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Home Remedies for Indigestion

The symptoms can vary from pains in the chest to a distended midriff, from a hearty belch to ominous internal rumblings, from stomach ache and nausea to that unbearable burning surge of acidity into the mouth and the general feeling of malaise that makes you wish that you had eaten and drunk perhaps a little less well and a little more wisely.

There is no doubt however that several specific circumstances can cause indigestion. Eating when you are in a state of tension, taking food on the run, getting up and down from a meal, swallowing food too quickly without chewing it thoroughly, taking water with meals which upsets the gastric juices and sitting badly or eating food on a tray on your lap whilst hunched over the television set, which causes the intestine to become squashed, are all prime causes of the above agonies. Eating late at night can lead to a bad case of night-time heebie jeebies when the pain is so bad that some sufferers have believed themselves to be in the throes of a heart attach. Women are more prone to indigestion during the time of their periods whilst sufferers from chronic constipation also feel the pangs rather more frequently that do other  folk. Smoking can also be considered a contributory factor especially when it is allied to an empty stomach, black coffee and stress at work.

If you find the cause for your problem amongst the above suggestions then self-help is entirely in your hands but there may be other causes which are purely dietary. An immoderate consumption of rich food and alcohol may seem worth the risk at the time but be sure that you have an antidote to hand. If however the problem persists beyond the normal time expected to overcome such indulgence examine your diet for specifics; fatty foods, red meat, pork, coffee, tea , red wine, sherry , smoked and very saltly foods, acidic fruit (oranges, tomatoes) and commercially produced foods which contain a high percentage of food additives. Gin taken with tonic water has also been known to have an unholy effect on the digestion as do many wines and beers which contain chemicals.

To some extent we have brought these problems upon ourselves by relegating many of the old-fashioned herb and spice combinations that accompanied our meals to the realms of fuddy-duddy tradition. Roast pork for instance was cooked with sage and onion not only to lend it flavor but also to provide a very necessary insurance against indigestion when one was eating a rich meat. In France it is almost traditional to follow roast pork with an open apple tart and a glass of calvados and in northern European countries both pork and certain dense cheeses are prepared with caraway to give a distinctive flavor and to aid digestion. Two other favorites are pork or ham seasoned with juniper, and sauerkraut served with pork. Both the Germans and the Japanese have learned the benefits to the digestive system of fermented cabbage.

Greens, particularly the strong dark varieties, were the vegetables most frequently served with Sunday lunch and the water in which they were cooked was used to make the gravy which accompanied the meat, and this same liquid can be drunk as an antidote to heartburn.

A traditional accompaniment to roast beef is mustard which will help a heavy meat be more easily digested. Both horseradish and freshly ground black pepper have much the same effect and if you are in the habit of eating cold roast beef sandwiches it is essential that you add one of this trio.

Sage leaves are traditionally used when cooking liver and kidneys as it them more digestible. Both types of offal should be left to soak well in cold water for at least two hours before cooking. I had always thought that when my mother added a tablespoon of vinegar to the water this was done to tenderize the offal but I now realize that it was probably the tail end of a long-held belief that as liver and kidneys are eliminative organs the vinegar would rid them of their toxins.

Parsley, sage, thyme, garlic, marjoram, onions and lemon were and still should be used to stuff poultry and game, particularly if you have a good healthy free-range bird, for they all help to cut the richness and help digestion in the same way as the astringent cranberry and redcurrant do for turkey and game. Rich oily fish baked with fennel, creamy sauces seasoned with dill and many other gourmet dishes had their beginnings in practicalities rather than in haute cuisine. Although many spices and herbs were used to disguise the taste of stale meat and to counteract is effect upon the consumer, those warm Oriental spices such as cumin, coriander, cinnamon, fenugreek and cayenne were also used to add piquancy to the palate and power to the digestion when a long feast was in progress.

Many people are allergic to certain foods and drinks but getting the burps’ when we have eaten cucumber is usually as a result of having peeled it, for the skin normaly acts as its own built in digestive. In fact we should not peel many of the fruits and vegetables we eat. Apples and carrots are both valuable additions to the diet and also keep our bodies working smoothly but they are more effective if they are left unpeeled – although with today’s proliferation of pesticides it is necessary to make sure that they are well scrubbed in several changes of water.

 Raw grated carrot is considered a trustworthy antidote to dyspepsia and so are fennel and parsley although I am certain that the notorious radish and spring onion could do battle with the most iron constitution and win. Both celery and fresh pineapple, eaten at the end of a meal, will improve the digestive processes.

For some unhappy sufferers from indigestion the cause may be far more difficult to identify. Although we usually know what we are allergic to, some conditions can be created by the wrong combination of foods eaten at the same time. One of the most potentially damaging meals can be steak with baked potato or chips and salad, followed by a sweet fruit dessert. A steak eaten with a bread roll can, I am assured, take up to 90 hours to be digested and eventually eliminated from the body. This is because the digestive juices can’t easily cope with this combination of foods. Some people cannot tolerate cheese and fruit together whilst others baulk at a meat sandwich with pickles. Unrefined carbohydrates and whole milk may also create problems. Bread made with quick-rise yeast can also upset the digestion quite considerably.

Although alcohol – particularly some of the nasty chemical varieties on the market – will not do you a lot of good when taken in excess an aperitif taken before a meal, a glass of good white wine with the meal and a digestive to follow were and still are considered to be not only a civilized pleasure but an exquisite necessity for the well – being of the body. Unfortunately, as is the case with so many good things, we cannot resist an occasional overindulgence.

If you suffer from indigestion which is persistent of if it should become progressively worse you should take professional advice.

