Herbal Remedies for gastrointestinal complaints: Part 3 A healthy intestine as the basis of our well-being
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Our gut is home to trillions of germs, bacteria and fungi – and that’s a good thing. This is referred to as the “microbiome”. When we talk about the intestinal flora, all bacteria and germs in the intestine are referenced, while the microbiome describes a definable area in the intestine that houses the greatest concentration of germs, bacteria and fungi. The composition of the microbiome is extremely important for good digestion and a strong immune system.
Research into gut health has grown exponentially over the past two decades. It is believed that there is a connection between the gut and the brain. For example, the happiness hormones serotonin and dopamine are produced by our intestinal bacteria and enter the bloodstream through the intestinal wall. It is therefore assumed that mental disorders could be related to an imbalance in the microbiome. A disturbed balance in the microbiome may also be a factor in the development of obesity and diabetes.
Poor nutrition damages the intestines
You hear the expression “highly processed foods” and the harmful effects they can have over and over again. Diet plays a major role in gut health. Highly processed foods are particularly characterized by the fact that they contain many additives and/or preservatives. They are also often low in fibre, high in sugar and low in vitamins, minerals and protein.
This interaction is detrimental in many ways. Fibre is important for digestion and keeps us full. If you eat too much or only processed foods, you eat more and more often. Sugar promotes inflammation in the body – including in the gut. Consuming too many of these foods can have a negative impact on gut health and well-being. The composition of the bacteria in the gut changes and our digestion becomes sluggish.
Effects of antibiotics on gut health
Antibiotics are often unavoidable, but their use should be carefully considered. Antibiotics destroy many important bacteria in the microbiome. The intestines recover after a few months, but not completely. Important bacteria often disappear permanently from the intestine.
There are intestinal regeneration cures (probiotics) to buy in the pharmacy. However, the effectiveness of these funds is disputed. Further down in this article, you will learn how you can use the right foods and medicinal plants to help your gut recover.
Healthy intestinal flora with proper nutrition and herbal help
There are numerous factors that affect our gut health. A balanced diet plays a significant role in this. But what exactly should you eat to support the intestines?
The right diet
Since there are already many informative articles on this topic, we would only like to briefly list what you should basically include in a gut-friendly diet.
Fibre: Helps the gut detoxify. They can be found in nuts, whole grain products, vegetables, fruit, psyllium, flaxseed and much more.
But beware: If you are currently eating a low-fiber diet, you should only increase the fiber intake slowly (to around 30 grams/day). Failure to do so can result in digestive problems such as constipation or bloating. Also, drink enough water.
Natural pro- and prebiotics: contain lactic acid bacteria and strengthen the intestinal flora. You can find them in
1. Certain dairy products: e.g. yoghurt and kefir
2. Fruits and vegetables: onions, garlic and bananas
3. Fermented: Sauerkraut or other fermented vegetables.
Cleansing and building up the intestines
If the intestine is already attacked, it makes sense to support it in cleaning and building up in addition to an appropriate diet with herbs and medicinal plants. Some of these are easy to incorporate into meals, others you can enjoy as a tea.
Tannins clean the intestinal walls and help the body to eliminate harmful substances. They also inhibit inflammation in the gut. Tannins are contained in
1. Foods like blueberries and bananas
2. Herbs like rosemary
3. Medicinal plants such as clove root, tormentil, witch hazel leaves and black tea
Here you will find other foods that can help with intestinal cleansing. You will also find information there on how to carry out an intestinal regeneration cure.
Bitter substances are disappearing more and more from our daily diet, although they are important for many functions in the body. Bitter substances stimulate the flow of saliva and thus ensure the production of digestive enzymes. They improve liver metabolism and promote bile flow. In addition, bitter substances stimulate digestion.
Bitter substances have an appetizing effect and curb cravings. Anyone who reduces sugar intake and incorporates bitter substances into their daily diet can get rid of their cravings for sweets. Bitter substances are available as preparations (e.g. Digestive Bitter), but they are also contained in
1. Foods like arugula, endive, Brussels sprouts, spinach, ginger and artichokes
2. Spices like turmeric, cinnamon, thyme, tarragon
3. Medicinal plants such as dandelion, nettle, yarrow, wormwood, valerian
Other stomach-friendly medicinal plants and spices
Caraway as a spice, in tea or as an oil: helps with flatulence and calms the intestines. Caraway also plays a role in cell protection and as an anti-inflammatory.
Peppermint as a tea or oil: Helps with bloating and abdominal pain. Peppermint has an anticonvulsant effect and is often used in the therapy of irritable bowel patients. Regularly drinking a cup of peppermint tea is good for your stomach and intestines.
There are combination preparations, with caraway and peppermint, which are used, for example, for stomach cramps.
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