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©2010 Shanna Lea (formerly Shanna Ohmes)
Digestive problems range from heartburn and stomach upset to diarrhea, bloating and gas. Who hasn’t had these afflictions at some point and wished for nourishing and healing herbal remedies to alleviate the symptoms?
Many doctors prescribe drugs to reduce the amount of acid in the stomach, but those drugs can aggravate the problem instead of correcting it. In traditional cultures, herbs and spices were used to help digest the food, preventing digestive woes. These herbs were added daily into the diet for their amazing digestive properties. Many herbs were bitter, which stimulated the liver and gallbladder to metabolize fats and proteins. Today, we rarely eat bitter foods and eat more sweets and processed foods. All of this can clog the liver and then the problems multiply from there. Try these herbal teas to relieve your symptoms.
Ginger—relieves nausea, vomiting, bloating, gas, constipation and diarrhea. Make a tea from 1 teaspoon powdered or1 Tablespoon fresh grated ginger root. Add lemon and raw honey for a delicious tea. Or you can chew on crystallized ginger.
Fennel—relieves heartburn, cramping, bloating, morning sickness. You can get Fennel tea in bags, or buy the seeds and use them whole or grind them in a mortar and pestle. Boil 1 teaspoon fennel seeds in 1 quart of water for 10 minutes, then cool, strain and drink.
Peppermint—supports digestion and relieves irritable bowel syndrome, symptoms like bloating, cramping, gas, constipation, nausea and diarrhea. Pour boiling water over 1 teaspoon dried peppermint leaves and steep for 5-10 minutes. You can also make a Peppermint Infusion by pouring boiling water over 1 oz dried peppermint into a quart jar, cap and infuse for 4-8 hours. This will keep in the refrigerator for several days.
Chamomile—relieves stomach pains, gas, acid indigestion and colic pains. Pour boiling water over 1 teaspoon dried chamomile flowers and steep for 5-10 minutes. You can also buy in tea bags.
Dandelion Root—promotes gastrointestinal health by supporting the liver and kidneys. Dried dandelion root, chopped, makes an excellent tea. Use 1 teaspoon and steep for 10 minutes. Dandelion root is also available in tea bags.
Swedish Bitters—a combination of bitter herbs for digestive health. These bitter herbs ease constipation, gas and bloating. Bitters were used by many traditional cultures to keep the liver healthy. Take 1 teaspoon before each meal.
Tinctures of Yarrow or Marshmallow can also be added to your teas for additional support for the digestive system. Use 1 dropperful mixed in chamomile tea.
I buy my herbs in bulk from Mountain Rose Herbs and have always enjoyed their products. The dried herbs have a vibrant color and taste delicious, not stale like many brands from the store. Herbal teas and eating traditional foodshave made a big impact in my health and for my family. Digestive problems afflict many people and much of it stems from a lifetime of processed foods. For example, diverticulitis was a relatively new digestive disorder in the early 1900’s—the same time period processed foods became popular!