According to Ayurveda, the health and integrity of the digestive process is truly the fulcrum of one’s health. The ingestion of food marks the beginning of a process that lasts far beyond the excretory stage – extending 30 days through the production of all seven body tissues, from the first body tissue of the lymph to the ultimate production of Ojas, the body’s precious vitality and longevity fluid. These tissues are built by the body using the raw material of the nutrients gleaned from the assimilated food.
As such, compromised digestion can in turn hinder the building of the body tissues, and weaken the reserves of Ojas, thereby weakening immunity, virility, vitality, stress-management and restful sleep.
Digestion can be measured in terms of its strength. A strong digestion entails a potent digestive agni, or fire – meaning the digestive fluids (stomach acids, pancreatic enzymes and bile) flow well and do their job of breaking down food in the stomach and small intestine efficiently. Healthy peristalsis (the contraction and relaxation of the intestinal muscles in a wave pattern) is also a marker of strong digestion, as it properly churns the food and blends it with the digestive fluids.
In our modern lives, a host of variables serve to weaken the digestive function, the first and foremost of them being stress. In Ayurveda, stress and pent-up negative emotions are said to pound away at the gut, a phenomenon which can easily be tracked by observing little children, who often experience strong emotions paired with a tummy ache. Perhaps even many of us adults have observed that our own digestion experience changes when we are stressed. Conversely, our mood can suffer when we feel heavy, bloated, or are otherwise plagued with indigestion.
In this way, the emotions and the digestion engage in a fascinating mutually-influential relationship – another reason it’s so important to keep the digestion working smoothly.
Other factors that affect digestive health include eating inappropriately for the season, eating on the go or while engaged in other activities, overeating, diluting the digestive fluids with excessive water taken with meals, eating too many hard-to-digest foods out of balance with enough appropriate fiber and good fats to help the digestion along, and certain food allergies.
As proper digestion is so central to our focus here at LifeSpa, we offer a multitude of articles on our approach to cleansing and resetting the digestion (see link below), as well as an entire category of herbs and supplements that target digestion.
- Have Dr. Douillard design an herbal program for you with a phone consultation.
- Get started healing with the 28-Day Ayurveda Challenge eCourse
- Shop by Health Topics in the LifeSpa Store
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Digestive Aids and Organ Support
Warm Digest: Warm Digest is the classical Ayurvedic formula known as Trikatu. Trikatu contains the herbs pippali, ginger, and black pepper. The powerful heating quality of this combination is traditionally used to support and kindle the digestive fire, thereby encouraging healthy detoxification and fat metabolism. It supports a stronger digestive fire, or agni, allowing for more efficient digestion in the stomach while supporting bile flow. It is also a rejuvenative for kapha, supporting healthy lungs and clear breathing. Warm Digest is ideal for anyone who experiences gas, bloating, or other signs of sluggish digestion after eating.
Cool Digest: Cool Digest cools a hot and irritated digestive tract while simultaneously strengthening the digestive function. When we are under any kind of stress, the digestive system produces excessive amounts of acid, which can overheat the system and eventually strip the mucus lining from the stomach wall. This can result in weakened digestion and a hot and irritated stomach and/or upper intestinal lining. The acid can also repeat up into the esophagus, causing discomfort. Combining Amalaki, Guduchi, and other traditional Ayurvedic herbs, Cool Digest is designed to kindle digestive ability while cooling the irritated mucosa of the stomach wall. Cool Digest is ideal for anyone experiencing signs of acidic digestion.
Gentle Digest: A combination of Ayurveda’s Five Spices of Digestion. The spices: ginger, cumin, fennel, coriander and cardamom have been time-tested for thousands of years and have a library of good science to support their digestion-boosting benefits.
