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.
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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 the digestive fire and a healthy detoxification and fat metabolism. It supports a stronger digestive fire, 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.
Cool Digest: When we are under any kind of stress, the digestive system produces excess stomach acid, which may overheat the system and imbalance the mucus lining of the stomach wall. This can result in weakened digestion and a hot and irritated stomach and/or upper intestinal lining. The acid can also creep up into the esophagus, causing occasional heartburn.* Combining Amalaki, Guduchi, and other traditional Ayurvedic herbs, Cool Digest is designed to kindle digestive fire while cooling and balancing the mucosa of the stomach wall and boosting bile flow. For a system that is experiencing excess heat, Cool Digest may also provide support.*
Gentle Digest: Gentle Digest is a combination of Ayurveda’s 5 spices for digestion. These 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: Triphala (sometimes spelled Trifala) supports bowel tone, muscular function, and contractibility of the intestinal wall, thereby supporting healthy digestion, assimilation, and elimination. Triphala also helps maintain the balance of mucus lining the intestinal wall, 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.* This formula has three fruits that support the eliminative process: Amalaki is a fruit that supports a healthy intestinal system. Bibhitaki supports the natural balance of intestinal mucus. Haritaki supports the natural strength and function of the intestinal muscles.*
Elim 1: Elim 1 combines the Ayurvedic bowel-toning herbs traditionally found in triphala with slippery elm bark, licorice root and a small amount of psyllium to support healthy movement of the bowels. Elim 1 works to soften and lubricate the mucous membranes of an imbalanced 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 movements, rather than relying solely on a stimulant effect.*
Elim 2 is a proprietary herbal blend designed to provide support for loose stools and occasional diarrhea. When the mucous membranes become imbalanced, excess mucus can be produced, which may result in loose bowels. Excess mucus in the intestinal tract may also compromise intestinal absorption. Elim 2 supports the body’s natural ability to pull excess water and mucus off the intestinal wall, helping to maintain optimal intestinal health and promote healthy stool formation.*
Elim 2 is comprised of bael tree (bilva), slippery elm, licorice, psyllium, amla, belleric myrobalan (bibhitaki) and chebulic myrobalan (haritaki). This is a supportive formula for balancing elimination while preparing the gut flora to support a healthy microbiome.*
Slippery Elm Prebiotic Formula: According to Ayurveda, the health of the intestinal wall was tended to with great care in innumerable ways. Today, there are many scientific studies confirming how these Ayurvedic therapies actually support a healthy microbiome as well as optimal digestive and overall health.* Slippery Elm Prebiotic Formula is my favorite such therapy that I have been using successfully in my practice for almost thirty years is a concentrated proprietary blend of tea made out of chopped (not ground) slippery elm bark, marshmallow root and licorice root.*
Liver Repair: Liver Repair is a proprietary blend of five herbs traditionally used to support liver cleansing and optimal liver health: Bhumyamalaki, Barberry, Turmeric, Amalaki, and Guduchi. These herbs support healthy detoxification pathways while simultaneously boosting the body’s natural ability to maintain healthy energy levels, promoting vitality and longevity.*
Beet Cleanse: Beet Cleanse is an all-natural proprietary formula consisting of organic beetroot, organic fenugreek seed, organic cassia (cinnamon) bark and shilajit extract. It is designed to support the pancreatic and bile ducts and encourage the clearing of congested bile. It also supports digestive strength, healthy blood sugar, and lipid levels already within a normal range. Bile flow is critical to optimal health, digestion, fat burning, and detox. Beet Cleanse is designed to decongest bile ducts, increase bile flow and reset healthy fat metabolism in the body.*
Sugar Destroyer: Sugar Destroyer is a formula that has been used for thousands of years to support healthy blood sugar. Gymnema sylvestre, an Ayurvedic herb from the milkweed family that is locally known as Gurmar or “sweet destroyer” and the main ingredient of Sugar Destroyer, dulls the ability of the taste buds to recognize the sweet taste, which may naturally decrease the desire for sweets. It also dulls the intestinal tract from absorbing simple sugars, which may encourage the body to use fat instead of sugar as a fuel supply. Sugar Destroyer also supports pancreatic health. Our formula is a proven proprietary blend formulated by Dr. John Douillard D.C., C.A.P. based on over 30 years of clinical experience and thousands of years of Ayurvedic tradition.
Bile Flow HP is a specialized liver support formula that provides nutrients involved in fat metabolism, including choline, taurine, and methionine. Dandelion and celandine have been selected to support bile flow and healthy liver function. Guggul extract and inositol hexanicotinate are included to support healthy blood lipid levels already within the normal range.*
Gut Revival is an ideal combination of ingredients for individuals seeking a well-rounded supplement to address intestinal ecology, cellular health, and immunity. It features well-researched probiotic strains; Saccharomyces boulardii, a non-pathogenic yeast; and arabinogalactan, a prebiotic. By combining these ingredients, the individual benefits of each component can be complemented by the mechanisms of the others.*
Flora Restore is a vegetarian, dairy- and gluten-free, four-strain probiotic totaling 30 billion CFU† per capsule. Each vegetarian capsule is sealed in nitrogen-purged aluminum blister packs to serve as protection from factors proven to compromise the stability of probiotics such as heat, moisture, and oxygen. Flora Restore™ provides four researched strains of beneficial bacteria, including the extensively studied HN019 strain of Bifidobacterium lactis. These live microorganisms have proven health benefits and well-established safety, and have been tested for epithelial cell adhesion and/or resistance to low pH.*
Flora Restore MAX is a vegetarian, dairy- and gluten-free, four-strain probiotic totaling 100 billion CFU† per capsule. Each vegetarian capsule is sealed in nitrogen-purged aluminum blister packs to serve as protection from factors proven to compromise the stability of probiotics such as heat, moisture, and oxygen. Flora Restore MAX™ provides four researched strains of beneficial bacteria, including the extensively studied HN019 strain of Bifidobacterium lactis. These live microorganisms have proven health benefits and well-established safety, and have been tested for epithelial cell adhesion and/or resistance to low pH.*