It seems that every time I go to the grocery store, the tea aisle grows larger and larger. There are teas to support stress-relief, liver detoxification, hormone balance – and digestion! Being a holistic digestive health specialist, you can bet I’ve tried just about every tea under the sun that touts a digestive health benefit. Not only do the properties of various herbs and roots aid in digestion and healing, tea is also extremely comforting and warming, which in itself can go a long way in helping you to feel better.
When I feel bloated or in pain, tea is the first thing I turn to, and maybe it should be the first thing you turn to as well. Whether it’s fresh herbs or dried leaves and roots, herbal tea can bring an almost instant sense of relief and comfort. That Mother Nature really knows what she’s doing!
Before you run to the store and buy up the entire tea aisle, I’d like to break down the very best teas for digestive support and how they can help you.
This is my go-to tea for an upset stomach, gas, bloating, or simply helping the digestive process along. Menthol, which is the active ingredient in peppermint, is an anti-spasmodic, which helps to relax the muscles in your stomach, relieving cramping and spasms. It provides quick and refreshing relief – and it’s super tasty, too! Peppermint tea can also be blended with other teas that don’t taste as good (such as Pau d’arco or ashwagandha tea) to make them go down easier.
Licorice root is one of the best teas to help heal an inflamed or damaged gut. It works by coating the digestive tract and forming a temporary protecting lining to fend off bad gut microbes while encouraging the production of beneficial gut bacteria.
Licorice root tea can also help to calm the nervous system. What does this have to do with digestion? Stress can damage the gut because when you’re stressed, your body focuses on dealing with the “threat” (whether it’s real or perceived), leaving very little energy for the digestive process. Drinking licorice root tea can help to calm and rebalance the nervous system, resulting in more energy to digest and assimilate your food, as well as repair damage from external toxins and internal stressors. I also use licorice root to reduce “heartburn” or acid reflux, because it’s very soothing for the stomach and intestinal lining.
As a bonus, licorice root is naturally sweet, so anytime I’m craving a sweet treat, I turn to licorice root tea instead. Reducing sugar intake while dealing with digestive issues is incredibly important since sugar can wreck havoc on our stomachs.
The nettle leaf is loaded with nutrients and minerals, including magnesium, which help to relax the muscles in the colon, making it easier for elimination. Nettle is also rich in chlorophyll, which helps with detoxification. If you’re dealing with any sort of digestive upset, especially pathogen eradication, detoxification is crucial to the gut healing process.
I like to blend my nettle leaves with peppermint and licorice tea for a triple power tea that meets all my digestive needs. The licorice adds sweetness while the mint detracts from the grassy tasting nettle. It’s a really potent and healing blend.
2 tablespoons loose peppermint leaves
1 tablespoon licorice root
2 tablespoons loose nettle leaves
4 cups boiling water
Pour boiling water over the tea mixture and steep for 10 minutes before straining and serving.
The turmeric root has many incredible anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and digestion-enhancing properties. It’s a very warming and pungent herb that works to stimulate the flow of bile, aiding in digestion of fats and oils. It also helps to stabilize the microflora in your digestive system, so it’s no wonder this herb is used in so many food dishes!
Drink turmeric tea anytime you’re feeling bloated or in pain and feel this anti-inflammatory herb do its work. I also recommend sprinkling turmeric powder on just about any meat or veggie dish you eat for extra flavor and a digestive boost. It’s the perfect addition to an anti-inflammatory diet!
Ginger has many uses, both in food and medicine. One property of ginger that’s especially potent is its proteolytic enzyme, which helps to reduce inflammation. It also has strong antiseptic properties, meaning it can be quite effective at treating digestive infections. Ginger is also a fantastic stimulant for proper pH balance in the stomach. Before a meal, you can either have a cup of ginger tea, drink ginger juice, or chew on a bit of ginger root to boost acid production and improve digestive function. I personally drink a bit of ginger juice mixed with water before nearly every meal and find it reduces reflux sensations, improves digestive function, and leaves me feeling bloat-free.
I can’t wait for you to continue your gut healing journey by adding in one or all of these teas to your diet. As soon as I did, I felt I had a remedy for any digestive symptom that came up, and that in and of itself was so reassuring!
Next up, I encourage you to grab a copy of my free Gut Healing Recipe Guide that’s loaded with 20 of my favorite breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack foods that are not only healing to your gut, but delicious for the whole family to enjoy.
Kristin Thomas is a health coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner specialized in helping women with hormone, digestion, and autoimmune health concerns. Having gone through these health challenges herself, she now helps clients find their own path to complete wellness through practical and natural diet and lifestyle changes.
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