Top 3 Herbs for Digestion

A principle in herbalism is that most chronic disease begins with poor digestion. If you can’t transform your food into the nutrients your body needs, then how can you have good health? In fact, many culinary herbs have been in use for thousands of years not only because they taste good but also because they help with digestion.
Sadly, all too often, people have had poor digestion for so long that they assume it’s a natural part of life.
Did you know? Although it’s about 30 feet long, the digestive tract needs smaller helpers, too: acids, enzymes and bacteria all help break down food.
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Herbal medicine helps keep digestion perking along. In one study, 24 patients received a mixture containing dandelion root, St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum), lemon balm, calendula (Calendula officinalis) and fennel. Ninety-five percent had relief of colitis symptoms in 15 days.
Digestive herbs work in a number of interesting ways from healing the lining of the gut to increasing the secretion of digestive juices to repairing digestion related organs like the liver, gallbladder, pancreas and stomach.
Stomach pain due to ulcers and indigestion from over-eating, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), constipation, and diarrhea are just some of the problems that can plague this sensitive area, but there are also herbs for digestion that can help with each of these. The liver, which is part of digestion, gets special attention in this article and its function can be enhanced with digestive herbs.
The following are clues to poor digestion:
Poor appetite
Recurring diarrhea
Here are my three favorite herbs for better digestion:
Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
Warming Digestif and Yang Herb
In addition to being one of the best digestive herbs, this amazing warming spice also impacts the circulatory system. This root was introduced into Europe during the Roman Empire, and it has held an honored place as one of the herbs for digestion in traditional medicine for a very long time.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinalis)
Digestive Bitter Herb
The name of this flower is derived from the French “dent de lion” meaning lion’s tooth. This name was supposedly given to this plant by a 15th century surgeon, due to the dandelion’s jagged shaped leaves. Folk healers have long prescribed the root of this cleansing digestive herb for liver and digestive problems.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
Digestive Tonic
The Greek doctor, Dioscorides, is reputed to have regularly worn a sprig of peppermint to lift his spirits. Its antispasmodic actions were recognized by physicians of the ancient world, and peppermint was popular with our more modern ancestors who saw it as a healing herb for digestion and the relief of digestive colic, sluggish digestion, flatulence, and bloating. Used for centuries as a gastrointestinal aid, peppermint is a digestive herb that helps relax the muscles of the digestive tract and stimulates bile flow.
Houghton, Marlene. Herbs Plain & Simple: The Only Book You’ll Ever Need. Hampton Roads Publishing.
De La Forêt, Rosalee. Alchemy of Herbs: Transform Everyday Ingredients into Foods and Remedies That Heal. Hay House, Inc.

Top 3 Nervine Herbs for Stress

Stress is the body’s heightened physiological response to stimuli, both good and bad.
A constant release of these hormones from stress can result in a weakened immune response, over-stressed mind, and harmful inflammation.
I’ve picked some of my favorite herbs to help support your body under stress. These herbs referred to as nervines, which is a herbal action.
What is a herbal action? It’s the effect that a herb has on the body. For stress, nervines, adaptogens and sedatives are great! But in this article, I will cover nervine herbs for stress.
Nervines are herbs that specifically helps support the nervous system.
Nervines are used to help relieve normal muscle tension, circular thoughts, wakeful nights, and the occasional worry we all experience from time to time.
Below is a list of three nervine herbs for stress:
Chamomile is an aromatic flower in the Asteraceae family. The word Chamomile is derived from the Greek for “ground apple.” It’s helpful for relieving general daily mental stress. It’s often used to help ease anxiety and tension and to invite sleep which makes it an amazing nighttime tea.
Lavender is a fragrant shrub from the Lamiaceae (mint) family. It’s a calming herb that is often used in aromatherapy applications for its calming action. It’s most often seen as an essential oil. Just by inhaling the scent of lavender or drinking its tea can calm and relax the anxious mind. Lavender is a wonderful herb that’s known to balance emotions and eases mild depression.
Lemon Balm
Another plant from the Lamiaceae (mint) family is Lemon Balm. This herb has a strong but pleasant lemony smell. It helps with nervous exhaustion, anxiety and depression. It makes a delicious tea, either from fresh or dried leaves. You can also breathe in the fresh herb for the calming effects of it’s scent.
Now that we’ve covered these easy to find nervine herbs for stress you can make teas or buy essential oils to diffuse for deep relaxation or sleep.

Healing Herbalism: Antioxidants

The herbs listed in this article are highly valued for their antioxidant qualities and should be added to your diet! Either in teas, foods like salads or in supplement form.

Before we begin, let’s briefly look at what antioxidants and free-radicals are.

