Poor appetite can be a symptom of some other underlying medical issue. It can be experienced in association with deeper psychological or physical issues. Some of the common medical issues associated with loss of appetite are: Stress, depression, liver issues, gastrointestinal issues, anorexia etc. In some cases, if the loss of appetite is not addressed, it can worsen over a period of time and can cause serious issues including threat to life.
4 Appetite Increasing Herbs:
A large of number of natural remedies are available that can boost appetite. However it is advised to consult an experienced physician before starting any of the natural regimens. In some cases a combination of treatment is suggested, where natural remedies are usually an adjunct to mainstream treatment plans. Natural remedies include herbs that can stimulate the natural digestive systems.
Mechanism of Action of Appetite increasing Herbs:
Herbs that stimulate the digestive system and increase the appetite are called as stimulating tonics or bitters.1 These ‘Bitters’ act on the Central Nervous System and generates signals that causes the gut and digestive hormones to increase the production of digestive enzymes or juices.2 This increases hunger or appetite. These stimulating tonics stimulate the liver and the gall bladder to secrete more bile which in turn aids in digestion. These bitters are available as herbal teas, beverages, powders or tinctures. However, it is advised to consult a qualified healthcare practitioner before starting any of these herbs and for recommended dosage and usage.
Most Commonly Used Appetite Increasing Herbs:
Gentian or Gentiana Lutea is a yellow coloured flower that is found in European countries. This herb is used for treatment of loss of appetite in associated with anorexia and other digestive issues. The roots and rhizomes of this plant which is used as a bitter contains 2 potent ingredients called as secoiridoids and amarogentin.3 These ingredient aids in production of gastric acids, saliva and bile. Gentin root is available as capsules, tincture or teas. It is recommended to consult a herbalist for required dosage and instruction of use.
Blessed thistle or Cnicus Benedictus is a plant with yellow coloured flowers with spines found in the Mediterranean region. The seeds and aerial parts are used as a bitter as they contain active ingredient called as cnicin. This active ingredient accelerates production of bile juice and thus stimulates digestion. This increases hunger. This herb is used for management of anorexia. It is important to note that this herb should be strictly avoided during pregnancy.
Centaury or Centaurium Erythraea is also from the Gentian Family. This herb is commonly found throughout the world and bears lavender flowers. The aerial part is used for stimulating appetite. This herb is used for management of anorexia and also for management of liver issues. It is available as tea and tinctures. Sometime is it used by combining with other herbs such as chamomile and burdrock root. It is advised to consult a specialist if you are pregnant.
Other spices that increases appetite:
- Cayenne Pepper
All these spices have the ability to speed up metabolism and digestion, thus increases the appetite.
Loss of appetite is a common symptom associated with many health issues such as anorexia, digestive issues, liver issues etc. If left untreated it can lead to serious complications. Loss of appetite can diminish the urge to eat and thus can take a toll on nutrition level. This in turn can affect the basic functioning of the human body. Management of poor appetite is done by improving nutrition, additional supplements, medications etc. A large number of natural remedies are also available for improving appetite. These include herbal products extracted from plants and their by-products. The most commonly used herbs for management of poor appetite are Gentian, Blessed Thistle and Centaury. It is very important to consult a specialist before starting anyone these herbs. In large number of cases, herbal supplements are recommended as an adjunct to standard line of treatment.
- Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine,” By Clinical Herbalist David Hoffmann, 2003
- “Medicinal Plants of the World,” By Botanist Ben-Erik van Wyk and biologist Michael Wink, 2009
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