Digestive Health

"All Disease Starts In The Gut"


Our digestive system, also know as the gut and gastrointestinal tract, is not just about the digestion of food. Science now tells us that our gut has a huge part to play in our overall health including physical health such as healthy immune function and also mental health as the health of our gut also determines how we feel emotionally too.

When we hear the word ‘gut health’, we are really describing the bacteria that lives in the many parts of the gastrointestinal tract and the functions and balance of this bacteria within the gut.  This bacteria makes up what is called the gut microbiota or gut flora, along with billions of other microorganisms.

All these microbes have significant potential to impact upon our physiology, both in health and in disease. They play a significant role in our immune function (about 70% of our immune system is found in our gut), they contribute to metabolic functions, protect against pathogens and impact our mental health with the effect they have on our nervous system and endocrine system (hormones). In other words, if we don’t have a  healthy gut, pretty much every other physiological process in our body can be affected ether directly or indirectly. 

Digestive health complaints are the most common complaint that people visit my clinic for. The majority of people I see have been diagnosed with IBS and are suffering with symptoms such as bloating, abdominal discomfort, excess gas and bowel issues, which are symptoms that mainstream healthcare don’t usually, or won’t, offer much help for.

Nature offers an abundance of ways to improve digestive health, alleviate digestive symptoms and  boost gut flora and by utilising nature to improve our digestive system, by default we are also improving every other aspect of our health too!

Most Effective Natural Teas For Alleviating Digestive Symptoms


The many varieties of plant and herb based teas have been used for centuries for a wide variety of medicinal purposes. Teas provide an easy way of consuming natural products that contain active components such as flavanoids and polyphenols, which are then easily absorbed by the body.

When it comes to our digestive system, teas can provide many health benefits, including easing bloating, reducing gas, improving indigestion, relieves upset stomach and heartburn to name a few, so depending on your problem and symptoms, there is pretty much a natural tea to suit everyone.

Even better is that you can easily make many of these teas from ingredients found in your garden or spice cupboard, which are often more potent, provide better nutritional value and are tastier and fresher than tea bags!

Bloating, Gas & Wind

Fennel seeds/leaves & Aniseed

Indigestion & Acid Reflux

Thyme & Coriander seeds

Nausea & Vomiting

Ginger & Peppermint

Pain & Discomfort

Cinnamon & Carraway

Making Symptom Relief Teas


Each of the teas above can be made easily by collecting or buying the active ingredient. Fennel, thyme and coriander are easy to grow yourself and the spices are easily available in shops or online. Depending on how strong you like your tea, i suggest using 1 tsp to 1 tbsp of the active ingredient named above to one cup of hot water. Once you add the hot water to the active, cover and allow to steep for 15-30 minutes before consuming.

"The physician treats, but nature heals"


How Walking Benefits YOUR Digestive Health

You probably already know that walking is good for your health, but did you also know that it is good for your digestive system too, for a number of reasons.

When we eat, food tends to stay in our stomach for about 4-6 hours before moving to our small intestine. Walking has been shown to aid digestion by speeding up the time it takes for our stomach to empty, which can help with feelings of fullness or bloating.

Some research also suggests that this increased speed of digestion can help reduce the incidence of heartburn and reflux symptoms too.

Physical activity, including walking,  may also offer an actual protective effect on the gastrointestinal system, with some research showing that physical activity can actually reduce the risk of colon cancer, up to 50% in some studies! Maximum benefits do require more of a brisk walk though as opposed to a slow plod.

If you are prone to constipation then walking is certainly a good idea. Walking helps stimulate the colon and help the natural muscle contarctions that occur in the bowel, which ultimately helps to push the food through the intestines to then form a (hopefully) passable stool.

And, that all important gut bacteria that we talked about at the top of this page also benefits when we walk. Research has shown that walking can help increase intestinal bacteria called Bacteroides, which as you now know is paramount for good gut health.

So time to get out those walking boots and head off out into nature to get you and your digestive system moving.

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Latest Blog Posts for Digestive Health

How Rhubarb Can Help Your Digestive Symptoms

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Friendly Foods For Bloated Bellies

If you are one of the millions of people who suffer from bloating, then you will know it’s not just discomfort it can cause, but it can severely affect quality of life and self-confidence too. Feeling bloated is not the same for everyone……….

