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Most of us suffer from an upset stomach from time to time. It can be tempting to reach for over-the-counter medications in the hope of easing the discomfort, but are there more natural solutions to help calm your stomach?
Of course, upset stomachs are nothing new; our ancestors were dealing with them long before today’s modern medicine revolution. So what did they use, and is there any evidence of their impact?
Chamomile tea is possibly the best-known solution for an upset stomach. The active ingredients are most commonly found in the flowering heads, so try picking some from your garden before pouring hot water over them. The tea can be sweetened with honey to your taste.
Interestingly, chamomile tea has actually been heavily researched by scientists for its stomach-calming abilities. One notable study found that herbs including chamomile may be effective for “upset stomach, for diarrhoea in children, and for infants with colic”.
In another experiment, chamomile tea was provided to a group of infants suffering from stomach upsets and diarrhoea and found that they recovered 27% faster than those that went untreated.
The evidence seems to suggest that our ancestors did indeed manage to stumble across a beneficial solution, and that chamomile tea really can have a positive impact on upset stomachs.
Peppermint tea is another great alternative to chamomile, or can even be used in combination. Typically fresh leaves are used, but some experts believe that using dried leaves can be even more beneficial. The reason is simply that the drying process removes some of the moisture, helping to concentrate the active ingredients. Experts believe that peppermint works by calming the muscles of the stomach and improving the flow of bile.
Once again, there is some interesting scientific evidence of how beneficial peppermint can be for digestive upset. For example, peppermint spirits were given to a large group of people suffering from nausea, and the scientists found that their discomfort declined significantly in as little as two minutes after treatment.
Ginger is an incredible plant, linked to all manner of health-related benefits. Just one of those is its ability to relieve upset stomachs and feelings of nausea. One study found, for example, that ginger was effective in “reducing nausea symptoms in pregnancy”, whilst another found benefits for “seasickness, morning sickness and chemotherapy-induced nausea”.
Maintaining the balance of healthy bacteria in the gut is critical to an efficient digestive system. All the same, modern lifestyles can often impact gut bacteria, leading to bloating, gas or discomfort. Probiotics, which contain a wealth of so-called “healthy bacteria”, can do an excellent job of helping you to rebalance your digestive system.
Milk thistle has been used to calm upset stomachs for millennia. It was the preferred choice for ancient Romans, who took the herb with them wherever they travelled. Apparently, it is still used in the Basque region as a natural remedy for upset stomachs. These days milk thistle is still a popular remedy for upset stomachs but can be bought in a far more practical tablet form.
Just as yoghurt can help to line the digestive system and remove discomfort, so starchy foods can also have similar impacts. Rice can be particularly effective and is well-known to be sensitive on the stomach. Anyone that has been unlucky enough to experience stomach upsets for themselves or their kids may well have found their doctor recommending a rice-based diet for its gut-soothing properties. It is even used in pet food for dogs that commonly suffer from stomach upsets.
Upset stomachs can often be caused by inefficient digestion, which is one reason why probiotics can be so beneficial. Another natural way to improve an upset stomach can be with the use of heat. Placing a hot water bottle on the stomach, or getting into a pleasantly warm bath, can help to dilate blood vessels in this part of the body and so aid effective digestion.
If you’re keen to live a more natural lifestyle then there are a host of different natural remedies with the potential to calm an upset stomach. Whilst each of us is different, next time you want to calm your digestion why not experiment with some of the options above? With a little luck, you’ll find that one or more of these options help to solve your issue, without needing to rely on expensive medications.
This article was provided by the supplement experts at Simply Supplements