When it comes to your health, there are a number of ways you can improve digestive health and overall gut health.
Stomach or intestine pains could be a sign that your digestive tract needs attention, however, if left untreated this issue will lead to nutrient deficiencies which could leave your immune system open for attack from microorganisms. This can lead to the loss of ability to process foods, leaving you fatigued, and leave you exposed to vitamin deficiencies! There’s no need go through all these problems when they’re so easily prevented with some small changes!
When looking at herbs that help with digestion, not every herb is created equally!
The following article will discuss a few of the herbs that can help you to treat and improve digestion.
How does the Digestive System Work?
Before the first bite! Saliva is secreted in your mouth and throat upon chewing or even smelling food! This saliva contains digestive enzymes to help digest carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, allowing the body to better absorb vitamins and nutrients from food.
Food enters the esophagus and travels to the stomach through a process called peristalsis. It mixes with more digestive enzymes and turns into chyme before heading to the small and large intestine. it can take up to 72 hours to fully digest a meal before the waste is excreted.
What is the Ideal Bowel Movement?
Regular bowel movements are essential for a healthy digestive system.
A healthy bowel movement is a stool that’s easy to pass, feels soft and looks like sausage meat or toothpaste coming out of the body. That one might be a little TMI, but we’re all adults here.
The number of bowel movements a person has really depends on the person. It can range from three times a day to once every few days.
How do Herbs help with digestion?
Studies show that over 4 million people in the United States suffer from constipation. It is the most common digestive complaint in the US.
There are many herbal remedies to aid digestive function! I’ve outlined three different categories below!
- reduce gas
- reduce bloating
- reduce food allergy symptoms
- help ease indigestion
- Warm up digestive tract
- speed up digestion
- increase thoroughness of digestion
- reduce gas
- Mimics peristalsis, the smooth muscle contraction that helps to propel feces out of the large intestine
- Only to be used short term
Bitter Herbs that Help Digestion
This surprising little plant is widely considered a garden nuisance by many people, but science has revealed that it is rich in vitamins and minerals such as A, B, C, potassium and zinc. In ancient times, it was used for a variety of digestive ailments. A couple of the other many amazing side effects of its use, are that it reduces oxidative stress and inflammation in organs like the liver. Dandelion root can help to kill leukemia cells, while leaving normal cells intact. Ingesting dandelions can be as simple as adding them to your salad. Just be sure to find a dressing that compliments the slightly bitter leaves.
Barberry Root Bark
Barberry Root Bark is a herb that helps promote healthy digestion and gut health. It has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to strengthen the spleen, stomach, pancreas and other digestive organs. The bark of the barberry plant contains berberine which stimulates gastrointestinal tract function by increasing bile production, aiding in fat absorption and inhibiting gastric acid secretion. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and increases mucosal immune response.
Barberries can be eaten fresh or dried as well as made into a tea or tincture to help with various GI problems such as diarrhea, constipation, gas/bloating and abdominal pain/discomfort associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome
You can also boil a teaspoon of the root bark and drink as a tea!
Gentiana Lutea, also known as yellow gentian, is a plant that helps the digestive system and liver function. It has been used to treat nausea and vomiting for centuries. The roots of this herb are boiled in water or tea before being taken orally. This herb can be found growing at high altitudes in Europe, Asia and America.
Gentiana Lutea should not be consumed by pregnant women who are breastfeeding because it may cause miscarriages or premature births.
It should ideally be consumed as a tea 20 minutes before a meal. Many herbalists will recommend taking this herb in two to three week periods, then taking a break.
When looking for this herb, it’s extremely important to look for the words veratrum album. This can be misidentified as gentiana and is highly poisonous!
Carminative herbs that help digestion
The use of this parsley relative dates back to at approximately 5000 years ago as a popular spice in Egypt and the Mediterranean. Cumin has historically been used as a respiratory anti-inflammatory, and as a powerful aid to digestion. It was also used as a treatment for anemia, which was very likely to have been a symptom brought on by a malfunctioning digestive system.
Today it can be found in powdered form, and is a common spice that is used among many cultures.
Fennel, is classed as a carminative herb that aids in digestion, by increasing digestive efficiency. Another helpful side effect of this herb is that it reduces gas and bloating.