Why Your Digestion Needs This Herb

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IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)


These three little letters spell huge misery to thousands of people every day, with about 1 in 5 people in the UK suffering with it at some point in their life and one of the commonest problems people seek my help for at clinic. Women in particular are more prone to IBS compared with men, especially in the age range of 30-39, where women are twice as likely as men to suffer with IBS. Characterised by abdominal pain, discomfort and changeable bowel habits, its effects are not just a nuisance, but something that can affect the quality of life and mental health of those who suffer its torment.

Unfortunately, there is little help available for those diagnosed with IBS and although anti-spasmodic medications can sometimes be prescribed by your GP, not everyone benefits from their use, or they may have only short term benefits without treating a potential under lying cause.

So what can nature offer that may help ease these symptoms?


Two of the most common symptoms experienced by of IBS sufferers is excess gas and bloating, which can then cause cramping. With fennel being an anti-flatulent, its an excellent herb to have to hand for these symptoms. The bioactive compound of fennel is called Anethole and it is this that is thought to be mostly responsible for its beneficial effects on the digestive system. Fennel is an anti-spasmodic, which means it helps to relax the muscles in the digestive tract, including intestinal wall muscles, and this then has the effect of reducing bloating, gas and the cramping pain often synonomous with IBS. Fennel is also an anti-inflammatory so also helps reduce inflammation that may be present in the digestive tract too. You can chew on fennel seeds directly, or steep them to make a soothing tea, as well as use fennel leaves in salads.


Derived from the inner bark of an evergreen tree, not all cinnamon is equal and when it comes to its medicinal benefits, the type you need is Cinnamomum zeylanicum, also known as ‘true’ cinnamon. It is indigenous to Sri Lanka and has been used for centuries for its health benefits, espepcially for the gastrointestinal tract, although more research is needed in humans to positively conclude specific effects.  The main active component of cinnamon, called cinnamaldehyde, is likely responsible for most of the benefits seen, including  speeding up a sluggish digestive system, providing relief  for bloating and excess gas as well as having anti-inflammatory properties. Cinnamon has also been shown to have prebiotic activity, meaning it helps promote the ‘good’ bacteria found in your gut. It can be eaten in many ways and sprinkled on your cereal, but especially warming and effective consumed as a warm tea.

Milk Thistle

Part of the daisy family, milk thistle has been used medicinally for over 2000 years and is most commonly known for its liver protective benefits. The active component of milk thistle is called Silymarin, which is an antioxidant found in the seeds of the milk thistle. It is this active which has been shown to possess various pharmacological properties such as hepatoprotective (liver protective), antioxidant action, anticancer and antiinflammatory properties. Due to these effects and the the  ‘cleansing’ ability it has on the liver, it can be helpful in general promotion of digestive health and may help alleviate IBS symptoms. It is best taken as a supplement or as a tea.


This very unusual looking vegetable has been used for centuries for its various medicinal properties, especially for digestive health. Some of the compounds found in artichokes have shown to have an antispasmodic effect, which is likely why in many studies artichoke leaf extract has been shown to reduce IBS symptoms, including discomfort dyspepsia and bowel irregularities. Artichokes are loaded with phytonutrients, one of which is called  cynarin which has been shown to stimulate bile production, which is needed to break down the fats that we eat and help remove toxins from the body. This can be helpful if your IBS symptoms are aggravated after eating fatty and rich foods. The best way to consume artichoke for the relief of IBS is to use the extract in liquid form such as 100% artichoke juice of a pure tincture, both of which are easily purchased.


This fantastic source of fibre derives from the Mediterranean plant called Plantago Ovata. Psyllium husk is made up of the outer hull of the psyllium seed that is part of this plant, and these husks contain a specific type of soluble fibre called Mucilage. It is this fibre that has been shown to be helpful for many IBS sufferers, especially if constipation and difficulty in passing a stool is one of your main symptoms. Research exploring the effects of Pysllium husk in IBS concluded it as an ‘effective first treatment approach in the clinical management of patients with IBS’. Although its often referred to as a laxative, it is helpful for both diarrhea and constipation as it absorbs water in the gut and allows a more passable stool whilst also helping improve bowel regularity and stool consistency.It is also a great prebiotic so promotes ‘good’ bacteria in your gut. You can consume Pysllium by adding to your breakfast, consuming as a drink or baking with it.

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Blood pressure & cholesterol lowering & brimming with antioxidants & Vitamin C