Indigestion: A Feeling that Something’s not Right
Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on April 14, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
photo credit: blumenbiene
Digestion is something that most of us take for granted, yet an overwhelming number of us have problems with it. These can range from occasional heartburn, gas and bloating, to painful intestinal cramping, and problems with regularity.
What causes indigestion? What can help?
Diet is usually the most common contributor to indigestion. Eating too many foods that are processed and refined, such as fast-foods and packaged meals (high in unhealthy fats, sugar, and salt, and low in fiber), or excessive caffeine or alcohol (and smoking), can add up to poor digestion.
Eating too quickly is also a major contributor, though it rarely gets given its rightful due. To digest most efficiently, our body and mind should be in a state of relaxation and focused solely upon eating the meal before us. This supports the branch of our nervous system that needs to be “on” in order for optimal digestion to occur. Relaxing for a period of time after eating, is also beneficial.
Missing from many diets nowadays as well, is the flavor of “bitter.” This important flavor really gets the digestive juices flowing! Aperitifs, traditional before-dinner drinks, always included a dash of ‘bitters’ for this purpose.
Along with the above considerations, Digest Optimal can also help. It provides a synergistic blend of herbs traditionally used for supporting digestion including:
• Bitters: Gentian (one of the most bitter herbs known!) and Oregon Grape
• Licorice – soothing and anti-inflammatory
• Prickly Ash bark – strengthens digestive circulation
• Ginger – used for centuries to aid digestion and relieve upset stomachs, abdominal cramps and nausea
• Fennel seeds and Peppermint Spirits – provide antispasmodic relief for cramping and gas
Digest Optimal can be used as a daily tonic for strengthening digestion, or before those meals which typically cause you digestive discomfort.
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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