Pancreatic Health: Tiny, But Mighty List of Beneficial Herbs

Pancreatic Support

From regulating blood sugar levels to restoring damaged tissues, this list of beneficial herbs will help you better understand and take care of your pancreas! 

What is the role of your Pancreas in the body? 

The pancreas is actually a gland that creates juices that help break down foods in the digestion process. The digestive juices created by your pancreas travel via little ducts that empty into your small intestine. On average, your pancreas makes around 8 ounces of digestive juices every day. These juices are filled to the brim with enzymes to help the digestive process work smoothly. The pancreas is also involved in:

  • Promoting the production of hormones that support and regulate blood sugar levels
  • Digestion of starches/carbohydrates and the breaking down of proteins
  • Digestion of fats and the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, E, D, and K)
  • Supporting the immune system by fighting off parasites in the intestines
  • Modulating the intestinal inflammatory processes in the intestines
  • Reducing swelling of the mucous membranes
  • Transporting harmful waste products
  • Improving circulation and dissolving blood clot-forming deposits

Pancreatic cancer begins when abnormal cells in the pancreas grow and divide abnormally and form a tumor

These changes can be inherited or they may be due to something we were exposed to during our lifetime. Researchers have noted a few precursors to be aware of which may increase the likely hood of pancreatic cancer:

  • Hereditary – having a relative who was diagnosed
  • Acute or chronic pancreatitis
  • Smoking
  • Obesity – diets high in red and processed meats
  • Over the age of 60

 

Signs and Symptoms of Pancreatitis

Digestive health problems are to be taken seriously. The best thing is to be proactive regarding intestinal and pancreatic health. If digestive pain or intestinal issues go on for long periods of time the outcomes can be very serious and hard to treat. A shortlist of concerns to be aware of would be:

  • Experiencing frequent bouts of intestinal pain
  • Jaundice – the build-up of bilirubin causing the eyes and skin to turn yellow or orange
  • Tenderness in your abdomen
  • Bad smelling bowel movements and/or bowel movements that are yellow or orange
  • Gas and stomach bloating, Indigestion, and cramping in your Abdominal region
  • Diarrhea, loose stools, loss of appetite, and weight loss
  • High blood sugar
  • Recent on-set of Diabetes

If you have one or more of these symptoms, it does not mean you have pancreatic cancer. It’s most likely that your body is expressing these symptoms because of another underlying issue. It’s essential to speak with your doctor to get to the root of the cause and treat if needed. 

Pancreatic cancer is not easy to detect

The most important thing a person can do is be proactive. Know your family history and get genetic testing early on so you are aware of the possibilities. Address your diet early on in your life. Healthy lifestyle changes can improve a vast array of complications that may arise during our life journey. For more in-depth information and a great support team go to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.  

On to the Mighty List of Beneficial Herbs!

The good news is, adding herbs to your diet supports the digestive process and can add a little creativity to your menu. Many people ignore their pancreatic health until something goes wrong. Protecting this little gem nestled among our gallbladder, spleen, and liver is important. This can be done with a few simple changes and a few additions to your diet.

 

We encourage you to be creative and incorporate this list of foods and herbs into your recipes. Help restore your pancreas and aid indigestion.

Garlic 

When the recipe calls for 3-4 garlic cloves, do you stick to that amount? With a smirk, we agree a few extra won’t hurt! Besides making our pasta with a little extra “zing,” this herb decreases the amount of sugar in the blood while bumping up ample insulin levels. Achieve these goals by eating 2-3 crushed up garlic cloves per day by dunking cloves in your tea or “spicing” up your dinner. 

Goldenseal

You don’t have to hike into the wild to find this beneficial herb. It is known as one of the most therapeutic and medicinal properties on the planet. Goldenseal lowers blood sugar levels and aids the general function of the pancreas. It’s also known to be an anti-bacterial, laxative, antiseptic, tonic, muscle stimulant, anti-inflammatory agent, and antispasmodic. It’s truly “a mouth” of benefits!

Olive leaves

Tell your pancreas to get on a “full-body” detox with olive leaves. When taken regularly, this extract will aid in healthy liver, thyroid, and pancreas function. It has anti-inflammatory properties that will help lessen pain and swelling caused by pancreatitis. Some studies have shown olive leaves may help hold back the growth of cancer cells if taken consistently. Quite literally, it makes cancer sells “leaf” you alone! Pun intended! 

Oregano

This savory kitchen staple goes well in many things. Acting as a natural phenolic antioxidant, sprinkle it on your breakfast eggs or dash in a dinner dish. This healthy property makes it valuable to treat oxidation caused by diabetes. It’s believable that oregano has a robust antihyperglycemic property that handles long-term complications arising from diabetes. 

