you smoke, can help protect against practically every digestive disorder as well as, heart disease, osteoporosis and some types of cancer.
Herbal medicine is a wonderful preventative solution. Complications can arise when taking herbal medicine and allopathic drugs your doctor has prescribed. Great caution should be used especially if you are on blood thinners, diuretics or any other heart related medication. Consult your doctor with any questions you may have, before taking additional herbs or supplements. Here are a list of my top 10 favorite herbs for digestive issues:
1. Cardamom, warms up the digestive tract, speed up and increase the thoroughness of digestion, and reduce gas.
2. Cinnamon Cassia: In Ayurveda, this warming spice reduces vata and kapha and is traditionally used in cold formulas, regulates blood sugar and is used for strengthening digestion. Cinnamon is a useful remedy for sluggish digestion. The German Commission E recommends it for loss of appetite, dyspeptic complaints, bloating and flatulence.
3. Fennel Seed: Foeniculum vulgare is a common spice that is traditionally used to improve digestion and absorption without increasing pitta. The seeds are also chewed after meals to freshen the breath and alleviate gas.
4. Flaxseed Oil is an edible oil derived from the seeds of the Flax plant (Linum usitatissimum) and is one of the best plant sources of the Omega-3 fatty acid Alpha-Linolenic Acid available. Naturally occurring constituents in Flaxseed Oil may help to balance the production of prostaglandins and support cardiovascular and bowel health.
5. Ginger Root: In Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda it is used as a general panacea that is especially useful for digestive and respiratory complaints. Also dispels nausea and acts as a diaphoretic. Ginger is a time-tested digestive remedy for stomach upset. European practitioners also use ginger in tea for indigestion. It reduces spasms and increases the secretion of digestive juices, including bile and saliva. Ginger contains ingredients that soothe the gut and aid digestion by increasing peristalsis that moves food through the intestine. Use 1 teaspoon of the chopped root brewed as tea, three times a day.
6. Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) guards digestive mucous membranes by increasing the production of mucin, a secretion that protects gut linings against stomach acid and other digestive juices. Deglycyrrhizinated licorice root (DGL) removes the glycyrrhizic acid (the ingredient in licorice root associated with the possibility of increasing blood pressure and water retention). The soothing part of the root, however, remains intact in DGL. Use 1 teaspoon of the chopped herb brewed as tea, three times a day, or 1 to 2 chewable wafers of DGL (250 to 500 mg) 15 minutes before meals and one to two hours before bedtime.
7. Parsley Leaf: Natural diuretic, parsley helps eliminate wastes and lessen water retention, which can aid in weight loss. Its high enzyme content improves digestion of proteins and fats and absorption of nutrients. Parsley is a natural breath freshener.
8. Peppermint: is a well-known digestive herb for easing tummy troubles. Enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules work well to prevent dyspepsia. Peppermint oil is a relaxant for the muscles of the intestinal wall. The essential oil can be massaged over the belly to relieve spasms. Take 1 teaspoon the liquid tincture or the dried leaf, brewed as tea, three times a day, or 0.2 to 0.4 ml of an enteric-coated capsule three times a day.
9. Triphala: This formula cleanses the entire GI tract, supporting digestion and gently maintaining regulartity. Considered in Ayurveda to be general panacea for all doshas, it is also used to support weight management, improve the complexion and strengthen the urinary tract.
10. Turmeric: A traditional Indian cooking spice that improves digestion and purifies the blood. Believed to act as a natural antibiotic and antiseptic.
Andrew Pacholyk MS L.Ac
Therapies for healing
mind, body, spirit
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