Trust Your Gut: How CBD and Herbs Can Balance Your Digestive System
Ready for a wild ride? Let’s get on board the Magic School Bus (humor me for a moment). After the bus shrinks in size (suspend your disbelief once again), Ms. Frizzle steers our tiny transport into the mouth of an unsuspecting volunteer, down the dark cavity of the esophagus and into the depths of the digestive system. As we glance out the windows we witness a sea of microorganisms swirling around, whooshing past, and making sure actions in the body run smoothly. These trillions of microorganisms form what is known as the microbiome. The microorganisms - also referred to as microbiota - have the power to either help or harm the human body. Most microbiota are symbiotic (mutually beneficial for both the body and the microbiota), while others are pathogenic (causing disease). The microbiome is so crucial to overall health and wellness that some consider it to be an additional (if unofficial) organ. The human gut microbiota (especially gut bacteria) play a pivotal role in your wellbeing.
Does it feel like something’s not sitting well in your stomach? Considering the unpredictability and upheaval that have become a fixture of our reality it’s safe to say everyone is underway more pressure than usual. It’s also likely that lots of people have turned to coping mechanisms that aren’t the healthiest, and as a result, end up neglecting nutrition. This is a judgment-free zone, as many folks have been self-soothing by consuming more alcohol and eating lots of processed foods. However, factors such as stress and less than ideal nutrition can cause an imbalance of your beneficial bacteria, and wreak havoc on your gut. Your gut microbiome influences your digestion, emotional health, hormonal balance, and immunity for better or for worse. Multiple studies have recently emerged that suggest poor gut health puts patients at higher risk of more severe COVID-19. If you’re looking to improve your immune function now more than ever it’s important to go with your gut.
Did you know that support could be as close as your kitchen cabinet or your garden? Diversifying your diet with probiotics, fruits, vegetables and whole grains rich in dietary fiber is a great way to fortify your microbiome. Herbal actions can nourish your body and give your gut health a boost as well. Herbal actions are terms that describe the properties of specific herbs. An individual herb can be very versatile, possessing carminative, nervine, and bitter herbal actions to vitalize the gut microbiota. Carminative herbs like anise and ginger contain volatile oils and help soothe the digestive tract. Nervines like peppermint have tonic properties to relax the nerves, as well as carminative qualities to enhance the digestive system. Bitters like turmeric improve digestion by stimulating the secretions of the digestive tract. Adding these herbal actions to your culinary apothecary can help you eat your way to gut health.
Hemp for a Healthy Gut
Speaking of herbal allies, cannabis is another phenomenal plant with a wide variety of medicinal uses. Evidence has emerged to support a link between the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and the gut microbiome, with cannabis facilitating the connection. Just as the human gut microbiota work to maintain your overall health, the ECS also assumes the role of managing wellness throughout multiple systems in the body. The ECS regulates functions such as gut motility, hunger, and nausea signals. It is believed that this gut-ECS axis can determine the strength of the gut barrier function, which impacts overall health. The cannabinoid CBD acts on the CB1 receptor, ultimately regulating gut motility. You can infuse your food or beverage with CBD using a Xula’s ah! Calm + Clarity tincture.
Xula’s Golden Milk Recipe
Here’s a warm golden turmeric milk recipe to help you care for yourself at the root:
- 2 cups full-fat coconut milk
- 2 cups Oat Milk
- 1 tbsp turmeric powder or freshly grated turmeric root
- 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
- 2-3 tbsp honey or maple syrup
- ½ dropper of ah! Calm + Clarity tincture
- Whole Star anise (optional)
- Pour coconut milk and oat milk to a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- Add turmeric and ginger, and whisk to combine.
- Turn off heat, cover and allow to steep for 5 minutes.
- Remove cover and add sweetener, whisking frequently
- Strain and serve immediately, dividing between two mugs. Garnish with star anise if you like.
- Sip and savor!
* Best enjoyed fresh, but any leftovers can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.