Psyllium (Plantago Ovata) – Is used in many countries to treat diarrhea, constipation, hemorrhoids and urinary problems. The mucilage in Psyllium sooths the digestive tracts. It is a gentle laxative and anti-diarrheal agent. It is a bulk forming laxative that is safe for long term use. Psyllium fibers absorb many times its bulk in water to form a gelatinous mass that keep the feces hydrated and soft.
Senna Key actions: stimulant, laxative and cathartic. Uses: Senna works by causing the intestinal muscles to contract and also it stops fluid from being absorbed from the large bowel, which helps in keeping the stool soft.
Flax seed (Linum Usitatissimum) – Has very high levels of essential fatty acids which are important in maintaining a healthy heart, circulation and in preventing chronic inflammatory diseases. Flax seed retain fluid when soaked, which helps to make the stool softer for easier bowel movements. The mucilage in the seed has an anti-inflammatory and soothing effect on conditions like irritable bowel, colitis and hemorrhoids.
Marshmallow – “relieves various forms of irritation and inflammation, especially irritation of mucous membranes. It aids the body in expelling excess fluid and mucus. It strengthens the digestive system and improves the functioning of the immune system. Marshmallow is also recommended for crohn’s disease, peptic ulcer, eczema, mastitis and psoriasis”. (Herbal Healing, Phyllis A. Balch p. 94)
Slippery elm “when the herb comes into direct contact with inflamed surfaces such as the skin or the intestinal membranes, it soothes and coats the irritated tissue, protects it from injury, and draws out toxins or irritations”. (Enclyclopedia of Herbal Medicine, Andrew Chevallier, p. 145) Slippery elm treats various digestive disorders including acidity, diarrhea, gastroenteritis and alleviate colic, inflammation of the gut, constipation, hemorrhoids, diverticulitis and irritable bowel syndrome.
Cascara Segrada - contains compounds called anthroquinones, which are responsible for cascara's laxative effects. Anthraquinones trigger contractions in the colon, called peristalsis, which causes the urge to have a bowel movement.
Elder berry - Key actions: Increases sweating, diuretic, immune boosting, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and anti-inflammatory. Uses: Elder berries are rich in vitamin C. Elder berry increase recovery time of flu by producing a mild perspiration that helps to reduce fever and remove toxins. Elderberries “contain more than a dozen antiviral compounds and flavonoids that stimulate the immune system to help ward off disease. They also contain anthocyanins, which help reduce inflammation and relieve the aches and pains of a cold or the flu”. (Healing Foods, James A. Duke p. 107) Elderberry is used to heal bronchitis, burns, cataracts, coughs, Epstein-Barr syndrome, fever and allergies.
Ginger Rhizome (Zingiber Officinale), a popular seasoning for many cuisines, provides excellent natural support for gastrointestinal health, especially when traveling. “Ginger contains high amounts of a powerful anti-inflammatory substance called zingibain. According to some experts, it’s even more potent than the bromelain in pineapple or the papain in papaya. Ginger reportedly contains 180 times more proteolytic enzymes than the papaya plant”. (Healing Foods, James A. Duke, p. 59) Ginger is also used to heal insomnia, fatigue, anxiety, allergies, gout, headaches, memory loss, menstrual cramps, hemorrhoid and main herb for nausea. “Ginger contains 241 different chemicals (at last count), many of which have various activities that can help with overall heart health”. (James A. Duke, Healing Foods p. 255)
Red Raspberries are high in compounds called anthocyanins, which help dilate blood vessels. “Anything that helps blood vessels dilate reduces the risk of an angina attack because wider blood vessels make it easier for blood to get through. Anthocyanins can also help prevent blood clots. A 1993 evaluation of anthocyanins in fruits found the highest amount in bilberries and then, in descending order, blackberries, black currant, blueberries, cherries, cranberries and red raspberries”. (The Green Pharmacy guide to Healing Food, James A. Duke p. 45)