Indigestion, though not a disease, is a symptom of other gastrointestinal problems. It is one of the reasons people have stomachache and may result from taking pills on an empty stomach, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking or eating too much, especially rich, spicy foods. Also fatty foods as well as eating in a hurry or too quickly may cause occasional indigestion. Other conditions where there is abnormality in the digestive tract such as ulcer, stomach infections and thyroid disease are also causative factors.
Many people will have indigestion at some point and many of the symptoms include-uncomfortable abdominal fullness/heaviness after eating, abdominal pain/or a burning sensation in the upper stomach, belching/burping and gas, nausea, vomiting, acidic taste and bloating sensation in the upper central abdomen. You don’t have to live with frequent indigestion. Stomach discomfort can disrupt your life, but it doesn’t have to. Things you can do: Avoid rich, spicy food, stop smoking, reduce stress, reach for over-the-counter antacids to calm your stomach, visit your physician about any worrisome symptoms.
However, the following herbal remedies may help relieve your indigestion – lets check them out:
Ficus capensis (fig tree; opi okokoro in Igbo; okpoto in Yoruba)-boil about 14 dried fruits in a 100 cl of water until 50 cl remains. Take one teacup 3 x daily.
Ginger: This herb is another natural remedy for indigestion because it can reduce stomach acid. Drink a cup of ginger tea as needed to soothe your stomach and get rid of indigestion. You can use, what they call “ginger water” and to make this: boil one or two pieces of ginger root in four cups of water for 15 minutes. Flavor with lemon or honey before drinking.
Cinnamon: Always add cinnamonn in any form – sticks, powder, tea to your regime to aid in indigestion. This wonderful spice makes a great addition to oatmeal, hot tonics, and even soups or stews. And you will say goodbye to indigestion, heartburn, nausea and inflammation.
Lonchocarpus cyanescens (anunu-Igbo; ipapo-Yoruba)- Decoction of root bark for 45 minutes. Take 1 teacup 3 x daily.
Fennel seed: This antispasmodic spice can also remedy indigestion after a meal, as well as soothe other gastrointestinal problems like stomach cramping, nausea, and bloating. Put 1/2 teaspoon of crushed fennel seed in water and allow it to boil for 10 minutes and let it cool. Drink fennel tea whenever you experience indigestion. You may chew a few fennel seeds after meals if certain foods cause indigestion. Zanthoxylum spp. (fagara; uko-Igbo; orita-Yoruba): stem bark and root extracted in red grape for 24 hours. Take a quarter of tumbler 2 x daily.
Baking soda: This ‘goodness’ can quickly neutralize stomach acid and relieve indigestion after eating. For this remedy, add ½ tsp. of baking soda to about 15 cl of warm water and drink. One can add a few drops of lemon juice to this mixture. Baking soda is generally safe and nontoxic. But drinking large amounts of it can bring on a few unwelcome side effects such as constipation, irritability, vomiting, and muscle spasms. If you drink a solution containing ½ tsp. of baking soda for indigestion, don’t repeat for at least two hours. It is said that adults should have no more than seven ½ teaspoons in a 24-hour period and no more than three ½ teaspoons if up to the age of 60.
Mint tea: Mint has an antispasmodic effect on the body, making it a great choice for relieving indigestion. Drink a cup of this tea after meals to quickly soothe your stomach. You may also keep a few pieces of mint leaves handy in your pocket. Chew and suck 1 or 2 after eating to ease your indigestion.
Lemon water: The alkaline effect of lemon water also neutralizes stomach acid and relieves indigestion. Mix a tablespoon of lemon juice in hot or warm water and drink a few minutes before eating. You may add a little honey, if desired.
Chamomile tea: This herb relieves indigestion by reducing stomach acid in the gastrointestinal tract. Chamomile also acts as an anti-inflammatory to stop pain.
To prepare chamomile tea, place 1 or 2 teabags in boiled water for 5-10 minutes. Add honey, if you wish. Drink the tea as needed or have it after dinner if you’ve eaten something richly spicy that might not agree with you.
Please note that chamomile contains an ingredient that acts as an anticoagulant, so there’s the risk of bleeding when combined with a blood thinner.
Apple cider vinegar: For fast relief of indigestion, add one to two teaspoons of raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar plus 1 tsp. of honey to a cup of warm water. You can stop your indigestion before it even occurs by drinking the mixture 30 minutes before eating. Even though apple cider vinegar is safe, drinking it in excess or undiluted can cause side effects such as tooth erosion, nausea, throat burn, and low blood sugar.
If there are no underlying conditions, then one or two of the above listed remedies (many of which are luckily available in your kitchen), should quickly dispel that dyspeptic feeling you always experience. And you will feel better and enjoy a higher quality of life sooner than you know!