Lactose intolerance is intolerance to milk and other dairy products. Lactose is a type of sugar present in milk. The enzyme lactase present in the body breaks down the lactose when you take milk or other dairy products. In some people, there is a deficiency of the enzyme lactase. Hence, they will not be able to break down the lactose properly, or in other words, they are intolerant to it. Some of the causes of lactose intolerance are premature birth, bowel surgery, intestinal infections, or certain intestinal diseases.
Symptoms occur within 30 min to 2 hr after taking the milk or other dairy products. They include abdominal bloating, flatulence (gas), abdominal cramps, nausea, and diarrhea. So, you generally tend to avoid milk. Eliminating milk from your diet leads to long-term problems like deficiency of calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B2. While lactose-free milk and lactase enzyme capsules or tablets are available, the following herbs can also help you.
Herbal Remedies For Lactose Intolerance
Gentian works in lactose intolerance because it has known efficacy in treating digestion problems like loss of appetite, fullness of stomach, diarrhea, intestinal gas, and vomiting. Its extract is made from the root and bark of Gentiana lutea. It works by dilating the blood vessels.
The chemicals that it contains are the glycosides gentiopicrin and amarogentin. To know the appropriate dose, see the product label. Some persons may experience allergic reactions upon taking gentian. It might lower blood pressure. Pregnant or breastfeeding women and those with peptic ulcer should not take this herbal remedy.
The bark of Tabebuia impetiginosa is used to make the pau d’arco extract. The extract contains the active chemicals called antioxidants (mainly quercetin) and anthraquinones (mainly beta-lapachone and lapachol). It is sold as dried bark tea, tablets, and tincture. Taking it in large doses can be toxic. So, consult your physician or the product insert for the appropriate and safe dose. Its side effects can be nausea, dizziness,diarrhea, and anemia. Higher doses can lead to vomiting and uncontrolled bleeding.
St. Mary’s Thistle (Milk Thistle)
St. Mary’s thistle extract is derived from the seeds and aerial parts of Silybum marianum. St. Mary’s thistle or milk thistle is used in a variety of disorders such as digestive disorders, liver disorders, gallbladder complaints, depression, and menstrual problems. Its main chemical constituents are silymarin and fatty acids such as linoleic acid.
It is available as tablets and capsules. The dose is 420-480 mg daily in 2-3 divided doses. Its main side effect is diarrhea, though less commonly it can cause nausea, intestinal gas, bloating, and loss of appetite.
The root of Glycyrrhiza glabra is used medicinally. Its extract contains the active ingredients anethole and isoflavones (glabrene and glabridin). But use only the deglycyrrhizinated licorice because glycyrrhizin can cause high blood pressure.
Licorice is available as capsules, tablets, powder, and tea. Its dose is 300-400 mg thrice daily. At high doses it can cause high blood pressure, weakness, low blood levels of potassium, brain damage, and paralysis. It is unsafe during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Chamomile is quite a popular herbal remedy. Flowers of Matricaria recutita are used to make the chamomile remedy. The extract contains several chemicals that are responsible for its beneficial effects. These include terpenoids, sesquiterpenes, flavonoids, flavones, and flavanols.
Its dose is 300-400 mg thrice daily, or 3-4 cups of tea daily, or 30-60 drops of tincture in hot water thrice daily. It is generally safe to use. However, it can cause allergic reactions in some people.
Caution: Please use Home Remedies after Proper Research and Guidance. You accept that you are following any advice at your own risk and will properly research or consult healthcare professional.