Home Remedies for Indigestion

Eat plenty of raw grated carrots, fennel, parsley and green vegetables if you suffer from dyspepsia. The water in which well – washed new potatoes have been cooked or the cooking – water from dark green turnip tops will counteract acidity.

If you like whole meal bread but it does not like you try adding well crushed coriander, caraway, aniseed or fennel seeds to the basic dough.

Chew black peppercorns or suck liquorice wood slowly wood slowly.

  • Apple cider vinegar or lemon juice One teaspoon of either in ½ cup of warm water every 15 minutes will relieve acidity and heartburn. This may seem to be fighting fire with fire but using antacids provokes the body into producing yet more acid. One of the best home remedies for Indigestion.
  • Bicarbonate of soda One teaspoon in hot water relieves heartburn, acidity and dyspepsia. An even better method is to mix 2 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda with 1 teaspoon of ground ginger and take 1 teaspoon of this mixture in hot water before breakfast.
  • Carbonated lemonade The old – fashioned colorless variety drunk warm relieves flatulence and stomach ache.
  • Soda water This relieves flatulence and the type of fuzzy headache that sometimes goes with indigestion.
  • Water Drinking lots of water dispels heartburn. Lemon barley water and pure lemonade taken by the small glassful will also help.
  • Barley water, oats or porridge All of these will settle flatulence and heartburn.
  • Yoghurt The plain live variety will soothe digestive disorders.
  • Goat’s milk This will ease persistent heartburn and flatulence.
  • Slippery elm  To soothe and reduce acidity mix 1 teaspoon of the powdered bark to a paste with a little cold water and add to 1 cup of boiling water. Season with nutmeg or cinnamon to taste and sweeten with honey. One of the effective home remedies for Indigestion.
  • Charcoal Charcoal biscuits or tablets are a very old-fashioned remedy for wind, heartburn and more severe tummy troubles, especially nausea. Powdered chalk was also used as an antidote for acidity and although I can not recommend the latter both the charcoal biscuits and the tables are easily available and are invaluable.
  • Cloves A drop or two of oil of cloves in hot water, 6 cloves steeped in a cup of boiling water and drunk as a tea or the cloves chewed as they are will all dispel pain and flatulence. They will also make the breath smell sweeter.
  • Ginger Soak 1 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger in a cup of boiling water. Stand for 10 minutes and drink warm. One of the good home remedies for Indigestion.
  • Garlic One clove of garlic should be crushed or chopped into 300 ml (1/2 pint) of boiling water. Cooking with garlic will also reduce the chances of digestive problems and 1 suspect that this very useful remedy may also have been used as an antidote to food poisoning.
  • Angelica Sweet, musky angelica was considered to be a forceful weapon against the plague. The fresh stem can be chewed raw to alleviate stomach pains but make sure that it is angelica from your garden and not its look alike hemlock gathered in the wild which would assure the contrary result. Avoid taking angelica just before retiring as it is also a stimulant and may keep you awake.
  • Cardamom To dispel flatulence chew the seeds as they are or simmer 6 pods with a pinch of ground ginger or grated nutmeg in 2 cups of water. Cardamom seeds crushed and kept in with the fresh coffee will also reduce the chances of indigestion. One of the superb home remedies for Indigestion.
  • Camomile tea A tea which calms and soothes. Add a pinch of allspice and 1 teaspoon of honey for extra benefit, especially for children.
  • Cinnamon Half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon in 1 cup of warm milk with honey or cinnamon tea made with hot water will dispel windiness in all degrees.
  • Peppermint A few drops of oil of peppermint in hot water will relieve pain and flatulence. Peppermint tea made with 1 teaspoon of the herb to 1 cup of boiling water will also bring relief. Peppermint also relieves period pains.
  • Marjoram if you suffer from digestive disorders always cook your meat with marjoram when appropriate or make a tea with 1 teaspoon of the fresh leaves to 1 cup of boiling water. All varieties of marjoram are extremely easy to grow in the garden and make superb variegated rockery plants which the bees love. Thyme should also be used in exactly the same way but for other meats, especially game and poultry.
  • Basil Use basil in cooking and particularly chopped on tomato salads to reduce the risk of acid heartburn. Make a basil tea with 1 teaspoon of the fresh herb to 1 cup of boiling water or even more deliciously macerate 1 handful of fresh basil in 1 litre (1.75 pints) of white wine for three days. Strain and rebottle and take one small glassful after meals.
  • Hop syrup Many people suffer from acidity, heartburn and dyspepsia after drinking beer and lager, especially those containing a high percentage of chemicals. Perhaps the following old fashioned remedy is the answer. Brew 1 cup of strong hop tea with 1 tablespoon of glycerin. Stir well, cover and steep for five minutes. Strain and drink one hour before meals.  
  • Mustard Amongst country folk one of the prime remedies for a painful digestive problem was to nibble the leaf of wild mustard which was searingly fiery enough for the remedy to have stated that good draughts of water be taken withal. We now know that we should eat mustard with food that may be difficult to digest but a tes made with mustard seed is also remarkably beneficial. To 1 cup of hop tea add 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds. Leave to steep and drink warm with the seed which should be swallowed. Take ½ cup twice a day before meals.
  • Mint Mint tea made in the proportions of 1 teaspoon of fresh mint to 1 cup of boiling water with a pinch of powdered ginger added is very comforting in a crisis. Cold mint tea without the ginger is a most refreshing drink in the summer and mint sauce is a very necessary accompaniment to lamb, particularly shoulder of lamb and lamb chops which can be extremely fatty.

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