Woman holding stomach in discomfort. Toilet in background.

Natural Remedies to Get Things Moving

When winter rolls around, it’s easy to stop wanting to head outside. The cold wind is not forgiving and the sun is out less too. Staying inside more can lead to a more sedentary lifestyle. It’s completely understandable. But, we aren’t bears and our bodies need movement in order to function properly. Even when we can’t, there are natural ways to assist the body’s systems. Working with the body rather than against it, will yield results. Whether it be from herbs or simply food, where there’s a will there’s a way.

Constipation is a topic that may not get talked about often, but when the elimination system does not function well, the body can fall prey to sickness. With so much food from the holidays, the intestines can become stressed. So here are a few things you can do to keep it moving! 

1. Coconut water-(no added sugar) 

I discovered this remedy to help my child ‘go’ easier. I’ve even told my sister who’s in the health field, and she shares it with her patients. I suspect that the hydrating effects of coconut water help the large intestine by use of its natural electrolytes. I use Vita Coco as my go-to brand.

2. Banana 

It’s important to make sure the banana is ripe to eat. Bananas are rich in vitamins and minerals, and also in soluble fiber, which probably does the trick. Fiber plays a large role in elimination. The friendly bacteria in our guts need fiber to feed on and survive, and they help with proper gut function in many ways. So a banana a day keeps the bad belly bugs away. 

3. Warm water with lemon 

I’ve personally found that warm water helps hydrate my body quicker and easier. First thing in the morning is a good time for me, but whenever is clever for you to try this trick. The citric acid and warm water act as a natural laxative. The lemon juice acts as a stimulant and flushes toxins from the body’s elimination system. I’d suggest waiting up to 10 minutes after you drink it. If nothing happens, have a light breakfast and be patient with how your body takes care of you, when you take care of it. 

4. Walking 

Yes, a very simple suggestion but the rhythmic motion stimulates peristalsis, the process of moving digested food through the G.I tract. Even 10-20 minutes a day could bring relief daily.

Vial of lemon balm oil with sprigs of lemon balm leaves surrounding it.

Spotlight On: Lemon Balm 

This herb is a multi-faceted healer. First off, it acts as a sedative for the stomach. Gastrointestinal problems such as IBS, acid reflux, and upset stomach can be relieved by lemon balm because of its anti-spasmodic properties from compounds it contains like citronellol, inalol, geraniol, and beta caryophyllene.

It’s a great herb to help with issues of insomnia, or just about any sleep issues, due to another compound called rosmarinic acid. This specific acid increases the availability of neurotransmitters in the brain—GABA to be exact. Consequently, the improvement of GABA nero-transmitters is associated with improved mood and anxiety calming effects. For this reason lemon balm has anti-anxiety effects as well. 

Another use for lemon balm is its antiviral properties. Even in the case of herpes or shingles, it can be an added support to keep the virus in check. Again it’s the rosmarinic acid that can aid in the treatment of viral infections. It’s been even tested in test tubes and it does inhibit the growth of the common cold and hepatitis B as well as herpes simplex 1, which is the cold sore virus. 

It also had the ability to help regulate thyroid function, as seen with Graves’ disease. Lemon balm would also be a smart tea to make for headaches because it is helpful in treating migraines as well. So as you can see this herb is a powerhouse of natural medicine. Please consult a herbalist or natural doctor to determine if lemon balm is right for you. The local Stillwater Apothecary has staff available to help you decide, if you’re in need.

Until next month, stay warm and take good care of yourself.