Embarrassing? Yep. Guaranteed to mess up your day? Pretty much. We’ve all been there when it comes to queasiness, gas, diarrhea, constipation and other gastro-intestinal (GI) problems. It’s important to remember that if these symptoms are ongoing, it’s often an indication that a broader health problem is the issue. “Regardless of the condition, symptom or disease, we always like to bring it back to proper digestive function,” says Dr. Jeremy Hayman, a naturopathic doctor in London, Ont., and medical advisor at St. Francis Herb Farm. “If you’re eating nutritious food, and your body is absorbing nutrients and minerals properly, then your cells, tissues and organs can function properly.”
There are a number of natural methods you use to get your digestive system on track so you can make the good health = good digestion equation work for you.
Licorice is traditionally used in a tincture to soothe inflammatory GI conditions like gastritis as well as gastric and duodenal ulcers.
Red raspberry leaf
Red raspberry leaf is used in a tincture, can combat diarrhea.
Calendula is used as an antacid in traditional herbal medicine.
Slippery elm is a prebiotic, which stimulates the growth of healthy bugs in the gut, and is also used to treat gastritis and ulcers.
Ginger has been used throughout the world for centuries to treat stomachaches as well as nausea and indigestion from motion sickness and GI upset.
Q: What’s a bitters tonic?
A: Taken before a meal or if you have overeaten, a bitters tonic includes a number of herbs such as gentian, dandelion and chamomile working together to enhance digestion. The bitter taste of the tonic also increases the flow of bile, which helps the body’s natural digestion process.
Did you know…
In India’s traditional Ayurvedic medicine, triphala is a digestive tonic made from three kinds of fruit: amla, bibhitaki and haritaki. It’s been used for 1500 years or more to help restore the digestive tract to normal functioning (also known as: better bowel movments).
Is a gentle laxative used to treat occasional constipation.
Used in a tincture, helps to quell bloating and gas.
Goldenseal roots and rhizomes
Are traditionally used in a tincture to aid digestion and treat gastritis and other digestive inflammation.
In a tincture helps to soothe nausea, vomiting and gas.
Ah, now that’s a relief!
A low-growing, daisy-like annual native to Europe and Asia and known to medicine from classical antiquity, chamomile is commonly found in overgrown fields. Its name is derived from the Greek word that means "earth apple" on account of the scent of its fresh blossoms.
A large tuberous perennial with yellow blossoms and narrow green leaves that stands about a metre high, ginger has its origins in southern Asia, but can now be found in nearly all tropical and subtropical countries.
A classic perennial shrub native to Eurasia, licorice has been used as a medicine from the beginning of recorded history. Licorice root is the most widely used herb of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Use it as an adaptogen to increase resistance to stress and to promote a healthier immune system response.
Now naturalized in North America, marshmallow is a perennial original to Europe and grows, as its name indicates, in damp, marshy places. With roots that are rich in soothing mucilage, it has been used for thousands of years as a medicinal herb.
Meadowsweet (Spiraea ulmaria)
The whole herb possesses a pleasant taste and flavour, the green parts having a similar aromatic character to the flowers, which led to the plant’s use as a strewing herb on floors, to give rooms a pleasant aroma, and also as a flavouring agent in wine, beer, and many vinegars. The flowers can be added to stewed fruit and jams, giving them a subtle almond flavor. Meadowsweet has many medicinal properties. The whole plant is a traditional remedy for an acidic stomach, and the fresh root is often used in negligible quantities in homeopathic preparations. Dried, the flowers are used in potpourri. It is also a frequently used spice in Scandinavian varieties of mead. Chemical constituents include salicylic acid, flavone glycosides, essential oils, and tannins.
Plant pharmacological studies have suggested that Calendula extracts may have anti-viral, anti-genotoxic, and anti-inflammatory properties in vitro.In an in vitro assay, the methanol extract of C. officinalis exhibited antibacterial activity and both the methanol and the ethanol extracts showed antifungal activities. Along with horsetails (Equisetum arvense), pot marigold is one of the few plants which is considered astringent despite not being high in tannins.