Beating Burns Night Indigestion
For Scots, both at home and away, it’ll soon be a time to get together for a great nosh up and a few drams in celebration of Burns Night.
For some, haggis is considered a healthy, nourishing meal packed with good traditional ingredients. For others, it’s a cholesterol nightmare, ready to clog your arteries with fat and grease. Oats are good for you - no debate there. And the offal in haggis - lungs and heart - are a good source of low fat protein, but the amount of fat in the dish means it’s not something you should be consuming on a daily basis, even if it isn’t deep fried!
But, it’s Burns Night and I’m not here to rain on your parade. However, it’s good to know that there are a couple of fantastic herbal remedies which can help your digestive system cope in the aftermath of an evening of rich food and, let’s face it, more than a few nips of whisky.
Napiers After Dinner Mint Mixture is a traditional digestif blend of Peppermint oil, fennel seed extract and Acacia. It is very easy to use - just put a teaspoonful in a little water (warm or cold) and sip it after meals to support your digestion.
Mint has been used for centuries worldwide as an after dinner drink, most commonly as a milder mint tea, to aid and support healthy digestion. Fennel seed also has a long history of use and fennel seed water was traditionally given to babies to prevent colic, griping and windiness while breastfeeding. (This product is not for babies though!)
A bottle lasts a long time as this is a concentrated mixture and just a teaspoonful is used at a time.
The fennel seed tincture is made using ethanol. If you wish to avoid alcohol, put a teaspoonful of After Dinner Mint Mixture into half a cup of hot water from the kettle and wait for five minutes. The hot water will evaporate off all the alcohol.
Napiers Best British Bitters is a traditional pick-me-up herbal digestif - a "hair of the dog" digestif - and is very helpful in aiding digestion after overindulgence in alcohol, rich or spicy food, shellfish and other minor digestive challenges.
Made from extracts of Gentian root, Ginger root, Meadowsweet, Silver Birch, Dandelion, Milk Thistle and Peppermint, it is highly concentrated and one bottle provides about 20 servings.
A bitter is a herbal drink containing aromatic herbal essences, with a bitter or bittersweet flavour, often flavoured with citrus, with no added sugar. Numerous varieties of bitters are on the market, as they have been popular across Europe since the 18th century. Bitters are used to stimulate the appetite, either for food or for cocktails. Used in both apéritifs and digestifs, they help to settle the stomach before a meal or a night of drinking. Apéritifs are usually taken before and digestifs taken afterwards. Bitters are often added to alcohol but a teaspoon can be added to any liquid, including water, tomato juice, fruit juice, teas & non-alcoholic beverages.
Taken as an aperitif before a meal, bitters help to stimulate the appetite, getting saliva and bile flowing to improve digestion. (And it is particularly helpful for those who have lost their appetite such as the elderly or convalescent.)
If you are using it as a digestif then take a teaspoonful (5 ml) in a some water, juice or other fluid before indulgence in alcohol and also again on the 'morning after', repeating at half hourly intervals for the next hour if desired. You can take several spaced throughout the day to help you get back to normal.
If you are using it as an aperitif, take a teaspoonful (5 ml) in a small amount of water (the more bitter the better) half an hour before a meal to perk up the appetite.
If you wish to avoid alcohol, add a little hot water from the kettle to a cup with a teaspoonful of Best British Bitters and wait for five minutes. The hot water will evaporate off all the alcohol.
Happy Burns Night!