The Herbs You Should Add to Your Diet for Your Best Digestion Yet
If you’ve ever popped a mint after a particularly large or rich meal, you’ve intuitively helped your body with its digestive process. “Plants in the mint family contain a lot of aromatic compounds that bring energy and blood flow to the digestive system,” says William Siff, Msc. AoM. and founder of Goldthread. “Mints are harmonizing herbs in general, so they are particularly effective in facilitating digestion because we need to be in a relaxed state to digest properly.”
So chewing that stick of peppermint gum or grabbing an Altoid out of its tin is instinctively about more than warding off bad breath. But how exactly does mint work?
Why Mint Is Great for Digestion
Says William, who is also a clinical herbalist, Ayurvedic practitioner and ethnobotanist, “These aromatics simultaneously stimulate and relax the digestive system, creating more space for assimilation and mixing together of the digestive enzymes and fluids. This also allows for more blood flow and nerve energy to the digestive system, increasing the capacity of the system to break down food.”
He also says that mint eases tension in general throughout our whole nervous systems. When we ease that tension in our middles, it refracts out across the whole system and helps our bodies feel balanced and at ease. Sounds like exactly what you want after a meal (or really at any time during the day), doesn’t it?
And including mint in your diet isn’t just about digestion. It helps regulate the flow of blood and energy in our systems, says William, which helps us get nourishment wherever we need it throughout the body. “[Mints] are excellent at promoting a sense of ease and flow,” William continues, “and support rock-star digestion.”
The Benefits of Blue Spirulina
Blue spirulina is a second herbal tool when it comes to helping faciliate digestion, albeit one that doens’t get as much hype as mint. It’s a highly nutritious superfood, packed with B vitamins, trace elements and also protein, says William.
He says it’s also an effective antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol from becoming oxidized, which can cause damage to the blood vessels. And, it’s been shown to be a potential blood-sugar stabilizer, which could also help with digestion.
How to Harness the Benefits of Mint for Ongoing Good Digestion
Healthy digestion comes from a balance between strong metabolic fire and a state of relaxation in the gut, says William, and both sides of the digestive equation can be supported with plants. “Stoking our digestive fires with spices and bitters before eating and then cooling and creating space with digestive mints after we’ve eaten is a deceptively simple strategy,” says William. When turned into a daily ritual, it will build reliably powerful digestion.”
An upset stomach often comes from weak digestive power and poor assimilation, says William, or nervousness and tension. “There are more nerves in the gut region than anywhere else in the body, other than the brain, so it is highly sensitive to our emotional states,” he continues.
Mints, with their capacity to create feelings of space, openness and ease, give us a sense of well-being and calm right at the heart of where we most often hold tension, in our bellies. “When we feel relaxed in our core, that ultimately spreads to the entire system in a positive feedback loop,” William says. “If you’re feeling tense, nervous, bloated or crampy in your belly, a strong mint drink can provide fast-acting relief.” In other words, it’s a super-remedy around meal time or anytime you’re feeling tense.
“Having a mint tea or tonic (like Goldthread’s new Mint Condition) after a meal is the best way to experience its benefits,” says William. “Ideally, this becomes a ritual we do every day to build our digestive capacity over time and become assimilation machines!”
Looking for more herbal remedies? Try these five herbs to boost your immunity.