No-Frills Gut Healing Herbs

BIBITherapy_Gut_Healing_Herbs

It is well known now that we have more than one mechanism for making decisions: one is also known as our “gut feeling” (Soosalu and Oka, 2012). It is caused by the trillions of bacteria, living in the gut and constituting the microbiome. Feed the right bacteria and you are happy; else delve in a cycling circle of depression, anxiety and anger.

As with the Holiday season we surely indulged in a few experiences that may have disturbed the normal flora and require re-balancing of the gut microbiome.

The helpers are at hand in the form of herbs that we can use as flavour-boosters with magnificent support for the digestive health.

That is to say we can use these helpers to calm symptoms relating to the functional bowel problems such as constipation, diarrhoea, bloating, or stomach upset. The effect is double as fixing problems in the gut affects what’s happening in the brain, too. So let’ see how we can keep the digestive system in top condition this holiday season.

The following seven herbs have extraordinary gut healing properties. They are also super easy to grow in pots or in a small garden.

1. Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is an important culinary herb and the most well-known digestive soother. It is highly prised in the Mediterranean cuisine for its natural detox qualities but also known in the folk medicine for the anti-inflammatory properties. Parsley has multiple benefits for the whole body; I will mention here those for which a scientific provision exists without doubts (Mahmood et al 2014) as it:

  • Reverses signs of oxidative stress due to its anti-oxidant compounds (Dorman et al, 2011)
  • Decreases bloating and helps in the support of bowel movements due to its high fibre content (Kreydiyyeh et al 2001);
  • It reduces bad breath;
  • Alleviates colic.

2. Basil is one of the oldest to mankind herb used in cooking along with rosemary, oregano and mint. There are over 35 different types of basil plants. It is praised not only for its pleasant aroma but also for its impressive list of nutrients. Among them is less known vitamin K, a fat soluble vitamin very important for bone health as well as for healthy cardiovascular function. Suffice to say that scientific studies have shown the following benefits:

  • Hepatoprotector;
  • Pain-reducer;
  • Immune booster;
  • Antibacterial against strains of E.coli.

3. Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum) are also known as Chinese chives. They are used as seasoning and give a mild garlic flavour to dishes. If garlic is too strong to use in the salads or stir fries, garlic chives are the best option. Personally I found them very effective for bowel movement.

4. Sage (Salvia officinalis) plant is also known as the salvation plant as its medicinal and non –medicinal uses have been used for several thousands of years in almost all Mediterranean cultures as well as in the traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. Some of multiple benefits sage presents are:

  • It helps improve mental capacities and acuity (Perry et al, 2003);
  • It treats menopausal symptoms reducing the intensity of hot flushes (Bommer, et al, 2011);
  • It balances cholesterol levels (Sa et al, 2009).

How to take sage

  1. Hot infusion tea made from fresh or dry herb;
  2. Cold infusion tea: soak overnight a handful of fresh sage leaves in a cup of lemon juice; enjoy it diluted during the next day;
  3. Salt enhancer;
  4. Bath bombs.

Since it is taken in the form of food sage does not have any restrictions, as it presents no toxicity. However, for pregnant or breastfeeding women this herb is not adequate due to a chemical that it deems to be unsafe in such conditions.

5. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), symbol of love, fidelity and loyalty has been connected with memory since ancient times. This plant is packed with anti-oxidants two of which are well-known for their anti-inflammatory and anti-rheumatic properties (Degner et al 2009). Other equally impressive health benefits include:

  • Soothing heartburn;
  • Easing intestinal gas and bloating as well as
  • Improving the cognitive function.

How to use it:

  1. Use liberally when cooking meat but also vegetables
  2. Make a rosemary tonic salt
  3. Flavour a favourite beverage or cocktail; it goes well with citruses or cucumber.

6. Onion Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) are a nutrient dense food. They are used as seasoning and add onion flavour to dishes. They are packed with important nutrients and health-promoting compounds. However in order to benefit from their medicinal benefits a person needs to consume a large quantity, say a cup of chives.

