Tag Archives: fennel

Giving you gut some extra help…

I am currently on industrial strength antibiotics to deal with an armpit cyst.  I know.  Glamorous, right?!  I am supposed to take 2000mg per day – but I can’t fit that in, so for the past week (and for the next week as well) I am taking 1500mg per day instead.  The cyst is responding to the antibiotics, though it isn’t completely gone, but my gut and I are not feeling very happy with all those bacteria killers flying about my system.

antibiotics

I decided to have a look around on line for some ideas to help my gut feel better during and after this course of treatment.  It appears I stumbled onto something, because there is a large amount of information out there for people who are troubled with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Irritable Bowel Disease, Colitis and all sorts of other stuff.  I have distilled the information into just four things we can use to give our gut some help.

dandelion

The first thing is dandelion.  Yes, the dandelion which throws gardeners into a froth and often brings out the homicidal tendencies in them… oh… just me then?  Actually, all parts of the dandelion are excellent digestive aids.  You can use the root, the leaves, the stalks (though be careful with them) and the flowers.  You can use them in teas, tinctures, vinegars, honey, oil or even just in a salad.  If you take some before meals you can stop heartburn.  If you take it after meals it can help with gall bladder pain and improve digestion.  Taking dandelion morning and night can alleviate gut pain and even tone your liver.

slippery elm

Next is something called Slippery Elm.  Sounds rather disgusting if you ask me, but apparently it is fabulous for assisting a digestive tract in crisis.  It is actually the bark from the slippery elm tree which is used to make the remedies (available in health food shops I understand) and it can help to restore balance to an irritated system (IBS/IBD) or a system under attack from Lupus or Crohn’s.  Even people undergoing chemotherapy with deeply distressed guts have found improvements with taking Slippery Elm.  Something to consider if you are in deep discomfort.  Apparently it acts as a counter to food poisoning, can quell acid refluxes and even helps with diarrhoea or constipation.

fennel seeds

Next are the aromatic seeds.  These are caraway, coriander, cumin, dill and fennel seeds – I have several of these hiding at the back of my pantry cupboard. Take 1 teaspoon of any of these seeds, put in a cup with boiling water and leave it to steep.  Drink it while it is still warm, sweetened or not, depending on your taste, and there you have it.  It is great for alleviating gas pains and for speeding up digestion.  It can also help to counteract the digestion effects of heavy painkillers.

yogurt

Finally, an ever present item in my house is yogurt.  Plain and unsweetened is best,  or you can make your own with real (unpasteurised) milk.  It is of great use to people with colitis and can also help gut pain, gas pain, stomach pain, nausea and even bad breath.  Also, if you have Bioactive yogurt, then you can help to recolonise the good bacteria in your gut once any antibiotics have done their stuff.  Yes… bioactive yogurt features high on my shopping list this week!

I hope, if you are in the same boat as me, with a distressed digestive tract, that these remedies might offer some relief to you.

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Oh Crumbs… something I ate does not agree with me…

Everyone has been in this situation.  It is Christmas (or Thanksgiving, or a Wedding Reception, or a Birthday dinner out).  You get a feeling that something you have eaten does not agree with you.  It might be nausea you feel, or a highly flavoured something repeats on you, or you get the delightful acid reflux.  It usually happens at a very important point.  Like in an important business meeting.  Or in a quiet bit when you are at Church.  Or when you are on a date.  It is horrible.  But it doesn’t have to happen regularly.

Indigestion is no joke.  Not funny at all.  I know people who have had to severely curtail their life because their indigestion is a little out of control.  It is a catch all title for any discomfort experienced in the upper abdomen and whatever causes it, I know it is miserable for the person on the sharp end.  If the indigestion is chronic, then you should definitely see a medical professional.  If it comes on when you exercise, then it is even more important to see someone.  It could be heart and not stomach trouble.

So what can you do to stop it?  You need to cut out the stimulants.  Say goodbye to coffee, tea, nicotine, chocolate.  All of these have a chemical that relaxes the lower oesophageal sphincter which contributes to indigestion.  It is a good job that I don’t get indigestion very often, because I would find it very hard to give up coffee and tea.  The other two, no problem, but you will have to prise the caffienated beverages from my cold, dead hands.

The second piece of advice from the Country Doctor book is not to be a hog at a trough come feeding time.  Overeating will send the stomach into a tailspin.  Basically, if you eat a huge meal, then your stomach produces too much acid to help digest that meal and then it keeps on going  producing a lot of acid, even if you only eat what you normally would.  You end up in a hyperacidity vicious circle.  Cut down on the portion sizes might help, if you think it could be overindulgence causing the problem.

What about trying a calmative tea?  Catnip and Chamomile make good digestive additions, although I might have to battle with the cats for the catnip.  Liquorice and mint is a really tasty and fabulous mixture for calming the digestive system, and so is Fennel Tea.  You can pick up tea bags of these flavours (except the catnip!) in most supermarkets these days.

Also, if you find that your indigestion happens after you have eaten rich, fatty foods, or after you have eaten highly spiced foods, then perhaps your eating patterns needs a bit of an overhaul.  Taking away fat and cream does not mean that you lose taste or flavour and if it calms your digestion, then it has to be worth a try.

From my research, one of the thing that many people are unaware of is that sometimes indigestion is caused by too little stomach acid as well as too much.  If you try all of the above remedies and you are still feeling horrible, then try drinking a little apple cider vinegar in a glass of water before you eat.  If you don’t get indigestion, then bingo – you had hypoacidity issues.