20 Natural Treatments for Gastrointestinal Problems
Using natural or herbal remedies is the easiest and cheapest way to treat gastrointestinal disorders
Millions of people have had gastrointestinal (GI) trouble at some time or another. This can be a simple belly ache, constipation or something much more serious and painful. We could run to the doctor every time we have trouble of this kind, but going to the doctor is an expensive option these days. And if you don’t have health insurance, well, you may have to open your wallet very wide!
Also, some people may have an aversion to using allopathic remedies provided by Western, that is, modern medicine. At any rate, using chemicals such as conventional antibiotics to fight GI problems wouldn’t be so bad if we didn’t have to obtain a doctor’s prescription before using them!
The following is an overview for dealing with GI tract ailments, and then the list will follow, so please keep reading!
What is the human gastrointestinal tract?
The human GI tract may include all organs from the mouth to the anus but often includes only the stomach and intestines. In an adult male, the GI tract is about 20 feet long, or 30 feet long without the effect of muscle tone.
The GI tract releases hormones to help in the digestion process. These hormones include gastrin, secretin, cholecystokinin and grehlin.
Generally, it takes from 30 to 40 hours for digested food to pass through the large intestine, completing the cycle of digestion.
Not all GI tract problems can be treated with natural substances. More serious conditions such as appendicitis, colorectal cancer or abdominal tumors or hernias, may require immediate medical intervention, including surgery.
GI problems that can be treated with natural substances include: irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, nausea, gastroenteritis, bloating, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), as well as gastric ulcers and other non-life-threatening conditions.
Please keep in mind that although America’s Food and Drug Administration has not verified the effectiveness of all of the following natural treatments, most if not all have been used for centuries by various cultures throughout the world. Nevertheless, scientific testing for some of these possible remedies is taking place in various countries.
Please keep reading and learn about the 20 Natural Treatments for Gastrointestinal Problems:
The author suggests four supplements to take every day to improve and/or maintain one’s G/I health. These four supplements could be taken one to three times per day, depending on the recommended dosages for each, as well as the needs of individuals. These supplements include:
1. Garlic, 1000 mg
2. Ginseng Complex, which includes three different types of ginseng (50 to 300 mg for each), as well as 30 mcg of vitamin B-12 (of course different kinds of ginseng can be bought separately and without vitamin B-12.)
3. Cranberry, 400 mg
4. Olive leaf extract, 180 mg
1. Cranberry Juice
Cranberry juice can be taken to treat and/or prevent many health disorders, including urinary tract infections. But it may also be useful in killing bacteria such as Helicobacter pylori, commonly known as the bug that causes GI ulcers and maybe even stomach cancer.
2. Aloe Vera Juice
Aloe vera juice may be effective in the treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which basically involves abdominal pain, bloating, gas, constipation and/or diarrhea, as well as many other possible symptoms including depression and fatigue. Millions of people in the U.S. may suffer from IBS. Could aloe vera provide some relief?
3. Peppermint Oil
Carminative in nature, peppermint oil can help release stomach and intestinal gas. It can also be used to treat an upset stomach, IBS and perhaps eliminate stomach and bowel spasms.
4. Tea (Various)
Many different kinds of tea can be used to treat GI problems, whether it’s green, fennel, mint or ginger, these teas can be used to relieve stomach cramps, indigestion and/or reduce stomach gas or flatulence.
5. Slippery Elm Bark
Slippery elm bark is known for its soothing properties and can actually be eaten right off the tree. This bark has many uses, including the making of poultices. And its GI applications are many: treatment for duodenal ulcers, gastritis, colitis, IBS, hemorrhoids and heartburn.
Probiotics are known as healthy bacteria or bugs. What a person needs in one’s gut is plenty of these tiny microorganisms, perhaps as many as 500 different species, which may prevent harmful bugs such as H. pylori and candida from taking over one’s GI tract. Probiotics can be taken as a supplement or in foods such as yogurt and some beverages.
