Did you know that the health of your digestive system affects the health of your entire body? Frequent digestive problems can be linked to serious illnesses like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Chronic conditions like inflammation, arthritis, allergies, and low energy are also related to an unhealthy digestive system.

Whether you're battling constipation, irregularity or chronic illness like Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Crohn's disease, the natural remedies in this article will bring relief, and in turn, improve your overall health.

Inflammatory Conditions

Conditions like Irritable bowel syndrome cause severe inflammation and pain before bowel movements. Most patients also suffer with chronic diarrhea, constipation, or a combination.

There's a reason aloe vera is the go-to remedy for IBS sufferers. It quickly relieves pain, calm spasms, and soothes your inflamed digestive tract. It's also used as a mild laxative.

The outer skin of the stalks are grated or sliced away to reveal the inner gelatinous material. The inner leaf can be blended or cut into bits and added to beverages. Some people eat the inner leaf a few times weekly to control the symptoms of IBS.

Aloe vera's antibacterial and antifungal properties make it a powerful cleanser when it comes to harmful bacteria and fungus, without destroying your body's healthy bacteria. It's often used to treat candidiasis or yeast overgrowth since the plant is capable of killing the candida albicans responsible for the problem.

Peppermint oil soothes the pain and inflammtion of IBS. Thyme is a great remedy for both diarrhea and constipation and it also  relieves cramps, diarrhea, gas, constipation, and bloating, which are all frequent IBS symptoms.

Lastly, turmeric is worth noting for its anti-inflammatory properties. Thanks to its curcumin content, research has found its potential to relieve gastrointestinal diseases, including stomach ulcers and prevention of ulcerative colitis relaspes.

Constipation

For constipation, always look for natural, non-habit-forming remedies.

Dandelion has antibacterial properties, contains a variety of vitamins and minerals potassium and is used medicinally to treat many illnesses, including those affecting the kidneys and liver. Instead of trying to kil the dandelions in your garden try using them to make a tea for relief from constipation and to remove toxins from the body. The leaves can be eaten in salads, but you can include the roots in your dandelion tea to remove toxins.

Fresh oregano has antibacterial, antiparasitic, and healing properties. It stimulates digestion, relaxes the stomach, and relieves constipation and gas. Studies found that herbs like oregano, turmeric, ginger, berberine, and black caraway are capable of killing H. Pylori infections. These herbs can be used to improve conditions like gastritis and ulcers caused by the harmful bacteria H. Pylori. Berberine is commonly used to treat traveller's diarrhea, but it also acts as a natural antibiotic that inhibits H. Pylori growth.

In cases where constipation is frequent, a natural fiber supplement like glucomanann and acacia can help regulate you and promote overall gastrointestinal health. These natural fibers help ease constipation because they're "bulk forming."

Gas

Ginger is useful as a remedy for relieving flatulence and nausea. Next time you're experiencing gas and stomach discomfort, try sipping ginger tea or consume ginger before having a big meal.

Chamomile and turmeric are other options for soothing an upset stomach and providing relief from gas and bloating. Peppermint and sage eliminate intestinal gas, soothe inflammation and relieve a spastic colon. Additionally, sage has antistringent and antiseptic properties and it contains tannins that relax the nervous system, relieving nervous diarrhea, gastritis, and heartburn.

Parasites, fungus, harmful organisms

Chronic digestive upsets frequently occur from harmful parasites, fungus, and organisms within the digestive system, often without the host even knowing it.

A flush or detox can help rid your colon of destructive bugs, but you should make a habit of consuming foods and herbs that carry anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-parasitic properties to keep things in check. The following herbs and foods can help repair and protect your digestive system.

Thyme, rosemary, and sage help remove parasites and fight candidiasis.

Bacterial Imbalances

Many digestive problems can be attributed to an inbalance in digestive flora. An inbalance often manifests from an overgrowth of bacteria, such as "yeast" or candida albicans. Left uncheck, these bacteria lead to pain, discomfort, and leaky gut syndrome. Since probiotics and prebiotics increase the amount of healthy bacteria in your digestive system, problems can be improved and warded off with regular consumption of fermented foods, and healthy digestive enzymes.

Fermented foods contain probiotics that help restore bacterial imbalances. Enjoy foods such as Kombuchi, Sauerkraut, Miso soups, natto, and kefir to introduce these beneficial bacteria into your digestive system. However, keep in mind that you need to consume prebiotics as well because they're required in order for probiotics to multiply in the gut. Foods like onion and asparagus contain prebiotics.

When supplementing, look for a supplement that includes both probiotics and prebiotics, plus digestive enzymes. Two useful digestive enzymes to look for include bromelain, which comes from pineapples and papain, which comes from papayas. Both of these enzymes restore and improve digestion. Additionally, they provide relief from inflammation of the colon, gas, bloating, constipation, and other symptoms associated with digestive conditions like IBS.

Sources:

“Bactericidal and anti-adhesive properties of culinary and medicinal plants against Helicobacter pylori,” World Journal of Gastroenterology December 21, 2005; 11(47): 7499–7507. http://www.wjgnet.com/1007-9327/11/7499.pdf

“Sage: The functional novel natural medicine for preventing and curing chronic illnesses,” International Journal of Case Reports and Images 2013; 4(12): 271–277, doi: 10-5348/ijcri-2013-12-408-RA-2. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/276453362_Sage_The_functional_novel_natural_medicine_for_preventing_and_curing_chronic_illnesses

Curcumin for maintenance of remission in ulcerative colitis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012;10:CD008424. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD008424.pub2.  http://www.medscape.com/medline/abstract/23076948

Therapeutic potential of curcumin in gastrointestinal diseases. World J Gastrointest Pathophysiol. 2011;2(1):1-14.  http://www.wjgnet.com/2150-5330/pdf/v2/i1/1.pdf