Antioxidants are the powerful nutritional allies that fight disease, cancer, and even the aging process. They are certain nutrients, minerals, phytochemicals, herbs, and enzymes that counteract the harmful effects of free radicals on the body. As the cells in your body burn food for energy, they also burn oxygen, a process that creates atoms, molecules, and portions of molecules known as free radicals. These toxic molecules contain unpaired electrons that bind to and destroy healthy cells, creating more free radicals to attack other healthy cells. This results in oxidative damage to cells and tissues. Free radicals also destroy and cause mutations in cells that render them unable to absorb the nutrients you need.

Free-radicals create “cell starvation” which, results in an inability to fight off disease.

Bilberry is a small edible dark blueberry of a low-growing shrub in Vaccinium family. Bilberry is scientifically referred as Vaccinium myrtillus. It is a close relative of blueberry, blaeberry, huckleberry and cranberry. The part used as an herb is the leaf portion of the plant.

This herb can lower blood pressure. It also protects the eyes; inhibits bacterial growth; has anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, and antiaging properties; and helps to lower blood sugar levels. The collagen-stabilizing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of bilberry extract make it helpful for the treatment of arthritis. Bilberry contains phytochemicals known as anthocyanidins, which studies indicate can provide up to fifty times the antioxidant protection of vitamin E and ten times the protection of vitamin C.

Burdock, known as Arctium. Remember the small burrs that often get stuck on your socks when walking through a forest? Those small burrs come from the burdock plant. Burdock is also from the Asteraceae family. It is relative of the sunflower, when taken in combination with vitamin E, is extremely effective for eliminating harmful free radicals. It also helps to prevent cell mutation, which might otherwise lead to cancer.

The root is the most used part of the plant for its properties. Burdock purifies the blood and, when prepared as a tea, has proven beneficial for treating chronic skin conditions such as acne and eczema, and ridding the body of kidney stones and gallstones. It eliminates toxins, supports digestion, and is a good source of calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and protein.

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Garlic is a species in the onion genus, Allium. Its close relatives include the onion, shallot, leek and chive. Garlic is extremely effective at neutralizing the effects of free radicals. Garlic is a powerful antioxidant with an amazing array of healing properties. Its antibacterial, antifungal, anti-parasitic and antiviral properties can protect you against a wide variety of harmful, disease-causing microbes and organisms. Evidence suggests that organo-sulfurs found in garlic may help to prevent hardening of the arteries. It has been known to protect the body against cholesterol buildup, prevent blood clots, and lower high blood pressure.

Garlic’s sulfur compounds have the ability to reduce the formation of carcinogenic compounds, inhibiting the growth of different types of cancer, including colon cancer.

Ginkgo biloba has a stabilizing effect on cellular membranes. It also has powerful antioxidant effects in the brain, retina, and cardiovascular system. Ginkgo has a stabilizing effect on cellular membranes. It also has powerful antioxidant effects in the brain, retina, and cardiovascular system. It is helpful for ordinary age-related memory loss, ringing in the ears, balance disorders, impotence and macular degeneration.

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Green Tea
Green tea from the Camellia sinensis plant is rich in flavonoids and other compounds that may possess potent antioxidant properties. Drinking as little as one cup of green tea each day appears to offer some protection against heart disease. Green tea is the dried, unfermented, leaves of the plant. The fermentation process, which produces black tea, destroys most of the polyphenols, making black tea less effective as an antioxidant.

Milk Thistle
Milk thistle, also known as silymarin is from the Asteraceae family. It produces a compound extracted from the seeds of milk thistle, have been used for centuries to treat diseases of the liver. This powerful antioxidant guards the liver from oxidative damage; protects the liver from toxins, drugs, and the effects of alcohol (cirrhosis) and the hepatitis B and C viruses; and promotes the growth of new liver cells. Also, silymarin increases levels of glutathione, a potent antioxidant enzyme produced in the liver.


Turmeric is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. What gives turmeric its anti-oxidant nature is phenolic nature of its key ingredient, curcumins. Studies have shown that curcuminoids are very effective in scavenging free radicals and neutralize them. Other substances in turmeric help remove toxic byproducts that may contribute to the formation of cancer cells. It soothes inflammation by reducing levels of histamine, a body chemical that is released as part of the immune response. It is available as a powdered root, in capsules, and as a liquid tincture.

Grapeseed and Pine Bark Extracts
Both grape seed extract and pine bark are rich in flavonoids known variously as procyanidolic oligomers (PCOs) and oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs). These are naturally occurring substances found throughout plant life, and are concentrated in grapeseed and pine bark extracts. PCOs, which are highly water soluble and are rapidly absorbed by the body, help to promote cardiovascular health, balance body fluids, and strengthen capillaries.

They also are believed to provide certain benefits for people with arthritis and allergies. The antioxidant effects are 50 times greater than that of vitamin C and E. A major advantage of these molecules is that they are taken up into the cell membranes and protect against both water- and fat soluble free-radicals.


Balch CNC, Phyllis A. Prescription for Dietary Wellness: Using Foods to Heal. Penguin Publishing Group.