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Using Herbs to Help with Indigestion

Updated on January 5, 2014
Peppermint, one of the best herbs for indigestion
Peppermint, one of the best herbs for indigestion

Suffering from Indigestion, can herbs help?

Many people suffer from stomach discomfort that stems from indigestion. There are many reasons we can get indigestion in the first place. Whatever the reason is, one thing is for sure, you will definitely try and stop the pain and/or discomfort. As you get to know your body better over time, and pay attention to what may set off your indigestion, you may be able to decrease problems that way.

Herbal remedies have been around probably as long as humanity has been!  How wonderful that nature provides us with so much that can help "cure what ails us!" Here are some herbs that can help with indigestion, and as always consult your doctor before using anything to treat yourself for your medical conditions. He or she will know what is best, but a little knowledge about herbs can't hurt either. There are probably more herbs than what I share here, that can help with stomach discomfort. These will give you a good idea of what is out there that you can look into more. Or perhaps you have some peppermint tea around the house, and you had no idea it may help to soothe ones stomach? I always try to keep peppermint teas on hand among many others.



Ginger is great for soothing the muscles that line the intestines, to help prevent spasms that cause discomfort.  It helps with both cramping and indigestion.  There are some compounds found in ginger that are similar to the digestive enzymes that help our bodies to break down proteins. 

There was an interesting Italian study on seasickness, where passengers that were tested using medicines and ginger.  Those that used the medicine did better with their seasickness, but those with ginger did quite a bit better than even those with the regular medicine to treat the symptoms of being seasick. 

The parts of Ginger used are the roots, or rhizomes.  Currently, I have a ginger tea I like to drink, and that would be a great place to start.

Lemon Balm

I have grown this in my herb garden in the past, but didn't know at the time that it helped aid indigestion.  Lemon balm has long been known as a great herb for indigestion, or as a digestive aid.  German researchers found that lemon balm helps to relax the muscles in the digestive tract.  Its not that different from how other herbs in the mint family help with indigestion.  The parts used as herbal remedies are the leaves. 


the larger leaves on top are the peppermint
the larger leaves on top are the peppermint


Peppermint leaves and flowers are used in herbal remedies, and it is one of my family's favorite herbs.  I love to grow mint in pots, so it doesn't become invasive in the garden, but to just take a leaf of peppermint and rub it between your fingers gives off the most amazing aroma. 

There is something to be said for the peppermint after dinner mint!  Peppermint is an antispasmodic, so your stomach will feel more peaceful and not tend to get "upset".  There is menthol and carvone in peppermint.  These are the things that make peppermint so wonderful for the digestive tract.  It has also been known to be helpful with irritable bowel syndrome or IBS. 


Catnip, its not just for cats!

Many of the herbal "mints" are considered antispasmodics, which helps your digestive tract.  Catnip is from the mint family, and is no different in this regard.  Catnip can help to soothe the muscles within the digestive tract which calms things down when you get stomach upset or indigestion very often.  It has a calming and smooth effect.  You can try some catnip tea after meals to see if that might help you.  It has helped many with indigestion and heartburn.  The parts of the catnip herb that are used for teas are the flowers and the leaves. 


Fennel or Fennel Seeds

The seeds of fennel, the stalks and bulbs are all used in cooking and herbal remedies.  While this is another antispasmodic for the lining of the intestines and stomach, it has the added benefit of being helpful with eliminating gas.  It helps to promote the secretion of bile which can help in the digestion of fats. 

There has been some European research that found that fennel kills some bacteria as well.  This is great for those suffering from diarrhea.  In many countries like Germany, where herbal remedies were quicker to be embraced and used, you can find herbs like fennel and others being used in may medicines and remedies.  They seem to be thoroughly convinced they are helpful to us for healing and helping aid symptoms. 


When using turmeric as an herbal remedy, you will want to use the rhizomes and roots.  This is that herb that makes Curry what it is (at least in part).  It can help with food poisoning, which definitely will cause an upset stomach at the very least.  It also can help with irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, ulcerative colitis, and of course the digestive problems in general. 

Turmeric stimulates the flow of bile, which in turn helps digest fats.  Many people end up getting their gall bladder taken out, because of problems with it.  If it is not helping to make the needed bile for digesting tougher fats, then the attacks and pain that come with that problem are hard to take. Turmeric is a great digestive aid. 

Beautiful white flowers of bacopa


Findings from pilot studies have shown that bacopa may act as a stomach soother, among many other healthful benefits.  There seems to be a relaxing effect for the digestive tract.  There may some beneficial effect for the person suffering from indigestion or irritable bowel syndrome.  One thing of particular interest is that bacopa was shown to supress the bacteria Helicobacter pylori.  This is a bacteria that causes ulcers.   The whole bacopa plant is used as a remedy and is also known as brahmi or water hyssop.


Some people say the artichoke leaf is the main part to use for herbal remedies.  Others say that the flower and lower portions of the barbed scales are the best.   Artichoke helps more than with just indigestion.  It helps with Irritable bowel syndrome, and helps to inhibit microbes as well. 

