Herbs for Stomach Relief

I have written similar blogs before but I promised to do some research for a friend so I decided to make it this weeks blog. 

What is Indigestion?

There are numerous causes and symptoms of indigestion but here is a basic description from NHS Choices “ acid can irritate the lining of your stomach, the top part of your bowel (duodenum) or your gullet (oesophagus).”

Other symptoms include:

  • Gas and Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain

Herbal Helpers

canstockphoto0004673 ginger blossom


Ginger tea can reduce flatulence, quell nausea, help empty the stomach and ease the symptoms of acid reflux.  Ginger has been used for centuries for this reason and it has been added to many cuisines in order to prevent digestive issues.

It is believed that the active ingredients in ginger that help with stomach issues are gingerol and other volatile oils.  Ginger is an antispasmodic which allows the gastrointestinal tract to relax which is what eases stomach cramps, relieves gas and prevents bloating.

canstockphoto3206801 chamomile


German Chamomille or Matricaria chamomilla has been investigated for its effects on digestive complaints.  Chamomile is calming to mucous membranes which help protect the digestive tract.  It relieves the inflammation and irritation which can cause digestive pain.  It also helps to promote healthy digestion.



Fennel is a delicious seed that calms the digestion.  It is commonly one of the ingredients of traditional Indian tea.  It is also chewed at the end of the meal to assist digestion.


• reduces gas

• stimulates digestive juices

• reduces inflammation

• promotes nutritional absorption 

 canstockphoto6976378slippery elm drawing

Slippery Elm 

Slippery elm is the inner bark of a specific Elm tree, the Red Elm.  It has been used for centuries as a treatment for indigestion.  Slippery elm contains mucilage which is a gel like substance.  It is thought to coat and protect the mucous membranes of the digestive tract.   



There are a number of Slippery Elm products sold in Health Food Stores usually in the cough drop section.  This product has been around since 1847.   It is called Thayers Slippery Elm Lozenges.  It is the only product I have seen in Vancouver for Slippery Elm other than the powdered herb itself. 

Slippery Elm is a very nutritious herb.  It has also been used to feed those that have stopped eating do to illness or age.


Finally todays Fun Fact Harry Nilsson wrote a song with the lyrics “you put the lime in the coconut you drink em both up”.  He was pretty much bang on.  Putting the Lime in the coconut and drinking them both up does indeed help with digestive complaints and flatulence. 


The occasional indigestion can be treated in a number of ways.  Slippery Elm has been useful in chronic GERD and other illnesses according to the user reviews on WebMD.  However, if you find that you are having indigestion more often than not, it can be a sign of a more serious condition.  Please make sure to see your doctor if your symptoms persist. 




Borthwick Joy C.H.,H.C.,CHt, Kitchen Herbal, unpublished as yet