“The gut can bidirectionally communicate with the brain via the vagus nerve, known as the gut–brain axis.”
The health of our gut is paramount to the overall health of our body and brain. In natural medicine it is considered essential to have a healthy and functioning gastrointestinal system for the body to achieve and maintain optimal health and well-being.
Leaky gut can play a significant role in depression. Leaky gut is increased intestinal permeability that can happen when tight junctions in the gut, which control what passes through the lining of the small intestine, don’t work properly. This then could let substances leak into the bloodstream causing inflammation and other problems throughout the body.
Herbs to help heal and restore
There are some wonderful herbs that help to soothe and repair the gut and help to restore the guts natural bacterial balance.
The main ones are Chamomile, Ginger, Licorice, Fennel and Meadowsweet.
These are great taken as teas for mild symptoms but for more severe symptoms prescribed liquid extracts may be needed.
Slippery elm is a wonderful soothing herb ideal for most stomach conditions, it is best mixed in a large glass of water and taken at least 2 hours away from medication and supplements. It is also a prebiotic which feeds the good bacteria.
The food we put into our body is also important. Sugar feeds yeast (thrush/candida) while medications and processed foods (with artificial flavours and additives) kill the good bacteria. If you have quite a few gut issues it would be best to avoid gluten and processed dairy while the gut is repairing itself. Eat lost of fresh whole foods, fermented foods and ethically raised un-processed meat as well as nuts, seeds and good fats.
Check out this fabulous poster which explains how the gut communicates with your brain and the rest of the body and how important our microbiome is.