Happy New Year Everyone!
In honour of the season of overindulgence here is some info on herbal indigestion remedies.
Peppermint is the stand by remedy of the ages. Peppermint is a carminative which means it will alleviate gas. It increases peristaltic action which helps the food move through your intestinal system and it tones the mucosal surfaces. It calms nausea and is also great for travel sickness.
Peppermint tea is the best but for those who want a little fun try a candy cane! Ever wonder why peppermints come with the bill at many restaurants? It is because the peppermint will help you digest your food and keep you coming back.
Fennel has many different actions on the digestive system. It is a carminative for relieving gas, it warms weak stomachs. Fennel is an anti spasmodic which prevents cramping. It quells nausea and increases the ability to digest. Fennel also prevents diarrhea and constipation. It is a main ingredient in my favorite true Indian tea and it also is generally found candied in Indian restaurants for after the meal.
Candied fennel is available at many grocery stores but my favorite is a cup of Indian Fennel tea. The internet has many different versions of this delicious treat. Generally it is black tea and spices (including fennel seeds) simmered in milk.
Chamomille is both anti spasmodic meaning that it will both dissipate gas and alleviate cramping. Chamomille is also a calming herb so not only will it aid in digestive complaints but also with the feeling of overwhelm from being busy. The best thing about chamomille is that it is also excellent for calming tummy aches in infants. Only one quarter of a cup is needed. A single drop of chamomille essential oil on the nose of a crying baby does wonders to calm them as well. Chamomille is amazing both inside and out.
Cinnamon is another of the warming herbs. It is a carminative that will ease gas and anti-spasmodic which will prevent stomach cramps. Cinnamon is also an excellent herb for diarrhea conditions. A cup of cinnamon tea will definitely help with digestive disorders. One thing to note is that when it is combined with water cinnamon turns into mucilage so it is best to use a filter paper or bag to hold the herb.
Cinnamon candies also have the ability to aid digestion. Isn’t it great when candy can actually become medicine?
Ginger is a carminative for preventing and/or eliminating gas. It is also anti spasmodic and anti cholesterol. A cup of ginger tea will warm you and assist in digestion. Ginger is also an amazing help with morning sickness. For centuries it was used to quell the queasiness of the stomach in women suffering from morning sickness. The tea is wonderful but believe it or not, ginger snaps are one of the best things for morning sickness.
It is interesting to note that with the exception of chamomille which is the weakest of all of the above, each of these herbs plays a starring role in many of the desserts and cookies that are such an intrinsic part of the holiday season.
Of course the best advice for digestion isn’t to avoid the foods you love but to simply eat smaller portions of them. The huge meals associated with the holidays put a strain on even the healthiest digestive system. If however you are like most people, myself included, you may need to resort to some of the above herbs to help things along digestively speaking.