No one likes indigestion or an upset stomach.
Whether it’s from food poisoning, stress, or something as simple as eating too much greasy food, an upset stomach can be one of the most uncomfortable and embarrassing experiences you’ll ever have (well hello, gas and bloating). Thankfully, there are a variety of herbs and spices harnessed straight from Mother Nature Herself that can help calm your stomach and make you feel like yourself again.
It’s not hard to see why chamomile is a popular herbal remedy for stomach aches—it has an anti-inflammatory effect that helps calm your stomach. Research suggests that chamomile may also help reduce inflammation in your digestive tract, which can ease symptoms of gas, bloating, vomiting, motion sickness, nausea and diarrhea. To reap its benefits, steep two teaspoons of dried flowers in hot water for about 5 minutes, then strain out the flowers and drink tea.
It’s best-known for its ability to soothe an upset stomach and keep nausea at bay (it’s often recommended for morning sickness). Researchers in Italy found that ginger was just as effective at reducing pain and nausea in people with acute seasickness as traditional drugs, without any serious side effects. Plus, it’s much less expensive than pharmaceutical treatments. If you have a stomachache or are feeling queasy, try drinking some ginger tea or eating a small amount of fresh ginger root—it may just do the trick! To make ginger tea, peel the ginger and boil the root for 10-20 minutes. Strain the tea and enjoy with honey, cayenne pepper or lemon. Ginger supplements are also effective.
Peppermint is another popular choice to ease tummy issues. Peppermint works in much the same way as traditional over-the-counter antacids do. It helps relieve cramping and pain caused by indigestion or gas, and also helps make you feel more comfortable in general. Peppermint can also help with bloating, another common cause of discomfort from an upset stomach. Certain studies even support that the simple act of smelling peppermint oil helps stop nausea and vomiting in their tracks. If you prefer to sip your tummy remedies, brew a cup of peppermint tea.
Fennel is a perennial plant with yellow flowers. The bulbous, carrot-like root has a sweet licorice taste and can help alleviate nausea, gas and stomach aches. It’s even been proven to prevent the growth of some harmful bacteria like E.Coli. Add some to your meals to add a punch of flavor without hurting your stomach! As with any herbal remedy, talk to your doctor before you add fennel to your diet if you have an underlying medical condition or take prescription medications. You can also purchase fennel in supplement form.
If your stomach is feeling upside-down, try some lavender. Lavender contains antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties that can help calm down the cramping of muscles or abdominal spasms, according to The Doctor’s Book of Home Remedies. It also contains terpenes that promote relaxation. Best of all, it smells heavenly and promotes relaxation.
Nettle, a plant commonly used as a natural treatment for arthritis and osteoporosis, is also rich in magnesium. Nettle leaves contain a variety of healthful antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, the most famous of which is magnesium. Magnesium helps regulate muscle contractions of your intestines to help prevent spasms and cramping. It’s important to note that nettle is also rich in oxalic acid—so if you have a history of kidney stones or tend to get them easily, be careful with how much you consume.
7) Lemon Balm
Lemon balm’s scent is often compared to that of freshly mown grass, while its taste is reminiscent of lemon zest. Add one teaspoon of dried lemon balm to your teacup; steep for three minutes. Steep 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon balm in 1 cup of boiling water for 15 minutes, then strain. Drink up to 3 cups daily until symptoms subside. You can also drink it regularly throughout pregnancy—it’s safe for both you and baby.
8) Licorice Root
Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is a soothing herb (actually a legume!) that calms nausea, gas, and bloating. Studies have also shown that licorice root can heal stomach ulcers. It can also aid the digestion of fatty meals. A word of caution: licorice root can have some side effects and can be dangerous if consumed in high amounts; so stick to 1 cup (240mL) of licorice tea per day and check in with your doctor if you have any pre-existing medical conditions. For best results, take 1⁄2 teaspoon of licorice root tincture two times daily for one week prior to eating fatty foods.
9) Holy Basil
Long recognized for its medicinal properties, holy basil (also known as tulsi) is worth adding to your arsenal when tummy troubles come along. Studies have shown that holy basil protects against stomach ulcers, which bring on stomach pain, heartburn, and nausea (amongst other symptoms). You can pick up holy basil tea bags at many health food stores or online.
If you’ve been dealing with the effects of an upset stomach lately, do yourself a favour and try one of these natural home remedies.