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Gas. Gas is usually characterized by either belching or gas, and sometimes by cramping pains and bloating when the gas is trapped in the bowels. Digestive enzymes may be helpful in a pinch to improve digestion (papain from papaya and bromelain from pineapple are two food sources) and decrease gas, but if gas is a chronic problem, we find homeopathic remedies such as Lycopodium, Carbo vegetabilis and Sulphur to be very effective. Colonic irrigation may be of help in cleaning out the bowel and re-establishing healthy intestinal flora. If the chronic gas is due to Candida ( intestinalyeast), it may be necessary to change the environment of the bowel. Using garlic and acidophilus and eliminating sweets are useful home treatments, but Candida often responds best when treated more aggressively with homeopathy or natural fungicides.For acute gas after eating, peppermint, ginger, fennel and fenugreek are useful. Charcoal capsules or burned toast are extremely beneficial for absorbing excess gas. The Ayurvedic formula, Drachsa, is very effective in preventing gas when taken after meals and a diet which decreases the Vata or air principle in the body often relieves gas. This diet eliminates most beans, raw vegetables, cabbage family and nightshade family vegetables. The wind relieving pose and inverted yoga postures may also help release trapped gas.

Diarrhea and Constipation. The colon maintains a delicate balance between diarrhea and constipation. If too little water is absorbed from the stool, diarrhea or loose stool results. If the stool becomes too dry and hard because it is retained too long, it may become difficult to expel. Emotional as well as dietary factors play a role. The following principles are helpful for promoting colon health, prevention and treatment. Eat fiber-rich foods like whole grains, fruits and vegetables or take supplemental bran or psyllium seed husk, which act as a scrub brush in the bowel. Herbs including senna, buckthorn, and cascara sagradaare used for their laxative function. Colonic irrigation can be tremendously helpful in restoring normal bowel function. Never suppress the urge to have a bowel movement and make sure to getregular exercise, especially walking or abdominal exercises. Specific yoga exerecises as well as breath and cleansing practices eare very helpful for improving bowel tone and function. Drink enough liquid, at least 4 to 8 glasses a day depending on your body type. If you have diarrhea, avoid fruit juice, eat rice and grains or fast on water, and make sure to replace lost fluids and electrolytes. Clay for internal use may be helpful in stopping diarrhea. Homeopathic remedies such as Podophyllum, Arsenicum, or Sulphur may stop diarrhea in minutes when correctly prescribed.

If you follow these suggestions, you will hopefully be well on the way to absolutely divine digestion!

Drs. Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman and Robert Ullman are naturopathic and homeopathic physicians and cofounders of the Northwest Center for Homeopathic Medicine in Edmonds, WA. They are coauthors of The Patient's Guide to Homeopathic Medicine and Beyond Ritalin: Homeopathic Treatment of ADD and Other Behavioral and Learning Problems. They can be reached at (206) 774-5599.

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About The Author
Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman, ND, DHANP, MSW is a licensed naturopathic physician board certified in homeopathic medicine. She graduated with a degree in ...more
 
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