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Herbs to help cleanse the digestive system

Wastes build up in our bodies as a natural course of life and are a by-product of everyday living. Cleansing our digestive system can help enhance our ability to get rid of waste more effectively.

One analogy Ayurveda uses is that of your body being a beautiful vase. Imagine that all your constitutional qualities are contained in this vase. If the balance between in-and-out is maintained then all is well but if the input is too high or the output of wastes too slow then the accumulation can brim over the lip of your body-vase and flood your system. In Ayurveda, there is a Sanskrit word called ‘Ama’ which can be broadly translated as ‘toxin’. Ama is any un-metabolised waste that is not utilised by the body and does not provide the body with any benefit. In Ayurveda, there are some key herbs that will help remove Ama from our digestive system; these are triphala and fennel.

Triphala is Ayurveda’s most widely used formula. It is a combination of three fruits: amla, haritaki and bibhitaki, thus the name triphala, which is derived from the words ‘tri’, meaning three, and ‘phal’, meaning fruit. It balances all three constitutional body-types and is therefore suitable for everyone. Triphala is a renowned digestive system tonic. It supports the body’s natural cleansing ability, influencing a deep and enduring wash of the digestive tissues.

The Sanskrit name for fennel is ‘Shatapushpa’ which means ‘one hundred flowers’, describing fennel’s distinctively beautiful tiny umbels of vibrant yellow flowers. Fennel’s characteristic taste comes from a constituent known as anethole and it is because of anethole that fennel is brimming with therapeutic benefits. In Ayurveda fennel is seen as a digestive decongestant. Its pungent and aromatic qualities encourage elimination and the cleansing of toxic congestion. 

Meet the author

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Katie Pande, Senior Herbal Advisor

Katie is a qualified Medical Herbalist, and member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists (NIMH), currently practicing in Shaftesbury. She holds a BSc (Hons) in Herbal Medicine and a BSc (Hons) in Plant and Environmental Biology.

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