4 Herbs for Digestion
Dandelion: Taraxacum officinale. Can reverse liver damage & depression. As a highly nutritive plant dandelion is food for our body! The roots are alterative and through their effects on the liver, dandelion helps tone the stomach, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, & entire digestive tract. As is often the case with the plant allies, dandelion grows abundantly around those who need it! (go home and check your lawns!) This plant strengthens the body’s ability to eliminate & filter environmental toxins, withdraw and cleanse from alcohol drugs & tobacco & helps people recover from radiation, hepatitis & chemotherapy. It is clearing for headaches caused by rich foods or coffee withdrawal (hence the stimulating and toning affect on the liver.) It eases indigestion & helps restore and tonify the digestive tract after illness, surgery or any other stressful life situation that may have weakened the body’s ability to assimilate & absorb nutrients. Energetically, Dandelion bestows upon us the radiant light of the sun, warming our solar plexus with illumination, wisdom, courage and grace. It lightens the affects of fear and anger, housed at the belly (liver is organ of fear), clearing space for positive boundaries, will-power and glowing self esteem. In our native soil is a plant called Hawkweed, which has very similar uses.
Burdock: Arctium lappa. Burdock is ‘bear medicine’, a nutritive tonic rich in vitamins and minerals that helps the body digest and metabolize fats and proteins. It is high in iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C & many trace minerals. Burdock, according to herbalist David Hoffman, will “move the body to a state of integration and health.” It increases groundedness, physical power, emotional equilibrium, glandular and immune system health. It has a tonic effect on every system in the body, specifically liver and kidneys, and helps to prevent dis-eases such as cancer & diabetes. As a tonic it also assists in longevity, sexual vitality & blood sugar balancing (great for hypoglycemics). Burdock works magic with dandelion, helping to restore the digestive tract for ultimate vitality and energy, and with yellow dock as a detoxifier and blood cleanser. Burdock is often used for the skin (internally or topically) helping alleviate psoriasis, eczema & acne. It is also a nourishing tonic to hair follicles and can help with hair loss.
Yellow Dock: Rumex crispus. Yellow dock contains compounds that stimulate peristaltic action in the bowels, helping the downward movement of the digestive tract. Extremely nutritive and a tonic, this powerful plant helps to balance the actions (the fire) in the stomach and digestive tract. It also helps to balance appetite and chaotic emotional energy. According to Matthew Wood, certain Native American tribes called Yellow Dock the ‘Herb of Understanding’ and it was used in the beginning of sweat lodges to discern the material from the spiritual lessons. It helps alleviate stagnation in the digestive organs (is an alterative) is food for the brain and the nervous system (contains phosphorus) & helps the body assimilate iron. It has been used often for iron assimilation without the effects of constipation, especially for women during pregnancy and menstruation. It is invaluable for hepatitis, sluggish gallbladders & cools down inflammation of the digestive tract (such as in colitis or IBS).
St. John’s Wort: Hypericum perforatum. St. John’s Wort is known mostly as a tonic for nerves and to heal damage to nerve endings. As for digestion, it helps to strengthen digestive nerve reflexes and to relieve tension in the liver due to these nerves being weak. A very versatile plant, its tastes are sweet, oily warm and dry with volatile oils that help to improve metabolism and digestion. It is a huge assistant to the liver, where it can help process complex toxins (such as pharmaceuticals) and helps to normalize stomach acid. In Russia, it is considered to be a liver remedy & a detoxifier (Wood).
Book of Herbal Wisdom, Matt Wood
Family Herbal, Rosemary Gladstar
The New Holistic Herbal, David Hoffman
Herbal Rituals, Judith Berger