More and more research is showing the link between digestive health and the health of your body and mind as a whole. Diet, stress reduction, and physical activity are a few of the keys to gut health.
Herbs are wonderful allies for your body, mind, and emotions as well and should not be overlooked. Many herbs benefit the gut. They calm and soothe the digestive tract or help to move things along. The beauty is that some of these herbs can be found right in your spice rack!
Cinnamon may be known for helping with your blood sugar and it also eases bloating and a sluggish digestion. With this herb talked about so often, I want us to take a look at your kitchen spice rack to see beyond cinnamon to what else you can use.
Enjoy these three herbs to lessen digestive upset:
This aromatic seed may or may not have much of a role in your cooking habits yet it has numerous benefits and I encourage you to keep some on hand. Fennel seed can help to ease digestive discomfort after meals as it relaxes and soothes the gut wall. You can also take this herb before meals to stimulate your digestion and increase appetite.
Eat the seeds by themselves or take them as a tea, 1-2 teaspoons is all you need. Do not take this herb medicinally longer than two weeks at a time. Use only in culinary doses while pregnant.
It is a warming herb native to Asia and tropical regions. You probably have this herb powdered. Consider buying the fresh root too. Ginger promotes production of saliva, bile, and gastric secretions. Part of its benefit is that it increases peristalsis, the wavelike muscle contractions that move food through your intestines. It is commonly used therapeutically to ease nausea, flatulence, morning sickness, motion sickness, and indigestion. You can make a tea from either the powdered or fresh root.
Use caution if pregnant, have gallstones, or taking medicines to reduce blood clotting.
This anti-spasmodic herb native to the Mediterranean region is highly aromatic and used to ease pains and flatulence. Taking aniseed can help to normalize digestion and to stimulate the appetite. Especially for the gut, aniseed goes well mixed with the fennel seed. Gently crush a teaspoon or two before using as a tea to release the oils that give this seed its digestive benefits. Drink the prepared tea slowly before meals.
Avoid this herb if pregnant or if taking drugs that clot your blood. Take aniseed medicinally in small doses and in moderation as this is not a daily use, long-term herb.
Balch, Phyllis A. Prescription for Herbal Healing, 2nd Edition. Avery. 2012. p.23-24,67,72-73
Duke, James A., Ph.D. The Green Pharmacy. Rodale Inc. 1997. p.200-201,276
Hoffmann, David. The Herbal Handbook. Healing Arts Press. 1998. p.41, 50
Melissa Vertosick is a Certified Holistic Health Coach, an herbalist apprentice with Ola’s WoIW program, and a creative. Using what started as her personal journey of health and healing, Melissa created The Whole Life Approach to inspire you to reconnect with your body by having fun in the kitchen. She guides clients toward a better body connection using simple lifestyle changes through her Cook the Rainbow eCookbooks, blog, LiveLifeWell: The Whole Life Approach to Healthy Living online group program and one-on-one coaching sessions. She can be found at http://thewholelifeapproach.com/. Melissa is also the owner of Leaf & Twig, LLC, hand-crafting teas and tisanes combining herbal knowledge and good taste. http://www.leafandtwigllc.com/