By Dr. Justin Marchegiani
Digestive issues are so common that many people don’t know that the way they are feeling isn’t normal. Time and time again, patients will come back to tell me that they can’t believe they aren’t bloated and gassy every time they eat!
Bloating, gas, abdominal pain, fatigue, diarrhea, and constipation all indicate your digestive system is not working properly. We all would benefit from replacing processed foods, refined sugar, and gluten with organic, whole, fresh meat and vegetables. If you have already been eating a paleo-type of diet and are still having digestive issues, you might consider working with a functional medicine doctor who can help you identify which foods are your specific triggers.
Digestive Health, Herbs and Functional Medicine
There are many beneficial herbs for digestive support. Whether you’re supporting your long-term digestive health, or in need or a quick fix for a tummy ache, there are herbs that can help. Today we’re going to look at some of the best herbs to boost the production of digestive enzymes, and soothe your digestive system.
Dandelion is an all-encompassing medicinal herb. Dandelion is bitter, which catalyzes intestinal enzymes and stimulates the manufacture of bile. This delightful garden plant also supports the liver by filtering waste from the bloodstream.
Dandelion leaves can be cut into pieces and included in salads, or used in juices, to get your digestive juices running smoothly. Dried Dandelion root from trustworthy herbal manufacturers makes for an excellent tea.
Chamomile acts on the gut’s enteric nervous system, which is very sensitive to changes in the environment. Chamomile is soothing to the stomach & intestine and acts as a calming antispasmodic herb. This herb is your go-to for calming a nervous stomach, treating gas, diarrhea, and indigestion.
Chamomile tea is an extremely common (and delicious) way to reap the benefits of this herb. Kids love it too!
Marshmallow, or Althaea, is a great herb for soothing any inflammation along the digestive tract. Marshmallow root is actually sweet- making this a tasty way to calm your tummy! Marshmallow root is perfect for gastritis, ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome.
This herb actually provides the most benefits when you have it cold! Add 1-2 tbsp of Althaea root to 1 cup of cold water and allow it to soak for a couple of hours so that it becomes a thick liquid. You can also use this plant as a powder.
Licorice This wonderful herb is regarded as a soothing tonic and is used as a calming demulcent to protect and soothe the mucous membranes of the digestive tract. Licorice also protects the gut lining from stomach acid that can cause queasiness and indigestion. The herb has both anti-inflammatories as well as has antispasmodic properties. The active nature of this herb provides a calm laxative effect and also works well against diarrhea.
Licorice is a powerful synergist; when combined with other herbs, the benefits of all herbs are boosted. Try taking licorice with fennel, ginger, or chamomile for a comprehensive digestive tonic!
Angelica is a wonderfully aromatic herb, and conventionally, it is the root that is most preferred. A tea infusion of the roots relieves gas, bloating, flatulence, and aids kidney function. This herb is carminative in nature- meaning it will help prevent gas or help relieve gas if you’re already bloated.
The volatile oils that exist within Angelica have antispasmodic effects, helping to alleviate intestinal spasms, gastric ulcers, diarrhea, and indigestion. The herb is full of antioxidants that check free radical damage to the tissues and alleviate gut inflammation.
Calendula This bright flower produces a calming and gentle anti-inflammatory effect along the digestive tract and further protects it from future damage. Calendula helps regulate bacterial growth inside the intestine.
These natural remedies have stood the test of time; herbal tonics have been used all over the world for centuries. So next time you’re feeling bloated, try making yourself a mug of herbal tea and experience the natural relief for yourself!
1. Functional Wellness, Part 3: Digestive Health: https://experiencelife.com/article/functional-wellness-part-3-digestive-health/
2. Dandelion: the key herb for liver health, better digestion and beautiful skin: https://www.naturimedica.com/dandelion-the-key-herb-for-liver-health-better-digestion-and-beautiful-skin/
3. Chamomile: More than calming: https://herbalelement.com/blogs/news/chamomile-more-than-calming
4. Healing the Gut with Marshmallow Root: https://journeyofhealth.org/healing-the-gut-with-marshmallow-root/
5. Licorice Root: A Digestive Friend: http://www.medicinehunter.com/page/licorice-root-digestive-friend
6. ANGELICA ROOT, Angelica archangelica: https://www.gardenoflife.com/content/Herb/angelica-root/
7. Calendula: 30 Amazing Benefits and Uses: https://thefreerangelife.com/30-uses-for-calendula/
8. Herbs to Improve Digestion: http://www.medicinehunter.com/herbs-improve-digestion