Herbal medicine based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can have probiotic and prebiotic properties through specific herbs and formulations that promote a healthy gut microbiome.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that support a balanced gut flora, aiding in digestion, nutrient absorption, and immune function. TCM recognizes the importance of gut health in overall well-being and utilizes certain herbs known to have probiotic properties. These herbs help restore and maintain a healthy microbial balance in the digestive system.
Some TCM herbs commonly used for their probiotic properties include:
- Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi Mushroom): Known as the “mushroom of immortality,” Reishi has immune-modulating effects and supports gut health by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria.
- Lycium barbarum (Goji Berry): Goji berries contain polysaccharides that act as prebiotics, nourishing beneficial gut bacteria and supporting their growth.
- Astragalus membranaceus (Astragalus): Astragalus has immune-enhancing properties and helps regulate the gut microbiota, promoting a healthy balance of bacteria.
But the truth is that all herbs are probiotic in some capacity, and just because an herb is not widely know for its probiotic content, does not mean that it is not probiotic. Beneficial bacteria is built into nature, and this is part of the circle of life, so to speak.
Prebiotics, on the other hand, are non-digestible fibers that stimulate the growth and activity of beneficial bacteria in the gut. TCM herbal medicine incorporates specific herbs with prebiotic properties to support gut health and improve digestion.
Examples of TCM herbs with prebiotic properties include:
- Codonopsis pilosula (Dang Shen): Dang Shen is commonly used in TCM to strengthen the digestive system and support the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.
- Wolfberry (Gou Qi Zi): Wolfberry contains polysaccharides that act as prebiotics, providing nourishment for the growth of healthy gut bacteria.
But all herbs have prebiotic properties in some capacity.
By including these herbs in formulations or using them individually, TCM herbal medicine can help restore and maintain a healthy gut microbiome, promoting probiotic and prebiotic effects. However, it’s important to note that individual responses to herbal medicine may vary, and consulting with a qualified TCM practitioner is recommended for personalized guidance and treatment.
The specific number of strains can vary depending on factors . Generally, natural foods provide a broader range of probiotic strains, offering a variety of beneficial bacteria to support gut health. However, the exact number and types of strains can be difficult to determine as they can vary and depend on the specific ingredients.