So what does a Naturopathic Doctor do when she gets sick? She opens her toolbox of course!
My go to for any digestive-related distress has always been a cup of peppermint or spearmint tea. I can typically feel it working within a few minutes of having that hot steaming mug. Guaranteed.
I walked downtown to my favorite tea purveyor, Distinctly Tea, on York Street. They have the best teas around and even when I was in Toronto studying at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, I would make the trek anytime I came back home into the store to fill up my home herbal dispensary. Call me loyal or stubborn, but it's the only place I go for my tea.
Anyways, when I got there, I ordered a 100 g bag of my organic spearmint or, as I learned it in my training, Mentha spicata.. I also remembered that I was out of chamomile - another great digestive, calming herb that acts as a carminative. A carminative, for those not familiar with herbal medicine, is an herb that acts to release gas and settle an upset stomach. Highly recommended after any rich meal. I love Distinctly Tea's chamomile because it tends to be a lot less bitter than others that I've tried in the past. Did you know that the name "chamomile" is translated from the Greek words meaning "ground apple"? A good bag of Matricaria recutita does indeed smell of apples.
Our amazing massage therapist, Samantha Mount, at the Stratford Health & Wellness Centre is a fan of Pu-erh tea. I remember learning that pu-erh in particular is great for tummy troubles too. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Spleen is responsible for transforming the food we eat and sending the nutritional components of it out to the body, to allow good circulation of Qi (the vital force of the body) and Blood, nourish the muscles and promote good mental energy. When the Spleen is distressed we can become fatigued, lethargic, have poor memory, have digestive upset and easy bruising. Pu-erh tea helps to nourish the Spleen and dispel "Damp"...a perfect pairing with my somewhat empty and un-restful feeling belly. With its earthy taste and calming aroma... and my full shopping basket I was ready to check out.
I get home, make myself a combination cup of the pu-erh and peppermint. Guess what? Within five minutes, I could feel things start to get better.
And this is what I love about being a Naturopathic Doctor: having the tools to treat all the little things that come up. I teach my patients how to manage their symptoms at home. I am a real believer in having people feel empowered about their health care, and feeling like they are in the driver's seat. I act as a guide, steering people through their concerns, but ultimately it is up to each of us to step up and take control of our health. Even if it's as simple as a making a cup of tea.