Dill is a plant that has many medicinal properties. It can be used to relieve stomach cramps and gas, as well as promote healthy digestion.
You may also want to try eating dill pickles, which will help you get rid of an upset stomach or sour taste in your mouth. Dill weed is also effective when rubbed on your skin because it helps heal ulcers as well as reduce inflammation caused by arthritis.
In order to understand how lemon balm helps with digestion, you first need to know what it is. Lemon Balm is a herb that has been used for centuries as an ingredient in herbal teas and other recipes. It can be brewed into tea or tinctured and taken orally for medicinal purposes. In addition to helping promote healthy digestion, lemon balm also has anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce anxiety levels.
Lemon Balm‘s main benefits are soothing the stomach lining and relieving cramping by acting on the nervous system. The leaves of this plant have a pleasant citrus flavor which makes them ideal for infusions and tisanes. They are also often blended with ginger root.
Ginger, a member of the same family as turmeric and cardamom, has been used for centuries to promote digestive health. The plant is native to Southeast Asia and China, where it was grown in gardens or harvested in the wild. Modern science suggests that its medicinal properties come from gingerols—active compounds with powerful anti-inflammatory effects on the body. These substances also improve circulation by opening up blood vessels and easing muscle tension throughout the body. That’s why ginger is often recommended for conditions like arthritis and menstrual cramps. It may even help regulate diabetes by stimulating insulin production when taken regularly before meals.
Ginger can be eaten raw or cooked (ginger ale anyone?), but one of its most potent forms is fresh ginger juice, made by extracting the plant’s juices with a juicer or food processor and then mixing it with water. Ginger juice can be added to soups, smoothies, teas, and even salads for an extra kick of flavor.
Try my Ginger Cinnamon Tea!
Chamomile is a common herb that has been used for centuries to help with digestion. It reduces inflammation and helps the stomach produce more acid, which are both important in preventing indigestion.
Chamomile is also an anti-inflammatory and will soothe your digestive tract. It’s safe for long-term use as well as short-term relief from occasional bouts of gas or cramping. Chamomile can be taken in capsule form, tea form, or even just by chewing on the leaves themselves!
One herb that is a great benefit for digestion is peppermint. Peppermint has been used for hundreds of years by people around the world as a digestive aid.
Senna leaf is a type of plant that can help with digestion. Senna leaf stimulates the colon, which helps to eliminate waste and toxins from your body. It also has an effect on the bowels by softening the stool so it’s easier to pass. There are many other benefits associated with senna leaf as well. For example, it may help relieve constipation or prevent diarrhea in some cases (especially when combined with other herbs). You can even use this herb for weight loss purposes since research has shown that it promotes fat burning and increases energy levels.
Cascara sagrada is a plant that has been used historically by North American tribes. The bark of the cascara tree was used as a laxative and natural remedy for stomach ailments, such as constipation or diarrhea. It was also thought to promote healthy digestion and gut health.
Cascara Sagrada contains an active ingredient called Rhamnolipid which stimulates bowel movements by increasing the amount of water in stool so it can be passed more easily through your bowels (1). This herb is now widely available in both capsule and tea form to help with digestive issues such as chronic constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, bloating, etc. (2)
However, Cascara Sagrada should not be taken on a daily basis or over a long period of time as it can lead to dependency. It’s also contraindicated for people with slow bowel transit, and in children under the age of 12 years (1). A typical dosage is 10-30mg per kilogram of body weight.
Aloe leaf is a plant that is grown in warm climates. It has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries, and it has many different uses from treating burns to helping with digestion.
Aloe leaf contains four types of polysaccharides: acemannan, aloetin, mannose-6-phosphate and polymannans. All these are believed to have benefits on the digestive system; however, studies show that acemannan is most effective in regulating gut function and preventing diarrhea while also being safe enough for infants as young as six months old.
The way this works seems to be through improving the integrity of tight junctions between cells which line the intestinal walls (called “tight junctions”). This results in better protection for the gut cells and intestinal lining from factors that would otherwise cause damage such as toxins and pathogens.
Well, I hope you have enjoyed learning and reading about all these herbs that help with digestion as much as I enjoyed putting it together!
Let me know in the comments which one is your favorite and why!