Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Improve Digestion with Boldo and Malva Tea!

There are many herbs that help improve digestion, but two of my favorites are Boldo and Malva.  These two herbs when made into tea are not only flavorful, but help calm the beast within that can enter after a heavy meal, as well as soothing a myriad of gastro-intestinal complaints. 

Also known as “peumus boldus,” this leathery-leaved herb is native to South America where it is prolific in Argentina, Chile, Boliva, Peru, and Ecuador. It also grows throughout Spain and Portugal, but of course can be found dried in any local health food store, or in seed form for planting from various plant and herb markets. An ancient herb, archeologists excavating in Southern Chile’s Monte Verde region found a basket filled with 22 herbs including boldo that they believe is 12,500 years old.  Their expert conclusion was that that the herbs were used for pain relief. Historical chronicals show that the early Incans used boldo for helping with digestion after a large repast.

The German E Commission, an organization responsible for accepting or negating herbs with a hearty “ja” or “nicht,“ dubs boldo as an herb that is highly effective for increasing gastric secretion, supporting the gallbladder, and working as a general anti-spasmodic.

Bitter yet aromatic, boldo contains flavenoils, glycosides, and essential oil.  The leaves helps to stimulate the production of bile and the secretion of uric acid as well as the essential gastric juices necessary for digestive health.  Here is a list of some of the other benefits gained by drinking boldo:

·      Fortifying the liver
·      Helping prevent and eliminate gallstones
·      Soothing spastic colon
·      Helping to rid the body of intestinal parasites
·      Soothing urinary tract infection
·      Functioning as a mild diuretic
·      Relieving symptoms of rheumatism
·      Reducing fever
·      Helping with weight reduction
·      Working as a general tonic for the entire system

Malva, or the genus, althaea officinalis, sports pale violet flowers and grows up to five feet high.  Creating a home all over the world, malva (or mallow) is easy to find and has been around since early Greek and Roman times where it was used to prevent a host of illnesses. 

The name malva comes from the Greek word “malakos,” which means soothing, which is exactly what malva is, as it contains mucilage, tannins, and another medicinal component called malvin.  Gargling with malva is a great way to reduce inflammation in the mouth and throat as well as to help suppress a cough.  Malva is also used for the following ailments:

·      Intestinal irritation
·      Stomach upset
·      Stomach spasms

Drinking a cup of malva tea after a large meal is an excellent way to help digestion and relieve discomfort while inducing a lovely sense of ease and calm.

As a Compress
Used as a warm compress, malva helps to draw out toxins from conditions such as pimples and boils. When applied as a cool compress it helps take the sting out of superficial burns. Compresses are easily made by adding 2 to 4 teaspoons of malva to a cup of boiling water, letting the water cool and then dipping in a soft cloth to apply to the given area.

Brewing Tea
To make a tea of either boldo or malva, place approximately 2 teaspoons of the leaves in one cup of boiled water and let steep for 10 to 15 minutes. 

Words to the Wise!  Before using either of these herbs, make sure to consult with your healthcare provider to be sure there will be no counter indications.

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