When the digestive system functions poorly, it may lose its ability to convert the food you eat into a form usable for the body. Poor digestion isn’t only manifested in terms of heartburn and indigestion. It could also express itself through weight gain, chronic body weakness and a weak immune system. Dyspepsia or indigestion is a common medical condition, often caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Moreover, dyspepsia can cause stomach bloating and gas, recurrent abdominal pain and upper abdomen fullness. It can also be accompanied by nausea, heartburn or belching. Pharmaceutical dyspepsia treatment focuses on the underlying cause and typically involves medications that suppress the production of gastric acid such as H2 antagonist medications or proton-pump inhibitor medications. Some doctors also prescribe antibiotic medications if the cause of your indigestion is peptic ulcer disease, to eradicate H. pylori bacteria. However, there are numerous alternative and natural treatments for dyspepsia or poor digestion. Using milk thistle for indigestion may improve the digestive functioning and alleviate common symptoms associated with this disorder.
Milk thistle is classified as a bitter herb along with other herbs such as chamomile, gentian, flax seed, and the like. Bitter herbs are known to be stomach tonics as they improve the appetite, promote secretion of digestive juices, flow of bile and peristaltic movement. The bitter taste of milk thistle increases the appetite by exciting the taste buds and sends signals to the brain preparing for digestion. This results to an increase in the secretion of saliva, gastric acids and digestive enzymes, which are all necessary to efficiently process the food in the digestive tract.
For an all-natural dyspepsia treatment, a specific herbal preparation containing milk thistle, licorice root and lemon balm leaves has been proven in a 4-week German study to help the symptoms of indigestion. This herbal combination seems to lessen the severity of stomach pain, cramping, vomiting, acid reflux and nausea.
The best way to take milk thistle is by infusion, since drinking milk thistle tea can help in regulating the functions of the digestive tract. Besides its bitter taste, it also acts as a gentle laxative. Milk thistle for indigestion can enhance the movement of the intestinal tract and as such, help in lubricating and encouraging bowel movement, promoting regularity. This also aids in the overall detoxification because in case of any build-up of waste material in the gut, it will naturally be removed. This lets you feel lighter and demands less work from your digestive system.
In order to make an infusion/tea of milk thistle for indigestion, you can purchase commercially prepared milk thistle teabags for the most convenient solution. A bag can be steeped in boiling water for at least 5 minutes and the tea sipped several times daily. Also, keep in mind not to take this tea for than two to three weeks without asking your healthcare provider first. It is due to the herb’s innate laxative property, as continuous use of laxatives can lead to dehydration or dependence on them, making it hard for the bowels to function normally without any aid. This tea is only for short-term use, especially for liver support and indigestion relief.