Sense of fullness, stomach cramps and nausea can be the unpleasant consequences of Christmas’s and New Year’s day dinners and lunches, sometimes too abundant and rich in fatty foods. Fortunately, we can count on good natural remedies to deal with these symptoms. The plants that are the most beneficial and able to improve and support digestion essentially belong to three groups, bitter plants, such as artichoke and dandelion, aromatic plants, for example chamomile, mint, coriander or cardamom, and pungent ones, such as nettle (Valussi et al, Int J Food Sci Nutrition, 2012). Now let's see in more detail the uses and properties of the main remedies.
The artichoke, Cynara cardunculus, is traditionally used as a digestive and liver support, helps to resolve nausea, stomach pain and the sense of fullness, reduces fats in the blood and stimulates the production of bile as much as the ESCOP, that is the European scientific commission on phytotherapy, approved it as a digestive remedy (Valussi et al, Int J Food Sci Nutrition, 2012 - Salem et al, Plant Foods Hum Nutr, 2015). This effect is due to sesquiterpene lactones such as cynaropicrin, the bitter principles that characterize the artichoke. This remedy was able, in 4 weeks, to resolve abdominal pain, flatulence, belly swelling and lack of appetite in people with liver and biliary tract diseases (Valussi et al, Int J Food Sci Nutrition, 2012). A good way to benefit from the properties of the artichoke is to prepare an herbal tea that, however, it must be said, is very bitter. Bring a cup of water to a boil, then remove from heat and add a couple of artichoke leaves. Leave to brew for 15 minutes then filter and drink.
Chamomile is relaxing and useful in case of stomach problems. Scientific studies have in fact observed that chamomile is beneficial in those people with gastritis and flatulence, even in case of children with colic (Valussi et al, Int J Food Sci Nutrition, 2012). You can prepare a chamomile tea. Bring a cup of water to the boiling point, then remove from the heat and add a teaspoon of dry chamomile flowers. Let it brew for 5 minutes, then filter and drink.
Cardamom and coriander
Cardamom, Elettaria cardamomum, is rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substances and is carminative and digestive.
As for cardamom, be careful if you are taking medication. In fact, cardamom may interact with drugs for bladder and liver stones (Abu-Taweel et al, Saudi J Biol Sci., 2018). Coriander is useful, instead, to counter colitis and has a cholesterol-lowering action, a real help during holidays (Kunnumakkara et al, J Transl Med, 2018 - Hosseinzadeh, Scientific World Journal, 2014). You can chew coriander and cardamom after a meal or you can prepare healthy teas. Bring a cup of water to the boil, remove from heat and add 3-4 crushed cardamom berries and half a teaspoon of crushed coriander. Leave to brew for ten minutes, then filter and drink.
Nettle, detoxifying cure
Nettle leaves have been shown to protect the gastric mucosa (Burkova et al, Eksp Klin Farmakol, 2011). Not only that, the nettle is diuretic, hepatoprotective, anti-inflammatory and helps to purify the body, perfect then after holidays and big dinners and lunches (Castaldo et al, International Journal of Endocrinology, 2015). Here's how you can prepare the nettle herbal tea. Bring a liter of water to a boil, remove from heat and add two tablespoons of dried nettle. Leave to infuse for 10 minutes, filter and drink a cup a day. When we talk about nettle, we need to make some clarifications. First, treatment with nettle tea should not last more than two weeks, then, after drinking a cup of nettle, always drink a glass of water together to help the kidneys work.