Sunday August 25, 2019

5 Herbs For a Healthy Digestive System

While these ingredients can be used individually or in combination for better management of digestive problems, it is always advisable to consult your doctor for appropriate dosage before taking them

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stomach
5 herbs for a healthy digestive system. Pixabay

Today’s lifestyle has several unhealthy facets such as lack of physical activity, poor sleep habits and consumption of unhealthy foods, including fast, processed and junk food.

Hectic work schedules have increased stress levels (which, in turn, has led to disturbed sleep), unhealthy dietary habits such as eating either too much or too less, and, more often than not, not spending enough time to eat well. Smoking and alcoholism are other aspects that have led to health issues.

The negative outcome of this stress-filled lifestyle is visible in the form of ill health, the most common being poor digestive health. This is worsened by the decreasing ability of the digestive system to function efficiently with age and handle digestive problems such as indigestion, bloating, flatulence and gastritis.

According to Dr Rajesh Kumawat, Head – Medical Services and Clinical Development, The Himalaya Drug Company, digestive problems should not be ignored as they can cause irreversible complications in the long run. Several medicinal herbs and natural ingredients, some of which are well known and a part of Indian cuisine, can help in managing digestive problems the natural way.

Ginger: A common flavouring agent in the Indian kitchen, ginger has a pungent smell and a warming effect when consumed. It is a home remedy for indigestion, and stimulates gastric acids and digestive enzymes that improve digestion. Ginger also helps in expelling gas from the digestive system.

ginger
Ginger is great for your health and body, ginger offers a cure for most ailments. Pixabay

Black Pepper: A seasoning as well as flavouring agent, black pepper is a common spice. It contains a compound called Piperine that improves the absorption of nutrients. Black pepper improves the secretion of bile acids and thus the breakdown of foods. It also expels gas from the digestive system and hence is useful in curing flatulence, belching, etc.

Triphala: An effective Ayurvedic blend of fruits of three herbs — amla (gooseberry), haritaki (chebulic myrobalan), bibhitaki (Belleric myrobalan), triphala is known for its health benefits. It prevents the accumulation of gas in the digestive system, improves the contractile movement of muscles of the digestive system and helps in the movement of food. Triphala also helps in curing indigestion.

Fennel Seeds: Commonly used as a mouth freshener, fennel seeds have several digestive system-friendly medicinal properties. It has an antispasmodic action that helps in relaxing the contracted intestinal muscles. Fennel seeds also help in expelling gas from the digestive system.

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Shankha Bhasma: An Ayurvedic preparation made from conch shell, shankha bhasma improves appetite and digestion, and also provides relief from digestive problems like gastritis and duodenitis.

While these ingredients can be used individually or in combination for better management of digestive problems, it is always advisable to consult your doctor for appropriate dosage before taking them. (IANS)

Next Story

Indian Farmers Grow Herbs To Save Farms From Hungry Monkeys

Farmers in India switch to herbs to thwart hungry monkeys

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Indian farmers switch to herb cultivation
Farmers face huge loses due to monkeys attacking their farms in India. Pixabay

A group of farmers from Magroo village in India’s northern state of Himachal Pradesh listens intently as agriculture experts hold a workshop to explain how growing herbs instead of traditional crops such as rice, wheat and corn could save their farms from the ravages of monkeys.

For years they have waged a losing battle with growing hordes of the red-faced rhesus macaques. Displaced by shrinking forests and rapidly spreading urban centers, the primates raid farms in several northern Indian states, searching for food and destroying crops worth millions of dollars.

“In the day we roam around with dogs and we use an air gun,” said farmer Babu Ram. “Then they run off quickly, otherwise it is difficult to keep away the monkeys.” But guarding the fields at night poses a challenge, especially for those that aren’t close to his home.

The growing menace has prompted many in the state nestled in the Himalayan mountains to abandon farming – an estimated 40 per cent of the farmland here is fallow as dejected farmers gave up planting crops.

Indian farmers switch to herb cultivation
Farmers in India learning to save their farms from Monkeys through workshops. Pixabay

Agriculture experts are pushing a solution: switching to herbs only protects their crops but also fetches higher profits.

Monkeys do not attack crops such as aloe vera, a herb with medicinal properties. And they fetch better profits due to surging demand for herbs from domestic companies making medicinal and personal care products. India’s booming herbal product industry is worth $4 billion and growing at a fast pace.

“We teach farmers the kind of crop they can grow according to the soil, the water and air in that area, what market exists for it and how he can increase his income by two or three times per acre,” says Arun Chandan, regional director at the National Medicinal Plants Board for North India. “For example, a herb locally called “sarpgandha” gives farmers eight to ten times the profit compared to wheat.”

Some farmers have already greened their fields with the board’s assistance, which provides planting material and training. Farmer Bipin Kumar in Magroo village says the lower Himalayas are particularly suitable for growing herbs. After starting plants such as aloe vera, stevia and lemongrass, he now plans to expand to other herbs.

“I still have a lot of vacant lands which I will cultivate because I am getting a good market, he said. “And I am learning that there are other herbs that I can grow.” He said the herbs survive even in relatively drier soils and do not get damaged by dense fog which is common in the hills.

Experts have shortlisted about 100 herbs that could be grown on the barren farmland where villagers gave up cultivating crops.

So far nearly 4,000 farmers have switched to growing herbs in seven North Indian states – in Himachal Pradesh, the number is 300.

“The ones who are successful are those who have entrepreneurship, who are willing to innovate. For example, they can plant short-term herbs in between other crops,” says Chandan. His organization also links farmers in remote villages with potential buyers to ensure they can market their crops.

Indian farmers switch to herb cultivation
Farmers learn the benefits of growing herbs instead of other crops. Pixabay

The havoc caused by monkeys is not restricted to rural areas – their numbers are growing in towns and even in the capital New Delhi, where they are infamous for snatching food and even mobile phones. In December, advisers gave lawmakers tips on dealing with monkeys often seen around parliament. The experts said to leave the animals alone and don’t make eye contact.

The monkey population has surged since India banned their export for biomedical research in 1978.

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The problem has been exacerbated because many in Hindu-majority India revere and feed the animals that they link to the Hindu deity Hanuman, who takes the form of a monkey.

But the brunt of the marauding monkeys is being felt in villages like Magroo in North India. Faced with growing losses, even older farmers here are now considering changing age-old farming patterns, although it’s hard to alter practices handed down generations.

Growing rice, corn and wheat is second nature to 79-year-old Charan Das, who has worked in the fields since he was a child. But after watching monkeys eat up more and more of his crop, he wants to shift to growing herbs.

“I will have to plant whatever the animals don’t eat,” he says ruefully. “At least then I will get some reward for my work.”

That is the message going out from workshops like the one in Magroo – there is a way to stay ahead of the monkeys. (VOA)