By Brigitte Mars
Digestive disorders are among the most common afflictions of humankind, contributing to feelings of discomfort, gas, bloating, heartburn, colon problems as well as a multi-million dollar a year business in synthetic over-the-counter preparations. Choosing wholesome foods, properly combined, free of chemical additives that are low in added fats is a good place to start. When the digestive system is in a constant state of rebellion, it just might be crying out for us to pay closer heed to what we fill our bodies with. One may even want to deep a food journal to become more aware of patterns in food choices that cause aggravation.
It is said that digestion really begins in the brain. It is so much better to strive for a relaxed state of mind before consuming food. Food is an opportunity to nourish oneself. All too often, meals are a continuation of our “rush around” life-style. Consider commencing a meal with a blessing, a deep breath or a moment of silence to get into a more tranquil state.
When we drink with meals, we can actually be diluting our necessary natural digestive enzymes. This practice also encourages one to swallow their food without chewing. It is preferable to drink before or after a meal than with. In Oriental Medicine, the digestive system is regarded as a furnace or burner that transforms our food into energy we can utilize. Drinking and eating icy cold substances puts out our “digestive fire,” thus impeding the process. Slow down when you eat and chew your food better. Mastication allows digestive enzymes in our saliva to better aid the digestive process. Maybe you grew up in a large family and had to eat fast before your siblings finished the food. Relax, your brother has his own place now. Take the time to taste and savor your food. It takes about 20 minutes for our brains to feel satisfied from a meal. If we rush it, we are more likely to overeat. Slow down and you will enjoy your food more while consuming less.
There are number of herbs that have traditionally been used to help improve digestion.
- Papaya Leaves (Carica papaya) – Contains papain, a protein splitting enzyme, similar to pepsin. Papain works well for acid, neutral or alkaline conditions.
- Peppermint (Mentha piperita) – Used around the globe to treat gas, colic, nausea, stomachaches, and diarrhea. This delicious plant stimulates circulation to the digestive system and is an excellent breath freshener.
- Fennel Seed (Foeniculum officinale) – Sweet, pungent and warming, fennel helps with the discomforts of gas, cramps, nausea and colic.
- Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) – Warming and lucious, this sweet bark increases salivation, improves gas, circulation, and makes the breath pleasant.
- Ginger (Zingiber officinale) – Contains zingibain, which helps digestion. Ginger is warming It helps to break up mucous congestion. It also improves circulation, increases amylase concentration in the saliva and improves the tone of the intestinal muscles. This is one of the best herbs for nausea.
- Orange Peel (Citrus species) – The dried peel of the orange fruit stimulates hydrochloric acid production.
- Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) – Contains 8 various enzymes as well as a wide range of vitamins and minerals.
- Coriander Seed (Coriandrum sativum) – A carminative herb that helps to expel gas, relieve cramps as well as being a pleasant stomach tonic.
Together they make a tasty and beneficial beverage. Boil 1 cup of water, remove from heat, add 1 heaping teaspoon of DigestAbiliTea. Stir, cover and let sit for 15 minutes. Strain and sip the soothing tea.
If you still have digestive disorders, you may want to consider taking a dose of Bitter 10 minutes before a meal. Usually found in extract form and containing bitter herbs such as gentian, centaury and angelica The taste of these bitter herbs stimulates digestive secretions by a reflex action via the central nervous system.
The digestive system is so fundamental to overall health that it is well worth listening to the messages our body’s give us. When digestion is improved, we assimilate more nutrients from our food and overall health is enhanced.
A votre santé!