With the holidays right around the corner, our digestive systems are sure to be put to the test. If you already have challenges with digestion, it may take the fun and enjoyment out of a holiday meal with your loved ones. Holiday meals are complex, with lots of different food combinations, and many courses. Plus, all those yummy holiday treats add on another hurdle for your digestive system and it can literally be the ‘icing on the cake’ that sets you over the top.
Eating slowly, chewing well, and being mindful of portion-size can be helpful in supporting the digestive process. Furthermore, certain herbs and spices can not only promote proper digestion but also relieve unwanted symptoms such as gas, bloating, heartburn, diarrhea or constipation.
Warming herbs or spices increase blood flow to the digestive tract and encourage adequate digestive enzymes into the stomach. In Ayurveda, the digestive fire is known as agni and while the digestive fire is of course hot, if too much heat is created individuals will experience a sour stomach, acid reflux, and/or diarrhea. Cooling herbs soothe and lubricate the digestive tract so food can move through painlessly and with ease. In Ayurvedic Medicine, all herbs are classified as warming or cooling so it is important to have both types in a balanced formula (6).
Rebel Herbs has a comprehensive and well-balanced formula called Digestade which is meant to do just that; aid your digestion. It has been carefully formulated with a variety of warming and cooling herbs and mineral-rich rock salt to address all aspects of digestion and prevent a myriad of unwanted symptoms. Let’s take a deeper look at each herb and how it can help support healthy digestion during the holiday season and beyond.
You may already be familiar with certain spices that can aid with digestion. Ginger is a classic spice for digestive upset, specifically slow digestion and nausea. It is a warming spice that kindles the digestive fire. Another spice, which is cooling in nature, is fennel seed and it is often available as you walk out of the door at an Indian restaurant. The candied fennel is not just tasty and fun to look at with all the pretty colors, but rather holds some digestive secrets that have been used for thousands of years. Fennel seeds contain volatile oils that relax the intestinal muscles, preventing cramping and gas. Any substance that prevents the formation and helps the absorption of gas is known as a carminative.
Another carminative used in Rebel Herbs Digestade formula is Ajwain or Carom seeds. Did you know Carom seeds are actually a fruit and not really seeds? They have a mild ‘thyme-like’ fragrance and are a wonderful digestive. They work in a similar fashion to fennel but also protect you from acid reflux, double-win!
One of the challenges with gatherings is food safety. We’ve all been to a potluck and within a few hours to days, suffered from food poisoning - it is the worst! There are many culprits that can cause gastroenteritis including bacteria, viruses, and parasites which lead to severe symptoms. Of course, if you become dehydrated or see blood in your stools it is important to seek medical intervention.
I am a big fan of prevention, so utilizing various herbs that protect against dysbiosis is my go-to approach. For example, I took a combination of Chitrak, Kutaj, and Vidanga while traveling in India and Nepal. These herbs are all antimicrobial which helped me avoid ‘traveler’s diarrhea’ and allowed me to continue my many adventures through the Himalayas. These herbs are less known than the everyday spices that encourage healthy digestion so here’s a little more information about each of them:
Plumbago zeylanica or Chitrak root is a classic Indian herb used in most traditional formulas for digestion and is quite famous for its spicy nature. It is a digestive stimulator and powerhouse for sluggish digestion. It is often referred to as agni, fire, or the devil’s herb because it is so heating in nature. Chitrak promotes digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid in the stomach to break down food as well as bile flow from the liver/gallbladder to emulsify dietary fats (2). Research also shows it promotes healthy gut bacteria to thrive while fighting off unhealthy bacteria, creating a balanced intestinal microbiome (3).
The latin name of Kutaj is a mouthful, holarrhena antidysenterica, but it tells us exactly what it does; it is an anti-dysentery herb. Dysentery is another name for gastroenteritis or infectious diarrhea. Kutaj has been shown to be effective against some of the most common culprits of food poisoning, even those shown to be resistant to antibiotic treatments. These include Salmonella paratyphi, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Shigella dysenteriae and a R-plasmid-harbouring standard strain, E.coli x+ (4). So, with Kutaj on board, you can feel at ease that the risk for food poisoning is minimized.
Embelia ribes, or Vidanga, is a warming fruit that is well-known in many ayurvedic formulas for it’s potent detoxifying and cleansing effects. It is often used when there is a toxic build-up, called ama in Ayurvedic medicine, which causes slow digestion and elimination. Like Chitrak and Kutaj, Vidanga is also a powerful herb for fighting bacteria but has the unique property of inhibiting parasitic and fungal overgrowth. It has been shown to kill H. pylori in the stomach, hookworms and roundworms in the intestines, and candida albicans, one of the most common culprits for intestinal yeast overgrowth (7).
Let’s take a look at another beneficial fruit for digestion, Aegle marmelos, also called Bael, Bilva, or stone apple. Bilva has a cooling, soothing nature that heals inflammation and ulceration or bleeding in the G.I. The unripe fruit is extremely astringent so it tonifies and tightens the intestinal tissues. It is often used in irritable bowel disease, chronic diarrhea, and malabsorption (5). The ripe fruit is rather sweet and is eaten as food or made into candy (1).
Last, the Digestade formula contains Himalayan rock salt which contains various minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc and copper. Mineral salt ignites agni and creates the proper pH for the breakdown and absorption of food as it moves from the stomach through the small intestines. Minerals replenish the body and aid in the proper contraction, relaxation and hydration of the intestinal muscles.
So, if you are looking for a comprehensive digestive formula for a variety of digestive challenges, look no further. Digestade is well balanced and has all of your bases covered in just 1-2 capsules.
Save 20% on your purchase by using Coupon Code: THANKS20 at check out to get 20% off your whole order when you try Digestade for the holidays.
Jamadagni PS, Pawar SD, Jamadagni SB, Chougule S, Gaidhani SN, Murthy SN. Review of Holarrhena antidysenterica (L.) Wall. ex A. DC.: Pharmacognostic, Pharmacological, and Toxicological Perspective. Pharmacogn Rev. 2017; 11(22):141-144.