Hippocrates was way ahead of his time. It was over 2000 years ago when he said that “all disease begins in the gut” and although the “all” part of his statement is an overstatement…he was most definitely onto something. Gastrointestinal problems like gas, bloating, indigestion, diarrhea, constipation, acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are extremely common problems. They are also frequently an underlying factor for all sorts of other medical problems outside of the GI tract. It makes sense too…it’s hard to be healthy if the system that we use to digest and absorb food and eliminate waste is dysfunctional. Herbal medicine can play a powerful role in improving gastrointestinal health… Here are a few herbal favorites for improving digestive health from my team at UpWellness.
Are you struggling with poor gut health? This can be due to your current diet, candida overgrowth, or just an imbalance of bacteria in your gut. The good news is that there is help for you including natural remedies using herbs. The following healing herbs are the very best for healing your gut.
If you have done any research about the best healing herbs, turmeric has likely topped the list. Turmeric is such an amazing Indian spice that has been part of the herbal medicine toolbox for millennia. Among its many health benefits is the fact that it can soothe your tummy troubles and improve your digestive health. Turmeric acts as an anti-inflammatory agent on the lining of the GI tract which is often a big reason for GI distress. Turmeric can be used in many ways from making golden milk and turmeric tea, to adding the spice to different foods you prepare. Here is a delicious recipe for turmeric milk. Enjoy a cup before bedtime for healthy digestion and to encourage deep sleep.
Turmeric Golden Milk
- 1 cup of coconut milk
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp of black pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger powder
- 1 tsp raw honey
- Add milk, turmeric, cinnamon, pepper, ginger, and honey into a high-speed blender.
- Blend on high until smooth.
- Pour mixture into a saucepan and heat on medium for about 5-minutes until hot but not boiling.
- Pour into a cup and drink immediately.
Another herb to consider using for your gut is dandelion root. To some, this is a flower to others a weed, but it is also an herb that provides wonderful healing abilities for your body and digestive system. This is another herb that has been used for centuries. It is a bitter herb, so many people make dandelion tea with other herbs and sweeteners or take a supplement form of the herb. Dandelion can improve your digestion by working in a cleansing and detoxing manner.
Dandelions and Balsamic
- 2 ½ pounds dandelion greens
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin, organic olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- ¼ cup hazelnuts or pine nuts, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- Trim off the thickest part of the stems and discard along with any tough leaves.
- Chop the remaining greens and place into a large salad bowl. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat; add garlic and nuts, stirring frequently until garlic turns golden brown.
- Stir in vinegar, salt, and pepper.
- Pour mixture over greens.
It should come as no surprise that ginger is one of the very best herbs for your gut health. Many people will drink ginger ale when they have an upset stomach or nausea, and that is because the ginger is soothing and gentle on your stomach. The same can be said with using the herb in other ways, such as having some ginger tea or adding ginger to different foods and snacks. Ginger is a wonderful way to improve your digestion and ease stomach upset, as well as helping with your circulatory system.
Delicious Ginger Smoothie
- 1/2 cup organic coconut milk
- 8 ounces of canned organic pumpkin
- 1 teaspoon fresh cinnamon
- 1″ chunk fresh ginger root, chopped or grated
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon raw, organic honey
- 8 – 10 ice cubes
Blend all ingredients except ice until totally smooth. Add ice and blend again.
Peppermint has long been regarded for its antispasmodic properties and ability to heal digestive woes. It has been used throughout history to combat digestive colic, flatulence, bloating and sluggish digestion. Peppermint relaxes muscles in the digestive tract and encourages bile flow. Today, peppermint is widely used to help relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel, ease bloating, spasms and cramps.
- 1 cup packed fresh mint leaves, washed (use more or less depending on the desired amount of peppermint flavor)
- 3 cups boiling water
- 3 cups 100% apple juice
- Add mint leaves to the boiling water, cover, and let sit for 15 minutes.
- Drain and discard the mint leaves. Let the tea cool.
- Add the apple juice and chill. If you prefer it sweeter, add a little raw honey.
- Serve with ice.
Cayenne is one of the less common herbs to be used for improving gut health, but it can be just as great as the others. While it is a strong spice, it can actually improve the digestion of many people. With cayenne, it helps with healthy food flow, so you can actually digest foods much more efficiently when you are using this simple spice.
Try to add these herbs to your diet and help improve your gut, while gaining all the other health benefits at the same time.
Cayenne Pepper Tea
- 1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
- 1 cup filtered water
- 1/2 fresh lemon
- Boil one cup of filtered water or mineral water. Remove the water from heat just before it reaches the boil, if possible.
- While the water is boiling, place one teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper into a cup or mug. Add in the hot water.
- Using a spoon, stir the cayenne until it has fully dissolved into the water. There may be some cayenne which refuses to mix and instead floats on the top — don’t worry about it!
- Squeeze the juice of half a fresh lemon into the cup. Use the spoon to stir the mixture once more.
- Cover the cup with a small plate or saucer and leave to steep for around five minutes, or until it is cool enough to drink. Make sure you drink it before it cools down completely, however!
-The UpWellness Team