This holiday season, I hope you have the good fortune to enjoy some good food and good times with good friends and family. Of course, I urge moderation. But even the most sensible among us will sometimes overindulge during the holidays. If that happens to you over the next couple weeks, here’s my advice: Skip the TUMS and the purple pill. Instead, tame your indigestion with three potent plant extracts.
Peppermint relieves bothersome GI symptoms
First, try peppermint.
Of course, I’m not talking about all the peppermint mochas, lattes, frappaccinos, or peppermintini cocktails that are so trendy these days. You’re much better off sticking with plain, old peppermint tea. Especially if you’re prone to digestive problems.
You see, the peppermint plant (Mentha pipenta) has long been used as an herbal remedy for digestive problems. It calms GI muscles. And it improves the flow of bile, which the body uses to digest fats. As a result, food passes through the stomach and intestines more quickly with less bloating and gas.
Several studies show that coated peppermint capsules can help reduce indigestion, bloating, gas, and diarrhea. (Coated capsules keep peppermint oil from releasing directly into the stomach, which can cause heartburn and indigestion.)
In one study, researchers recruited 57 people with bloating, gas and abdominal pain. They divided the patients into two groups. One group took two coated peppermint capsules twice a day for four weeks. The other group took a placebo. Of the people who took peppermint, 75 percent experienced a significant reduction in symptoms.
Other studies show peppermint appears to alleviate the sensation of abdominal pressure.
For one study, 18 healthy volunteers took peppermint oil. Then, they took a placebo. In this “cross-over” study, each participant acted as his or her own control. Researchers found that peppermint oil reduced pressure within the GI system. It also reduced GI contractions. And last, but not least, it reduced appetite.
Another holiday spice to keep on hand all year long
Ginger is another plant that can help soothe your digestion. It’s also very popular in baked goods at this time of year.
Of course, in China, men and women have used ginger to treat stomach upset, diarrhea, and nausea, as well as pain for more than 3,000 years. And it’s probably one reason why ginger plays such a prominent role in Asian cooking to this day. (To learn about all the herbal remedies shown to manage pain naturally, without drugs, check out my Arthritis Relief and Reversal online learning protocol.
In the West, we have our own ginger remedies. In fact, when you were a kid, did your mom give you a glass of real ginger ale to settle your upset stomach? That might not have been a bad idea back in the day, when ginger ale actually contained some real ginger. But nowadays, most ginger ale on the market contains artificial ginger flavoring.
Skip the ginger ale. And make some ginger tea instead. Also, over the holidays, and year-round, keep some raw ginger root in your fridge. Then, you’ll have it ready for when you need it.
To make the tea, simply cut a slice of the root and add it to a mug of boiling water. Let it steep for a few minutes. And then, drink up. You’ll enjoy almost immediate soothing of your stomach ails. Ginger is such an effective nausea remedy, new studies now show that it even alleviates nausea in chemotherapy patients.
It is also a good idea to add ginger with herbal teas of Echinacea, goldenseal, and elderberry, with some honey and lemon, whenever you feel yourself coming down with a cold or flu.
South African plant used by Kalahari Bushmen improves digestion
South African aspal (red bush or rooibos) is the third plant you can use this holiday season to alleviate your stomach troubles.
I began my own investigation into this remarkable plant about 15 years ago. And I learned a great deal about how aspal helped the Kalahari Bushmen of South Africa survive in one of the harshest, hottest places on Earth. Turns out, aspal hydrates the body on the cellular level. Real hydration is the key to overcoming a “hangover” if you have too much to drink.
For well over a century, men and women in South Africa also drank red bush tea to improve digestion. Aspal helps prevent and combat heartburn. And it also helps with constipation by keeping things moving smoothly.
It’s easier to overindulge during the holidays. You may drink more than you should. You may eat more than you should. So, make sure to have plenty of aspal on hand. You can get aspal water-soluble powdered extract as an ingredient in my new Core Force Bioblend.
Also, keep some fresh ginger root in the fridge. And stock your pantry with peppermint tea. You’ll be prepared for just about any holiday stomach upset that might interfere with good cheer.
- “Peppermint oil (Mintoil) in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a prospective double blind placebo-controlled randomized trial,” Dig Liver Dis. 2007 Jun;39(6):530-6