Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Gentian for Acid Reflux, GERD, and Heartburn

There seems to be a glut of well-known herbs brought to you by the letter G. Among them are garlic, gingko, goldenseal, and ginger (with the lone standout, echinacea, rounding out the top five). While I'm in practice and writing, I'll push for gentian to make it to the top five. (I don't think echinacea is going anywhere, so there won't be an herbal G-5 summit anytime soon.)

Gentian (with the taxonomic name Gentiana lutea) is one of the best herbs to support digestion. It enhances the body's natural actions, and doesn't work against them. In the act of digestion, the body normally secretes saliva in the mouth to begin digestion of carbohydrates (and to a lesser extent, proteins). Hydrochloric acid is then secreted in the stomach to further break down proteins. The body also secretes various digestive enzymes from the gall bladder (and by extension, the liver) and the pancreas to further assist in digestion of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. And finally, the stomach and intestines engage in peristalsis, or rhythmic movement, to ensure that every last bit of food comes in contact with digestive juices and has the best opportunity to be assimilated into the body. Gentian increases the body's secretion of digestive juices, and to some extent, also increases peristalsis. Having said this, it does not increase the risk of diarrhea unless you overdose. There is also a theory that when taken after meals, gentian actually (harmlessly) decreases peristalsis.

Millions of people deal not only with the scourge of heartburn, acid reflux, and GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), but also with chronic consumption of acid blockers and proton-pump inhibitors and the many potential diseases that could also be caused by them. Regular use of gentian could go a long way in decreasing the incidence and severity of these conditions and even decrease the need for acid blockers.

Gentian has a cold nature, which often complements people who have a hot constitution - for example, those who are often angry, have a red complexion, or who generally have a "hot temper." How is this? Well, gentian is an exceedingly bitter herb (which probably explains why it isn't terribly popular). Imagine eating something bitter. Did you shiver a bit in revulsion? That's the cold energy of gentian, and indeed, of most bitter herbs. (In comparison, guess what energy herbs like cayenne, cinnamon, and garlic have!)

Gentian's very bitter nature also makes it a great digestive herb. Again, imagine eating something bitter. What's your first response? To spit it out, right? That's the body trying to protect itself from something it construes as potentially poisonous. But if you end up swallowing this potentially harmful substance, the body wants to destroy it as much as possible. This is where secretion of the body's digestive juices and increased peristalsis comes into play. Gentian, of course, is not poisonous - at least, in doses of 5-30 drops of the tincture at a time. (As with everything, including water, the dose determines whether a substance is helpful or harmful.)

The best way to take gentian is different from how most other herbal preparations are taken. Usually, people pop capsules, drink tea, or squirt a dropperful or two of a tincture in the mouth, then wash it down with water. But with gentian, the most beneficial action is seen when you taste it. So the dose, again, is 5-30 drops of a tincture, in about 4-8 ounces of water. Sip the water slowly about 10 minutes before eating to stimulate digestion. You may also use the same dose after eating if you feel that typical "brick in your stomach" feeling that doesn't go away easily. It also can help in cases of mild nausea after a meal. Of course, if you just can't handle the taste of gentian, you can take capsules that do a reasonable job of stimulating digestion as well.

Disclaimer: Gentian is not always the best herb to reach for in severe cases of GERD. Sometimes, there is so much inflammation in the esophagus that stimulating more acid in the stomach could be harmful. Here, herbs and nutrition to soothe the esophagus and decrease inflammation may be necessary before using gentian. Food sensitivities may also play a part in GERD, so if you are dealing with GERD that doesn't seem to respond to different therapies, this may be an avenue to explore. Finally, although not necessarily harmful, the acid-producing properties of gentian temporarily counteract the antacid properties of acid blockers and proton-pump inhibitors, potentially making them less effective. In any case, GERD is a potentially serious issue that should be managed by a health care professional well-versed in supporting the body's natural healing processes.
==========
Gentian (Gentiana lutea)
Part used: root
Dose: 5-30 drops in water, sipped 10 minutes before a meal
Indications: weak digestion, low appetite, heartburn, acid reflux, mild cases of GERD, mild nausea after meals, general debility.
Contraindications: advanced cases of GERD, Barrett's esophagus, esophageal or stomach cancer.
Combines well with: ginger root (to increase appetite); skullcap root (to enhance overall digestion and relaxation during meals).
====
Do you have health issues that aren't being adequately addresssed by conventional medicine? Naturopathic care may be the answer you're looking for. Visit my website for more information about naturopathic medicine, and begin your journey toward optimal health!

2 comments:

  1. INTERNATIONAL CONCEPT OF WORK FROM HOME
    Work from home theory is fast gaining popularity because of the freedom and flexibility that comes with it. Since one is not bound by fixed working hours, they can schedule their work at the time when they feel most productive and convenient to them. Women & Men benefit a lot from this concept of work since they can balance their home and work perfectly. People mostly find that in this situation, their productivity is higher and stress levels lower. Those who like isolation and a tranquil work environment also tend to prefer this way of working. Today, with the kind of communication networks available, millions of people worldwide are considering this option.

    Women & Men who want to be independent but cannot afford to leave their responsibilities at home aside will benefit a lot from this concept of work. It makes it easier to maintain a healthy balance between home and work. The family doesn't get neglected and you can get your work done too. You can thus effectively juggle home responsibilities with your career. Working from home is definitely a viable option but it also needs a lot of hard work and discipline. You have to make a time schedule for yourself and stick to it. There will be a time frame of course for any job you take up and you have to fulfill that project within that time frame.

    There are many things that can be done working from home. A few of them is listed below that will give you a general idea about the benefits of this concept.

    Baby-sitting
    This is the most common and highly preferred job that Women & Men like doing. Since in today's competitive world both the parents have to work they need a secure place to leave behind their children who will take care of them and parents can also relax without being worried all the time. In this job you don't require any degree or qualifications. You only have to know how to take care of children. Parents are happy to pay handsome salary and you can also earn a lot without putting too much of an effort.

    Nursery
    For those who have a garden or an open space at your disposal and are also interested in gardening can go for this method of earning money. If given proper time and efforts nursery business can flourish very well and you will earn handsomely. But just as all jobs establishing it will be a bit difficult but the end results are outstanding.

    Freelance
    Freelance can be in different wings. Either you can be a freelance reporter or a freelance photographer. You can also do designing or be in the advertising field doing project on your own. Being independent and working independently will depend on your field of work and the availability of its worth in the market. If you like doing jewellery designing you can do that at home totally independently. You can also work on freelancing as a marketing executive working from home. Wanna know more, email us on workfromhome.otr214423@gmail.com and we will send you information on how you can actually work as a marketing freelancer.


    Internet related work
    This is a very vast field and here sky is the limit. All you need is a computer and Internet facility. Whatever field you are into work at home is perfect match in the software field. You can match your time according to your convenience and complete whatever projects you get. To learn more about how to work from home, contact us today on workfromhome.otr214423@gmail.comand our team will get you started on some excellent work from home projects.


    Diet food
    Since now a days Women & Men are more conscious of the food that they eat hence they prefer to have homemade low cal food and if you can start supplying low cal food to various offices then it will be a very good source of income and not too much of efforts. You can hire a few ladies who will help you out and this can be a good business.

    Thus think over this concept and go ahead.

    ReplyDelete