Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on July 30, 2011 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Digestive troubles are exceptionally common, especially with today’s hectic lifestyle, stress, and meals-on-the-fly. Fortunately, digestion is an area that herbs excel in!
Meadowsweet is an amazing herb for regulating hydrochloric acid (HCl) production. It serves to increase HCl if too little is being made (common, especially as we get older), and decreases it if there is too much. Many other herbs also support HCl production, along with enhancing digestive secretions, improving the quality and quantity of protective mucous that lines the digestive tract, and helping to relieve gas and painful cramping.
Some excellent herbs for digestive support include:
• Dandelion root (Taraxacum officinalis)
• Angelica root (Angelica archangelica)
• Meadowsweet herb (Filipendula ulmaria) – the original source of salicylic acid, aka ‘aspirin’
• Centaury herb (Erythraea centaurium)
• Orange peel (Citrus spp.)
• Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium)
• Prickly Ash bark (Zanthoxylum spp.)
• Gentian root (Gentiana lutea)
• Fennel seed (Foeniculum vulgare)
• Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
The taste of ‘bitter’ in a herb (e.g., Gentian, Oregon Grape, Blue Flag) causes a nervous system reflex that stimulates release of gastric secretions. This is why ‘Bitters’ were traditionally included in aperitifs – to help stimulate appetite and digestion. Their value still holds today!
Digest Gold™ from Natural Wellbeing is a balanced and complete digestive formula that can be taken a few minutes before each meal (your very own ‘aperitif’!) to support digestion.
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Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan