Modern surgical methods to diagnose and treat stomach problems may be new, but stomach pain is not. Before we had the ability to take X-rays, perform colonoscopies, and prescribe medication, early civilizations had to find ways to treat stomach conditions with the tools available to them.
While historical records show that some ancient physicians did prescribe odd remedies like mercury or animal excrement to cure all manner of illnesses, many early civilizations found great success with herbal remedies. Many of these herbs you’ll recognize, since many people use them for cooking or similar uses today.
While some of these herbs have been found to have healthful properties that may alleviate your symptoms, remember that going to a doctor trained in pain management and digestive problems is your safest option. This post is intended to be informative; however, if you are interested in trying any natural or herbal remedies to help with your stomach pain, talk to your doctor first.
The early inhabitants of North and South America used hundreds of different types of herbs and plants to treat physical conditions. They also introduced some of their remedies to Europeans, who carried them back across the ocean. Some Native Americans still use these herbs as medicines and in religious ceremonies.
Sage is an evergreen shrub identified by its soft, almost fuzzy, grayish leaves. Different variations of sage grow in areas around the world, and many ancient civilizations used the plant medicinally. It’s also a common ingredient in many Mediterranean cuisines.
Sage is known for its cleansing abilities. Some Native American groups used the herb to purify both the body and the mind. When ingested, usually as tea, it can soothe the stomach and relieve indigestion. It is also frequently burned as part of cleansing ceremonies, showing how highly its healing properties are valued.
The herb is safe to consume, whether directly or as a seasoning. It’s been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help with conditions like gastritis.
The ancient Egyptians were respected by neighboring civilizations for their knowledge of medicine. Other empires would request an Egyptian physician to attend them, and because Egyptians generally had access to adequate nutrition, the people were fairly healthy. Their medical knowledge extended into herbal remedies for stomach conditions.
Much like the relationship between some Native Americans groups and sage, acacia meant more to the Egyptians than just a useful plant. It was central to their religion, and was known as the “tree of life.” The first gods were believed to have been born under the tree.
The importance of acacia may be related to its usefulness as a medicine. Various parts of the thorny desert tree were used to treat burns, skin diseases, and eye problems. To treat stomach diseases, the Egyptians added the gum of the tree to boiling water. The mixture would coat the digestive tract, presumably soothing the inflamed tissues.
In modern medicine, acacia supplements are recommended by some for digestive issues. It’s a good source of fiber and has anti-inflammatory properties. It also encourages the growth of healthy bacteria in the intestines.
The ancient Chinese were also known for their extensive system of medicine, which many people around the world still practice today. It essentially revolves around establishing a proper energy flow throughout the body. To this end, traditional Chinese medicine relies heavily on herbal treatments.
In culinary uses, black cardamom adds a spicy, smoky flavor to hearty meat-based dishes. In traditional Chinese medicine, black cardamom affects the section of the body containing the spleen, stomach and kidneys. According to traditional medical practices, the stomach and the surrounding areas require a warm, moist environment in order to function well. A cold, dry stomach leads to sickness.
Black cardamom produces a warm oil that counteracts stomach problems. Its primary purpose is to “resolve stagnation,” which will cause the qi, or energy, to start flowing again. This stagnation is the cause of such maladies as stomach pain, diarrhea, and stomach distention. It is also used to lessen nausea and increase the appetite.
Much like acacia, black cardamom works to combat stomach issues because it has a high fiber content. Increasing the amount of fiber in one’s diet often helps to fix minor stomach problems like bloating, gas, and cramps. And since it’s a cooking spice, you can glean some of the benefits just by adding it to your food.
Humankind continues to struggle with the same health issues our ancestors had. Stomach and digestive issues have been a constant source of frustration, but ancient civilizations were able to find ways to successfully alleviate discomfort. Though science has progressed greatly in the last few centuries, many still do use herbs for the proven health benefits.
If you are experiencing severe digestive pain, come to Southwest Florida Neurosurgical Associates. We can find the source of the problem and figure out a treatment plan for you.