Feeling like a gassy, nauseous, not-quite-your-awesome-self mess? It happens to all of us at one point or another. Perhaps you overate – indulged in some food or the other – or caught a bug that’s making your life miserable.
Keep your kitchen, tea cupboard and garden stocked with these tasty solutions to life’s annoying gastrointestinal discomforts.
This cooling and refreshing herb is not only easy to grow, but it also does wonders for the digestive system. It helps to calm gas and soothes the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Sip it as a tea for warm and aromatic relief.
Peppermint can interfere with the tone of your esophageal sphincter (the bundle of muscles at the top of the esophagus). When this sphincter does not seal properly, stomach acid can enter your esophagus resulting in gastric reflux. If you are prone to this, but still want to enjoy the benefits of peppermint, look for enteric coated capsules.
These happy-looking white and yellow flowers offer a soothing effect with a light flavour. Chamomile is anti-inflammatory and calming to ulcers, nausea, gas and other digestive problems – especially those tied to anxiety.
Ginger is one of my favourite kitchen remedies with its subtly spicy aroma and stylish sprouts. It’s particularly useful for nausea resulting from motion sickness and even food poisoning. It can also help stimulate bile flow.
A caution with ginger is that it stimulates blood flow in the pelvic area, which can lead to a heavier menstrual flow. For this reason, it is best to be cautious while pregnant, and check with your medical practitioner before taking large doses.
My favourite way to enjoy the healing effects of ginger is by making a tea. Slice fresh ginger and simmer it in water for upwards of 20 minutes. Sip it and your nausea disappears. When buying a root of fresh ginger, you can preserve it by peeling, finely chopping and freezing it in one tablespoon piles. Freeze it on a cookie tray covered in parchment paper so it easily comes off, and then store in a re-sealable bag for when you need it.
This herb lends its flavour to the candy some love and others love to hate. In its pure form, it looks like thin sticks and has a subtler – though still distinctive – flavour. Licorice root has a calming and healing effect on the digestive system, particularly for ulcers. If you are considering higher doses of licorice root – beyond what you might find in a tea blend – look for it in a deglycerized form. Deglycerized licorice (also called DGL) is refined of glycyrrhizin – a natural component of licorice, which is the cause behind its inherent sweetness. While there are some healing benefits of glycyrrhizin, it can also have negative effects on blood pressure.
There are many ways to naturally tame your tummy. You may find that different herbs – or combinations – work best for different digestive ailments. Using fresh herbs and ingredients is always ideal. Where it is not possible, opt for organic and a quality variety for the most healing properties.