I’m sure you have enough recipes to choose from for Thanksgiving dinner. What you probably don’t have is a helpful digestive aid to turn to after your third plate of mashed potatoes and gravy. Over indulging at the dinner table can lead to fatigue, bloating and other gastric discomforts. That’s where these herbs come in.
These very common digestive complaints aren’t limited to overeating. Many people experience these symptoms daily due to improper diet and an unhealthy digestive system. Not only can these herbs help lessen common digestive complaints such as bloating or gas, but they can be enjoyed at meals to promote strong digestion and prevent these problems from occurring.
Herbs for Digestion
Ginger: This has always been my go-to herb for tummy aches. One of its most well known uses is for nausea and for settling an upset stomach. It is also very helpful for fevers, colds, congestion and sore throats. Ginger is aromatic and diffusive, helping to nudge along stagnant digestion with symptoms of bloating, gas and bad breath. As a powerful anti-microbial herb it can address pathogens in the digestive system as well.
Tip: For some people with excess heat, ginger can be too spicy. If you are the type of person that avoids spicy Mexican food or wasabi sauce because it is too hot, then ginger may not be the herb for you. For this recipe just use less of it, or simply leave it out.
Fennel: Fennel is known for helping to soothe infants with colic who are distressed due to gas and other digestive discomforts. What works well for little ones also works quite well for us. It is often formulated with laxative herbs like rhubarb and senna because it counteracts the griping or stomach cramps often caused by these strong cathartic plants.
Dried Orange Peel: Chinese medicine has used a variety of citrus peels for thousands of years. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) dried orange peel is used to transform phlegm in the lungs or the spleen and to drain dampness. From a western perspective we can consider this herb when we want to promote digestion.
Other Herbs for Digestion:
For this digestive aid recipe you will need:
- 1 tablespoon minced candied ginger
- 1 tablespoon organic dried orange peel powder
- 3 tablespoons organic fennel seeds
- First you will need to prepare the candied ginger
- You’ll need: Fresh ginger, sugar, water, a saucepan, kitchen scale (helpful but not needed) and wax paper
- Prepare the ginger: wash and slice the ginger thin, but not paper thin. If you prefer your ginger peeled, then peel the ginger before you cut it. It is easiest to peel the ginger using a spoon.
- Place the sliced ginger into the saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 30 minutes. It’s done when the ginger has become more translucent.
- Drain the ginger water (ginger tea) but reserve a 1/4 cup. The rest you can drink 🙂
- To determine how much sugar you will use, weigh the ginger. You will use equal parts ginger and sugar.
- Return the ginger to the saucepan along with the sugar and the 1/4 cup of ginger tea.
- Turn the stove to medium high heat and stir the ginger frequently. Once this starts to simmer turn the heat down to medium and continue to stir frequently. It takes about 20 minutes for the liquid to reduce and the ginger to finally crystallize. Remove the pan from heat once the mixture looks fairly dry.
- Lay the ginger out on the prepared wax paper to cool.
- Once the candied ginger has cooled, cut it up into small pieces
- Measure the herbs and then mix them together- if you only have dried orange peel, blend it up in a food processor or blender to turn it into powder. If you want to make your own orange peel powder, that’s easy too!
- Save orange peels from the organic oranges you eat, remove the white fibrous parts on the inside of the peel, and wash them in warm distilled water.
- Spread the orange peels in a tray and place them in a dehydrator for 6 hours at 115 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t have a dehydrator, (you should get one!) or place the tray in an area that receives plenty of sunshine. Leave them there until they are thoroughly dried—this usually takes one to two days, but can take up to five in cold, cloudy weather. If you are leaving the orange peels outdoors, cover them with a thin cloth or net for protection against dirt and insects.
- Crush and powder your peels into a fine powder using a food processor or blender, without adding any water.
- Enjoy by eating about a teaspoon or so after meals.
Or if that’s too much work- enjoy a good ol’ cup of peppermint tea!