How To Heal Digestion With Herbs
An Herbalist's View On Digestive Health
In both of my practice of Nutrition and Herbalism, digestive issues are always a contributing factor to any imbalance within the body. Whether the clients main concern is hormonal imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, PMS, weight gain, etc. - the digestive system always needs some support because a severely imbalanced digestive system is going to have a ripple affect to the other organ systems. This can actually lead to symptoms that one might not link to the digestive system at all! Some of these symptoms might include headaches, joint pain, or even skin conditions like eczema and acne; even neurological complaints like depression or anxiety or nervousness.
There’s a whole host of factors that can ultimately be traced back to poor digestive health, which is why I always guide my clients to healing the gut first. Almost 98% of my clients having at least some sort of digestive complaint that can be remedied with herbs and dietary changes.
Using Herbs To Improve Digestion
The bitter flavour is important because it signals the liver, pancreas, and stomach to start producing bile, hydrochloric acid and enzymes in order to digest food optimally. Generally, people favour sweet & salty foods and lack bitters in their diets. An easy way to take bitter is to use them in a tincture form, and drop it onto your tongue 15 minutes before and after a meal.
Some common herbal bitters:
Licorice Root: Licorice has a demulcent property, so it adds a soothing and cooling quality to the mucosal membranes. This is one of the major remedies to treat heat and irritation, such as ulcers or heartburn; those hot burning type conditions in the digestive system. What’s really excellent about Licorice in the treatment of ulcers is that not only does it soothe, cool and moisten an inflamed, irritable mucous membrane, but it also has a very broad spectrum antiviral property; thereby helping to treat a helicobactor pyloriinfection that oftentimes accompanies a gastric ulcer.
Dandelion Root: A cooling bitter that tells the liver to start producing bile, a necessary function to break down fatty meals. Helps with that “too heavy” feeling we get after eating dense meals.
Ginger Root: A warming spice that stimulates both the digestive and circulatory system and helps ease spasms or cramps. In Ayurveda, it is taught that the digestive system needs warmth to fully break down food and too cold foods can dampen the digestive flame. Ginger improves digestion by warming the foods we eat so they can break down easier.
Peppermint: The beloved peppermint can help reduce diarrhea, stomach aches, and brings down excess gas that causes bloating, gas and burping.
Orange Peel: Orange peel brings down bad acids that build in the gut and cause heart burn. Its flavonoids alkalize the gut and ease burning sensations.
Cinnamon: Both stimulates digestion and regulates blood sugar after a meal so you don’t feel the blood sugar rush and crash.
REBUILDING STOMACH ACID
Due to common stimulants such as coffee, sugar, cigarettes, and even stress or the chemicals sprayed on our food, almost everyone today is dealing with low hydrochloric acid. When you eat, food quickly travels down to your stomach to be digested with the help of hydrochloric acid.
If hydrochloric acid levels are too low, your food won’t be sufficiently digested in your stomach. That means the food won’t break down enough for your cells to access the nutrients, and instead the food will just sit there and rot, causing bad acids to develop. This is a very common and extremely problematic to every aspect of our health.
Luckily there’s an easy way to rebuild hydrochloric acid to a healthy level. The mineral salts found in celery juice increase the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach and will restore it to a healthy level.
Every morning, drink 16 ounces or more of celery juice on an empty stomach. Make sure it’s fresh, plain celery juice with no other ingredients. Celery juice is a medicinal, not a caloric drink, so you’ll still need breakfast afterward to power you through the morning. Simply wait at least 15 to 30 minutes after drinking your celery juice before consuming anything else.
If you’re sensitive and 16 ounces is too much, start with a smaller amount and work your way up.
Use organic celery whenever possible. If you’re using conventional celery, be sure to wash it especially well before juicing.
Over time, the celery juice rebuilds hydrochloric acid and you will notice huge improvements in your digestive system and overall health. I highly recommend to anyone and everyone to do celery juice and digestive bitters to heal the digestive tract.
Bonus Tip: AVOID FOODS YOU ARE SENSITIVE TO
Begin to pay attention to which foods cause digestive discomfort for you and avoid those foods. Many people are sensitive to wheat, dairy, eggs, pork, poor quality oils such as canola oil, etc. It’s important to listen to your bodies communication and do not eat the foods that cause pain.