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You might've stumbled across the term "Mind-Gut Connection" in the past few years, with it popping up more and more due to recent discoveries. But what does this connection mean for future treatments and are there herbs that can support it?
The Mind-Gut Connection: What We Know
There is a very intimate connection between the gut and the brain. They work together (and sometimes against each other), but ultimately they are constantly communicating with each other. Think about it this way: when your stomach hurts, it lets your brain know by sending pain signals, so that you can do something to try and fix it. However, this connection also works in reverse; for example, when you are distressed mentally or emotionally, it is possible that you feel physical symptoms in your gut.
And, more recently, scientists have discovered the Enteric Nervous System (ENS), that is found in your gut and acts almost as a "second brain". Although your ENS isn't capable of helping your kid with their math homework or doing your taxes, the ENS is smart and in constant communication with our actual brain. It has been discovered in recent years that emotional distress, like anxiety and depression, may not only be causing upset stomach, but even the other way around. Your poor gut health and digestion could be causing your mental distress. This is a possible reason for why those with IBS are more likely to be diagnosed with anxiety or depression.
The Good News About The Mind-Gut Connection
Knowing that the two "brains" can hurt each other sounds scary, but the good news is that they can also help each other. Knowing this connection allows for doctors and medical professionals to have a better ability to treat problems and conditions. For example, someone with IBS might be treated psychologically, e.g. given anti-depressants or even therapy, to help relax their gut.
This also gives us more agency over our own bodies and better insight into our own issues. For example, if you're feeling more anxious than normal, trying to prioritize your gut health with healthy and mindful eating and incorporating herbs that are known to improve digestion, might help!
5 Herbs We Recommend For Supporting Gut and Brain Health
Dandelion Root: A natural digestive tonic, Dandelion Root is used in traditional medicine to treat constipation and improve overall digestive health. It is rich in prebiotic fiber that makes your tummy happy! With a happier ENS, you might just have a more happy real-brain as well!
Puehr: It is made from the same tea plant that gives us black, green and white tea, but goes through an extra fermentation process. Like other fermented foods, Puehr supports healthy digestion by increasing the amount of good bacteria in your gut. Healthy gut, healthy mind.
Ginger: If your mom has ever told you to drink ginger tea on an upset stomach, she's right! But did you know that ginger can also improve the health of your brain? This warming spice is associated with relief from nausea, reduced inflammation and improved working memory and attention.
Learn more about the benefits of ginger: 12 Amazing Reasons To Love Ginger
Turmeric: The spice is incredibly rich in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant rich compounds that have been shown to help support the health of your brain. Turmeric has been shown in studies to improve attention and memory in adults. But not just the brain, Turmeric has also been shown to improve symptoms in adults with IBS. Try this awesome spice to heal that connection between your gut and brain!
Check out 4 Unique Ways to Use Turmeric for more ways to use the healing spice.
Peppermint: Both peppermint and spearmint help to soothe the muscles in the stomach and can improve gas, bloating and indigestion. This is why you might have heard to drink peppermint tea on an upset stomach. But, next time you're feeling stressed or anxious, give it a shot. It might just help!
I hope you found this helpful! Let us know below if you learned something new. If you enjoyed this article on the mind-gut connection, check out 4 Herbs That Powerfully Boost Your Brain Power.