7. Dill (Anethum graveolens) has a long and ancient history of being used in many countries. The many uses and benefits are mostly evidenced in the folk medicine. There are no significant clinical trials to cite for the benefits of this wonderful plant. Some of the most well-known are:

  • Reduces flatulence;
  • May help balance cholesterol; but current research is controversial.

Disclaimer: I am a qualified holistic wellness, herbalist aromatherapist and nutrition Diva, I am not a medical doctor or nurse and do not play one on the internet. Always check with a doctor or medical professional if a medical need arise

Sources

Bommer, S., Klein, P., & Suter, A. (2011). First time proof of sage’s tolerability and efficacy in menopausal women with hot flushes. Advances in therapy, 28(6), 490–500. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12325-011-0027-z

Degner, S. C., Papoutsis, A. J., Romagnolo, D. F., (2009), , Chapter 26:Health Benefits of Traditional Culinary and Medicinal Mediterranean Plants, pp: 541-562 in Complementary and Alternative Therapies and the Aging Population, Ed. Watson, R., Academic Press. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780123742285000263

Dorman, H. J., Lantto, T. A., Raasmaja, A., & Hiltunen, R. (2011). Antioxidant, pro-oxidant and cytotoxic properties of parsley. Food & function, 2(6), 328–337. https://doi.org/10.1039/c1fo10027k

Kreydiyyeh, S. I., Usta, J., Kaouk, I., & Al-Sadi, R. (2001). The mechanism underlying the laxative properties of parsley extract. Phytomedicine : international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology, 8(5), 382–388. https://doi.org/10.1078/0944-7113-00058

Mahmood, S., Hussain, S., & Malik, F. (2014). Critique of medicinal conspicuousness of Parsley(Petroselinum crispum): a culinary herb of Mediterranean region. Pakistan journal of pharmaceutical sciences, 27(1), 193–202.

Perry, N. S., Bollen, C., Perry, E. K., & Ballard, C. (2003). Salvia for dementia therapy: review of pharmacological activity and pilot tolerability clinical trial. Pharmacology, biochemistry, and behavior, 75(3), 651–659. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0091-3057(03)00108-4Sá, C. M., Ramos, A. A.,

Ignite Your Wellbeing

An Ancient Art Approach to Good Health

Aromatherapy an Overview

Where do you find stillness? How do you ease your racing thoughts in your life? The physical and mental body is adversely affected by stress, pollution, unhealthy diets, and hectic yet sedentary lifestyle.

One of my favourite ways to create calmness in my life is through Aromatherapy.

Aromatherapy is a complementary holistic therapy that uses natural plant oils in the form of essential oils. The value of natural plant oils has been recognised for more than 6000 years, not only for the sheer pleasure of their fragrance but mostly for their healing, cleansing or mood-altering properties. Today’ science validates all of the above mentioned properties and so much more.

Aromatherapy aims to enhance and/or balance a person’s physical, spiritual, emotional and mental capacity. Although it can act as a preventive to disease state, Aromatherapy ignites your wellbeing by improving mental and physical health. It does that through the specific qualities of the essential oils being used either through massage or inhalation. Although these qualities aim to stimulate, refresh or sedate an individual, in rare cases they may also lead to adverse reactions.

Essential oils are highly potent and in some cases may cause allergic skin reaction. That is why at BIBI Therapy we always take your health history before your aromatic treatment as well as we skin patch test for possible allergic reaction to the essential oils to be used.

Historical Perspective

Historically, the origins of aromatherapy use can be traced trough the religious, medical and social practices. It is believed that the remarkable medicinal powers of plants have been discovered in ancient China around 4500 B.C. However, the Egyptian hieroglyphs and current research indicate that the ritual of mummification using plant-based oils aromatic preparations was very well established by 4500 B.C. (Jones et al, 2018).

Since then, great herbalists as well as scientists throughout the world have uncovered many stunning uses of plants in the form of essential oils. The application of aromatherapy from embalming to beauty and ultimately to health and well-being is constantly evolving as contemporary research makes use of novel technologies and increased understanding of human body.

Why Do We Feel so Good after Having an Aromatherapy Session?

Is there such a thing as good health (Fred, 2013)? An ancient quote on best health is attributed to Agamemnon:

There is a limit to the best of health: disease is always a near neighbor.”

