The importance of gut bacteria and probiotics like yoghurt and kefir especially after taking pharmaceutical medication is well known. This article is about using herbs for permanent rehabilitation of the digestive system from long term chronic indigestion using commonly available herbs.
Very often there are issues like low self esteem, fear-based eating that are at the heart of chronic digestive problems. The herbs mentioned in this article are not just physical chemicals that affect the physical parts of the body. They are wholesome energies that influence the psyche of the person having them. That’s why it is indeed possible to actually have a turnaround in long standing problems.
The following five steps can help with even the most severe chronic problems of the digestive system. The key is to be consistent.
The 5 Steps to Rehabilitate your Digestive System from Long Term and Chronic Indigestion with Herbs are:
1) Raise basic vital energy.
2) Relax and rehabilitate the tense nerves, muscles of the abdomen.
3) Soothe and nourish the internal linings of the digestive system, for better absorption of nutrients.
4) Stimulate and Balance the Liver.
5) Restore sleep cycle.
We need a certain amount of vital energy to digest our food. If one of the causes of chronic indigestion is chronically low vitality, the first thing to do is establish a stable routine taking natural aids in small doses. Small doses, because you do not want to create any further energetic imbalance by suddenly overworking the glands and organs. Rosehips tea is a source of Vitamin C that’s good in general for everyone. There a number of herbal teas and supplements that are revitalizing – pick one or two and have them twice or thrice a day increasing them a little and decreasing them a little according to your need.
It’s important to know the difference between something that’s energizing and something that’s adrenalizing. You do not need the adrenalin rush that has an element of being rushed, and panic in it. You need the calm energizing feel of, “Let’s get that job done now.”
The abdomen is the center of our body. What happens here affects every area of our lives. When we are tense and taut here, the effect slowly shows up in poor digestion, hormonal fluctuations and so on.
Relaxing the nerves and muscles here will allow natural digestion to get going again. The herbs mentioned below all help with this, but work in different ways so choose those which feel right for you.
Pulsatilla, Phytolacca, Rhus Tox, Tiger Lily, Saw Palmetto, Acorus Calamus, Comfrey, Passionflower, Hawthorn
Pulsatilla or Pasque Flower relaxes the muscles of the abdomen. If the chronic indigestion is because of tension caused by old trauma in the area, or pockets of clenched up nerves, pulsatilla will make the atmosphere less tense. You know that someone has a problem that needs pulsatilla if they also nearly always uptight and don’t feel flexible around the midriff – they probably haven’t moved the center of their bodies in a while. They need to maintain a serious tense posture for their job maybe and haven’t physically relaxed in a while.
While you will feel the effects of pulsatilla almost immediately or in a few minutes after you take it, the real magic happens when you take a little of it every day over a few weeks at least. A drop of the tincture of pulsatilla in the morning and one in the evening is sufficient.
Phytolacca or Poke Weed is an detangler of tightly bunched up and frazzled nerve endings. It’s got lots of good nutrition especially for boys and men. Sometimes digestion isn’t just restricted by tense nerve endings but by a basic loss of warmth in the center of the body. Phytolacca can help with this.
Rhus Tox or Poison Ivy obviously has to be taken in a really small dose – one drop of the tincture in 100ml taken twice a day is good. This is more of an emergency measure, for when the abdomen is tense to the point of nausea, ache in the bones and joints and the eyes feeling like they’re going dry in their sockets. Misplaced heat is what’s the problem, and Rhus Tox has just the ability to pop the balloon. If it doesn’t work in about 40 minutes you know it’s not what you need.
The Tiger Lily is a rehabilitator of nerve endings in the abdomen. The nerve endings of the abdomen get tired through strenous experiences like long labor before giving birth, getting back to work too soon after the strain and never fully recovering as a result. Surgery, strain caused by suddenly putting on a lot of weight around the middle, all could be addressed by taking a little of the tincture of Tiger Lily every day.
Saw Palmetto has the nutrition required to repair and rejuvenate muscle tissue. Most of our internal organs benefit from this nutrition, and get toned up, and better at their job as a result. A large part of digestion is about muscle tissue contracting and releasing pushing food through, pressing it and so on. All this is helped by having healthy muscle and organ tissue. Saw Palmetto taken regularly does this.
Acorus Calamus helps relax muscles and clear out gas stuck in pockets in the inner linings of the digestive system. In a large dose – say 10 drops of the tincture, it gives relief from indigestion caused by an imbalance between fluid, gas and solid in the digestive tract. In small doses it rehabilitates the linings supporting better absorption of nutrients and before long a reduction in problems caused by a hyperactive stomach.
