Herbal Hangover Help
With another holiday season upon us, it’s time to strengthen our minds and bodies for that magical time of year when overindulging seems to be the norm. Copious amounts of rich foods and tempting libations can be so decadent in the moment. Unfortunately, they demand we pay a price afterward. Let’s take a look at which plants can be especially helpful to our minds and bodies.
First, let’s think about how our bodies react to all that food and alcohol. Our liver is directly affected since 90% of alcohol is processed through this organ. The liver breaks down and filters out harmful substances in the blood and manufactures the proteins, enzymes, and hormones the body uses to ward off infections. It also converts vitamins, nutrients, and medicines into substances that our bodies can use. The liver is also responsible for cleaning our blood and producing bile for digestion.
So, what body processes are affected? First and foremost, the liver must be supported. Milk Thistle is number one for most Herbalists when it comes to liver support. This amazing plant contains silybum which provides nourishment specifically for the liver. It stimulates the regeneration of already damaged liver cells. This herb supports acute and chronic inflammation of the liver. Milk Thistle is a very gentle and safe herb that can be taken in capsule form. Get your Milk Thistle!!
Fennel is another great herb for liver support. This plant has a stimulating effect on the liver. It increases the quality of the bile, which aids in digestion. Fennel dispels gas and bloating. This is another problem our bodies face when overindulging. Our stomachs are greatly affected. We all know that dreaded feeling that sets in the day after. That’s where Fennel and friends comes in!
For that absolute nightmare that is nausea, I have a few favorites. I have found Mint to be the main herb in my nausea arsenal. Any of the mint plants will do. Most people seem to favor Peppermint. Do be aware that if you suffer from acid reflux, you might want to lean towards Spearmint which doesn’t relax the esophageal sphincter. This is a ring of muscle fibers covering the esophagus which prevents food and acid from moving back up. If this muscle flap relaxes, it tends to open. This contributes to heartburn and reflux. Peppermint or Spearmint makes a lovely tea alone or combined with the plants we will continue to discuss.
Ginger is another good friend if your stomach is doing flips the day after. This multi-talented rhizome supports our bodies in many ways. Ginger is great for nausea, digestion, cramping, circulation, and inflammation. Herbalists use ginger in many tea blends including Gut Heal Tea which has been traditionally used for leaky gut. With its affinity for the digestive system, Ginger is an amazing choice for any kind of nausea.
Last but most certainly not least, my go to for day after situations is Chamomile. Chamomile has a wonderful ability not only to calm the stomach but to calm the nerves as well. This dual action is truly magic. In almost all cases of nausea, feelings of anxiety or nervousness are also along for the miserable ride. Chamomile has a wonderful ability to ease tension and soothe aggravated tissues not only in the stomach, but throughout the body.
So, my fellow over indulgers, go into this holiday season with family and friends and spread love everywhere. Know that you are protected by our beautiful plants. Create your arsenal! Get your Milk Thistle capsules. Buy your teas! For every ailment out there, there is a plant to help. So, party on. Celebrate you and yours. May your holidays be filled with love and peace and of course, plants!
By Dawn Martucci