We see a lot more food allergies, stomach pain, and bloating from poor food combining and the pollutants on the food we eat.
As we age our digestive systems can become sluggish.
We may also suffer from poor nutrient assimilation.
The reasons we suffer from abdominal discomfort are numerous.
One example is a normal evening meal can consist of cooked food coupled with raw food and in all there may be at least 7 or so ingredients combined to make this one meal and all of these ingredients may have different digestive times. The more easily digested food takes with it the food which is harder to digest so undigested food or partially undigested food goes through our system more quickly than it should and causes many problems.
An example of a good herbal Digestive Tonic is as follows:
A high nutrient herb is useful to assist the body to repair.
Strengthens the whole digestive system and helps assimilation.
Used for flatulence or dyspepsia.
Gentian has long been used for dyspepsia. I have chosen it for its ability to increase saliva production, improve delayed gastric emptying, improves gastric and enzyme secretions.
Gentian has traditionally been used for digestive disorders including dyspepsia.
Mrs. Grieves says, “Gentian is one of the most useful of our bitter vegetable tonics.” (Grieve, 1980:348). “Many dyspeptic complaints are more effectually relieved by Gentian bitters than by Peruvian Bark.” (Grieve, 1980:349
Promotes gastric juices, saliva, and bile. "Culpepper"
For digestive upsets.
General digestive.
Reduces excess acidity.
Used for flatulent colic.
Slippery Elm
Helpful for regularity.
Soothes irritated tissue.
Lowers acid levels and reduces heartburn.
Yerba Santa
Promotes saliva output and stimulates gastric activity.
Loosens mucous accumulations.)
Wild yam
prompt treatment for bilious intestinal colic and flatulence.
Golden Seal
This herb has recently been added to this formula. A personal favorite of mine. Goldenseal is an astringent, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial. It can destroy bad bacteria in the gut and it feeds the good bacteria.

Many foods may cause allergic reactions. These foods include chocolate, cow's milk, eggs, wheat, and certain seafood, especially shellfish. Additives such as food coloring and preservatives are also common allergens. The body of an allergic person reacts to allergens. The smooth muscles of the stomach can be affected by allergens as well as all other internal organs.
An untreated allergy tends to become worse rather than better. The allergy profile is the ideal test to determine if the symptoms of headache or digestive disturbances are allergy-based and what might be the trigger.
If you feel that you might have a food allergy speak to Debra Hearn and she will organize an ALLERGY PROFILE for you. Debra has a Diploma in Nutrition and will help you to understand and treat what is happening.
Our Digestive Tonic is just what the Doctor should Have ordered along with sound dietary advice and diagnostic testing.

If you are taking any medications it is recommended that you leave 2 hours either side of taking your herbs as many herbs act on the gut and liver enzymes to increase or reduce the assimilation of pharmaceutical drugs into the system.


Not suitable for pregnancy

This is an example Patient

A female patient aged 45 complains about indigestion after eating.  She feels bloated and experiences pain, which is relieved after passing wind.  She feels lethargic after eating, especially in the afternoon.  Her stool is “sticky” and hard to flush clean from the toilet bowl.  The symptoms are worse pre-menstrually and her cycle has become a little irregular lately.  She does not eat breakfast but has a good lunch and dinner.  A recent stool culture failed to find any sign of parasites. Occasionally there is mucus in the stool. She has not had any blood tests for quite some time.  She feels depressed and unmotivated.


Pathology      I would suggest blood tests for Hormone status, LH, FSH E2, DHEA

I would request - Cholesterol, LDL, HDL, Glucose, Liver Function, Full Blood Count, ESR,  Kidney Function, and Iron Profile. I would also recommend allergy profile for gluten.


I would assume based on the information and lack of further investigation that the Patient has dyspepsia.  I wonder if the patient has a hormone imbalance.  I would request the Patient to have blood tests done in the next week or so.  At this time, I would make her an herbal formula to ease the symptoms.  I would start with the Digestive Tonic.  I would Reassess after getting the report on the pathology.  More than likely this patient has a hormone imbalance due to poor assimilation of nutrients in the digestive tract.  She would have nutritional deficiencies, usually, digestive disorders lead to "leaky gut" so allergens pass more easily into the system than would otherwise.  In many cases, the immune system has been affected. And inflammation of the gut is common.

I would discuss how to correct her nutrition and diet. 

Herbal Formula:

Slippery Elm Powder for its ability to improve healthy bowel flora due to her stools not flushing properly and being “sticky”.

Gentian – Gentian would be essential for its ability to increase digestive enzyme activity and improve delayed gastric emptying.

Chamomile - I would choose chamomile for its ability to soothe both the nervous system and digestion.

