It is quite common for people with lupus to have digestive issues and last Wednesday was the beginning of a nasty bout for me. The timing was pretty bad: I had scheduled an aquaponics training for the very next morning and I had some very excited farmers looking forward to it.
There was no way to mask the pain so it was great that I was in the company of likeminded ‘food as medicine’ people: High Garden Center farmer George, Dr. David Epstein, and Lois Peterson; a PGG board member who is currently furthering her study in nutrition.
Dr. Dave suggested that I consider adding digestive enzymes pre-biotics and pro-biotics to my supplement regiment. I was experiencing a flare (an auto immune crisis) so that was sound advice. Fortunately I have all of that on hand… including kombucha of course. 🙂
Lois suggested I go gluten-free and dairy free completely until things calmed down. She also reminded me of the importance of bone broths when trying to heal the gut. I grabbed Nourishing Traditions out of my office for reference. Good thing I did! I had never considered putting wine in my broth! While I didn’t go there this time (with the turmoil in my belly I’ve decided to stay away from alcohol for the moment), I have filed that away under things I will certainly do in the near future. I cooked an organic bird slowly over the course of two days. In addition I added loads of extras: a cinnamon stick, several garlic bulbs, onion, about 2 inches of ginger, 2 inches of turmeric, carrots and celery.
George sent me into the garden.
He mentioned a few plants that I might want to steep and drink as tea but for some reason I went right to the fennel, popped a few sprigs into my mouth. I have had fennel before in salads but have always remained pretty neutral on it. On this day, however, I was actually craving it. And I’ve been noshing on it every day since. Fennel has a licorice like flavor so it taste like candy to me. Eating it, was soothing.
After several days of running into the garden for my fennel fix, I decided to see why my body was asking for it. After researching it further, it turns out it makes perfect sense. Here are some of the benefits of fennel listed on juicingforhealth.com:
Anemia: Since fennel is rich in iron and histidine, it serves as a good natural remedy for anemia. The production of hemoglobin is increased as a result of the consumption of food containing iron.
Breast milk, secretion: Lactating mothers can consume fennel juice regularly to increase the secretion of nutritious milk for their infants.
Cancer: The high content of vitamin C, flavonoids and essential oils in fennel bulb all provide synergistic healing properties for the prevention of cancer.
Colic: Colic happens because of an imbalanced intestinal flora. The essential oils found in fennel are useful for rebalancing the flora for remedy of renal colic.
Constipation: The roughage in fennel seeds act as a stimulant in the clearance of bowels. By taking fennel juice regularly, it helps to rebalance the digestive tract, thus promotes regular bowel movement.
Diarrhea: The essential oils in fennel like Cineole and Anethole help to remedy diarrhea. By taking fennel juice regularly, it helps to rebalance the digestive tract, thus promotes a healthy bowel movement.
Diuretic: The diuretic property of fennel helps in the removal of toxic substances from the body through frequent urination. Thus, it helps to reduce inflammation that causes rheumatism and swelling.
Flatulence: Excessive flatulence happens due to the highly imbalanced intestinal flora in the digestive tract. Fennel has the capability to reduce the bad bacteria while increasing the good bacteria that help rebalance the digestive flora.
Hair health: The sulphur content together with all the right amino acids and essential oils in fennel help strengthen hair and reduce hair fall.
High blood pressure: The high potassium content in fennel helps reduce high blood pressure and thus decreasing the risk for heart attack and stroke.
Indigestion: The essential oils in fennel increases the secretion of digestive juices, helping in reduction of stomach inflammation and in the absorption of nutrients from the food eaten. Since fennel also has anti-acidic qualities, it is used widely also as an antacid.
Menstruation disorders: As fennel is an emmenagogue, it helps regulate the hormonal action in the female body, easing menstruation flow.
Vision health: Fennel has unique properties that can help protect from eyes inflammation, as well as with other eye disorders which are directly or indirectly connected to muscular degeneration and aging. Due to the anti-oxidants and the necessary amino acids in fennel, they help rejuvenate and prevent aging. The juice of fennel leaves when externally applied on the eyes may help reduce eye irritations and fatigue.
I am on the mend! Was it the broth? Kombucha? Fennel?
I’d say all three. I’d also say that I am healing my body with comfort food, soda and candy. Except it’s real food. And that just makes me giddy.