As the Holiday Season rapidly approaches and we focus our attention on festivities, family, and loved ones, we thought it might be helpful to look at some herbs that support the digestive process. Just in case…
Ginger has an ancient, medicinal history of internal and external use all over the globe. It has been used in the Indian, Chinese, Arabic, Tibetan, Unani, and Siddha systems of traditional medicine to address nausea and vomiting. It is warming and it gently stimulates the circulation to move blood through the body to the capillaries and peripheries.
Spicy and warm on the tongue, ginger can calm a spasmodic stomach, morning sickness, and nausea. Its unique ability to regulate appetite, increase bile production, and reduce gas, makes ginger a wonderful digestive remedy.
Stomachic and carminative properties make peppermint a reliable remedy to calm the stomach and intestines and aid in digestion. Peppermint has been used for thousands of years to ease colic, indigestion, and calm motion sickness. Peppermint also contains bitter properties which support a healthy liver and gallbladder, thereby aiding in proper assimilation and excretion.
The essential oil in peppermint gets a lot of credit for its active properties. However, using peppermint in a tincture or tea also provides many vital nutrients: antioxidants, vitamin A, beta carotene, vitamin-C, and vitamin E. The leaves of peppermint also contain many important B-complex vitamins, like folates, riboflavin, and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6). And lastly, the herb is an excellent source of vitamin-K, essential minerals, potassium, calcium, iron, manganese, and magnesium. Talk about a multivitamin!
A gentle and relaxing digestive aid, catnip has been used for indigestion, gas, nervous stomach, and constipation since ancient times. It has carminative, bitter, and relaxing properties, and it is also an effective anti-spasmodic. Catnip eases digestive problems, dyspepsia, flatulence, and colic. It is gently relaxing and calming, which make it a nice after-dinner tea.
Catnip is also greatly appreciated by new parents and babies as a soothing remedy for colicky discomforts. Mom can drink a catnip infusion (undiluted) or tincture as often as she wants during the day to support her digestion and assimilation, in the process making her breast milk easy for baby to digest. The end result? A happy mother and baby.
A traditional Chinese medicine for upper respiratory and gastrointestinal inflammations, wound, heartburn, GI pain, ulcers, leaky gut, constipation, gas, fatigue, and adrenal repair, licorice is a one of a kind herbal power-house. In addition, licorice’s sweet flavor makes it a soothing and cooling addition to any digestive formula.
Licorice has a well-documented reputation for its ability to assist the healing of gastrointestinal wounds and inflammation. Use licorice to soothe stomach acid discomfort, repair mouth and throat irritations, soothe indigestion, and harmonize the body. Licorice also nourishes the adrenals and calms the stress response, making it a perfect ally for those recovering from food allergy and food contamination. And did we mention that it tastes good?
Warming and cleansing, calendula is an effective lymphatic and supports the cleansing of the digestive system. Use calendula as a soothing stomachic and to aid in recovery from GI irritation and infection, and as an internal band-aid for wounds. Calendula can also be used in formula to address food allergies and food allergy contamination.
Fennel’s traditional use is as a digestive aid for colicky babies and to address stomach and intestinal cramping. Its pungent, spicy, oily, and carminative properties make fennel an aid for proper digestion, one that also stimulates the gallbladder and liver.
Fennel balances water in the body, moves fluids, and is a delicious way to support healthy digestion and assimilation. Fennel can be used to improve the digestive system for people of all ages.
Sweet and gentle marshmallow root assists healthy digestion by soothing and coating mucous membranes, supporting healthy gut immunity, and by working well with other digestive herbs.
Rich in mucilaginous polysaccharides, marshmallow coats the lining of the stomach and intestines and can be used to address inflammations and wounds. Use marshmallow alone as a tea or tincture to soothe and protect delicate tissues from gastritis, peptic ulcers, ulcerative colitis, cystitis, and other irritations.
Written by Elizabeth Willis, Certified Clinical Nutritionist, Certified Medical Herbalist.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.