Hello. Would you please provide your recommendations for a couple of questions?
I currently use chamomile for two reasons: 1) as a digestive aid, and 2) as a sleeping aid. I'll use the chamomile when my stomach acts up, especially since the removal of the gall bladder about three years ago. I take 40mg of Omeprazole daily, but that is for an acid reflux problem, and do not believe it is associated with digestive problems.
I also drink chamomile tea after taking a prescribed sleeping aid, as the chamomile does seem to aid in its effectiveness. Unfortunately, without the medication, I am unable to stay asleep.
I admit I am somewhat skeptical regarding the use of herbs, but perhaps that is largely due to ignorance. Having said that, might you have a recommendation for an herb(s) that will assist with digestion? I had a case of diverticulitis two years ago, but apart from that, am in excellent health.
Secondly, can you recommend any herbs that will help me to stay asleep? I will continue to use the chamomile on a regular basis.
For immediate relief for digestive problems of most types, I usually tell people to consider using strong digestive enzymes. NOW makes a good supplement called Super Enzymes that work for several digestive complaints as it includes ox bile in addition to many plant enzymes. The ox bile works well for those people who cannot produce or properly concentrate their own. If constipation is a problem, then taking an herbal laxative with the enzymes might be necessary.
You have mentioned a whole slew of symptoms that are labeled as separate conditions but I would suggest to you, that they are all part of the same problem. I have done extensive research on the gallbladder, because my own husband had his removed as well. Over the years, I have come to understand that his previous eating and living habits contributed to his loss, and although, he cannot get his gallbladder back, I have made significant changes around our home which have proven to help his condition. I also put him on a handful of supplements to help him manage without this vital organ. His condition will never be ideal, as the gallbladder is more important than you might believe, but he is doing much better now than he was after his surgery.
The gallbladder takes an important role in digesting fats. Fats play important roles in nourishing all of the systems in the body. If you don’t get the right fats and they don’t digest correctly, you’ll most likely have symptoms such as the ones you’ve mentioned and many others in addition including (but not limited to), depression, anxiety, prostate enlargement, immune dysfunction, sexual dysfunction, lethargy, insomnia, and cancer.
My husband takes daily, two gel caps called “Prostate Health,” by NOW. I chose these because they have a combination of herbs and fats that make the fats more easily absorbed with no gallbladder to help. He also takes 4 “Cod Liver Oil” gel caps daily (more fats). He takes 2 “Enzymes,” 2 “Eco Green Multivitamins” (also NOW), and he has recently started taking 1 tablet of “Male Response” by Source Naturals. During my research, I found that most of the herbs that are included in male enhancement supplements (Prostate Health & Male Response) are what we call “soapy” herbs (saponins). These kinds of herbs help the body to better assimilate fats, which in turn boost all the body’s systems, including (and especially) the reproductive system.
If you’d like to know more about my research, read through this discussion on our forum. I documented most of what I found. My username is “healthybratt.”
As to your other symptoms, I make a leap and say that your diet and environmental choices may not be the best, considering you lost your gallbladder in the first place. Trans fats are usually key here. I would suggest that you read up and change up on your fat choices. Fats are good, but only if they are the right fats.
The following articles are a great resource.
Acid reflux is a tricky one. Some people find that taking a bit of raw apple cider vinegar in water with meals will aid in digestion. Contrary to current thought, acid reflux is usually associated with low levels of stomach acid. With a deficiency of acid, the food will sit in the stomach, whole, and push what bits of acid you have in the stomach back up in the esophagus and cause what we recognize as acid reflux.
However, in many cases, I have found that this is related to an overgrowth of yeast in the intestinal system. This is called Candidiasis. And it’s associatied condition called “Leaky Gut,” which is probably causative in both your reflux and your diverticulitis. Candida is present in the healthy body, but is a very resilient microbe and it’s usually the first to reappear after antibiotics wipe out the natural bacterial flora in your body. When you have several microbes living in your intestines, they keep a balance, keep the candida from taking over and they create acids and other enzymes which aid in natural digestion. Taking antibiotics and other medications wipes out this balance. Then candida flourishes and takes over and begins to grow roots (rhizomes) which penetrate the lining of the intestines. These holes cause all sorts of problems because food leaks into the body undigested and is treated much like a foreign invader because the immune system no longer recognizes it as foods. This chain reaction leads to a lot of other problems, like arthritis, lupus, food allergies, etc. The solution to these problems is to kill the candida and replace it with a balanced flora and to heal and repair the lining of the gut.
There are many ways to kill candida. Herbs include Pau D’arco, Olive Leaf, Oregano, Black Walnut Hull and Garlic. Going on a sugar fast (including all other carbs, bread, potatoes, sweet veggies and fruits) for several weeks can usually kill the candida without the herbs, but some find they like to do both. There are medications on the market that might help as well but that would be up to you and your doctor to decide. After the candida is gone, you have to replace it with good bacteria, or the candida will return. This is where probiotics and fermented foods come in. Taking these as often and as many as you are able is best.
To heal the lining of the gut, you can use foods like bone broths. We carry a book that covers the natural approach to gut healing called Gut and Psychology Syndrome. If you’d rather go the supplement route, I personally used Cod Liver Oil, Aloe Vera Capsules, and most notably l.glutamine. L.glutamine is a very powerful amino acid which helps the body to repair the lining of the intestines and it’s also good for muscle repair.
Taking care of these problems might be enough to help you sleep, but it may not. Insomnia can be caused by so many things, the ones above are definitely suspect, but you could also be magnesium deficient. This would not be surprising if your fats aren’t right because you need fats to digest magnesium. The fact that chamomile helps you sleep would actually support this suspicion as it’s high in magnesium. Another good herb which is rich in magnesium and works better than chamomile, in my opinion, is valerian root. I don’t take this daily, but I keep it around for those “sleepless” nights, but I’ve been taking a daily supplement of magnesium for a while because I had many symptoms related to this deficiency including insomnia, sensitivity to sound and chronic constipation (keep in mind, I still have my gallbladder).
I make my own magnesium concoction. I was a bit skeptical at first, but it’s cheap, easy and I tried it and now, I know it works. I drink 4 oz of this mixture daily, and I feel like a different person.
When you are able to sit down and take a look around, I would also urge you to make changes in your diet and environment. The things above may help, but if you continue with any of the bad habits that got you here, the changes may not last. This article goes through a list of a few things that might have contributed to the toxicity of your body.
I know this is a lot of information to process. I am sorry, for your struggles, but I’ve spent the last 9 years of my life trying to improve my own health and the health of my family with much success. It takes time and change, but I believe most people can heal if they want to.
Please, let me know if you have other questions.
Have you dealt with these issues too? If so, what have you tried that's improved your digestion or helped you to sleep? Share with us in the comments below so we can continue to help you!
Shay McConnaughey is a wife and home-school mother to three children. She is a retired database designer, and currently works for Bulk Herb Store and for Well Tell Me. She does research, answers questions, and writes product reviews. Her goal is to educate others on health and herbs so they may enjoy the benefits God has provided through nature.