Herbs to Help You Through the Holidays

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It’s December and we are heading into the season of overindulgence.  Here are a few herbs that can help you weather the season. 

Indigestion Herbs 

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Peppermint

Peppermint reduces flatulence and nausea.  It calms the muscles of the stomach and increases bile flow.  Bile is the substance the body uses to help digest fats.

Peppermint is a carminative which is an herb that prevents painful gas and flatulence.  It reduces muscle spasms which are the cause of gas pain. 

  • You can use peppermint oil which is quite strong and is not recommended for GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease).  
  • You can drink peppermint tea after the meal to take care of the results of too much of a good thing or you can drink a cup about half an hour before the meal to help you digest better.  
  • You can also chew peppermint candy in a pinch.  Lifesavers are great and used to be given with the meal on some airlines many years ago.  At this time of year though, the easiest way to get peppermint candy is through candy canes.  Not the funky ones, but the plain old peppermint candy canes.

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Ginger

Ginger is an excellent herb for indigestion and nausea.  In fact ginger is used to treat the nausea of morning sickness.  See my blog here for more information.  Although ginger can help reduce gas, indigestion and spasms its number one use is in nausea.

Ginger’s use as a treatment for nausea stems from its anti-emetic properties.  It is thought to work in a general way on the digestive system and currently more research is being done on how it works.

Ginger tea can be made either from tea bags or just grate about a teaspoon of fresh ginger into a cup.  Add boiling water, cover and steep for 4 minutes.  You can sweeten with honey if you like a sweeter drink.

There is also a new product on the market called Gin-Gins.  It is like ginger toffee and they are delightful and they help with indigestion.  Many natural food stores and even some chocolatiers sell candied ginger which can be used in a pinch. 

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Chamomille

Chamomille is an antispasmodic which means it is good for calming stomach cramps.  Chamomille is an excellent anti-inflammatory which will assist in treating inflammation from gastric distress.  The most common way to use chamomile is in tea.  Just steep a tablespoon of flowers in boiling water and enjoy.

Chamomille is an excellent herb for colic as well.  If you have a small child you can mix about 1/4 cup of tea with honey for them to drink.  With babies  try 1/8 cup unsweetened to calm their tummies.

Chamomille also assists in breaking up gas and stimulates digestion. 

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Cinnamon

Cinnamon is an excellent herb for helping to relieve gas.  It has been used for weak digestion for centuries.  When you overeat you force your digestive system to work as hard as it can.  Sometimes it is just too overloaded so it is unable to do its job properly.  In heartburn cinnamon can assist as a digestive aid.

Cinnamon is excellent for stimulating gastric acid and preventing stomach cramps.  There is even some research showing that certain types of cinnamon can help lower blood sugar.  

Cold and Flu

Oddly enough both peppermint and ginger are amazing herbs to help fend off the common cold and the nausea of the flu.  

Since your skin is a major organ of your body you can use it to stay healthy.  Both Ginger and peppermint are diaphoretics.   A diaphoretic is a substance which helps promote sweating.  This can help prevent a cold if used at the very onset or assist in reducing how long the cold lasts if used after a cold has taken hold.   

Now for the “old fashioned” but excellent advice.  If you feel yourself coming down with a cold try to drink at least 3 cups of peppermint, peppermint and elderflower or ginger tea per day.  This will increase your sweating.  Drink lots of warm/hot water in between cups.  Make sure you wrap up warmly.  

For that extra boost that works very well for me I drink my peppermint tea while soaking my feet in hot water with a couple of tablespoons of white vinegar.  I then take a hot shower wrap up and go to bed and sweat and the next day I wake up without a trace.  If the cold has a foothold however, this process may take 2 days. 

Please enjoy the holiday season whatever your beliefs.  Stay safe and Healthy! 

THIS BLOG IS NOT INTENDED TO REPLACE THE ADVICE OF YOUR DOCTOR.

 

Reference:

http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/peppermint