I have chronic indigestion. I'm pretty sure I have a digestive enzyme problem and could benefit from hydrochloric acid tablets, but my doctor doesn't recommend them (I have a past problem with ulcers and other complaints). Are there other natural products that might relieve my indigestion?
You may find help for your chronic indigestion by using what are called herbal bitters. Bitters activate the bitter taste receptors on the tongue, which in turn stimulate the secretion of digestive juices. Several herbs are considered herbal bitters. They include:
- Dandelion root
- Chamomile flowers
- Gentian root
Gentian root is probably the most used herbal bitter because it contains one of the bitterest substances known to man—a glycoside called amarogentin. European studies have shown that gentian products can effectively relieve indigestion. In this country, gentian is available in powder form, capsules, or as a concentrated extract.
For digestive purposes, herbal bitter extracts seem to be most effective and convenient. A good source for these products is Bio-Botanica. Generally a couple of drops in a little water taken about 15 to 20 minutes before meals will help with indigestion. However, be aware that too large a dose may cause vomiting. This stuff is bitter!