Those who could be helped by Acorus Calamus tend to have trouble sleeping and nervous tension of the sort where they can’t fully open their hands without some effort and maybe even pain. They tend to have not enough good fat in the diet and are usually mentally overstrained as well.
Comfrey is a pain reliever and can help digestion along as a result. It aids the break down of gunk stuck in places along the tract by its energizing of the area. It supports relaxation of nerve and muscle resulting in better digestion.
Comfrey is especially useful when there’s pain and cramping around the abdomen regularly like when the constipation is triggered by menstruation.
Passionflower relaxes the nerves of the digestive system. It is helpful for those who have trouble sleeping and who are in the habit of going rigid with fright or terror or trauma. Whenever there’s trauma of any sort triggering or accompanying constipation, passionflower can help.
A general tonic, Hawthorn is for those who don’t seem to have enough heat in the abdominal area to support digestion. Those who have been depleted by surgery, drugs, a nervous breakdown and similarly exhausting experiences, could be helped in a big way by hawthorn.
It also helps those with heart weakness of any kind, as it is supports heart function and with it, robust blood circulation that definitely helps digestion.
3) Soothe and nourish the internal linings of the digestive system, for better absorption of nutrients.
Aloe Vera leaf pulp is one of the most gentle comforters of the digestive tract. You don’t need a lot of it to have its benefits. For those whose digestive tract has had wounds inside, this is especially useful. Mind you use the fresh leaf or find a source of aloe juice that doesn’t have additives that can irritate the lining.
Aloe Vera is also very useful for creating a comfy warm atmosphere in the tract for good bacteria to multiply. It can shorten the time the digestive tract takes to recover from a gut-bacteria wipe-out (such as happens after a course of pharmaceutical antibiotics).
Slippery Elm Bark Powder
Slippery Elm Bark is wonderful for soothing the digestive tract and supporting the healing of places scarred and injured. It is especially good for those who alternate between diarrhea and constipation. For those whose digestion stalls in new places and on exposure to overwhelming experiences.
Club moss or Lycopodium rejuvenates the lower intestine – an area where vital energy is required to continue the elimination of the digestive system. If the constipation is mostly a problem actually pushing out, Lycopodium can help.
Cascara, or Buckthorn is an overall support of any problem that is at the root of the chronic indigestion. It has to be taken regularly over a few weeks. It is especially helpful for those who develop constipation because of sensitivity to processed foods, gluten, and GMO foods.
The liver produces the substances the stomach needs to break down and process food. It is often a pleasant surprise when a liver support herb makes chronic constipation disappear as a side-effect of a healthier liver. You know need liver support as part of your plan to end chronic indigestion if you’ve had more than a little of a drug, have been poisoned, have head aches around issues to do with food, and if what you eat comes out the other end looking too much like how it looked when you ate it.
Alnus Rubra has an energizing on the liver helping it balance, while actively supporting digestion directly. It heals ulcers in the linings of the digestive tract. It helps especially those who have developed indigestion as a result of continuous exposure to corrosive chemicals in food or water. If there is the smell or feel of rawness in the mouth or coming up the food pipe, you know Alnus Rubra can help.
Celandine helps the liver perform better by supporting circulation and clarity of function among all the organs of the digestive system. If the problem is an underfunctioning spleen or stressed pancreas, Celandine is the remedy for all of it. You know celandine is the remedy for you if you feel heavy and sluggish more often than not. There are always several emotional issues behind a person feeling sluggish, most of which center around a feeling of not being on the right path in life. If that’s you, Celandine most definitely will help. It’s got that sort of natural lightness that influences us when we have it.
Tinospora or Giloy is a climber with the ability to adapt. It has those substances that can life up a tired over-worked liver and help it release all those substances that make digestion get going. It also is good directly for the digestive system. You know you could use some Tinospora if you feel lumpy in places – like there are things stuck here and there in your body or under your skin. Being prone to drastic mood swings is also a sign of Tinospora being a good remedy for you as it helps balance hormone levels.
Dandelion is a herb most people can use without any negative side-effects no matter how much you have. Its just fantastic nutrition for the liver, whether in a growing child or someone recovering from an illness. It helps the liver calm down after it has gotten imbalanced because of the body and psyche being adrenalized too much. You know you could use some dandelion if you’ve got more skin problems than one or two, and haven’t really had enough daylight exposure for a while. If you’re a cigarette smoker (even a second hand smoker) and can’t seem to put on weight, or lose weight, dandelion could be your breakthrough. You do have to have it regularly – a tspoon a day at least, or 5 drops of the tincture twice a day.
