Stomach pain can really put a damper on your day. Whether you’re feeling ill from something you ate, are having menstrual cramps, are suffering from irritable bowel syndrome or simply have a sore stomach, herbal remedies can ease your pain in no time. Many herbs that can be found in your own kitchen or garden work wonders for stomach pain and nausea and can be brought on-the-go with you in the form of a tea or herbal supplement.
Although peppermint is usually thought of as a way to freshen your breath, it is actually an effective way to get rid of stomach pain. Peppermint has an antispasmodic effect on the gastrointestinal system, which can help relieve pain from cramps, gas, indigestion and IBS. However, ingesting peppermint (in the form of tea or otherwise), can worsen heartburn. Peppermint relaxes the sphincter muscle that separates the stomach from the esophagus, which can cause stomach acid to enter the esophagus and worsen heartburn. 1
A 2007 study aimed to determine the effect of peppermint oil on patients with irritable bowel syndrome. The results of the study showed that those who were treated with peppermint oil capsules showed an improvement in symptoms by over 50% after only four weeks of treatment! 2
To ease mild nausea and indigestion, try brewing a mug of peppermint tea or sucking on a peppermint candy. You can also add fresh peppermint leaves to a glass of water or iced tea.
Ginger is widely used as a treatment for nausea. Ginger is known to promote proper digestion, relieve gas, and prevent both nausea and vomiting due to pregnancy, motion sickness or surgery. Ginger has antiemetic properties that have been used extensively throughout history in a wide variety of traditional medicines.
A 2000 meta-analysis of six different clinical trials found that ginger was effective against postoperative nausea and vomiting, seasickness, morning sickness, and chemotherapy-induced nausea. 3 A 2014 meta-analysis on the effect of ginger on pregnancy-associated nausea and vomiting found that ginger successfully reduced nausea, yet did not have a marked effect on the frequency of vomiting. 4
To ease the pain of nausea and other stomach pain, drink a warm mug of ginger tea. If the flavor is too intense, add a spoonful of honey to sweeten it. You can also add ginger to a fresh juice or glass of water. If you’re feeling brave, eat a small spoonful of freshly minced ginger!
Chamomile is known for its antispasmodic, carminative, and anti-inflammatory properties. All of these together work wonders for the digestive system! Chamomile can help ease the pain of upset stomachs, indigestion, gas, cramps, IBS and other gastrointestinal issues. A 2006 study found that an extract of chamomile helped lower levels of gastric acid. High levels of gastric acid can lead to acid reflux disease and other digestive issues. Studies have also found that chamomile can reduce muscle spasms, ease gastrointestinal inflammation, and shorten the course of diarrhea. 5
A simple mug of chamomile tea can help ease digestive upsets. Chamomile is very relaxing and can help relieve feelings of stress and anxiety related to stomach pain. Chamomile tea is especially beneficial to drink before bed when you want to promote proper sleep.
Fennel has both antispasmodic and carminative properties, which can help reduce gas and bloating, ease cramps and reduce stomach pain. Fennel has also been known to regulate the motility of intestinal muscles and can help relieve the pain of many gastrointestinal disorders including colic. 6
Fennel may also be effective against pain and cramps caused by menstruation. A 2012 study tested the effects of fennel on painful menstruation. Fifty girls who suffered from painful menstruation were split into two groups - study and placebo. Those who were given the fennel capsule experienced significantly less pain than those who were given the placebo. 7
Fennel tea can help promote a healthy digestive system and relieve digestive discomfort. For those who are averse to the licorice-like flavor of fennel, this herb can also be taken in supplement form.
When you feel the onset of gas, nausea, heartburn or cramps, look no further than your kitchen cabinet. Many of the best herbs for stomach pain can already be found in your home and can help with a variety of digestive issues. Whether you’re sipping on peppermint tea to soothe symptoms of IBS, drinking ginger to reduce nausea, brewing chamomile to ease bloating or drinking fennel tea to calm menstrual cramps, relief is just a few sips away.
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