There was a neat German study done where a large group was given a placebo, and the other group given artichoke.  The group that used the artichoke showed amazing results compared to the other group, and shared that it helped to raise their quality of life as well.   Its so interesting to see what can be found out from using placebos.  It seems to be very cut and dry form of testing.  There were other studies done in Britain, and they found the same thing to be true. 


Cayenne is surprising in regards to how much it helps people with stomach issues. I can personally vouch for the incredible effect that cayenne has in helping someones stomach. I simply can't say enough good about cayenne, and not just because I like the spiciness of it, though that is incredible! There has been an assumption about cayenne over the years, that because it is spicy, that it must hurt a persons digestive tract the way other very hot peppers or spices can. This simply isn't true.

I have noticed over the last few years, that the more cayenne I use, the less overall stomach discomfort I feel at all. I know it doesn't sound like it makes a lot of sense, but it does to me now. I love to grow cayenne, and allow it to ripen then dry, to later grind up with a mortar and pestle to make my own cayenne pepper. I sprinkle this into my spaghetti sauces, chili, eggs, even garlic toast and chicken noodle soup. You don't need a lot, and this helps so much, that you might be amazed. Check with your doctor of course with any changes, and know that there are also capsule type forms of this herb, if you don't like spicy things. I would highly recommend looking into this amazing herb.

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    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Hello Stella, I recall being surprised about the cayenne also, but still get great benefit from it. I definitely see a cause and effect there. I am sorry to hear about your stomach problems, and wonder too if it is the medicines you take. Those can be rough on a stomach and hopefully that will get better soon for you.

      Thank you for your visit and comment here, I appreciate it!

    • ladyguitarpicker profile image

      stella vadakin 

      3 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

      Paula, I love my cayenne and was surprised to learn it is good for me. I have never had stomach problems until now. I take a lot of meds so that is probably why. I think I'll try the fennel seeds and see if that helps. Thanks for the great hub. Stella

    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Thanks Wmhseo, and I totally agree. Thanks for your comment! :)

    • wmhseo profile image


      6 years ago from Canada

      herbs are always good for our health!

    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Thank you very much, KoffeeKlatch Gals. Its great to hear they have helped other people. Ginger turns out to be quite a helpful herb for a few different ailments. I appreciate you stopping by.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Beautiful photos and terrific suggestions. Ginger does help. It surprized me the first time I heard about it but it really does work.

    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Thank you Dolores for adding ginger to the list of herbs that can help some stomach problems. I love herbs, and think fennel and ginger are great. I do have fennel up there in my list already, but thanks for mentioning it again. I recall hearing about ginger being good for the lungs also. Its amazing how many things that different herbs can help with. Glad you stopped by.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      7 years ago from East Coast, United States

      I don't suffer indigestion, but fennel and ginger are also great for gas and other stomach problems.

    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Thank you Fbliangcha! I appreciate your comment.

    • fbliangcha profile image


      7 years ago from Guangxi-Zhuang, China

      Yes all of these are excellent and safe remedies. Thanks for sharing.

    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Sherrylou, I do too, I think herbs are wonderful. Thank you for your comment!

    • sherrylou57 profile image


      7 years ago from Riverside

      I love using herbs. Thank you for your information!

    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Thanks Prairieprincess for your comment!

    • prairieprincess profile image

      Sharilee Swaity 

      7 years ago from Canada

      This is excellent! I am definitely going to bookmark this one for future reference. My husband suffers from heartburn, and I wanted to find something natural to help him. We will try some of these. Thanks so much!

    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Thank you for posting your comment about how organic apple cider vinegar has helped you with heartburn problems. That is an excellent idea and I love that it is so natural.

    • fit2day profile image


      7 years ago

      Thank you for posting this hub, I have had heartburn problems for years and look forward to trying some of the herbs, organic apple cider vinegar has worked for me so far

    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Thank you Stephchick! I appreciate you telling me about the Facebook feature, as I had no idea! Thank you for the comment :)

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 

      7 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Definitely ginger! But catnip? Wow! Great hub and congrats on your feature on Facebook :)

    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Rpalulis, I am a huge fan too, of herbs. The more I learn, the more I am truly amazed. Thank you for your comment!

    • rpalulis profile image


      7 years ago from NY

      Great photos and great advice. I am a huge fan of herbal remedies. I am just fascinated with the amount of both medicinal and culinary properties we can receive from these plants.

    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Pamela, I am so glad to hear that. Thank you!

    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Phoenix, thank you! I would try to get some of that fresh ginger, and slice it thin and put into a tea or something else. I have seen recipes for candied ginger which would be a great way to use it.

    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Denise, thank you very much! I am glad you found it helpful and worth bookmarking. You made my day!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      This hub had very good information to know. I liked the photos also.

    • PhoenixV profile image


      7 years ago from USA

      I recently heard about ginger being good for this and I actually saw some fresh ginger roots at Wal Mart. I may try to get some. Great facts!

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      For the beautiful photos, the sound advice and the useful info I voted you up. I love this hub. Have bookmarked it for future. Thanks.


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