Guest Author - Arrow Durfee
There are some common herbs that do very well for stomach and digestive issues. You would do well to have them in your cabinet, available for use.
Of course we have all heard that peppermint is great for the stomach and to alleviate stomach aches and gas. But are you actually using it? If you are you know that it works well for simple digestive distress. Just brew up a cup of mint tea and sip on it when distress starts. A cup before bed can help lead to a better night’s sleep. Peppermint is also available in pill form and it often used for positive effects on irritable bowel disease. It is extremely easy to grow and should be in your garden.
Ginger is long known to alleviate nausea and I have had some success with the homeopathic preparation in 30c. But just regular grated fresh ginger steeped into a tea is easy to come by as most groceries sell it in the root form now. Sweeten with a little honey or stevia. It is helpful for the nausea of travel and one study showed that it was more effective than Dramamine. Candied ginger carries well on a trip and the children will readily take it.
Chamomile tea is known for alleviating minor stomach distress from gas or indigestion and is safe to give to very small children.
Dandelion is a long time used herb for stomach disorder and it is often called a “bitter.” Bitters have been used for centuries to alleviate acid reflux and stomach pain associated with eating. Dandelion will stimulate the flow of digestive fluids. There are some very nice herbal combo bitters available on the market but if you are industrious you can take one of the main ingredients and make your own from the danilions in the yard or pasture, as long as they have not been sprayed with pesticides or herbicides. All parts of the pant can be used but the root is the most potent. Cut it up finely and steep for 30 minutes. You can also make a tincture of it and take it before meals, about 20 or 30 drops will be required.
Self-heal or all-heal (prunella vulgaris) is another herb that is known for its stomach alleviating properties. It has an antimicrobial and anti parasitic action and has been used traditionally for stomach ulcers. Since many stomach aches are caused by a microbe it may be worth a try. It has a long time reputation around the world for its all healing capacity for many conditions and as a preventative when taken as a tonic. It is in the mint family and grows abundantly and like mint, should be contained. Use the leaves to make a tea. Some people eat it in a similar way to spinach.
Persistent and long term digestive distress will require a more comprehensive approach of enzyme therapy and supplements of hydrochloric acid (HCL) most likely. If you have an actual stomach ulcer, again more complex treatment will be required and HCL should be avoided until the ulcer is healed. For some people the taking of bitters before meals can prevent the need for enzymes and HCL as the bitters stimulate the flow of your own digestive juices. Having sufficient digestive enzymes and HCL is the best preventative to developing an ulcer as they keep the causing bacteria in check and this can be obtained either through the actual supplementation of them or in bitters.