Herbs for Healthy Living

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Chew, Chew, Chew

By: Alison Cullen

Hands up anyone who never, ever has the slightest complaint about anything that happens from their gullet to their gut? Digestive bliss, from start to finish; never a grumble or a rumble from the insides; smiley happy tummy at all times? Not many, that’s for sure.

Digestive complaints must be one of the most common sets of ailments in the country – choose from this list to get a realistic picture of many people’s daily sufferings…

  • Acid reflux
  • Acid indigestion
  • Burping
  • Bloating
  • Gurgling and glugging in the abdomen
  • Stomach cramps
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • and much, much more!

The pity of all this is that it is relatively easy to keep things in order. Follow these simple steps and find out how pleasant it is to be on friendly terms with your insides. Those with specific problems should read on for further advice.

Sit Down to your Food

I may just have this instruction tattooed on my forehead, as I have to say it to such a large number of people. It’s sometimes hard to believe that it’s so difficult to make people take life a little easier… The plain fact is that your body finds it hard to run around and digest at the same time. Sit down and relax, and give yourself five minutes once you’ve finished eating before you jump up and start attacking the day again. That way your digestive system can concentrate on the food you’re hoping to digest, and you’re less likely to suffer from a whole raft of the symptoms outlined above.

Chew…

You’ve no idea how few people actually do more than close their teeth a couple of times around a mouthful of food before gulping it down – it barely touches the sides before it lands in the unsuspecting stomach. Chewing is an act that not only breaks your meal down to a manageable size, but also alerts the stomach to the imminent delivery of food. If you don’t chew, your stomach won’t have produced digestive enzymes in preparation for the food’s arrival, heralding chaos and confusion and a hefty dose of acid indigestion.

So over to you – it’s free, it’s easy and it will vastly improve your life, honestly: CHEW!

Poo…

Yes, it may not be the most delightful subject in the world, but what comes out is just as important as what goes in. Why? Because believe me the waste products from the digestive process don’t just evaporate inside you - they need to leave the body via the designated exit route…

So if nothing is coming out then these waste products are lying around inside your intestines, festering and fermenting, causing wind, bloating, belching and general misery.

If you are eating three meals a day then it is not unreasonable to expect a daily bowel movement.

Diarrhoea

If you are permanently stressed, this will affect your digestive powers and irritate the gut, so take a combination extract containing Passiflora and a magnesium supplement (e.g. Salus Haus liquid magnesium) to calm things down.

Use Tormentil to reduce the irritation in the bowel. This remedy works very well for diarrhoea, but don’t use it if there is constipation present as well.

Longstanding constipation causes diarrhoea so if you suffer from alternating constipation and diarrhoea, treat the constipation first.

Constipation

Drink plenty of water. This doesn’t mean coffee and tea, as they can make things worse. Plain water, hot or cold and drink it well away from your meals so that you don’t dilute your digestive juices.

If you are mildly constipated, try Lepicol, which softens and bulks the stool. Mix it with water or juice and take it at least 20 minutes before a meal. It won’t work if you’re not drinking plenty of water though!

For slightly more stubborn problems, take amild laxative containing Cascara and Frangula. This should work within 12 to 24 hours and you can adjust the dose to suit your need.

If you need a real blast to get things moving, use a stronger laxative containing Linseed, Senna and Frangula. Use a low dose to start with and only for a short tif the problem persists, consult a healthcare professional.

Candida

Many people are told that they have an overgrowth of unfriendly bacteria in their intestines, causing digestive problems. In reality, it is often poor digestion that allows Candida (a perfectly normal resident in the gut) to get above itself and start rampaging about.

  • Address stress levels, as no-one’s digestion works well if they are stressed. Take a complex containing Passiflora to calm frazzled nerves.
  • Improve immune function with Echinacea, as the immune system can keep fungal infestations at bay.
  • Implement all the healthy eating techniques outlined above, to give the digestive system a chance to work as well as possible. In particular, it is important that the pancreas is producing its digestive enzymes to help break down sugars and starches.
  • Make sure the bowel is moving daily – there’s nothing fungi like more than piles of festering rubbish to breed in…

So you see, digestive health can be very simple.