Most IBS sufferers have problems with gut bacteria and inflammation. Certain IBS-friendly herbs can be real allies in the battle for better digestion. AND give your food some extra taste too.
Why not start the herb habit? I started using IBS friendly herbs while I was recovering from IBS, and is one I am keeping because I really feel the benefits.
The best IBS friendly herbs
Depending where you live, this could be the ideal time for planting some herbs and getting into the herb habit. Maybe you have a sunny spot in your garden, or space for a pot on your balcony or by your kitchen window.
Herbs have been used for centuries to improve digestion. Yet many of us are not using them anymore.
One of these herbs is thyme. The effects of the thymol it contains are mentioned in different research papers as being beneficial in fighting Candida.
Origano is one of the herbs used to treat SIBO by Dr. Allison Siebecker, a SIBO researcher and specialist.
Rosemary and basil are reputed for their excellent antibiotic, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties. In other words, they are good for your digestive tract!
Fresh herbs give great flavour to food, without messing with your IBS.
Whether you are baking meat or vegetables, just toss in a couple of sprigs of thyme, rosemary or oregano and see how you like the flavor.
Basil is best added to a hot dish just before serving, or to salads.
Starting the herb habit
The key to this habit is having these IBS friendly herbs handy. If you wait until you think of buying some, you will probably never get into the habit.
For me, I took a while to get used to using herbs. I would buy herbs once in a blue moon at the market, and invariably forget to use them. Because I didn’t know how.
I needed them to be in front of me, and to experiment with them.
So I went out and bought a small plant of organic thyme and rosemary one spring. You know the saying “out of sight, out of mind”. I left them by my front door so I would remember to plant them. I decided to planted them in the ground next to my front door. Well this way I went past them every day.
I find rosemary and thyme extremely easy to maintain. Where I live in Brittany they are fine left in full sun and little watering. I have placed stones and rocks around them to keep the roots cool, and they seem to like that.
Making it automatic
Then I had to develop the habit. In the same way as my coconut oil habit, my new herb habit stopped and started for a while, I regularly forgot to use the herbs. But having them visible meant that I got a reminder.
I finally managed to develop the roasted meat + herbs habit so that it became automatic. On other days I threw in a couple of sprigs with vegetables I was steaming, and that tasted nice too. I also tried some basil leaves on starters and pasta. That was easy.
I don’t use herbs every day – but you can do. I tend to use them a couple of times a week to support my healthy gut bacteria. In fact I have had to buy some new plants, because I have been using them so quickly.
A special note about basil
Basil is more difficult to cultivate unless you live in it’s native warm Italian climate. So I keep a pot by my kitchen window on a saucer, and add a little water to the saucer every day. If I am lucky, it can last for a couple of months before I have to replace it.
Basil can also be very useful used as an essential oil. Before recovering from IBS, I found it a useful ally to help relieve bloating and abdominal cramps.
Add a couple of drops to a carrier oil (coconut oil, for example) and lightly massage your belly, moving around your belly button in a circular motion. I used to do this a couple of hours after eating in the evening.
If you like the idea of essential oils, they can also be used to help you boost your immune system.13