A good digestive system is a key factor in maintaining health and well-being. If the digestive system is weak or upset, we can feel tired, irritable, and unable to concentrate and sleep. If elimination through the bowel is upset, essential food nutrients can be lost, for example in cases of duodenal ulcers and chronic diarrhea. Constipation can give rise to many other complaints, such as low immunity and headaches, due to toxins not being evacuated.

The digestive system begins in the mouth, where food is chewed and mixed with enzymes in the saliva to break it down. It passes through the esophagus to the stomach. Here, food is partly digested through the action of enzymes, and strong acid secretions which kill any harmful bacteria. In the small intestine or duodenum, the food is mixed with enzyme-rich secretions from the pancreas and gut wall, and with bile from the liver. Essential nutrients are absorbed by the bloodstream and taken to the liver, where it is processed. In the large intestine or colon, the fluids are absorbed into the bloodstream, leaving the residue, or fecal matter, to be expelled.

Our health and vitality depends on eating a well-balanced diet and the functioning of an efficient digestive system. Absorption of essential nutrients supplies the body with the necessary building blocks to keep it fit and strong.

Supporting the digestive system:

Foods: papaya, liquid chlorophyll, spinach, sun-dried olives, chard, celery, kale, beet greens, whey, shredded beet, watercress, yogurt and kefir

Drinks: parsley juice, papaya juice, carrot juice, potato peeling broth, whey drinks

Herbs: papaya, alfalfa, aloe vera, peppermint, slippery elm, cayenne, burdock, comfrey, ginger, fennel, anise, dandelion, marshmallow, chamomile, meadowsweet

Minerals: sodium, chlorine, magnesium, potassium, iron, sulphur, copper, silicon, zinc, iodine

Vitamins: A, C, B-complex, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B12 (cyanocobalamin), D, E, F, K, folic acid, inositol

Essential oils: the external application of essential oils in problems of the digestive system though effective, is somewhat limited compared to the internal use of herbal remedies.

Antispasmodics for spasm, pain, indigestion, etc: chamomile, caraway, fennel, orange, peppermint, lemon balm, aniseed, cinnamon

Carminatives and stomachics for flatulent dyspepsia, aerophagia, nausea, etc: angelica, basil, fennel, chamomile, peppermint, mandarin

Cholagogues for increasing the flow of bile and stimulating the gall bladder: caraway, lavender, peppermint

Hepatics for liver congestion, jaundice, etc: lemon, lime, rosemary, peppermint

Aperitifs for loss of appetite, anorexia, etc: aniseed, angelica, orange, ginger, garlic is free to access and use.
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Pearl Barley Water Kidney Cleanse

Barley water is a traditionally acclaimed drink which will support and nourish the kidneys in times of stress. It is an integral part of a kidney cleansing programme, which will produce tremendous overall benefits.

Ingredients for Barley Water
1/2 cup of pearl barley
5 cups of water
1/4 of a cinnamon stick
grated ginger
freshly squeezed lemon juice

How to make:
Place the pearl barley, water, the cinnamon stick, some grated ginger into a pan and simmer for 20 minutes.
After cooling, strain the mixture and add fresh lemon juice for extra flavour.

Drink between 1 and 3 cups daily

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White Willow Bark Tea

White Willow Bark is a useful herb for digestion as it is both rich in salicin and tannins. It is a valuable anti-inflammatory and also reduces fevers, eases headaches and helps with the symptoms of rheumatism and arthritis. White willow helps to thin the blood making it a useful preventative for those at risk of blood clots. 

Hot infusion

Preparing a hot infusion white willow bark tea requires several steps.

(1) Fill one tea infuser full of the white willow bark tea herbs.

(2) Pour one cup of boiling water over the herbs.

(3) Cover the cup to ensure all the volatile oils & aromas in the white willow bark tea herbs do not escape.

(4) Allow the herbs to infuse for 3-5 minutes, then sip

100g (approx 80 cups of tea)

200g (approx 160 cups of tea)

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