Lactase deficiency – more popularly known as lactose intolerance – is the inability to digest lactose properly. Lactose is a simple sugar found in dairy product. In lactose-intolerant individuals, lactose will irritate the large intestines because it’s not digested well. This leads to bloating, excess gas and stomach pain.
As the large intestines become irritated, the small intestines start producing lactase. Lactase is an enzyme that separates lactose into galactose and glucose. This process could cause severe bouts of diarrhea, digestive discomforts, and pain.
Lactose intolerance is common among adults. Some children afflicted with lactose intolerance can outgrow the condition. Lactose intolerance is incurable, but certain herbs and home remedies may reduce its symptoms.
Herbal Remedies against Lactose Intolerance
Saffron is a popular spice, but it can aid in digestion. It can also flush toxin buildup in the intestines. Consuming saffron can improve blood circulation in the digestive track, preventing pain and discomfort associated with lactose intolerance. It can also prevent the formation of gas in the gut.
Ginger has a long list of health benefits. It can soothe an irritated stomach and bowels. It boosts the level of digestive juices in the gut. Ginger relieves inflammation in the intestines and soothes spasms. You can take ginger as a tea to ease an upset stomach. Just boil several slices of ginger root in plain water. Strain the liquid then take it as tea.
Peppermint works the same way as ginger. It can reduce intestinal irritation and digestive discomforts. Peppermint can also prevent stomach spasms. After all, this herb is traditionally used to prevent irritable bowel movement, diarrhea and yes, lactose intolerance. To use peppermint to relieve bouts of lactose intolerance, get fresh peppermint leaves and boil it for 15 minutes in plain water. Strain the liquid, add a teaspoon of honey to taste and take it as tea.
Chamomile tea will calm an upset stomach. It also relieves intestinal spasms, irritation, and pain. Taken as a tea, chamomile is an effective remedy against diarrhea, stomach cramps and irritation in the gut.
Home Remedies against Lactose Intolerance
Cocoa powder helps digest lactose. It works by slowing down the digestion process, allowing the stomach to empty itself slowly. As the stomach empties itself slowly, less lactose ends up on the large intestines.
If you think dairy products are off limits when you’re lactose intolerant, think again. Hard cheese – such as cheddar, provolone, mozzarella, Colby and Swiss – contain lower lactose. Any type of dairy product that’s spreadable or processed will cause digestive discomforts. But since hard cheeses contain less lactose, they are easier on the stomach.
Being severely intolerant to lactose means limiting your dairy consumption. And this could affect the calcium level in the body. However, dairy products with active cultures may help ease the usual symptoms associated with lactose intolerance.
According to a study by the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, bacterial culture in yogurt produces lactase, which is critical for proper digestion. Yogurt is fairly high in lactose, but its lactase content reduces the symptoms of lactose intolerance.