Generally taken as a supplement or consumed as tea, chamomile can be used to treat various stomach and digestive ailments such as indigestion, IBS, constipation and, on a related note, menstrual cramps. As chamomile has antibacterial properties, it can also be useful fighting colds.
8. Geranium Oil
For anybody who may have such nasty things in their GI tract, geranium oil can be used as a vermifuge when trying to eliminate intestinal worms. It can also be effective treating diseases of the nose and throat, as well as stomach and duodenal ulcers.
A natural antibiotic, garlic is one of the best supplements or foods that can be used to fight various GI disorders, including gastric and duodenal ulcers, stomach viruses and intestinal parasites, as well as fungal infections such as candidiasis. It’s also very nutritious and filled with vitamins and minerals. Hey, take garlic with you if you plan on being stranded on an uninhabited island!
10. Licorice Root
Licorice root is useful in the treatment of GI ulcers. But, rather than reduce the flow of stomach acid the way medicines such as Prilosec and other proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) work, licorice reduces stomach acid’s ability to damage GI cells by promoting the creation of mucosal tissue in the digestive tract. Licorice root can also reduce inflammation in the stomach and intestines.
Echinacea appears useful in boosting the immune system, particularly as it relates to fighting colds, but it may also be effective treating GI infections. It also seems to have antiviral and antifungal properties, both of which can be useful in dealing with GI maladies.
12. Cayenne Pepper
Like many remedies and treatments on this list, cayenne pepper, a spice, appears to boost the immune system, which may help prevent the formation of gastric and duodenal ulcers. This may seem nonsensical, as spices (or spicy food) have been implicated in causing ulcers, but cayenne pepper may destroy the bacteria that cause ulcers.
13. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar can be used to prevent indigestion if taken before eating. It can also be effective in the treatment of acid reflux disease and heartburn. This vinegar is also considered to have antibiotic effects, so it could prove useful in the fight against GI tract infections.
14. Dandelion Root
Dandelion root is considered an appetite stimulant and an aid to good digestion. It can also be used to relieve an upset stomach and reduce habitual constipation. Dandelion root is also very nutritious and for this reason is often taken as a dietary supplement.
15. Chicory Root
Considered an excellent substitute for coffee, chicory root is said to detoxify the body, purify the blood and regulate metabolism. Another herb with many apparent uses, chicory can also be used to treat a number of GI conditions: gastritis, colitis, the presence of intestinal worms or hemorrhoids. It can also be used as a laxative and, since it contains inulin, may also be useful in preventing intestinal cancer.
16. Bicarbonate of Soda (Baking Soda)
Something as simple and mundane as baking soda can help treat GI problems. Mildly alkaline, baking soda is one of the fastest working stomach antacids available; it is also useful for expelling stomach gas. It can also be gargled with water and used to treat sore throats and mouth ulcers.
Curcumin, also known as turmeric, is commonly used as a spice. Containing perhaps the strongest anti-inflammatory properties in the plant world, curcumin may be used to reduce damage to the lining of the GI tract caused by ulcers, polyps or carcinomas.
18. White Oak Bark
The tannins in white oak bark can be used to expel parasites from the G/I tract. Also useful because it has antibacterial properties, white oak bark can make it difficult for bacterial to permeate the tissues of the GI tract, thereby preventing infection.
According to Asian tradition, Ginseng, which includes numerous species of the plant, including American ginseng, is considered a cure-all for disease and pain. Specifically, it can be used to stimulate the immune system and prevent the growth of some cancer cells. It may also be used to improve digestion and lower cholesterol levels.
Having antibacterial properties, cinnamon may be useful in fighting bacteria such as Escherichia coli , and thereby acts as a food preservative. It may also lower the level of bad cholesterol (LDL), prevent the growth of candida and help stabilize blood sugar.
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© 2013 Kelley Marks