Good digestion and good sleep go together. No matter which herb you’re taking, for good digestion in the long term you need to have slept deep and well enough. You know you’ve slept well if you wake up feeling fresh and energized. Getting to sleep well means having waking rest, dealing with stress, keeping a cool head through the day and especially through the evening.
You might have to try a few different herbs to find one that suits your needs and once you’ve found one or a few, have them in little doses every evening.
Herbs that calm the nervous system and help recover from stress to support a good night’s sleep.
Passionflower has already been mentioned on this page as an aid to relaxation of the nerves in the stomach. It also help the sort of person who’s brain is over-stimulated and can’t fall asleep easily as a result. it’s good for those with over-active worry glands (I just made those up right now) and who want to see ‘all sides of the picture’ and that sort of thing.
It is especially good for those who have developed the unfortunate habit of keeping all their worries and stressful thoughts to deal with just before falling asleep.
Valerian is not really a sedative as commonly, just really relaxing and de-stressing. If a person needs to sleep, as soon as they get relaxed they will. You don’t need huge doses of Valerian – just a few drops in the evening.
Valerian’s especially good for those who have or are facing nervous exhaustion and depletion such as caused by traumatic incidents, sudden heavy responsibility, a difficult project.
Also not a sedative, but a strengthener of the nerves, Skullcap is for those who can’t ‘keep it together’, for who confusion and being pulled in two directions at the same time mentally, is a common experience. To sleep well, you need have a somewhat relaxed mind hours before at least if not through the day. Skullcap taken a few drops in the morning and a few in the evening will help the nervous system find balance and be in a better place to relax and sleep.
CBD Oil from Hemp or Cannabis, is straight-up nutrition for a brain that’s tired, under-nourished and/or caught in unhealthy electrical patterns. It is safe and good for everyone at any age. It won’t put you to sleep immediately but taken over a few weeks it will help not just the brain but the body to get back to a normal sleep cycle.
Spikenard is a famous restorer of sleep cycle because of its melatonin content. Melatonin is the hormone that makes us feel sleepy. Spikenard oil in the evenings will make the hours before sleep a lot easier for those who stress a lot, and who have gone years without a stable sleep-wake-up routine. Best of all, for those who feel hungry because they haven’t slept enough – a whole lot of people don’t know they have that habit – Spikenard will help normalize appetite. For those with pent up sexual tension and the related mood swings, impaired digestion, Spikenard can bring relief. It is especially helpful for those recovering from surgery or a major trauma as it can help you get the sleep the body needs for recovery
In cases where the problem with sleep is not a nervous system based problem, but a problem with breathing, respiratory tonics like:
A beautiful aromatic soothing drop or two can help everyone from babies to adults breathe easier. It clears up congestion and relaxes any tense organs. I use it in my Flu herbal tonic not just for this but because of it’s calming effect on the nerves in general. It is especially helpful for those who react to stress with breathing constriction. Nervousness with unsteady breathing is a sign Peruvian Balsam will work well for a person
This one’s for those whose lungs don’t seem to be strong enough breathing is mostly weak and erratic, so sleep is shallow instead of deep. Lots of tossing and turning and irritability around bed-time, is a sign Elecampane can help. Elecampane’s got a good effect on weak digestive organs altogether, but it is especially helpful for those whose lungs haven’t been exercised enough – say someone who has been spending time indoors for years and whose lifestyle doesn’t have anything in it that works their lungs regularly. The skin issues that arise from this are also addressed by Elecampane.
This one’s for those who have had trauma causing breathing issues. Extended situations of stress and tension have the body getting into the habit of restricting blood supply and nerve function as the person quite literally ‘holds their breath’. To be able to breathe freely again, the nerves around the lungs need to be rehabilitated. Quebracha is amazing in it’s ability to make a person who’s felt choked and without oxygen to be able to breathe and feel like he or she has had a nice deep breath again. It is especially helpful for those who have had to tolerate small closed spaces for far too long.
The Black Willow breathes very slow and deep itself. It rehabilitates lungs that are atrophied, or twisted up here and there and experiencing an ache or pain. Those who have inhaled metal or other pollution have overworked tired lungs that could use some help. Black Willow also helps those who have a problem with breathing through one or the other nostril. It’s nostrils to breathe in and out with both nostrils but hormonal imbalance as well as nervous issues can cause a person to lessen breath through one or the other nostril making sleep difficult (among other things).
The Black Willow was once famous for being a rejuvenator of sexual function. Sexual function and lung strength go together, as do deep sleep and good digestion.