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5 herbs to improve digestion.

Updated on April 5, 2012

A collection of herbs I have read (or tried myself) proven to help digestion, gas, bloating, post-meal sleepiness and other things you want to avoid while eating tasty (and not so healthy) food.

Suggestion

Add those spices and herbs in all meals you can. Most of them are very easy to get (in all stores) and you probably use them already, but did not knew they are helpful.

(and short disclaimer) - Don't use any of the herbs that does not fit in your diet or your physician recommendations. You may be allergic to some of the herbs cited here.

In all cases, if you start cooking with those herbs - you will feel better naturally and you will forget about GERD and feeling like stuffed turkey after each meal.

Black pepper (Piper Nigrum)
Black pepper (Piper Nigrum) | Source

Piper Nigrum (a.k.a. Black pepper)

This is by far the most tasty herbal spice in my kitchen. I often use it regardless the warnings it is toxic to the liver in big quantities.

There is some controversy regarding the health benefits of this spice but it is used in India since the dawn of human kind and I don't think someone has died from it.

It is still very good digestive in small quantities if you can tolerate the taste. The piperine extract is proven to improve digestion, has mild antioxidant properties and increases overall body temperature and metabolic rate (it cannot be used as a diet supplement though).

Regardless of the spicy taste - you will feel your stomach light even with a hard heavy meal when seasoned with Black pepper.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe)
Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) | Source

Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

Very good for the whole body.

Increases body metabolic rate and improves lipid metabolism. It is also very strong carminative (prevents collection of gas in the intestines) and antioxidant.

Ginger is a bit too spicy for direct consumption so I suggest you eat bread with ginger, drink ginger ale or slice one medium root and boil it in 4 pints of water (2 liters) for 10 minutes.

The ginger tea is very strong digestive and should be taken with meals (after meals is also okay). The effect is felt almost immediately.

Japanese kitchen very often serves sliced pickled ginger as a side dish to sushi and sashimi.

Another use is powdered ground ginger. You may add it in most recipes where mint and or lemon is used, such as baked poultry or veal.

And lastly, you may add diced ginger in potent alcohol such as Vodka or Brandy to improve the taste. It is excellent aperitif before meals or a side glass for the winter tea around the fireplace.

Satureja montana (Winter savory)
Satureja montana (Winter savory) | Source

Savory

(Satureja hortensis and Satureja montana)

Either summer or winter kind, the savory is the next best digestive for a full tummy. There are some extracts and infusions with savory sold as small bottles.

The best way to use it is still in cooking. Use dried savory for better results, because it is surprisingly more tasty.

It is one of the oldest spices around the globe, known long before there were even borders on the map.

Every meal based on meat, beans or lentils can be improved with savory. And they can naturally be quite hard for digestion. The taste of cooked savory is awesome.

Even a slice of bread with butter is very tasty with some savory sprinkled over it.

Young giant fennel
Young giant fennel | Source
Mature giant fennel with seeds
Mature giant fennel with seeds | Source

Giant fennel (Ferula assafoetida L.)

In the past, this herb was native only to the areas of Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

In present days it is more accessible, but not every store orders it, because the scent and the taste are a bit strong.

You've probably seen already bulbs in the store with small leaves above them (common fennel). The root of the giant fennel is not bulb like.

They are also actually not in the same family of plants, just the leaves look alike. The common fennel genus is called Foenicullum vulgare.

The juices in the root (the rhizome of the plant) are used as a spice to some recipes in the Indian cuisine.

The root itself cannot be eaten raw but the ground seeds from the mature plant can be used the same way as the normal fennel seeds for seasoning.

The whole plant has strong digestive and antiflatulent properties.

(Contents are Asaresinotannols 'A' and 'B', ferulic acid, umbelliferone and some clays)

And another mostly Indian plant I've read about recently:

Ajwain seeds (Trachyspermum ammi)

Another plant native to India and near east which grabbed my attention.

(Probably obtainable in spice shops, but I can't find it in Bulgaria.)

The taste described is between raw thyme leaves and anise.

Nevertheless, this herb is very strong digestive aid and helps clean the gut from bacteria like most seeds from this genus.

It does have good antiseptic properties and suppresses the colic in small kids and adults.

Very good and widely preferred with deeply fried foods to ease their digestion.

Egg yolk with Ajwain seeds
Egg yolk with Ajwain seeds | Source

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    • m0rd0r profile image
      Author

      Stoill Barzakov 4 years ago from Sofia, Bulgaria

      I don't think it is toxic in normal quantities. It is a spice, not a food by itself :)

    • C V Singh profile image

      C V Singh 4 years ago

      Black pepper is commonly used as a remedy with honey after grinding to cure cough and cold in Asian countries. Toxic effects are not very common.

    • m0rd0r profile image
      Author

      Stoill Barzakov 4 years ago from Sofia, Bulgaria

      Did not knew about Papaya Kona-Allie, thanks for sharing this.

      It is not growing in our land, but I think I can find some in the store.

    • Kona-Allie profile image

      Kona-Allie 4 years ago from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

      Papaya is an excellent digestive food. Meat tenderizer is made from this plant, while it's green I believe. However, many papaya now are GMO which is undesirable.

    • m0rd0r profile image
      Author

      Stoill Barzakov 5 years ago from Sofia, Bulgaria

      I agree Hakan.

      I too use squeezed lemon with a pint of warm water in the morning.

      It helps digestion in the intestines for the whole day ahead.

      Not a herb though ;)

    • profile image

      Hakan 5 years ago

      It's important to remember that every human being has a unique body. Ginger tea doesn't help me that much with digestion, whereas fennel tea is great. Even better is drinking fresh lemon juice with water everyday, or several times a week. This works fantastic if you have gas or bloating problems.

    • m0rd0r profile image
      Author

      Stoill Barzakov 5 years ago from Sofia, Bulgaria

      Thank you for reading and suggesting papaya WD Curry, I need to make some research about it (and probably add it to the list or write another hub)

    • WD Curry 111 profile image

      WD Curry 111 5 years ago from Space Coast

      I read this, because I am having a little discomfort today. It made me remember something. The seeds of papaya are rich in pepsin. You know the basic flavor if you ever brushed your teeth with Pepsodent.

    • m0rd0r profile image
      Author

      Stoill Barzakov 5 years ago from Sofia, Bulgaria

      Thank you for reading and commenting. I have tested only the first 3 herbs. The other 2 I have only read about.

    • Marsei profile image

      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      I found this hub very useful as I have digestive "challenges." I will try all of these. As usual beautifully written hub.

      marsei

    • jhunpaler profile image

      jhunpaler 5 years ago from Philippines

      informative hub :) ginger made it to the list :)