Bookmark and Share        

www.susunweed.com


HERBS FOR THOSE WITH STOMACH ACHES, ULCERS, AND HEARTBURN
c. 2002, Susun S Weed

1. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST MISTAKE PEOPLE MAKE ABOUT STOMACH ACHE?

Calling it stomach ache. The stomach (fortunately) does not ache. Usually when people say their stomach aches, they mean they have a gas pain. Gas pain can be severe pain. My friends who work in emergency rooms say you wouldn't believe how many people come in for what turns out to be gas pain.

2. WHAT HERBAL ALLIES WOULD YOU RECOMMEND FOR THOSE DEALING WITH:

2A. HEARTBURN?

Herbalists, myself included, see heartburn as a lack of HCL (hydrochloric acid) in the stomach, instead of the prevalent opinion, that it is caused by too much acid. So instead of trying to turn off production of HCL (as drugs attempt to do), herbalists seek herbs that increase HCL, such as dandelion (Taraxacum officinale). In my book Healing Wise I devote an entire chapter to dandelion, with lots of recipes and ideas on how to use it.

You can use any part of dandelion: the flowers make dandelion wine, you can cook the greens, or eat them in salad, you can even cook the root, or make a vinegar with it (my favorite), or tincture it. Some people make a coffee substitute from roasted dandelion root. Any way you take it seems to work. (A standard dose would be 10-20 drops of the root tincture taken at the beginning of the meal.) Dandelion, and its friend chicory (Cichorium intybus), which is a fine substitute should you have access to one and not the other, are true tonics. That is, the more you take them, the less you need them. You don't have to keep taking this remedy forever. After 3-6 weeks you'll find you need it less and less.

In Europe it is customary to take bitters before a big meal. Most mild bitters, such as yellow dock (Rumex crispus), cronewort/mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris), gentian (Gentiana lutea), barberry (Berberis vulgaris), and Oregon grape are liver tonics and digestives. They aid in digestion, and decrease risk of heartburn, by increasing production of both HCL and bile.

A few more tips for those who suffer from heartburn:

~ Eat less at each meal
~ Stay upright after eating; no lounging around or sleeping
~ Avoid eating late at night
~ Reduce the amount of coffee you drink
~ Don't overdo it with the orange juice, either
~ Use slippery elm lozenges (available in health food stores) for immediate relief from heartburn


2B. ULCERS?

The herbs that increase HCL in the stomach, such as dandelion, also decrease ulcers, which are the result of a bacterial infection. When stomach acid is increased, that bacteria has a harder time of it and is less likely to cause ulcers.

Amusing isn't it that medical science says "OK, there must be a mind/body connection, because gastrointestinal ulcers are caused by stress"; only to find out what my herbal teachers taught me long ago: bacteria cause ulcers.

Here's one way to kill that bacteria (besides taking drugs): Get a food grater with a very fine grating side. Grate a large potato as finely as possible. Into another bowl, grate ¼ to ½ of a cabbage. Let them sit for 10-15 minutes, until liquid starts to collect in the bottom of the bowls. Use your hand, or something hard, to press and squeeze the potato until it is dry. Throw away the pulp and keep the liquid. Repeat with the cabbage. Don't use a juicer. There are plant starches that you don't get when you use a juicer. A food processor is ok.

Put the liquids in separate jars in the refrigerator, taking 1-3 tablespoonfuls 2-3 times a day. The more severe the symptoms, the larger and more frequent the dose would be. I expect symptomatic relief within 36-48 hours. But this remedy is safe to take for weeks at a time if needed.

If you can't make the potato liquid, you can buy potato starch and mix it with water. Instead of the cabbage liquid, you could buy coleslaw. It isn't the same as grating the potato and the cabbage, but it is better than nothing. And even if it doesn't work as fast, if that is what is available to you, use it.

2C. STOMACH ACHE?

To me, this means gas pain. Herbs that relieve gas pain are called "carminatives" because they make you "sing" (carmen). Many aromatic herbs are carminatives, especially the seeds of members of the Apiaceae family including dill seed, caraway seeds, fennel seeds, anise seeds, coriander seeds, and cumin seeds. Just put a big spoonful in a cup, cover well with boiling water, steep five minutes, sweeten if you like, and drink.

