A practical guide for nutritional and traditional health care.
An inability to properly digest and assimilate ingested food in the stomach leads to the condition called indigestion, it usually occurs after a meal and is an uncomfortable and irritating condition. A variety of symptoms are associated with the condition, some of the most common manifestation is a burning sensation in the stomach, this includes heartburn, the person may experience a lot of belching, there may be a lot of gas being produced in the body in addition. The person also typically feels heavy in the stomach and has a bloated sensation long after having eaten. Other uncomfortable symptoms are flatulence, bloating sensations, the unpleasant feeling of nausea and the rise of a poor appetite in the long term.
Bad eating habits and the kind of food that is consumed is very often the direct cause of indigestion and most forms of uncomfortable digestive problems. The digestive organs are greatly stressed and are worn out, through the use of a variety of refined and processed foodstuffs. The process of digestion is also hampered and slowed down by the consumption of excessive quantities of fats, this is more so in the case of heavy intake of saturated fats which are considered unhealthy and are found abundantly in fast foods and deep-fried foodstuffs. Indigestion can also come about and acidity may result if an excess quantity of beverages like coffee, drinks like alcohol, spicy foodstuffs and even cigarettes are used. Eating habits play a big part in the onset of indigestion, eating too quickly, eating fast in response to stress, and other types of improper eating behaviors can all affect the stomach adversely. Even the ingestion of large amounts of liquids along with food and not masticating thoroughly can cause indigestion. There are also metabolic and internal factors involved, which may be the cause of indigestion in an individual; therefore imbalances in the levels of bile and other gastric juices, fluctuations in the level of stomach acids and an overproduction of enzymes can all be contributors. A combination of different types of foods can also lead to indigestion. Lastly certain types of food allergies and sensitivities can also be the causes for indigestion.
Supplements and herbs
For proper digestion in the stomach, the digestive substances such as hydrochloric acid, all relevant enzymes and bile are vital, even though on the whole it can be said that digestion is much more complicated and complex, these substances are the basic requirements. Indigestion therefore follows and the digestive process is affected leading to symptoms like nausea and bloating if any of these components are present in low levels or are depleted in the stomach. The digestive process will also be affected and impaired, in cases where an individual is administered a lot of antibiotics, provided this has led to a deficiency of the healthy intestinal bacteria so vital for gastric function. In all such cases, the proper functioning of the digestive process can be recovered and remedied by replacing the intestinal flora with supplements of acidophilus as a treatment. When and if indigestion is due to the lack of gastric acids, betaine hydrochloride (HCI) can be used as a substitute supplement. During the utilization of this supplement the dosage must be lowered at once if there is a slight burning sensation.
For the process of digestion to run its course in the body, all digestive enzymes are required in optimal amounts. Lactase for example can be used as a supplement if the problem is an inability to digest milk and other dairy derivatives. If the affected individual has a low tolerance for oils and fats then an excellent supplement is lecithin. Medicinal clay mixed in lukewarm water may be used as a supplement to help bind the fermenting acids present in the intestines, this can be drunk regularly as a supplement whenever indigestion comes about in a person.
It is advisable not to use antacids as these bring about indigestion by inhibiting digestion, bringing on the production of excessive gas, a sensation of bloating and constipation in the individual. As a therapeutic measure to cure indigestion, the suppression or the neutralization of gastric acids is useless. Taken at the optimal and effective timing of about fifteen minutes or half an hour before eating, herbal remedies and stomach bitters that support the liver and gall- bladder are a much better substitute to antacids.
An effective and excellent combination that can aid the digestive process is the use of gentian root and the leaves and root of the dandelion. These can be taken in the form of a herbal tea, made by steeping the herbs for ten to fifteen minutes, in hot water or by pouring a cup of boiling water over a tsp. of the herbs. This herbal concoction can be drunk a single cup thrice a day. Proven herbal remedies for the immediate cessation of indigestion include the herbs such as the peppermint, fennel and lemon balm and chamomile, all these herbs have had traditional use in this role. The essential oil from these herbs can be taken in water by adding 5 drops of each essential oil. A tablespoon of this preparation can be drunk slowly twice a day. As an after meal remedy and preventive substance, fennel can be used. It can also be taken after dinner if there is gripping pains along with the indigestion. A nervous stomach and the presence of nausea with indigestion can be helped using peppermint as a supplement; it stimulates the flow of bile and is effective as a remedy against indigestion due to imbalance of gastric juices. A nervous stomach can also be soothed and calmed using the lemon balm. Dandelion sprigs can be chewed for immediate alleviation from indigestion, as the bitter taste stimulates bile flow, 2-3 sprigs can be chewed at a time whenever there is indigestion. The normalization of the bowels can also be achieved through the utilization of silica, till there are sufficient quantities of it inside the intestines. Indigestion can also be remedied using the horsetail herb as a tea, this can be drunk 1-3 cups a day, a tbsp. of the horsetail juice in any liquid can also be used, alternately aqueous vegetal capsules can be used, about 1-3 capsules per dose. In the treatment of indigestion tea can be made using all of the following effective and traditional herbs used for curing indigestion. Thus tea can be made from the common garlic, from the wormwood herb, using calamus and or papaya. Using herbs like the aloe vera, the hops shrub, tea can also be easily prepared from the root of the valerian plant, from culinary herbs like the rosemary and thyme, from tormentil, from the root of the marsh mallow plant, using licorice, from ginger and from cayenne.
All of these herbal remedies should be utilized at a low dosage or potency preferably at 6x, 6c, 12x or 12c strengths. These can be used half an hour before mealtime, or in emergency cases of indigestion, during the process of the indigestion felt especially in all acute cases.
Additional things you may do
Some simple dining rules can greatly reduce the chances of indigestion, dine and eat in a relaxed and calm state of mind. Digestion can also be helped on by the performance of some relaxing breathing exercises half an hour before eating. Mastication that is the proper chewing of food in the mouth must be carried out; the food must be chewed slowly and consciously with deliberation. Every single bite or morsel of food taken in the mouth must be masticated at least fifteen times to break it down completely. Walking after having had a meal is an excellent idea and aids digestion. A warm compress can also be applied to the region of the stomach when taking rest, twice a day after mealtimes. These warm compresses can be made and prepared by wrapping ten small sized and boiled potatoes with the peels on, in a cotton cloth, this can be squashed, so as to present a smooth surface. The potato pack or compress thus made can be covered with a dried towel or cloth. When compared to packs and compresses made from other materials, these potato packs keeps warm for the longest periods and are thus best suited for this role.
Other beneficial herbs