Horsetail

We’re not talking about the backside of a pony here! Horsetail is an essential herb abundant in silica, which aids in the health and restoration of damaged tissue. When the pancreas has damage due to inflammation, make a call to your local pharmacy or vitamin shop. 

Gentian

Gentian is a beautiful flower that doubles as a pancreatic health promoter. The roots help get the pancreatic juices flowing to create a healthy digestive system. 

Cedar berries

Found in southwest America, these berries look similar to grapes and possess nutrients to help the entire body. Seeds and pods help regulate the pancreas’ normal function, thus promoting blood sugar levels’ stabilization.

Haritaki

A common remedy in India, haritaki is believed to prevent cancerous tumors in the pancreas. Some studies suggest that taking haritaki extract may lower blood sugar levels, which adds value to diabetes people.

Dandelion 

How we wish people wouldn’t spray dandelions that are wild and free in the backyard! This familiar yellow weed is known to hold an effective fight against pancreatic cancer cells. Some studies suggest dandelion root extracts may cause cancer cells to die while not affecting normal cells. Brew up some dandelion tea to flush out toxins in the intestines and restore damaged pancreatic tissues. 

Licorice Root

Licorice root dates back to traditional Chinese medicine. It is laden with anti-inflammatory properties that will reduce pain and swelling. It’s an excellent remedy for various disorders associated with the pancreas. It is common to find licorice root in a tea form at local brew shops or grocery stores. 

Calendula

Healer for centuries, calendula offers antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties and anti-genotoxic compounds. It’s known for its effectiveness when fighting off cancer. The bright orange and yellow flowers are reason enough to keep this healer in the home. 

Lemons

Go ahead! Make a “sour face,” it’s good for the pancreas. This powerful fruit helps keep the pancreas running smoothly by stimulating the release of vital digestive enzymes. Squeeze a bit into your water or top a salmon; it will add health benefits for years to come! 

Your pancreas is small but mighty! Please do not ignore it until something goes wrong. It is vital for the endocrine and digestion process and can easily be overlooked. Do your best to take good care of yourself and your pancreas. Please always remember that if you have any health concerns, consulting your doctor is essential, and under no circumstance should you replace or adjust your medication without consulting a professional health consultant.

For local recommendations, check out our nutrition and meal planning within the directory. Interested in a professional Functional Nutrition appointment, we recommend Dr. Carsrud DC, MS, DABCI, DCBCN at Lakeline Wellness Center. Dr. Carsrud has led health podcasts for Peoples Pharmacy and is often invited to speak at medical conventions. As a doctor, he is dedicated to finding out the root cause of your concerns respecting the fundamental interconnections that maintain optimal function for the body and mind. 

Related read: Essential Oils for Blood Sugar Levels

Dr Josh Axe: Pancreatic Enzymes Benefits for the Gut & Immune Health

#PanCANforProgress

 

 

 

 

THINK PINK THIS MONTH

Breast Cancer Awareness OCT 2019

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

One of the most common types of cancer is breast cancer. It’s a disease that develops in the breast due to cells don’t work together correctly, get out of control, and start forming tumors in one or both breasts. If left untreated, the disease can spread to other parts of the body and become fatal.

Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in women. According to Planned Parenthood, 1 in 8 women will get breast cancer, and it’s the deadliest type of cancer for women. Each year there are over 240,000 people diagnosed in the U.S. alone, and around 40,000 people die from it. Many advances in pre-screening and treatment have been made in the last 20 years.  Early detection and knowledge is imperative to advanced care, be proactive.

Do you have symptoms of breast cancer?

Lumps are the most common cancer signs found. Watch this video or follow this link to become familiar with how to check your armpit and breast for lumps, which is a common indication for concern. It’s important to know that some women have naturally lumpy breasts (and it’s okay). Anytime a lump is found, you should get it checked out!

Other possible signs of breast cancer may include:

  • Dimples on the skin
  • Breast that swells
  • Inward and sticking out nipples
  • Irregular discharge or blood oozing from the nipple
  • Pain in nipple or breast

The best-case scenario is to catch them early so that it’s easier to treat.

Some of these signs may not develop until the disease is further along. Breast Cancer Screening can help reduce the risk of disease spreading. Every year at your wellness exam, ask for a breast check-up! If you are over the age of 40, consider getting a mammogram every year. If you have breast cancer or ovarian cancer in your family history, it is a good idea to speak to your doctor as you at a higher risk.

Developing healthy habits can reduce your risk of developing breast cancer

The best thing we can do is develop healthy habits to reduce your risk before breast cancer even becomes a thought. There are many clinics in the Williamson County area that offer preventative health care, including pregnancy tests, STI testing and treatment, cholesterol testing, diabetes testing, referral mammograms, oral birth control, and immunizations. We are fortunate to live in an area that provides so many great options.

Take advantage of these resources, and enjoy a healthier life!