Ginger is another readily-available carminative. Especially warming to the guts. You can make a tea with powdered ginger, or use up to a tablespoon of fresh ginger per cup of water for a strong brew. Ginger works best sweetened with honey. NASA found it would counter the nausea of space-sickness. You can also buy crystallized or candied ginger to take traveling with you.

The fastest remedy for gas pain is two capsules of acidophilus. I expect pain relief in 5-10 minutes. And I don't pay much attention to the expiration date on it. I keep mine in the refrigerator, and use them so rarely that I often have a bottle for ten years - and they still work.

Eating yogurt helps prevent gas pain, and can be used as a remedy, but it is not as fast as the acidophilus. A quart of yogurt a week is a good goal. And buy plain yogurt. No need to pay a fancy price for white sugar and poor quality fruit. Add maple syrup or honey and fruit of your choice, fresh or frozen at home. Make your own fantasy yogurt creation.

And the bitter tonic herbs mentioned above are also excellent allies to take long-term if you have frequent gas pains.

When I was in Spain I often had to eat late at night. Then I would take a sip of their very strong coffee, served in tiny cups. It had just the right amount of push to get that food into my digestive tract and still allow me to fall asleep at a reasonable time.

But most people in America drink coffee in the morning on an empty stomach. Might this be one reason so many are in such digestive distress? Instead of coffee, try this:

~ Put one ounce by weight of dried peppermint leaf in a quart jar and fill to the top with boiling water.
~ Cap tightly and allow to steep for 4-8 hours. (OK to let it steep while you sleep.)
~ Strain the plant material out after the allotted time, squeezing it well.
~ Then drink the liquid: hot or cold, salty or sweetened, with milk or whiskey or what have you.
~ Refrigerate what you don't drink then. This will stay good in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.

Peppermint helps move the intestines and make you feel really awake, just like coffee. I would not use it if someone were feeling nauseated, as it tastes vile on the way back out.

3. CAN PEOPLE EXPECT QUICK RELIEF FROM THESE REMEDIES?

(See above)
With dandelion, you often see results in the first 24 hours.

4. HOW OFTEN WOULD YOU HAVE TO TAKE THESE REMEDIES?
(See above)

5. DO YOU THINK THE PUBLIC DISMISSES HERBAL REMEDIES AS A LAST RESORT?

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 90% of the health care given on any day is given in the home by the woman of the home. Just by cooking dinner a woman can heal her family and keep them healthy. She can protect her husband's heart by using lots of garlic. And protect his libido by serving less soy.

Many Americans have food phobias. Think about how many people are frightened of drinking milk. How many won't eat bread. I go into the health food store to get bread and there are loaves with no flour, and those with no yeast, and those without wheat, and I wonder where all the bread has gone.

We have a national history of food phobias, starting with Graham (inventor of the healthy graham cracker), continuing with Kellogg (of breakfast flake fame), and right into the modern day's current fads (no fat? no carbs? all protein? all raw?). Not too much has really changed. More and more people are learning about herbal medicine, but I am sure many of them think it is difficult and arcane. They may be unaware that herbal medicine is the medicine for the people, of the people, and by the people.

6. ARE THERE ANY WARNINGS ABOUT ANY OF THE HERBAL REMEDIES TAKEN TO RELIEVE STOMACH ACHE?

I specialize in safe, food-like herbs. I prefer them to drug-like herbs. The remedies I have suggested here are as safe as foods, taken in food-like quantities. When herbs are powdered and encapsulated, they can be dangerous. They are more like a drug and you have to be more careful. I use herbs because they aren't drugs.

7. ARE THERE FOODS THAT CAN INITIATE A STOMACH ACHE?

Beans! The magical fruit. So good for us, but so hard on the guts. And even worse when they are soy beans. The gas people get from tofu and tempe and soy beverage is outrageous.

From regular beans, try this simple five-step approach - guaranteed to reduce how much you "toot"

(i) Soak your beans overnight in a generous amount of cold water. Add a piece of wakame or kombu if desired.
(ii) Rinse beans thoroughly in cold water (retain seaweed).
(iii) Cover beans with fresh cold water, add retained seaweed, and cook until tender.
(iv) Cool.
(v) Reheat beans to serve.

8. IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO ADD?

Yes, I believe all peppers are upsetting to the digestive tract. I suggest avoiding black pepper and cayenne, jalapeno and all others if you are prone to heartburn, have frequent gas pain, or suffer from irritable bowel or even simple diarrhea.

Green Blessings!

Susun Weed


For permission to reprint this article, contact us at: susunweed@herbshealing.com

Susun Weed - PO Box 64, Woodstock, NY 12498 (fax) 1-845-246-8081

Visit Susun Weed at: www.susunweed.com and www.wisewomanbookshop.com


 

Susun Weed’s books include:




Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year
Author: Susun S. Weed. Simple, safe remedies for pregnancy, childbirth, lactation, and newborns. Includes herbs for fertility and birth control. Foreword by Jeannine Parvati Baker. 196 pages, index, illustrations.
Retails for $14.95
Order at: www.wisewomanbookshop.com





Healing Wise
Author: Susun S. Weed. Superb herbal in the feminine-intuitive mode. Complete instructions for using common plants for food, beauty, medicine, and longevity. Introduction by Jean Houston. 312 pages, index, illustrations. Retails for $17.95
Order
at: www.wisewomanbookshop.com




NEW Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way

Author: Susun S. Weed. The best book on menopause is now better. Completely revised with 100 new pages. All the remedies women know and trust plus hundreds of new ones. New sections on thyroid health, fibromyalgia, hairy problems, male menopause, and herbs for women taking hormones. Recommended by Susan Love MD and Christiane Northrup MD. Introduction by Juliette de Bairacli Levy. 304 pages, index, illustrations. Retails for $16.95
Order
at: www.wisewomanbookshop.com
For excerpts visit: www.menopause-metamorphosis.com



Breast Cancer? Breast Health!

Author: Susun S. Weed. Foods, exercises, and attitudes to keep your breasts healthy. Supportive complimentary medicines to ease side-effects of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or tamoxifen. Foreword by Christiane Northrup, M.D. 380 pages, index, illustrations. Retails for $21.95
Order
at: www.wisewomanbookshop.com






Down There: Sexual and Reproductive Health the Wise Woman Way
Publication date: June 21, 2011
Author: Susun S. Weed Simple, successful, strategies cover the entire range of options -- from mainstream to radical -- to help you choose the best, and the safest, ways to optimize sexual and reproductive health. Foreword: Aviva Romm, MD, midwife, 484 pages, Index, illustrations. Retails for $29.95
Order at: www.wisewomanbookshop.com

Susun Weed's Video & CD's:

Weeds to the Wise DVD Video
Visit Susun's farm for a weed walk. Hear her talk on the Three Traditions of Healing. Make infusion with her. Fun! (1 hour VHS video) Please note: this VHS video tape is in NTSC format which may not be compatible with video players outside of the USA and Canada. Retails for $29.95


Order at: www.wisewomanbookshop.com

 


 

Susun Weed's "It's Time"
Wise Woman Center
25th Anniversary Celebration CD

GODDESS CHANTS CD

Visit www.goddesschants.com to hear all the songs, read lyrics &
learn about the artists.


18 Wise Woman Songs & Chants from the heart
Price: $15.00

Order this CD in our Bookshop


 


For Wholesale orders see our terms letter or contact us at:

Ash Tree Publishing PO Box 64 Woodstock, NY 12498 ~ Phone/Fax: 1-845-246-8081
Website: www.wisewomanbookshop.com ~ E-mail: susunweed@herbshealing.com


Susun Weed, green witch and wise woman, is an extraordinary teacher with a joyous spirit, a powerful presence, and an encyclopedic knowledge of herbs and health. She is the voice of the Wise Woman Way, where common weeds, simple ceremony, and compassionate listening support and nourish health/wholeness/holiness. She has opened hearts to the magic and medicine of the green nations for three decades. Ms. Weed's four herbal medicine books focus on women's health topics including: menopause, childbearing, and breast health. Visit her site www.susunweed.com for information on her workshops, apprenticeships, correspondence courses and more! Browse the publishing site online at www.wisewomanbookshop.com to learn more about her alternative health books. Venture into the NEW Menopause site www.menopause-metamorphosis.com to learn all about the Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way.


 



 

back to articles index

back to press kit

© Susun Weed -Wise Woman Center
~ Disclaimer & Privacy Policy ~