This is the first in a series of herbal cures for common ailments! Let me begin by telling you the truth--I am not a trained herbalist, naturopath, or healer of any sort. However, I have been trained in botany, ecology, wilderness survival, and the ways of edible and medicinal plants, both cultivated and wild. I'm an avid gardener and forager, and an all-around plant-lover. I've also worked with many naturopaths over the years, and I've read many books and articles on herbalism, medicinal plants, and traditional folk medicine. So basically, I'm working off of experience, rather than clinical expertise. I'm telling you what's worked for me, and what I've heard has worked for many others throughout history. One thing I love about herbal medicines is that most of them are very safe; they've been used for thousands of years without complication. And, as opposed to medications, they typically have few side effects. Best of all, we can connect with herbs. We can go out into the forest or the garden and see the plant that's helping us out, how it grows, how it smells, how its leaves shake when the wind blows through. We can forge a relationship with herbs. We can know them.
The Best Herbs for Stomach Aches
Mint is very soothing for the digestive system. It's great if you're experiencing bloating or gas, or if you're just having a hard time digesting a big meal. Try a cup of mint tea after dinner to keep things running smoothly.
Like mint, ginger helps with digestion, but it also eases nausea. If you feel nauseous, have a cup of ginger tea. And, even if you're not feeling sick, ginger is a great tea to have on hand for its anti-inflammatory benefits.
If you have stomach cramps or are having a hard time digesting something, you might want to try a mucilaginous herb. These herbs turn slippery and slimy in your stomach, producing a nourishing coating for your stomach and digestive system. They're also good to take long-term for those with chronic digestive issues like leaky gut. Common options include Licorice Root tea, Fenugreek tea, Anise Seed tea, Marshmallow Root tea, Slippery Elm powder or capsules, and Fennel. Fennel can be used as a tea, or you can massage 1 drop of essential oil on your abdomen for immediate relief.
Another option for nausea is Activated Charcoal. They sell these in pill form at most natural grocery stores. If you're hungover or feeling sick, pop a pill or two. You'll feel relief after about half an hour. Charcoal is also good for relieving gas and bloating. Just be careful not to take it at the same time as prescription medications, as it can reduce their effectiveness if they're taken together.
Catnip isn't just for cats--a nice cup of catnip tea can soothe your stomach ache and calm your nerves! Catnip is an herb best known for its calming properties, but it also relieves stomach cramps and eases digestion.
Chamomile is calming for the mind and for the stomach. It's a great tea to drink regularly for anti-inflammatory benefits, and to keep your digestion running smoothly.
Other Natural Cures
Hot Water Bottle
Whenever I have a stomach ache, I fill up a hot water bottle and lay it on my abdomen. The heat is really calming, and it eases cramps. If you don't have a hot water bottle, you can use one of those hot packs filled with rice that you heat up in the microwave. If you don't have one of those, either, you can use a washcloth soaked in warm water.
Back in the day, before I switched to a healthy diet, I used to drink ginger ale when I had a stomach ache. Now I drink club soda. The carbonation helps settle the stomach, and it's always good to keep hydrated, especially when you're trying to heal. As for the ginger, I now turn to the ginger tea I mentioned above! All the benefits of ginger ale without all the sugar and artificial by-products.