Appetite is the natural need to eat food in response to hunger. All higher forms of life experience appetite, which serves to control the sufficient intake of energy to meet the body’s metabolic needs.
The control and regulation of adequate energy and consequent ‘appetite’, is a complex interaction between the brain, digestive tract and adipose tissue. Appetite is controlled by two centers in the brain -- the hypothalamus, which causes hunger-producing hormones to be released to the point of satiation, and the cerebral cortex, the hub of sensory function.
Loss of appetite is a mental state of disinterest in food to the point of aversion. It can also be because of lack of hunger. In an extreme condition, this is known as anorexia.
Several other disorders could result in loss of appetite. However, most of these disorders are temporary in nature and once they are treated, appetite returns. However, if loss of appetite is chronic or continues for an extended period of time, then it a symptom of some underlying condition that requires immediate attention. Such a sustained condition could lead to anemia, kidney disease, cancer or depression.
There are several alternative medicine remedies that can help to stimulate appetite. Some of them are as follows:
- Herbal tea such as ginger or peppermint is said to be a stimulant.
- A fine powder of equal parts of black salt, ginger, cumin seeds, asafetida and mustard seed mixed in buttermilk and drunk an hour before meals.
- A mixture of lime and ginger is considered a good appetite stimulant.
- Gooseberry powder, honey and butter mixed to a paste and a spoonful should be taken before meals.
- Other supplements like American ginseng, blueberry, and Oregon grape are also considered to be good appetite stimulants.
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