Natural digestion solutions keep things moving

Q. I have struggled with indigestion and constipation for years. Are there any safe and natural ways to address those digestion problems?

Dr. Micozzi:

Absolutely. There are several, but I’ll focus on a few of my favorites. For 12 years I’ve focused a large part of my own research on a plant called red bush, or rooibos, native to South Africa. One of the most impressive effects of red bush is that it improves hydration all the way down to a cellular level. But I can also tell you about another benefit I’ve always heard about—both from doctors and South Africans who drink red bush: It also works wonders on digestion. Specifically, it helps digestive complaints such as indigestion and constipation.

And red bush is safe. In fact, it’s so safe mothers in South Africa give red bush tea to their infants because it helps with colic. From my experience, red bush is actually safe to drink instead of plain water—all day, every day. (Read more about a new red bush formulation I helped develop, called Red Joe.)

Another effective digestion aid is peppermint—which explains the ubiquitous “after-dinner” mints at restaurants. But instead of mint-flavored, sugar-filled candies, I recommend peppermint in the form of a dietary supplement or as a tea.

Ginger, as well as verbena and linden teas may also help with digestion. In fact, I have some personal experience with the digestive benefits of these teas. They’ve been used in my family for at least five generations. But watch out for green and black teas which contain caffeine, tannins and oxalic acid—and can disrupt digestion.