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8 Herbs To Benefit Gut Health

Last post we discussed the awesome and amazing 4R Program to gut health. We learned about removing toxins and allergens, replacing our stomach acid with beneficial enzymes, reinoculating the gut with probiotic rich foods, and repairing our gut lining with supplements and herbs. However, we only offered one herb last week, so this week we chose to share some more gut healing herbs with you!

Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

Calendula, calendula! One of my personal favorites for many reasons. However, for the purpose of this post we will focus on the benefits calendula provides for the gut! Calendula can improve digestion and absorption, reduce inflammation in the gut wall, detoxify the body from pathogens, help fight amoebic infections and worms and help to heal pelvic and bowel infections. It’s very diverse, gentle, and effective for clearing the gut and helping to heal your damaged gut wall!

Chamomile (Chamomilla recutita or Chamomilla matricaria)

It’s no secret that chamomile can calm the nerves and help us relax. That’s why it’s great at soothing stress-related digestive troubles! It’s also known for aiding in indigestion, reducing heartburn and acidity, helping babies through colic, and resolving infections such as gastroenteritis. A super cool fact about chamomile is that it is anti-ulcer! The bisabolbol (a type of alcohol compound and primary constituent in German chamomile essential oil) found in this magical plant helps to speed up the healing process of ulcers--how awesome!

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

Fennel is a wonder herb when it comes to tummy mischief. It’s most commonly
known for soothing tummy aches but it sure does more than that! Fennel has the ability to give us energy by enhancing appetite, digestion, and absorption. It can help the human body break down and digest fatty foods too! Not only that, but it has the power to stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce sugar cravings. In my opinion, this is a great herb to incorporate while trying to step away from the common American diet. (Lots of fat & sugar sound familiar?!) Fennel can definitely settle the tummy so it helps us out with colic and bloating. You know that pink drink commonly advertised on the TV for stomach troubles? Fennel is certainly an herbal comparison to it since it relieves heartburn, indigestion, nausea, upset stomach, and diarrhea! Wooee! It’s quite the herb in the tummy department. Yay for fennel!!

Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

Ginger is one of those herbs that has created quite the buzz in the media these days. Known for it’s tummy soothing abilities and it’s anti-inflammatory properties, ginger is a great herb to talk about when discussing gut health. It’s a warming digestive stimulant which helps to improve both digestion and appetite. Ginger also removes buildup of toxins which can enhance our immunity and prevent any further inflammation from occurring. It helps to relieve indigestion, gas, nausea, IBS, and food allergies. Ginger can also help pregnant mamas who are experiencing morning sickness...and for all you party animals out there--It’s great for relieving hangovers!  

Marshmallow Root (Althaea officinalis)

Marshmallow root is great because of it's mucilage constituent.  A mucilage is a gel-like substance that attracts water to then form a viscous fluid. This helps to coat and soothe the mucous membranes of the digestive tract. That's what makes it great for fighting against heartburn, IBS, and constipation due to dryness. Marshmallow root also has anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it great for healing ulcerative colitis, gastritis and peptic ulcers! Thank you Marshmallow root for being so awesome!!

Peppermint (Mentha piperita)

Peppermint is a classic when it comes to soothing herbs. It’s refreshing taste and digestive qualities make it an all time favorite when it comes to tummy troubles! Being an antispasmodic, peppermint helps relieve pain and spasm in stomachaches, colic, indigestion, constipation, and IBS. It eases gassiness, and bloating.  It’s also been known to enhance appetite and digestion. In regards to gut health, peppermint is amazing because it contains tannins that help protect the gut lining. This helps to aid in fighting Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis! We love to hear that!! Not to mention, it’s a wonderful herb to grow in a garden. It is beautiful and attracts all kinds of pollinators!

Plantain (Plantago major or Plantago minor)

Plantain is one of those herbs that is commonly overlooked in our day to day life. Living in the PNW, it’s easy to dismiss plantain as a common weed but it’s actually an extremely medicinal plant! You can often find both species of plantain in your
backyard or along the sidewalk. Plantago major or Greater plantain is great for gut health because it has the ability to counter irritation and inflammation in the tummy and bowels. This is why it can be used when combating diarrhea, gastritis, colitis, and various stomach infections.  It's other super power is that it is an AMAZING wound healer, aiding in the repair of damaged mucosal tissue, such as the gut wall!  Another cool fact about plantain is that it’s seeds have the ability to be used as a bulk laxative!  Wow!  All of that, and so much more in this little "weed".

Turmeric (Curcuma longa)

Ginger Turmeric Gut health                                                                                                              Turmeric is amazing when it comes to healing funky gut. Not only does it aid in the basic stomach functions of digestion, absorption and metabolism but it also does some more complex work! Turmeric actually can regulate intestinal flora which makes it great for maintaining gut health. For this reason, it’s been used to help the gut recover after taking antibiotics. Turmeric also soothes gut mucosa which can help protect the gut during stressful times or when we are experiencing excessive acidity. This helps the body reduce the risk of infections such as ulcers and gastritis. It also has the ability to lower blood sugar levels in diabetics! It’s quite an amazing herb!!

 

Well, there you have it folks! Just a few of our all time favorite herbs for gut health. We hope you learned a bit about what the herbal world has to offer. It is a vast and complex world with many magical things! We can't wait to share what we have coming up for the month of LOVE. Stay tuned for posts on heart health, self care, and more!   

About the Author

Katey Linkous


Katey LinkousKatey was born and raised in the foothills around Mount Hood Oregon.  She's a busy mama raising her new daughter, a yogi, an herbalist, and master tea blender. Katey has spent the last few years studying pre-med in preparation to become a naturopath, though she will be focusing on the joys of motherhood for now.  She's passionate about sharing the powers of natural health and well being.  She's awesome, and so are you!

 

References:

Hoffmann, David. Medical herbalism: the science and practice of herbal medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003. Print.

McIntyre, Anne. The complete herbal tutor: the ideal companion for study and practice. London: Gaia, 2010. Print.

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