I’ve seen the message above so many times, and it always rings so true for me. Our bodies weren’t made to rely on man-made pharmaceutical drugs in order to function properly. The earth really has provided us all we need to have healthy bodies and healthy digestion.
Fortunately for us, herbs that stimulate digestion also tend to be pretty freaking tasty.
Let’s go back to the basics for a minute…every macronutrient you digest (carbohydrates, proteins & fats) requires certain enzymes to break it down. Due to poor aging, poor diet and lifestyle habits, we may not be producing all the essential enzymes required, which results in our food not being broken down correctly and our nutrients not being absorbed. That can lead to gas, bloating, indigestion, and eventually many other health problems.
Good thing mother nature’s got our back. What’s interesting is that the herbs and spices that help our bodies to break down specific foods, also tend to taste better with those foods…coincidence? I think not…
Here are some of the best herbs to help aid in digestion:
Herbs that Aid in Carbohydrate Breakdown & Absorption
Tasting or smelling these herbs helps to produce the secretion of amylases, the enzymes needed to break down carbohydrates.
- Fennel seeds
- Inner Leaf Aloe Vera
Herbs that Aid in Fat Breakdown & Bile Production
Bile is stimulated by the bitter taste and is necessary to help your body break down fats. Floating stool is a sign that you are not breaking down fats and/or not producing enough bile. These herbs help stimulate bile production:
- Black Pepper
- Bitter greens
Herbs that Aid in Protein Breakdown & HCl Production
In order to break down proteins, your body needs to be producing enough hydrochloric acid (HCl) and pepsin. Upset stomach, heartburn, acid reflux, diarrhea, allergies, leaky gut and many other health issues can be attributed to not breaking down proteins correctly. These herbs stimulate HCl and pepsin production and help you digest protein:
- Cayenne (Hot Chilis)
- Dandelion/bitter Greens
- Radish/radish flowers,
- Gentian root & bitter orange (usually used together)
- Whole leaf aloe vera
- Black Pepper
Aids in absorption:
It’s not just about what you are eating, but also how well your body is absorbing the nutrients that you are eating. These herbs help with absorption:
- Bee Pollen
- Black Pepper
Herbs for specific stomach issues
- Ginger – Fights nausea and upset stomach
- Garlic/onion – Prevents food from putrefaction and fermenting
- Bee Propolis – Kills bacteria responsible for food poisoning
- Slippery Elm – Helps soothe an upset stomach and coats the gastrointensinal tract
- Inner Leaf Aloe Vera – Helps soothe inflammation and heal the digestive tract (think about what it does for your skin, but internally).
- Spearmint – Helps soothe and calm an upset stomach (peppermint is more stimulating to digestion)
This is by no means an inclusive list, but these are some of the most powerful herbs for your digestion. As you can see, many of these are very common and would be easy to incorporate into your diet…why not make a teriyaki sauce with ginger and garlic to put over your fish, chicken or tofu? Or what about adding some rosemary to your potatoes? Maybe sprinkle some turmeric and black pepper over your avocado or eggs?
Using flavors from the earth is the best way to support your body’s natural digestive process.
Here, eat this root.
I sincerely hope you have learned a few things over these last 5 articles about digestion. Although I have covered a lot, there is still soooo much more information and every person’s body chemistry will be a bit different.