Detox Methods That Improve Digestion

In the past few years, detoxification (or detox) has become a popular method for treating a variety of ailments, including heartburn. Here are three natural supplements that will lead you on the path to a healthier digestive system.

Indigestion is a common digestive disease. It is characterized by one of 3 symptoms: feeling full during a meal, feeling uncomfortably full after a meal, and burning or pain in the upper abdomen.[1] Indigestion remedies include over-the-counter antacids, like Alka-Seltzer, Maalox, Mylanta, Rolaids. These provide relief by neutralizing stomach acid, and while they do have side effects (constipation, diarrhea), they can be effective.

Another way of treating it is by detox, short for detoxification, which refers to the body's natural process of purging toxins. If indigestion is caused by the food put into the body, the thinking goes, it can be eliminated by food put into the body. Thus the focus is on fewer chemicals and more nutrients. Here are 3 natural supplements that will start you on the path to detoxing.

  • Papaya. The tropical fruit with the exotic name. It contains the powerful enzyme papain, which, by breaking down complex proteins, reduces the stress on the digestive tract. Additionally, it is easy to purchase. If you can't find it in a fruit drink or smoothy at your grocery store, a place like GNC will carry it in supplemental form at the very reasonable price of 90 tablets for $2.99.[2]
  • Licorice. The ancient Greeks, Chinese, and Egyptians used this for gastritis. The kind you want is deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL). It's a natural antacid that, unlike regular licorice, has no side effects. So, according to the National Institute of Health, it does not elevate blood pressure.[3] And it, too, is cheap: 90 chewable tablets retail for less than $12.
  • Gentian. This has been used medicinally for over 3,000 years; in Europe and Asian it is used for indigestion (as opposed to South America, where it is used against snakebites).[4] It works because it contains the chemical gentianine, which stimulates the secretion of stomach acid. However, it is rather bitter and if added to tea, as is most common, may require honey to balance the flavor. 90 tablets cost around $10.