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Digestive Enzymes and Herbs

old message Digestive enzymes and Herbs Darrell Miller 08/25/06


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Date: August 25, 2006 02:26 PM
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Subject: Digestive enzymes and Herbs

Digestive enzymes and Herbs

 

Raw food naturally contains the proper types and proportion of enzymes to assist in its own digestion.  Food enzymes are released by the action of chewing, which ruptures the foods cell membranes.  Like salivary enzymes, raw food enzymes play an important role in human digestion by predigesting food in the upper stomach, where contents may site for as long as an hour before gastric secretions deign their action.

 

Since enzymes are essentially destroyed at 118 degrees F, most forms of cooking and industrial food preparation render food devoid of enzyme activity.  This places the full burden of digestion on the body processes and reserves.  In time, this burden can weaken or overwhelm an individual’s ability to process and absorb vital food nutrients.  Many health professionals believe that the prevalence of cooked and processed foods in modern society makes supplementation with digestive enzymes essential.  Digestive enzymes also may be a benefit to those who suffer from clinical disorders of digestion and absorption.

 

Consider these advantages

 

  1. Comprehensive plant-source enzymes.  Unlike supplemental enzymes of animal origin, plant enzymes work at the pH found in the upper stomach.  Plant enzymes are active in the pH range of 3.0 to 9.0, facilitating early and more complete digestion to improve food nutrient utilization.
  2. Full Spectrum Activity. Buy digestive enzymes that act on all the food types.  Protease break long protein chains (polypeptides) into smaller amino acid chains and eventually into single amino acids.  Amylases reduce large carbohydrates (starches and other polysaccharides) into disaccharides such as sucrose, lactose, and maltose.  Lipases digest fats (triglycerides) into free fatty acids and glycerol.  Cellulases (not found in the human system) helps digest the fibrous cell walls of plants, exposing nutrients for use in the body and increasing their bioavailability.
  3. Enzymes for Lactose and Other Sugars.  Each class of carbohydrate-rich food requires a specific type of enzyme for its digestion.  When the body is unable to secrete sufficient levels of such enzymes, malabsorption and physical discomfort may result.
  4. Traditional Digestive Herbs.  Artichoke leaf, peppermint leaf, fennel seed, gentian root, ginger root, capsicum fruit (cayenne) all help with digestion.  Herbs can be carminatives (for gas and bloating), bitters (to stimulate digestive enzymes and secretions) and digestive tonifier (to help strengthen, soothe and normalize digestive membranes.) Ginger (a classic tonic bitter and digestant) and artichoke help to support the liver and gallbladder, as does Gentain, perhaps the most bitter of the herbal gastric stimulants.  Peppermint oil and fennel have been used for centuries to soothe digestion and reduce gas and bloating.  Capsicum (red pepper) augments the absorption of herbs and other nutrients.

 

 



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