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 Herbal Medicine: Indigestion - Functional Dyspepsia 
Symptoms referred to the GI system in which a pathological condition is not present, is poorly established, or, if present, does not entirely explain the clinical state.

This is a vague and variable problem that is functional in nature and usually not due to an underlying structural cause. Belching, distension and borborygmus often occur associated with abdominal or epigastric pain. There is often an overt psychological component, but it is too easy to concluded that all indigestion is psycho-somatic. Dietary factors are often crucial. However, the symptom picture may be similar to some presenting signs of cardiac is chaemia, peptic ulceration and Cholecystitis. Thus differential diagnosis is crucial. Any case of `indigestion' that proves intransigent needs skilled diagnosis.

Actions indicated for the processes behind this disease:
The key to correcting such functional problems is in "tuning up" the fine control of both metabolic and physical aspects of digestion and assimilation. whilst easing the discomfort with appropriate remedies.

Bitter stimulation will promote an integrated and adequate secretory response to food or hunger, as well as increasing muscular tone in peristalsis.
Carminatives will ease flatulence, reduce localized inflammation, muscular spasm leading to colic and act as mild anti-microbials.
Anti-spasmodics may be indicated if the carminatives do not ease abdominal cramping.
Nervines can be used to help stress, anxiety & tension. They are usually also anti-spasmodic.

System Support
The digestive system, but then any part of the body that is a focus for energy usage may be strengthened by using system tonics. Thus may possibly enable the body to integrate the various aspects of digestive functioning more effectively.

Specific Remedies
Every herbalist and every culture have their favorite remedies for indigestion. They are, as would be expected from the above, often bitter carminatives or nervine carminatives. European `specifics' include Gentian, Peppermint, Chamomile, Balm. Hops &Valerian. Of course the possibilities can be endless.

One possible prescription

Often the traditional simple, or tea made from a single fresh remedy, is best. This should be an herb that the patient likes the taste and aroma of. It ideally should be a plant they could easily cultivate, thus providing a steady supply of fresh leaf. The actions of the herb will give the clue as to which is most therapeutically indicated. Suggestions could include:

Peppermint, Chamomile, Balm
This may be augmented by using a combination of tinctures that aids the digestive system in general through a bitter/carminative approach:
Valerian equal parts of the tincture to 2.5ml taken 10 minutes before eating.

This approach will provide:
  • carminative (Peppermint, Chamomile, Lemon Balm)
  • anti-inflammatory (Peppermint, Chamomile, Lemon Balm)
  • bitter (Gentian, Chamomile)
  • nervine (Valerian, Chamomile)

Broader Context of Treatment
Persistent problems call for skilled medical diagnosis. Because of the functional nature of this problem, just about anything that helps the person to be at ease with themselves or help physiological activity will be indicated. Diet is fundamental, but the problem could just about anything. Structural considerations show that therapies from chiropractic to rolfing may potentially help. Counseling about stress related issues or deeper psychological issues will help. Etc. etc.!!
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 About The Author
David Hoffmann BSc (Hons), MNIMHWhilst working in conservation and lecturing in ecology and the eco-crisis for the University of Wales, David Hoffman became convinced that to heal the world, to embrace planetary wholeness and responsibility for it......more
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