Peppermint - I would use mint for it effects on the Digestive system, carminative and spasmolytic activity.

Meadowsweet - I would use meadowsweet due to the stools being sticky and feel this would benefit from the astringent qualities of meadowsweet.

St Mary’s Thistle - I would use St Mary’s Thistle to cleanse and protect the liver and for its effect on dyspepsia.

Fennel - I would choose fennel for its multi-purpose of dealing with digestion, in particular flatulence issues, but also for its hormonal influence.

I would muscle test to determine the appropriate herbs to suit the individual.


Other Suggestions to the Patient would be, to watch her food combining and would give her a diet based on this eating philosophy.  I would suggest she read the information on the principles of food combining.  

I would suggest she tries an isolation diet on wheat and cow's milk.  Would ask to first isolate wheat from her diet for two weeks then eat wheat foods for 2 days to gain an understanding of how wheat and cow's milk may or may not be affecting her digestion.  Then I would have her repeat the process for cow’s milk.

I would recommend that she has a protein Smoothie for breakfast, consisting of Soy milk (for its hormonal influence), banana, avocado (for its good oil content, as oil is needed to synthesize hormones), and a little honey.  Or alternatively, I would suggest a small amount of yogurt to start digestion.  I would discuss with her how important it is to eat breakfast.  I would also recommend she increase her daily fruit & vegetable intake, visit because of her stools being hard to flush.  I would recommend increased fiber in her diet to correct the stools.  I would also ask her to have 5 small meals per day rather than the two large ones she is currently eating.  I would recommend she has a small sip of water every 15 minutes rather than a large glass of water.

I would discuss with her the things in her lifestyle i.e. coffee, cigarettes, alcohol, and stress which may be affecting her digestion.


“Idiopathic dyspepsia refers to pain and/or discomfort perceived in the epigastrium that is not secondary to organic, systemic, or metabolic diseases. Symptoms may overlap with those of gastroesophageal reflux disease and irritable bowel syndrome. Gastrointestinal motor disorders, hypersensitivity to mechanical or chemical stimuli, and psychosocial factors can act individually or in concert to induce the symptoms of dyspepsia. Accordingly, there is no single therapy, and treatment must be individualized. Eradication of Helicobacter pylori infection rarely achieves symptom improvement. Treatment of idiopathic dyspepsia should begin by reassuring the patient about the benign nature of the syndrome and educating them on the knowledge that has been achieved in recent years regarding potential causes of the syndrome.”

(Stanghellini, Poluzzi, De Ponti, De Giorgio, Barbara, Corinaldesi, Yndrome:2005)”  Pubmed  ,  19/03/2005


The herbal formula is designed under the assumption that this Patient has good blood pressure and taking no OTC’s or Medical Drugs.  I would of course check her blood pressure and question her medication status on the initial consultation, check her oriental pulse, tongue diagnosis, and her Iridology. 

Herbal Formula:

Slippery Elm – Ulmus rubra

“The Potter's herbal medicines portfolio for digestive problems includes Slippery Elm tablets (containing cinnamon, clove and peppermint oils) for indigestion, heartburn, dyspepsia, and flatulence.”  (Tonbridge, 2002:39)  I would recommend any Slippery Elm tablets which don't use binders.  In other words, start to dissolve in your mouth. Binders may prevent the slippery elm TABLETS from becoming mucilage in the gut which is the whole reason for taking it.

Gentian – Gentiana lutea  

Dose 2ml daily

Gentian has long been used for dyspepsia.   I would choose it for its ability to increase saliva production, improve delayed gastric emptying, improves gastric and enzyme secretions. (UNE Herbal Therapeutics U417 handbook:22)

Gentian has traditionally been used for digestive disorders including dyspepsia. (UNE Unit 417 handbook:23)

Mrs. Grieves says, “Gentian is one of the most useful of our bitter vegetable tonics.” (Grieve, 1980:348). “Many dyspeptic complaints are more effectually relieved by Gentian bitters than by Peruvian Bark.” (Grieve, 1980:349)


German Chamomile –   Matricaria recutita, Matricaria chamomilla, Chamomilla recutita

Doses 5ml daily of 1:2 high bisabolol liquid extract

Chamomile has traditionally been used for digestive disturbance

Grieve’s states it has a “carminative, sedative and tonic effect.”  (Grieve, 1980:188) 

“While it has been said that it has two specific fields of actionupon the mental and nervous, and upon the digestive tractit must be remembered that the nervous manifestations calling for Matricaria, are nearly always present in the disorders of the latter, while, on the other hand, the nervous phenomena may occur without any disturbance of the latter. Hence the references to the nervous symptoms of stomach and bowel disorders, given as specifically calling for the drug.”

(Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D., and John Uri Lloyd, Phr. M., Ph. D., 1898.)

Peppermint Mentha piperita

Dose 2.5 ml daily of 1:2 liquid extract

It is recommended for non-ulcer dyspepsia and flatulence (Mills & Bone, 2000:507)

Traditionally Peppermint has been used for dyspepsia (Grieve, 1980:542) 

 Meadowsweet            Filipendula ulmaria

Dose 6ml of 1:2 liquid extract Daily

Mrs. Grieve states “Medicinal Action and Uses. Aromatic, astringent, diuretic, and sub-tonic. It is a valuable medicine in diarrhea, imparting to the bowels some degree of nourishment, as well as of astringency.  It is also considered of some service as a corrector of the stomach, and not without some power as an alterative.” (Grieve, 1980:524) 

In Mills & Bone, it is suggested to assist disorders of the Gastro-intestinal Tract associated with flatulence. (Mills & Bone, 2000:479)

St Mary’s Thistle     Silybum marianum,            Carduus marianus

Dose 7ml of 1:1 liquid extract per day

As stated Mills & Bone St Mary’s thistle is covered by a positive Commission E monograph and has the following applications:  Dyspeptic Disorders (Mills & Bone, 2000:561)

Fennel Fruit           Foeniculum vulgare

Dose 5ml of 1:2 Liquid extract per day

As stated in Mills & Bone “A liquid herbal formula (25 drops three times daily) containing, in increasing proportions wormwood, caraway, fennel, and peppermint was found to be superior to the spasmolytic drug metoclopramide (p=0.02) in term of relief of symptoms such as pain, nausea, belching and heartburn in a randomized double-blind clinical trial of the treatment of dyspepsia.  (Mills & Bone, 2000:381)

It has been mentioned by Mrs. Grieve, Culpepper, Dioscorides, and Galen as a good digestive. “The juice dissolved in wine and put into an egg is good for a cough or shortness of breath, and for those that are troubled with wind.” (Grieve, 1980:298) 

Other Treatments I feel are indicated.

Acupuncture -  St36, Du20, Sp6  (feel I would see on tongue diagnosis a Damp Spleen as all the symptoms point to this diagnosis)

“The nature of Dampness is to sink and accumulate, like a stagnant swamp” (Harriet Beinfield, L.Ac. & Efrem Korngold, L.Ac., O.M.D:1991

“Spleen Disharmony S/S:

Fatigue, tiredness, low energy

Easily worried

Upset by changes

Poor concentration, thinking

Overwhelmed by details

Digestive problems, gas, bloating, mild stomach pains, food allergies, slow digestion

Loss of appetite and sense of taste

Nausea, vomiting

Cravings for sweets and starchy foods

A feeling of heaviness and lethargy

Water retention and puffiness

Diarrhea, loose stools from raw or cold foods and liquids

Weight loss (or inability to gain weight)

Easy or frequent bruising

Lack of muscle tone or strength, especially of the abdomen, back, or neck

Prolapse of stomach, intestines, rectum, uterus, vagina, and bladder


Chronic low-level bleeding (uterine, intestinal, stomach, nose, etc.)


Frequent but scanty urination

Aggravation from cold and dampness



pubmed.com  search

Harriet Beinfield, L.Ac. & Efrem Korngold, L.Ac., O.M.D:1991 – Between Heaven and Earth, A guide to Chinese Medicine –ISBN 0-345-35943-7


Bone K 2005 HS 417 Herbal Therapeutics 1 Study Guide, University of New England, Armidale.

Simon Mills & Kerry Bone, Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy, 2000

A Modern Herbal, Mrs. M. Grieve F.R.H.S.1980

http://www.ibiblio.org/herbmed/eclectic/kings/matricaria.html  2005

http://www.primeindia.com/manav/food15.html    2005

Herbal medicinal products for non-ulcer dyspepsia
J. Thompson Coon, E. Ernst Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics 2002 16:10 p. 1689

J. Thompson Coon & E. Ernst, http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/servlet/useragent?func=synergy&synergyAction=showAbstract&doi=10.1046/j.1365-2036.2002.01339.x&area=production&prevSearch=allfield%3A%28gentiana+lutea+and+dyspepsia%29

(Stanghellini, Poluzzi, De Ponti, De Giorgio, Barbara, Corinaldesi, Yndrome:2005)”  Pubmed,  19/03/2005

John Freeman B.Sc., M.H., C.H., P.Eng Canadian Journal of Herbalism http://www.herbalists.on.ca/journaleastwestpart3.pdf

This site is designed to assist with information and is not intended to replace the care of an experienced Health Care Professional. Please consult your Health Care Professional if you are unwell.