For me the absence of pain is essential for wellbeing as pain is often debilitating both physically and mentally. The antinociceptive or pain reducing qualities of essential oils have only been recently validated by modern science.

The power of touch during a massage session has inestimable values. But it is our own brain that transforms the touch into feel good sensation. All those tight muscles, tension and stress melt away all because the brain, through its autonomic nervous system. This system engages in involuntary processes that calm down the mental activity, decreasing the blood pressure, slowing the pulse rate and ultimately leading to relaxation and tranquillity. Furthermore, there is a healing effect that is induced within the body during an aromatic massage therapy:

Here are some well researched and documented reasons as to why aromatherapy massage is effectively enjoyable:

  1. Massages stretches and pulls muscles accelerating the healing process (Crane et al, 2012);
  2. The combination of gentle massage and essential oils ameliorates the effects of arthritis (Bahr et al, 2018)
  3. Back and foot massage effectively improves blood pressure and sleep quality (Arslan et al, 2020);
  4. Manual therapies, including but not limited to massage therapy, for migraine sufferers may be equally effective as medication treatment (Chaibi, et al, 2011);
  5. Aromatherapy massage alleviates psychological and physiological responses for older women suffering from anxiety and depression (Bahrami et al, 2017)
  6. Abdominal aromatic essential oil massage is an effective way to relieve throbbing pain in primary dysmenorrhea (Ou et al, 2012; Sut et al, 2017).

Resources

Arslan, G., Ceyhan, Ö., & Mollaoğlu, M. (2020). The influence of foot and back massage on blood pressure and sleep quality in females with essential hypertension: a randomized controlled study. Journal of human hypertension, 10.1038/s41371-020-0371-z. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41371-020-0371-z

Bahrami, T., Rejeh, N., Heravi-Karimooi, M., Vaismoradi, M., Tadrisi, S. D., & Sieloff, C. (2017). Effect of aromatherapy massage on anxiety, depression, and physiologic parameters in older patients with the acute coronary syndrome: A randomized clinical trial. International journal of nursing practice, 23(6), 10.1111/ijn.12601. https://doi.org/10.1111/ijn.12601

Bahr, T., Allred, K., Martinez, D., Rodriguez, D., & Winterton, P. (2018). Effects of a massage-like essential oil application procedure using Copaiba and Deep Blue oils in individuals with hand arthritis. Complementary therapies in clinical practice, 33, 170–176. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctcp.2018.10.004

Chaibi, A., Tuchin, P. J., & Russell, M. B. (2011). Manual therapies for migraine: a systematic review. The journal of headache and pain, 12(2), 127–133. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10194-011-0296-6

Crane, J. D., Ogborn, D. I., Cupido, C., Melov, S., Hubbard, A., Bourgeois, J. M., & Tarnopolsky, M. A. (2012). Massage therapy attenuates inflammatory signaling after exercise-induced muscle damage. Science translational medicine, 4(119), 119ra13. https://doi.org/10.1126/scitranslmed.3002882,

Fred H. L. (2013). In good health: an opinion at best. Texas Heart Institute journal, 40(1), 13–14.

Jones, J., Higham, T. F.G., Chivall, D., Bianucci, R., Kay, G. L., Pallen, M. J., Oldfield, R., Ugliano F., Buckley S. A. (2018). A prehistoric Egyptian mummy: Evidence for an ‘embalming recipe’ and the evolution of early formative funerary treatments, Journal of Archaeological Science, 100, 191-200. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2018.07.011.

Sut, N., & Kahyaoglu-Sut, H. (2017). Effect of aromatherapy massage on pain in primary dysmenorrhea: A meta-analysis. Complementary therapies in clinical practice, 27, 5–10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctcp.2017.01.001

Ou, M. C., Hsu, T. F., Lai, A. C., Lin, Y. T., & Lin, C. C. (2012). Pain relief assessment by aromatic essential oil massage on outpatients with primary dysmenorrhea: a randomized, double-blind clinical trial. The journal of obstetrics and gynaecology research, 38(5), 817–822. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1447-0756.2011.01802.x