The Fundamentals

Dyspepsia (indigestion) is incomplete or imperfect digestion, usually accompanied by a sense, of fullness after eating, eructation, nausea and vomiting, heartburn, acid regurgitation, accumulation of gas, belching, and loss of appetite. The symptoms may occur irregularly and in different patterns from time to time. The symptoms are much more marked during times of stress. Dyspepsia is not a disease itself, but symptomatic of other diseases or disorders. Dyspepsia may be due to excessive acidity in the stomach (acid dyspepsia), by excessive use of alcoholic beverages (alcoholic dyspepsia), or by faulty function of the stomach and intestines (gastrointestinal dyspepsia). Additionally, dyspepsia may be caused by a liver disease (hepatic dyspepsia) or found during heart disease (cardiac dyspepsia). It may even be present during hysterial attacks.

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Indigestion, Heartburn
echnically, dyspepsia, or indigestion, is the inability to properly digest food. Indigestion is often caused by an overproduction of stomach acid, and sometimes, by a shortage of acid. Many times the cause is a faulty esophageal sphincter, the valve between stomach and esophagus, which may fail to close properly, thereby allowing partially digested food and stomach acid to come back up in the throat. Stress and anxiety are also oftentimes at fault in dyspepsia. Chronic indigestion attacks may signal an underlying problem such as peptic ulcer, chronic appendicitis, or hiatal hernia. A definitive diagnosis is always important before beginning treatments.
Many herbs are effective in alleviating some of the symptoms of dyspepsia. Some help relieve gas pains or cramps. Chamomile is especially helpful in dispelling gas, soothing the stomach, and relaxing the muscles that move food through the intestines. Another herb that helps dispel gas is Ginger. It also stimulates digestion and reduces irritation and, like Chamomile, helps move food through the intestines. Biliary dyspepsia is due to insufficient quantity or quality of bile secretions. Dandelion contains a bitter, milky juice with the active principle, taraxacin, which is known to stimulate bile secretion. Bitter herbs are well known to stimulate digestive functions by increasing saliva production and promting stomach acid and digestive enzyme production. Devil's Claw, a potent bitter, stimulates the stomach and increases gastric digestive enzymes that help digest proteins and fat. Gentian root, contains some of the most bitter substances known, particularly the glycosides gentiopicrin and amarogentin; therefore, it stimulates secretion of saliva in the mouth and hydrochloric acid in the stomach, aiding digestion; Wormwood increases bile and stimulates poor appetite. The volatile oil in Juniper has proven useful in many gastrointestinal ailments.
Carminatives ease gas cramps and flatulence, reduce localized inflammation, and act as mild anti-microbials. Herbs such as Chamomile and Ginger, mentioned above, have a carminative affect on dyspepsia, as does Turmeric root which increases bile, thus aiding in fat digestion. Oregano Oil also has carminative and antispasmodic effects.
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Note: This information is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the use of a qualified health care professional. We strongly recommend the use of a physician for the diagnostic phase of any treatment. With an accurate diagnosis in hand, we believe the consumer, at that point, has a basic, unalienable right to seek out factual information on all therapeutic approaches, both orthodox and alternative, and choose those approach(es) that are right for them. Nonetheless, a "good doctor" should be considered a requisite starting point.

To U.S. Users: None of the products mentioned on this page have been evaluated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration; therefore, they are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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