Asia and Rory’s Homa Herbal Corner – Digestive Herbs

Herbs to Aid the Digestive System

     In this edition we would like to offer herb suggestions for different digestive problems. These teas can be prepared by adding 1-2 teaspoons of dried herb per cup of boiled water, add a pinch of Agnihotra ash, and allow to steep for 10-15 minutes before drinking.

Bitter herbs have complex actions that stimulate the digestive system via the taste buds in the mouth. Small amounts of infused bitter herbs are often taken before meals to stimulate appetite and promote better digestion.
Bitter herbs include Wormwood, Gentian root, Barberry, White Horehound and Rue.
They are extremely bitter in taste and, since that is the whole point, they should not be sweetened. Chamomile is also mildly bitter. Avoid drinking Rue if pregnant.

In western cultures, the predominant tastes are salty and sweet, while bitter foods are generally avoided. However, bitter taste not only aids digestion but also tones the body. Try adding bitter salad herbs to your meals like dandelion leaf, chicory, mustard greens and spinach.
Carminative herbs
relax the stomach, aid digestion, and reduce gas.
These herbs are often drunk soon after meals and include Fennel seed, Aniseed, Chamomile, Peppermint, Caraway seed, Cardamom, and Ginger. In some cultures, whole Fennel and Cardamom seeds are chewed after meals.

Demulcent herbs are gentle and soothing herbs, recommended for inflamed or sensitive digestive systems and for stomach ulcers.
Try a tea made of equal parts of Calendula, Chamomile and Marshmallow root or leaf. This mix can also be helpful for the excess acidity in the stomach that causes heartburn.

Constipation should be treated with gentle laxative herbs and foods first before moving onto the stronger herbs. You can try eating cooked apples, or prunes, dried dates or figs that have been soaked in water overnight.

Also combine this treatment with infusions of Dandelion, Liquorice or Chicory roots.
If there is still no movement after trying the above remedies, then drink Senna leaf infusion, which has a stronger action. If there is still no movement then it’s best to consult your doctor, who may prescribecastor oil or Epsom salt treatments.

To avoid constipation include plenty of mixed vegetables, fruit and fibre in your diet. Many people take Psyllium husks with their meals to maintain regular bowel movements.

 Diarrhea is usually treated with astringent herbs such as Agrimony, Lady’s Mantle and Nettles. Other good herbs to try, especially for children, are Chamomile and Calendula. As well as adding Agnihotra Ash Powder to the infusion, it is good to take ½ teaspoon of the ash at once, washed down with a little water or tea.

Eating crushed charcoal is a traditional remedy for treating diarrhea, which is somewhat similar to Agnihotra ash, although lacking in the vibrational effects.

If there is a stomach infection then add anti-microbial herbs like Echinacea, Thyme, Pau d’Arco, or Cat’s Claw.

If a child or adult has been suffering from diarrhea then be sure to drink plenty of liquids to replenish body fluids, as dehydration can lead to severe complications. If you are feeling very weak after diarrhea then drink electrolyte salts to re-balance the body.

Antibiotics can destroy intestinal flora, which can cause digestion and immune system problems. Replenish them by taking probiotic supplements or eating foods such as natural live yoghurt, kefir, and fermented foods such as sauerkraut, Tempeh, etc.

The liver is an important organ for digestion and metabolism and may sometimes need support. Infusions of Dandelion root, Agrimony, Vervain, Fennel seeds, or Milk Thistle make good liver tonics.

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