Your gut doesn’t lie.
It gives you that “gut feeling” when something isn’t quite right, “growls” when you’re hungry and gives you that “upset tummy” feeling when there’s something not quite right in your body.
The gut is also sensitive to emotion. If you’re upset or worried you often don’t feel like eating and vice versa. If you are not feeling well in the tummy, then you can feel sad, upset, worried, anxious, irritated – a range of negative emotions.
The gut-brain connection is now widely recognised and for good reason.
Around 95% of the brains serotonin receptors are located in your bowel! So it makes sense that if your gut is not feeling right, it will ultimately affect your mood. This is another reason why it is so important to maintain good gut health.
Along with a healthy, sensible diet, herbs are invaluable for treating a multitude of gut problems.
There are a number of herbs that are very specific and incredibly effective for treating an “unhappy” gut. When I say ‘unhappy” this can range from symptoms such as windy, grumbly, sore, tight, bloated, acidic, spasms, painful, nauseous or irregular bowel movements.
4 herbs that are very effective in treating gut problems are:
Marshmallow Root (Althea officinalis) – used to treat all inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, including inflammation of the mouth, gastritis, peptic ulcer, enteritis, colitis and more. It is also excellent for irritating coughs, bronchitis and conditions that have respiratory mucous involved. Marshmallow creates a soothing, protective coating over the lining of the gastrointestinal system.
Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) – this is an effective Antacid without the side effects of pharmaceutical Antacid drugs. In fact, in 1899 a drug company called Bayer, formulated a new drug (acetylsalicylic acid) and called it Aspirin – a name derived from the old botanical name for Meadowsweet (Spirea ulmaria). Meadowsweet is a plant that exemplifies why the sum of the whole plant is used in herbal medicine. Its tannin and mucilage content act as a buffer against the side effects of isolated salicylates which can cause gastric bleeding (common side effects from pharmaceutical drugs such as aspirins and ibuprofen). It is also effective for treating Rheumatism because of the anti-inflammatory action of the salicylates.
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) – settles digestion and reduces abdominal bloating. It settles stomach pain, stimulates the appetite and has a diuretic and anti-inflammatory action. Fennel is also used by pregnant women for morning sickness, relieves flatulence and helps with colic and teething in babies. Additionally, it makes an excellent treatment for cystitis and removing kidney stones when used in conjunction with Uva-ursi (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi).
Gentian (Gentiana Lutea) – helps promote the production of saliva, gastric juices and bile. It increases the absorption of nutrients across the gut wall and also aids in the absorption of nutrients such as Iron and Vitamin B12. Gentian increases gastric secretion which makes it an important herb for the treatment of indigestion/acid reflux. Due to its action of accelerating the emptying of the stomach, it was used in the past as an appetizer and is often added to a herbal prescription for Iron-deficient conditions (such as women who are suffering from heavy menstrual bleeding, resulting in a loss of Iron).
** It is of utmost importance that professional naturopathic advice should be obtained before using herbal medicines. There are a number of herbs that do have contraindications and are not suitable to be used during pregnancy, lactation, certain med
ical conditions or pharmaceutical medications. In addition, an ethical, responsible practitioner will only prescribe and supply top quality herbal medicines that have proven quality and actions.
For further information on your gut health through these or other herbal remedies, please feel free to contact Trudy Kither, Naturopath, Nature’s Temple, Palmwoods. Ph: 0408 900 596.