In these days of fast living and fast food, millions of people are suffering from digestive issues that have a bigger impact on general health than is realized. Good digestive health is the core of a healthy immune system, and when it is compromised, the overall health is jeopardized. More and more people every day seek out treatment from the medical community to resolve their digestive woes, but is there a better way?
From simple indigestion to chronic heartburn; from irregularity to diarrhea, there are simple natural remedies that can help to get things back on the right track. Of course, for serious conditions it is recommended that you seek the opinion of a medical professional, but for the occasional digestive disruption, here are a few common herbal remedies that may relieve many digestive problems and have been used safely for years. Most of these remedies can be grown at home or found at a local health food store. Some you may already have in your pantry.
Anise: Used by ancient Romans baked in little cakes served at their feasts, anise is said to aid digestion and relieve gas. The seeds can be crushed and used in a tea, which has the flavor of licorice. It is also said to help with nausea, and the ancients also used it as an aphrodisiac.
Basil: A staple herb in many kitchens, a tea made from the fresh basil plant is said to relieve nausea and vomiting, stomach cramps, and constipation. Added to cooked foods, basil can relieve flatulence while aiding digestion and adding a delicious flavor to meals.
Chamomile: A tea from chamomile has been a popular digestive aid for thousands of years. It can settle a severe stomach upset, aid in digestion, and serve as a mild sedative. Other uses also include relief from menstrual cramps and the oil can be prepared as an extract and used to help reduce the inflammation of arthritis when applied to the skin.
Cinnamon: A spice common in many cupboards, cinnamon can stimulate the appetite and can also settle an upset stomach and alleviate diarrhea.
Dandelion: It is probably the most common weed, but a fresh salad of dandelion leaves can promote regularity, stimulate the appetite, and serve as a mild diuretic. Dandelion leaves also contain large amounts of potassium, a necessary mineral in immune health.
Fennel: In its fresh form, fennel has a lightly licorice taste that is refreshing and is often used after meals to aid the digestive process and easing stomach aches and flatulence. Taken as a tea, fennel is often used to promote the appetite of those suffering from anorexia.
Ginger: Ginger has been used for centuries as a treatment for nausea and other ailments. Today, ginger tea is still used to treat stomach problems, and recent research has shown that ginger powder is even more effective than popular medicines to treat motion sickness.
Lavender: A beautiful purple flowering plant, lavender tea can sooth a stomach upset attributed to stress, nervousness or irritability. It is also used to promote bile flow to aid in proper digestion and good liver and gall bladder health.
Peppermint: Long used as a stomach soother, peppermint can also relieve digestive gas, indigestion, and nausea. However, for sufferers of acid reflux, peppermint can irritate and serve as a trigger, so caution is advised. A mild tea or a couple of drops of the oil is usually plenty to alleviate symptoms.
Rosemary: Another common culinary herb, rosemary has a long history of easing digestive woes and calming upset stomachs. As with most kitchen herbs, rosemary is considered safe for use in reasonable amounts.
For mild or occasional digestive problems, the remedy could be as simple and close as your kitchen cupboard or backyard garden. Cultivation of many of these plants is easy and seeds or seedlets are available at your local nursery, and can be grown indoors. The long term effects of the drugs available for digestive problems is unknown for the most part, but these herbal remedies have been around for centuries and have proved their worth.