Causes & Remedies for Common Digestive Problems - cont.
Part II - Indigestion, Nausea and Heartburn
This is part two of a brief three-part overview of how to deal with some common intestinal symptoms and dysfunctions. I provide some simple home remedies that may help to correct these digestive problems. Fortunately, many health concerns improve in time with your body’s own natural healing powers, or with the use of natural remedies, but these are not intended to be long-term solutions. If you don’t see improvement within two or three weeks, be sure to call your doctor. If your problem worsens, call the doctor immediately, and be seen and tested as appropriate.
Indigestion and Nausea
Causes to consider include overeating, the wrong food choices or combinations, stress, and microbes/bacteria or parasites
Remedies: Chew your food thoroughly and minimize sweets and sugars of all kinds. Avoid combining any sweets or grains with protein foods. (Food combining is discussed in many of my books.) Try peppermint or chamomile tea, licorice root, anise or fennel seeds, tumeric in capsules, or Aloe Vera gel or juice with a touch of lemon. Some people benefit from a supplement of hydrochloric acid or bicarbonate at mealtime (see below). Be sure to include healthy bacteria (probiotics) in capsule, powder, or liquid form.
Assessment: If your condition persists, ask your health care practitioner to test you for abnormal bacteria, yeast, or parasites.
Causes include general and internalized stress, overeating, irritating foods such as caffeine, alcohol, strong spices like black pepper, or infection by Helicobacter pylori bacteria (a major cause of gastritis and ulcers). The goal is to soothe and heal the upper intestinal membranes, reduce free stomach acid, and clear up any infection that might be present.
Remedies: We all have stomach acid and it is actually the way our body protects us against bad bugs. However, in cases of heartburn, the delicate tissue at the stomach’s entrance is being burned by the hydrochloric acid. Eating more alkaline vegetables (especially steamed veggies) and their juices and broths can help calm the stomach. Even a bit of baking soda (1/2 – 1 tsp) directly counters stomach acid. One of the best treatments for heartburn or reflux is DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice); chew a tablet or two once or twice daily between meals or for heartburn. Chamomile tea can be helpful, as well as calcium or calcium/magnesium tablets or capsules, or over-the-counter antacids (such as chewable calcium-based antacids), or buffered vitamin C (calcium, magnesium, and/or potassium ascorbates).
Assessment: For persistent heartburn that doesn’t respond to dietary changes and natural remedies within a week or two, see your doctor for a possible prescription, blood test for H. pylori, and a blood or stool test for parasites. If these don’t reveal anything, you may need to see a gastroenterologist for a gastroscope of your stomach.
Look for the last part of this series next week when I will discuss Constipation and Diarrhea.