Herbs for the digestive system – A short introduction


Herbs for the Digestive System – Video Transcript

Hi this is Giovanna from Herbstead and today I would like to talk about herbs for the digestive system.

There are many, many herbs out there that can be used to soothe, to improve the digestive system and I want to give a very very very short list of these herbs.

Normally, as an herbalist, what you do is you match the person to the herb. You don’t just say “oh this herb is good for this ailment so just go ahead and take it”. Normally an herbalist would just ask many questions, find out more about that person, what kind of physical constitution they have, are they someone cold, usually cold, are
they someone who’s hot, so on and so forth.

We don’t have time for this in this video. I will talk about physical constitution in another video. For now, I will just give you a list of herbs, a very short list of herbs for the
digestive system.

So let’s start from the stomach.

If you have, let’s say, acute gastritis, normally chamomile tea is good for it, That should give you some relief. But if your gastritis is already chronic then ginger perhaps is more helpful. Now, some people have Helicobacter pylori and, oh god, that one is perky and licorice root it can be very helpful to take care of it.

Now, let’s move on to the liver. That’s a wonderful organ and very very helpful for digestion and you gotta have it healthy. Really. And I like milk thistle. Oh, there’s also dandelion. it’s very good for it. I prefer milk thistle for myself. I just find it that I respond better to milk thistle than dandelion. But dandelion is a brilliant herb for it too. You
can also use yarrow for it.

I want to tell a story about milk thistle.

Two weeks to three weeks ago I was in the United States and I ate something. I know exactly what it was that I had there for three days in a row towards the end of my trip and it just bloated me. It gave me a ridiculous amount of gas. Ten hours of gas! Nothing worked. Bitters didn’t work. It was so frustrating. Actually bitters did work but only towards the end of the day. This was a clue of what it was and I had eaten. I had eaten it for breakfast but it wasn’t until Sunday that I realized what it was that was
causing the problem. By then I was ready to travel back home.

When I arrived home, I thought “okay it’s over. I’m going back to my normal diet”. But it wasn’t! It wasn’t over. I didn’t have the gas anymore but I just didn’t feel 100%. I thought okay it’s jet lag but it could not be jet lag because I was not in California time and I was not back in Germany time! It seemed like I was in Japan. But I have never been to Japan. So I wondered about what could it be.

Then, I realized that I was waking up at 2:00 in the morning and couldn’t go back to sleep. So I thought about traditional Chinese medicine and that they always mentioned that between 1:00 and 3:00 in the morning it’s the time when the liver is active. So I thought, huh, maybe my liver needs some support.

So I started a milk thistle regimen and in two days I could sleep through the night. Of course my problem was not a big problem. I had just eaten something. I respond very well to milk thistle. Some people might respond better to dandelion or yarrow or some other herb out there. There are many many herbs.

So let’s move on. What’s next to the liver? We have the gallbladder.

Well, I have another story. My mother had a very very slow lazy gallbladder and she could not eat fatty foods without feeling full for the entire day. She couldn’t have dinner! She would have the fatty foods… she didn’t cook fatty foods, obviously, but we would visit my grandmother’s sister, who cooked phenomenally well. Used to. My mother would eat that food and then not be able to digest it. So what she would do is, she would make a tea from an herb called boldo and that would solve her problem rather quickly. I don’t remember how long it took but it was not long. So boldo is an option.

If you live in the northern hemisphere like I do now, you might not find boldo. It’s a tropical plant. It grows in South America. I come from Brazil originally. In the
north, where I am now, I take something different. Artichoke is an option. Dandelion, peppermint, wormwood. Be careful with wormwood though. I got a headache couldn’t I take it, so I avoid it like the plague. I don’t always get a headache but usually I do. It’s just too bitter for me but it can be very very helpful for many people.

So from the gallbladder we move on to the pancreas.

We know there are several several herbs for the pancreas. Caraway comes to mind, wormwood, peppermint, dandelion as well. You will hear me say dandelion very often.

Let’s move down to the intestines.

For the intestinal flora, if you want to rebuild it, let’s say you’ve been taking antibiotics and you want to rebuild it, garlic is a very good friend. Myhrr! Myhrr is fantastic. It can take care of fungal issues in the intestines. One thing about this that you want the herb to go into the intestines unchanged. You don’t want them digested by your system. So capsules is what you want. Get them in capsule form and let them do their job in the intestines unchanged. That’s very important because otherwise they get digested and when they arrived in the intestines they don’t have their potency anymore.

Okay next is constipation.

Let’s say you have constipation. You could take flax seeds. There are other options. But with flax seeds, you have to be careful because you can also use it for diarrhea. So how do you know how to use it so that you don’t get further constipated? Well, what you do is, you take the seeds, put them in a glass of water let it sit for a while so that the water becomes a bit thick. This mucilage that’s in the flax seeds will come out. It will get in the water and what you want is really that mucilagenous water, that thick water. Do not take the seeds. Strain everything and just drink the water. That should help you.

Then, there is diarrhea.

You can take dried blueberries for that. Silverweed tincture works very well. Chamomile. These are astringent herbs that will dry the area a bit and…

Bloating and gas of course

Well for that you want carminative herbs such as caraway, my favorite of all. Anise seeds, fennel, peppermint… There other ones, coriander. There are several but my
favorite is caraway. It works very well. I love it so much! I can eat pure. It’s very very strong tasting. I love it.

So give me a comment below. Let me know what you do when you have a digestive issue. I did not mention all the herbs there are out there, so maybe you can mention some as well. Let’s have an herbal conversation. Let me know what else you would like me to talk about and until the next video, let’s talk herbs.

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