Triphala (sometimes spelled Trifala): Triphala supports bowel tone, muscular function, and contractibility of the intestinal wall, strengthening peristalsis and thereby supporting smooth digestion, assimilation and elimination. Triphala also helps maintain an appropriate balance of mucus lining the intestinal wall, preventing and clearing mucus buildup – which can hinder assimilation – and making sure a healthy layer remains, which soothes the digestive tract and buffers against strong digestive acids. While Triphala is not a laxative, it has provided many with healthy elimination support.
Elim I: Lifespa’s Elim I combines the Ayurvedic bowel-toning herb Triphala with demulcent herbs and a small amount of psyllium to support healthy movement of the bowels. Elim I works to soften and lubricate the mucus membranes of a dry intestinal tract while simultaneously strengthening the bowel muscles to effectively support waste moving out of the system. Long-term use of laxatives can desensitize the bowel, making it unresponsive. In contrast to laxatives, Elim I takes a multi-pronged approach to supporting healthy bowel movement, rather than relying solely on a stimulant effect.
Slippery Elm Prebiotic Formula: 100% organic Slippery Elm Tea Formula helps to soothe irritated mucus membranes, including sore throat and an irritated intestinal tract. Demulcent herbs soften and lubricate the mucus membranes of a dry intestinal tract, promoting smooth digestion and elimination. The herb combination also acts as a prebiotic, helping to create an ideal environment in the gut for the healthy proliferation of desirable, health-giving bacteria.
Liver Repair: The liver plays a major role in digestion, producing the fat-metabolizer bile. If the liver is congested, the bile will be thick and non-effective at optimally processing fats. The liver also plays a major role in blood sugar stability, which is both affected by and influences the digestion process. Many liver-cleansing supplements ultimately deplete the body. Liver Repair, on the other hand, is a pairing of components that detoxify the liver and blood while simultaneously providing rejuvenation for the liver and the body as a whole.
Beet Cleanse: Organic Beet Cleanse combines organic beet root, organic fenugreek seed, organic cinnamon bark and shilajit extract to support the pancreatic and bile ducts and encourage the clearing of congested bile. It also supports digestive strength, healthy blood sugar, and intestinal health.
Sugar Destroyer: This formula highlights Gymnema Sylvestre as its central ingredient, a potent herb for the support of healthy and balanced blood sugar and pancreatic health. Gymnema has long been used to support blood sugar balance on several fronts, including dulling the perception of the sweet taste on the tongue, slowing the absorption of sugar into the blood stream, and encouraging the body to use fat instead of sugar as its primary fuel. Pancreatic health is essential to overall sound digestive function.
Gut Revival: LifeSpa’s Gut Revival is a high-potency probiotic that is ideal for individuals seeking a comprehensive revival and restoration of healthy intestinal microecology while neutralizing the proliferation of bacterial toxins. It features a unique blend of well-researched probiotic strains, a non-pathogenic yeast, intestinal immune support and a prebiotic (stimulates the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract). The probiotic strains in Gut Revival have been tested and shown to colonize the intestinal tract – surviving stomach acids and digestive enzymes, adhering to the gut wall, proliferating beneficial bacteria and bolstering immunity against pathogenic microbes.
Flora Restore: Flora Restore is a heat-stable, clinically researched, four-strain probiotic totaling 30 billion CFU per capsule. The beneficial bacteria in Flora Restore have been shown to survive the digestive tract, adhere to the gut wall and proliferate new and permanent friendly residents in the gut, encouraging your gut to continue to do the job on its own. Flora Restore is the ideal probiotic choice for maintenance of a healthy gut microbiome, and to implement at regular intervals to support your body’s own beneficial probiotic production and bolster immunity against pathogenic microbes.
Flora Restore MAX: Flora Restore MAX is a heat-stable, clinically researched, four-strain probiotic totaling 100 billion CFU per capsule. With all the benefits of Flora Restore, this MAX formula carries more than three times the potency of the original formula. This makes it an ideal choice for travel and other times when you need a little extra intestinal support. If you are a frequent buyer of Flora Restore, the MAX option can also be a more economical route.