Millions of Americans undergo surgery each year. Certain nutritional guidelines can be very helpful in speeding up recovery and wound-healing post surgery. Of course, you must always consult your doctor before taking any herbs because many herbal supplements are known to interact with conventional drugs which your doctor might have prescribed. So, before we discuss herbs that promote wound healing, we will discover the herbs you should not take as they could increase risk of bleeding.
Herbs to stop taking before surgery
- Evening Primrose Oil
- Red Clover
- John’s Wort
Many of the above herbs contain salicytates which are blood thinners. Herbs like Gingko and St. John’s Wort are incompatible with hormone therapy drugs as well as anesthesia. Several drugs in the list above are known to inhibit certain enzymes and allow toxins to circulate longer in the body.
Let us now discuss herbs which heal post surgery and also dietary tips and supplements to take.
Herbs That Promote Healing After Surgery
1. Herbal teas
The following herbal teas can help speed up post surgery healing: Alfalfa, dandelion and nettle are high in vitamins and minerals. You can safely take these as soon as you are allowed liquids. They promote healing and also increase appetite. Alfalfa is a great source of iron. You can also take ginger tea after surgery to prevent nausea and settle the stomach post anesthesia.
This is naturally present in fruits such as pineapple and papaya though bromelain extracts are readily available in drug stores. Use bromelain to speed up wounds and recovery. Bromelain has anti-inflammatory effects that are being researched in cancer treatment as well.
The Curcumin in turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric is one of the best supplements to take to speed up healing after surgery.
4. Burdock root
Burdock cleanses the body and reduces effects of anesthesia. It also cleans up the blood and detoxifies the liver.
Echinacea is another supplement to take after surgery to speed up healing. It improves immune function and prevents infections.
Goldenseal is a natural antibiotic that speeds up healing. Avoid taking it for more than a week. It is also not recommended for pregnant women. People with ragweed allergy must not take Goldenseal.
7. Green tea
Green tea is rich in antioxidants and catechins that promote healing and also aid the body’s defenses to ward off infections.
8. Kelp and reishi
These are recommended to fight effects of x-ray and radiation therapy.
9. Milk thistle
Milk thistle is a powerful herb that protects the liver from toxic buildup of drugs and chemicals resulting from surgical procedures.
10. Pau d’ arco
This herb is a natural antibacterial agent. It speeds up healing of wounds and cleans the blood. Pau d’arco also prevents candidiasis which often occurs due to excess antibiotic intake.
Foods That Help in Healing After Surgery
Apart from taking the above herbs that promote wound healing, you must also eat super foods that help you heal after surgery.
11. Mushrooms, seaweed and Miso
Thee superfoods are packed with micronutrients. They are proven to boost immunity and rebuild the vitality of the system. Seaweed contains iodine which prevents toxic radiation from taking hold. Miso soups and broths help the body recuperate and allow you to focus on healing.
If you are taking antibiotics, chances of developing candida and other yeast infections can go up. Probiotics help increase good flora and replenish the gut’s natural flora which may get lost during surgery. Yogurt, acidophilus and bifidus are the best sources of probiotics.
13. Stay hydrated
Drinking lots of water can help you flush out bacteria and toxins from the body.
14. Avoid alcohol
A week prior to the surgery and for 4 weeks after-surgery avoid alcohol as it inhibits tissue re-growth and increases bleeding.
Best Supplements for Healing After Surgery
15. Multivitamin/mineral supplement
Vitamin C assists in formation of collagen which is the connective tissue that helps speed up wound healing. It is also anti-viral and assists the body’s immune system. Take 1000-2000 mg per day a week before and week after the surgery to promote healing. Vitamin A stimulates immune response. You also need vitamin D for formation, repair and maintenance of bones. Exposure to sunlight twice a day for 15 minutes can give you vitamin D. Calcium is necessary for soft tissue healing and repair of tissues. Zinc and copper are trace minerals that help in collagen formation.
Post-surgery patients need proteins for repair and growth. Good sources include lean protein like fish, chicken etc. You can also take protein supplements.
Try these Herbs and supplements along with dietary guidelines as prescribed by your doctor to heal quickly.