Herbs for the Digestive System

Winter solstice greetings,

With our desire to eat heavier foods with the colder weather we can experience digestive discomfort and sometimes more serious complications. There have been a few gastric bugs recently also, which has inspired me to write about some useful gastric herbs.

Koromiko (Hebe stricta) is a great herb to relieve that uncomfortable bloated feeling experienced after eating too much or too rich foods. You just have to chew on 3-6 of the unopened buds found at the top of a branch. This is also good to put a stop to diarrhoea and cramping.

Chamomile flower tea is an excellent herb for settling all sorts of stomach upsets. Its especially good for cramping and relaxing a tense stomach, relieving nausea and also colic. It is safe for all ages, even pregnant women and babies. When making a chamomile tea it is important to use a good amount of dried flowers (1 Tbsp) per cup of boiling water and to cover the vessel so no steam can escape while steeping. 5-10 minutes is long enough, it can become bitter if left any longer.

Ginger is well known throughout the ages as a digestive healer and for good reason. It is a great digestive stimulant, allays nausea and will help ease the overburdened stomach. See last months newsletter for recipe.

Marshmallow root is one of the great soothers. It puts a slippery coating down the digestive tract which soothes while it heals. It is a great herb for those who experience heartburn. Its very easy to make a cold infusion, by placing some fresh or dried Marshmallow root (4-6 slices) per 250ml of cold water and leave to soak overnight. It should have a slippery feel to the liquid which is ready to drink.

Slippery elm powder is another great soother, and can soothe and heal inflammation right through the digestive tract. It is effective in treating both diarrhoea and constipation, which makes it a useful herb for irritable bowel sufferers. It is best taken in yoghurt or stewed apply for palatability and you must drink a glass of water after each teaspoonful dose. This is also a great herb for providing the ideal environment for the repopulation of gut bacteria.

And lets not forget the good old trusted Peppermint tea which makes a wonderful after dinner tea to help with digestion.

Don’t forget that we want to be encouraging lots of digestive enzymes and juices, to keep our digestive system operating at full potential, so include fermented foods or cider vinegar into your diet and bitters prior to eating to stimulate digestion. Chewing on a bitter green such as Dandelion or Puha will achieve this.

Keep warm, eat well, rest well, be well naturally,




About Ali Sutherland

I've been passionate about herbal healing for over 20 years, alongside a career in pharmacy. I love all things of the earth - natural living, good health and the good life. My desire is to encourage people to take responsibility for their own health and regain a trust in the power of plants as medicine.