Spring has arrived bringing with it light, perfumes, flowers, warm air ... but also allergies and stomach pain. If we can all agree with regard to allergies, indeed everybody knows someone who suffers from seasonal allergies, we can be more perplexed about stomach pain. Yet this is the case, in predisposed people the change of season, and in particular the transition between winter and spring, may worse or even cause heartburn, stomach cramps and digestive problems. And behind this condition there is a scientific explanation, let's see it. Then, we'll also try to understand how nature can help us to counteract digestive disorders.
Why are there more digestive disorders in spring?
There are three reasons (source Humanitas Research Hospital). The first has its roots in our history as human beings. In fact, primitive men could go hungry in winter since they could not find enough food. And so the body reduced the production of gastric juices during that season, because otherwise, in the absence of food, these juices would have ruined the stomach walls. With spring, however, the normal production of gastric juices was re-established. Then, spring brings more light and the light stimulates the release of cortisol, the hormone typical of the waking period and that makes us active. However, cortisol also has other effects. In fact, this hormone can increase anxiety and irritability, causing loss of appetite, heaviness in the stomach and swollen belly, it also reduces all movements of the stomach and intestinal mucosa that promote digestion. Finally, a worsening of sour stomach and stomach pain may also be due to incorrect eating habits, usually worsened during winter, such as preferring heavy and high-fat foods and a sedentary lifestyle. This is why, in predisposed people, the arrival of spring can also bring with it the flowering of ... some headaches and gastric diseases.
Herbal tea against heartburn and stomach cramps
In case of heartburn and stomach cramps you can prepare a herbal tea with aniseed, lemon balm and lavender, as suggested by the well known herbalist Messeguè in his book My Herbarium. Bring a liter of water to a boil, remove from heat and add 2 tablespoons of anise seeds, 1 tablespoon of lemon balm and 1 teaspoon of lavender. Let it sit for ten minutes, then filter and drink two or three cups a day. Anise, scientific name Pimpinella anisum, in fact acts with antispasmodic and analgesic properties, protects the mucous membrane of the stomach and fights ulcers. Not only that, anise is also anti-nausea and counteracts constipation (Ghoshegir et al, J Res Med Sci, 2015). Lavender calms pain, nervousness and protects the stomach (Barocelli et al, Life Sci, 2004) and lemon balm improves mood, is antioxidant and counteracts abdominal cramps (Saberi et al, Iran Red Crescent Med J., 2016 ).
Infusion in case of aerophagia
In case of aerophagia, that is, air in the stomach, the herbalist Messegue in his book My Herbarium recommends preparing an infusion with anise, fennel and sage. Anise, as mentioned in the previous paragraph, protects digestion and fights flatulence and colic, fennel regulates the secretion of gastric juices, is antispasmodic and analgesic, while sage is gastroprotective since it reduces stomach acid (Gori et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2012 - Mayer et al, Phytotherapy, 2009). Here's how to proceed. Bring a cup of water to a boil. Remove it from the heat and add a pinch of anise, a pinch of fennel and a pinch of sage. Let it sit for ten minutes, then filter and drink after each meal.
In case of heartburn and stomach heaviness you can resort to the glycerine macerate of fig, or ficus carica, which you can easily find in the pharmacy. Ficus carica, in fact, is recognized and appreciated for its ability to stimulate digestive processes, to counteract inflammation and gastrointestinal problems, including loss of appetite, indigestion, colitis (Mawa et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2013). You can take 30 drops of glycerine macerate before meals in a little water.
Yoga can also help with poor digestion, stomach pain and sour stomach. In particular, a position called Vajrasana or yoga position of lightning is really beneficial. Sit on your knees with your buttocks resting on your heels. You can put a pillow between your heels and buttocks to facilitate the position. Open your chest and shoulders, keep your hands on your lap, with palms facing up, right palm on the left one and thumbs in contact that point forwards as an arrow, this allows you to better open your chest and diaphragm. Breathe in this position, which is excellent for facilitating the flow of blood into the digestive tract. You can practice this yoga posture after eating or when you feel a digestive problem. Scientific studies have observed that vajrasana can also be beneficial in case of diabetes, as it helps to improve the use of insulin by the body, even if the mechanism has not yet been elucidated (Malhotra et al, Nepal Med Coll, 2005 ).