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Digestive Distress - by Susun Weed

Step 1:       Collect Information

 

As the mix of hormones in your blood changes during your premenopausal years, you may notice the effects on your gastrointestinal tract both directly - estrogen is a gastrointestinal stimulant and varying levels may swing you from loose stools to dry ones - and indirectly, as the hormonal load places ever heavier demands on the liver.


Hormones have a strong effect on the motility of the intestinal tract. When your levels of estrogen and progesterone change (as they do throughout menopause, during pregnancy, and before menstruation and birth), your bowel patterns change, too.

 

Your liver is, among other things, a recycling center. It breaks down hormones circulating in the blood when they are no longer needed and makes their "parts" available for the production of more hormones. During the menopausal years some hormones (such as LH and FSH) are produced in such enormous quantities that your liver may struggle to keep up with its recycling work, and have little energy left over for digestive duties. Help yourself with these Wise Woman Ways.

 

Step 2:       Engage the Energy

 

·            Bless your food out loud before you eat; say grace; thank the plants and animals who nourish you; breathe in and feel grateful.

 

·            My mother's favorite way of preventing digestive distress and ensuring regularity is to eat at regular times and go to the toilet at regular times. You'd be surprised how effective this is.

 

·            First thing in the morning, get yourself a cup of hot water (or herbal tea) and bring it back to bed. Sip it slowly, and gnaw gently on your bottom lip. Then lie on your back and bring your knees up, feet flat on the bed; place your palms on your belly and breathe deeply. Gently begin to rub your belly (in spirals): up on the right, across the middle, and down on the left. Soon you will feel the movement gathering momentum. Sit up slowly and head for the toilet.

 

Step 3:       Nourish & Tonify

 

·            Yellow dock root vinegar or tincture is a wonderful ally for menopausal women with digestive distress. Daily doses of 1 teaspoon/5 ml vinegar or 5-10 drops of tincture eliminate constipation, indigestion, and gas. Yellow dock is especially recommended for the woman whose menopausal menses are getting heavier.

 

·            Dandelion is everyone's favorite ally for a happy digestive system and a strong liver. It relieves indigestion, constipation, gas, even gallstone pain. How to use it? Have a glass of dandelion blossom wine. Eat the omega-3-rich leaves in salads. Enjoy the phytoestrogenic roots as a vinegar or tincture (a dose is 1-2 teaspoons/5-10 ml vinegar or 10-20 drops tincture taken with meals) or as a coffee substitute.

 

·            Any rhythmical exercise, especially walking, relieves digestive gas and improves intestinal peristalsis (the movement of feces). Oriental wisdom says the liver loves movement.

 

·            Motherwort, fenugreek, vitex, or black cohosh tinctures, taken daily, strengthen digestion and ease menopausal digestive woes. Or try a cup of garden sage tea.

 

·            If constipation occurs due to a lessening of the moistening, lubricating cells in the colon, slippery foods such as slippery elm bark powder, oats, seaweed, flax seed, and seeds from wild Plantago (or cultivated psyllium) are wonderful allies. Adding a teaspoon/5 ml of any, or better yet, all of them to a cup/250 ml of rolled oats and cooking until thick in 3 cups/750 ml of water is a delicious way to prepare this remedy.

 

·            My favorite remedy to relieve digestive and gas pain is plain yogurt. Sometimes even a tiny mouthful will bring instant relief. Acidophilus capsules work, too. I use both when dealing with chronic constipation or severe diarrhea.

 

Step 4:       Stimulate/Sedate

 

·            White flour products slow the digestive tract; so does too much grain-fed meat. Whole grain products, well-cooked beans, wild meats, and cooked greens speed it up.

 

·            Add more liquids and soft foods to your diet - applesauce, yogurt, nourishing soups, herbal infusions - to help relieve constipation. Chew your food slowly and savor it. Drink lavishly between meals.

 

·            Menopausal women will want to avoid the use of bran as a laxative, as it interferes with calcium absorption. Instead try prunes, prune juice, rhubarb with maple syrup, or figs.

 

·            Ginger tea with honey is a warming, easing drink when your tummy is upset. Ahhh. Try the fresh root grated and steeped in boiling water, or put a tablespoon of the powdered stuff from your spice cupboard in a cup of hot water and enjoy.

 

·            Crushed hemp seed (Cannabis sativa) tea - rich in essential fatty acids - is a specific against menopausal constipation.

 

·            Herbal laxatives such as aloes, cascara sagrada, rhubarb root, and senna are addictive and destructive to normal peristalsis. Except in rare cases (such as relief of constipation for a ninety-year-old woman confined to a bed), I do not advise their use.

 

Step 5a:     Use Supplements

 

Constipation and digestive distress are common side effects from taking iron supplements. A spoonful of molasses with 10-25 drops of yellow dock root tincture in a glass of warm water is a better way to increase iron, and improve elimination.

 

Step 6:       Break & Enter

 

Enemas and colonics are last-resort techniques. They do not promote health and may strip the guts of important flora. Regular use of enemas is highly habit-forming. For the sake of your health, avoid them.


Susun Weed, green witch and wise woman, is an extraordinary teacher with a joyous spirit, a powerful presence, and an encyclopaedic 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  for information on her workshops, apprenticeships, correspondence courses and more or contact her at:


Susun Weed

PO Box 64

Woodstock, NY 12498

Fax:  1-845-246-8081


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

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Legal Disclaimer: This content is not intended to replace conventional medical treatment. Any suggestions made and all herbs listed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, condition or symptom. Personal directions and use should be provided by a clinical herbalist or other qualified healthcare practitioner with a specific formula for you. All material contained herein is provided for general information purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or consultation. Contact a reputable healthcare practitioner if you are in need of medical care. Exercise self-empowerment by seeking a second opinion.

 

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Browse the publishing site - Ash Tree Publishing - to learn more about her alternative health books.

 

Venture into the NEW Menopause site to learn all about the Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way.

Or Join the Forum! Susun Weed’s Wise Woman Forum - an open space for discussion. Make yourself at home, post a message or start a discussion. This place is for you to share your questions, concerns, and comments with other wise women like you. Take a moment to register and become part of the community. Enjoy!
 

 

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 $11.95 Order at: Ash Tree Publishing

 
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: Ash Tree Publishing

 

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. Foreword by Juliette de Bairacli Levy. 304 pages, index, illustrations.

Retails for $16.95 Order at: Ash Tree Publishing

For more great info on menopause, visit the site.

 
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 $14.95 Order at: Ash Tree Publishing

For more great info on Breast Health, visit Susun's Breast Health site.



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