Digestion begins when you first see and smell your food. The sight and aroma of an inviting cup of tea triggers the salivary glands, which release saliva to help the body break down sugar and starches. This is why digestive herbs are important and should be included in your daily meals as they stimulate a similar reaction by igniting the taste buds to set off the production of digestive juices such as saliva and bile. Adding these herbs as a tea can do wonders for digestive support. Next time you're experiencing a stomach discomfort, try reaching for the tea cupboard instead of the medicine cabinet.
Fennel or saunf contains essential oils rich known for their capacity to ease bloating and gas. It also has an anti-spasmodic property which helps relax the digestive tract, ease cramps, relieve gas and reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Its aromatic and carminative properties are an excellent ally to treat flatulence, diarrhoea and bloating.
Mint or pudina is a herbal carminative that alleviates digestive discomfort. Menthol acts quickly and can ease the discomfort of indigestion, nausea and fullness due to excess food. It relaxes muscles in the intestinal tract and reduces pain in the digestive system. Coriander contains essential oils such as linalool (68%), a-pinene (10%), geraniol etc. Together, these active oils are responsible for digestive, carminative and anti-flatulent or gas relieving properties of the seeds. The seeds are best known for their digestive properties by cooling excess pitta in the body and intestinal tract. It is used effectively for heartburn.
Cinnamon contains the antioxidant, cinnamaldehyde, which reduces gas formation, prevents ulcers, reduces inflammation of intestines, triggers appetite and stops vomiting and nausea. Ginger is used for motion sickness, upset stomach and to reduce cramping. It has a heating or warming effect on the upper digestive tract with its pungent taste, but a cooling and soothing effect for the lower digestive tract as a result of its sweet after taste. It is a tridoshic herb and supports healthy microbes, healthy intestinal wall and acts as a digestive stimulant for nutrient assimilation.
Curcumin or Turmeric has great potential as a therapeutic agent for treating inflammatory bowel diseases, hepatic fibrosis, colitis and gastrointestinal cancers. Turmeric can stimulate the gallbladder and release bile which helps the body break down and digest food. It also plays an important role in absorbing fats and certain nutrients. Curcumin is also a strong anti-inflammatory and can soothe any pain in the digestive system. Jeera or cumin supports healthy assimilation of nutrients, proliferation of good microbes as well as detoxification of the intestinal tract. The presence of thymol and other essential oils in cumin seeds stimulate the salivary glands thereby helping in the digestion of food.