Q. Dear Terry, “This time of year is always rough for my digestion, especially if I’m eating foods that don’t agree with me. I’m going to try and eat healthy this holiday season, but not completely limit myself either. What are some herbs to take if I do need support?”– Fran P., Worcester, MA
A. Dear Fran, The holiday season can be troublesome for the digestive system. Whether it’s from stress, travel, or the foods we eat – our digestion can become imbalanced.
I would consider a blend of Ayurvedic herbs that has been used for thousands of years to support healthy digestion. These herbs are gentle, yet effective at helping the digestive system. These herbs help to fight inflammation, stop stomach and digestive disorders, soothe and relax intestinal tissues, bolster the ability of the liver to detoxify, and much more. I would take 800 mg of a combination of turmeric, greater galangal, andrographis, boerhavia, Indian laburnum, gotu kola, cyperus, licorice, East Indian sarsaparilla, long pepper, chebulic myrobalan, Indian tinospora, ginger, and curry tree each night before bed.
Additionally, one of my favorite ingredients for supporting the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is boswellia. Boswellia is very effective at decreasing a certain type of inflammation that is found in the GI tract, called 5-LOX (5-lipoxygenase). The boswellia I prefer is standardized to contain high levels of the key compound, AKBA, which gives boswellia many of its health benefits. While most of the compounds within boswellia are anti-inflammatory, there is one compound that is actually pro-inflammatory. Therefore, I recommend a boswellia that is low in beta-boswellic acid, which can actually cause inflammation.
In addition to boswellia, there are other safe and effective herbal medicines that keep the intestines free of inflammation and digestion running smoothly. Oils of coriander, fennel, caraway seed, and peppermint all help to regulate digestion by controlling bacterial populations, relaxing the stomach lining, and helping to control the symptoms of IBS.
I would take 400 mg of boswellia, coriander, fennel, caraway seed, and peppermint with each meal.
Lastly, I think digestive issues can also benefit from adding in human-strain probiotics like Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, and Bifidobacterium bifidum. I would take 20 billion colony forming units (CFUs) that is a combination of L. plantarum, L. rhamnosus, and B. bifidum twice per day.
Terry . . . Naturally
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