The gut is the primary player in our immune system, and it's home to more than 400 species of bacteria.

Many healing traditions theorized that, in addition to breaking down food and absorbing nutrients, the gut was also responsible for regulating our entire emotional network. No wonder our gut can truly feel like a second brain at times!

A lifetime of stress, environmental toxins, and poor eating is enough to throw your gut health into the gutter, but balancing your gut bacteria doesn't have to be complicated.

Herbs have been used since the beginning of time to soothe various gut issues. Often taken before meals, herbal elixirs can increase enzyme production and prevent the buildup of bad bacteria. Working these healing beverages into your daily routine can help you finally ease bloating, indigestion, and other discomforts you thought you had to live with forever.

Here are three basic formulas to get you started:

Morning Glory Elixir

Photo credit: Adriana Ayales

This powerful anti-inflammatory morning formula will leave you full of energy to take on the day. Its vital ingredients like marshmallow root, turmeric, and aloe all help soothe the stomach and kidneys.

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon fresh aloe gel
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon marshmallow root powder
  • ½ ounce apple cider vinegar
  • 8 ounces warm water

Instructions

Add all ingredients into hot water and shake well. Allow the mixture to cool down a bit before you enjoy.'

Adaptogenic Bitter

Photo credit: Adriana Ayales

This is a highly aromatic recipe with an adaptogenic kick. Its primary adaptogen, rhodiola, supports gut balance and prevents stress buildup. The other herbs soothe the gut by promoting healthy enzyme function.

Ingredients

  • 1 part rhodiola root
  • 1 part dandelion root powder
  • 1 part ginger root (freshly grated)
  • 1 part dried orange peel
  • 1 part fennel seeds
  • Raw honey or stevia for sweetness

Instructions

Simmer the herbs in a teapot with 4 to 6 cups of water for 20 minutes. Strain and enjoy.

Rejuvelac Probiotic Spritz

Photo credit: Adriana Ayales

Tired of spending hundreds of dollars on probiotic drinks and capsules? Well, the solution might just cost you about $3 and some fun kitchen time. Rejuvelac is a fermented grain liquid that promotes healthy gut flora, and it's not difficult to make yourself.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup soft wheat berries (or other grains)
  • Cucumber slices
  • Lemon slices
  • 1 cup sparkling water

Instructions

1. I've found that wheat berries, rye, and quinoa make for the best rejuvelac, but you can also use quinoa, lentils, buckwheat, or any other type of grain. Place your wheat berries in a jar with a screen top (or tight cheese cloth) and fill with water.

2. Soak the grain for 24 hours. Drain the water, leave the berries in the jar, and rinse them off two to three times a day until little sprout tails appear.

3. Place sprouted grain in a large jar with a top that allows air to circulate. Add 4 cups of water and let it sit on the counter for 2 to 3 days. You will notice that the water will get cloudy and little bubbles will start to form.

4. Taste what you have so far—it should taste clean, fresh, and slightly citrusy. Strain the rejuvelac liquid and store it in the refrigerator in a covered glass container. It will last about a week, and you can reuse the wheat berries to make a second batch.

5. Slice up some cucumber and lemons and add them into a cup of sparkling water. Add 1 to 2 ounces of your rejuvelac liquid and enjoy! I'd recommend drinking this rejuvelac spritz at least 30 minutes before meals, 2 to 3 times a day, for optimum effects.


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