Boost your gut health ~ some ideas! – Studio Botanica

This time of year, when many of us, in this hemisphere at least, are emerging from a few months of  bone-chilling cold, we can benefit from a few ‘springtime’ rituals + lifestyle changes to lighten up a bit and nourish ourselves! One common query from readers, clients + friends is about a need to improve our digestive system function.
How to “boost your gut health” is a common theme these days in the media, in countless ads on TV and magazines.

Here are some ways to boost your gut health:

These ideas may seem ‘elementary’ and common knowledge,  but, each one is important. Each of these suggestions works to increase our well-being.  Each one is a powerful suggestion!!

The old saying “You are what you eat” would be slightly more TRUE changed to “You are what you can digest or assimilate” I know it’s not as ‘catchy’ a phrase but truth nonetheless.
We can choose to eat high quality foods from the best sources. We can eat ‘local’, follow the strictest dietary guidelines….
but if the nutrients are not able to be used by our bodies due to poor assimilation, we are not being nourished & supported.
NOT being nourished & supported = open door for chronic issues.

There are 5 tastes ~ sweet, salty, sour, pungent** & bitter. This last, the taste of ‘bitter’ has been all but forgotten in North America.
Bitter flavours trigger the beginning of the ‘flow’ of digestive fluids. Bitters signal the body that food is ‘on its way’, and a number of processes ‘mobilize’.
The digestive process begins in the mouth with the secretion of saliva. One more reason to chew our food more than most of us do;
saliva contains amylase, the enzyme which breaks down starches into sugars and the more we chew, the easier it is for our food to head down that road to better assimilation.

There are some delicious, somewhat bitter greens which are findable at your local grocery or farmers’ market. SO GOOD FOR US!!

On the topic of  “bitter” taste, there are limitless ideas about using our body’s love of bitters to help ourselves improve liver health AND our ability to digest our foods in the best way possible!
Bitter Herbs can be a huge help in our quest to improve gut health + microbiome health.
I’ve shared “The top 10 reasons to take bitters”  plus a discussion of  herbal energetics (warming vs cooling)
Here’s how to make a good quality tasty bitter formula at home: Just check out this link with some ideas –> here !

Can’t think about the glory of bitters without sharing a favourite bitters company!  Check out the link below, and order your own personal bottle!!
Urban Moonshine.

Boost your gut health with Herbs

Yep.. that’s #9 above.  We can use herbs in various ways to assist with improving our own digestive system function + overall health.

Herbs can help our digestion.

How well do you digest and assimilate your food?
Do you find that you are tired after eating?
Do you have heartburn symptoms?
Do you have gas, flatulence or bloating after eating?

There’s a very long list of ‘carminative’** herbs, as we call them.
These fragrant herbs and spices promote better digestion and we can find ways to add them into our meals and brew new herbal teas to nourish ourselves!
We can use herbs from this list to ‘bump up’ our ability to digest our food ~ just by adding them to our meals.   See this post for more details about carminative herbs.

** The mode of action of carminative herbs is largely a result of the volatile oils they contain. These compounds help increase gastric emptying and are mildly irritating to the gastric mucosa so that peristalsis is increased, thereby relieving cramping and expelling gas. It should be noted that carminatives are NOT necessarily muscle relaxants, but are often also antispasmodics.

Some Examples of Carminative herbs to help to BOOST GUT HEALTH :

Anise
Cardamom
Chamomile
Cinnamon
Coriander
Cumin
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Fennel[
Ginger
Lemon Balm
Peppermint
Rosemary
Spearmint

Fennel[

 These herbs make for great teas, but you are also able to add them fresh or dried in smoothies, or even using them in your everyday cooking! These are just a few examples! There are many
more herbs in this category! Any herb that has ‘aromatic oils’ is probably a carminative + will assist with improvement of our digestive processes!
Please check in with me if you have any questions! (Just email [email protected])

Not sure how to make a Here’s a post ~ all about making herbal infusions/teas + decoctions!

Years ago, my friend/mentor Kate Gilday taught me this recipe, which I’ve used countless times.

Wise Water Tea

Boil 1 litre of water. Place in a non-plastic thermos or 1 litre glass jar with a lid.
Add 1 teaspoon each of cumin, coriander and fennel seeds.
Let steep for about 15 minutes.
Strain and drink a cup before breakfast and sip the rest throughout the day.

This combination of 3 herbs increases our digestive ability as well as extremely effective as detoxification tonic.
It is a powerful  digestive tonic; a good support for the entire body! Make a batch and enjoy throughout the day.

* This combination has specific uses in herbal medicine circles; to help the body strengthen and clear toxins after cancer chemotherapy.

There are many combinations of carminative herbs, all of which, help with the digestive process!  This recipe below, is similar to a delicious blend introduced to me by Rosemary Gladstar
25+ years ago, in classes on Sage Mountain.  I’ve made this one and other variations many times and always have on hand. You know what?
It’s so good that I don’t just drink it after a heavy meal, but enjoy it for the pleasure of drinking a tasty tea!

3 parts Fennel seeds
3 parts Spearmint (or your favourite mint!)
½ part Coriander seeds
½ part Ginger root (I can get fresh year ’round so I use it fresh)
2 parts Licorice root

Whether it’s a sprinkle of herbs to elevate your meals,  a delicious tea or maybe a plate of nourishing greens ~ Lot’s of ideas here.

               Here’s to our health — and to digestive fire improving day by day !    Carol xo

This content was originally published here.

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