Herbs To Reduce Inflammation In The Gut

It’s no secret that the key to your best health is all in your gut. Yet the reality is that most of us are walking around with inflammation in our digestive system, and sometimes we don’t even know it. Not only does this inflammation in your gut affect your weight, it also affects your mood, energy levels, your memory, brain fog, your immune system, your skin health and so much more.


While truly healing your gut involves some deeper investigation and discovering what things are triggering inflammation in your body, it can be done. And, there are several herbs that can help calm and ease inflammation as well. So, I figured I’d share with you 3 of my favorite herbs to reduce inflammation in your gut. But first, let’s get a basic understanding of why our gut health is so important for our overall health.


How Does Your Gut Health Affect Your Mood?

Scientists have discovered that you have a “second brain” in your gut. It’s known as the enteric nervous system, or ENS, and it’s made of over 100 million nerve cells that line your entire digestive tract from your esophagus to your rectum. You may have felt this gut brain connection in action if you’ve ever had butterflies in your stomach, or that “gut feeling”. That’s the second brain working its magic.

Gut Brain Connection

Researchers have discovered that the ENS can trigger big emotional shifts. Especially for people dealing with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and functional bowel problems such as constipation, diarrhea, bloating, pain and stomach upset. These are all signs and symptoms of inflammation in your gut which leads to inflammation throughout your body.


Your Gut & Your Immune Health

Over 70% of your immune cells live in your gut. And they do a very important dance with your gut microbiota (the bacteria, fungi living in your gut) also known as the gut bugs. The wider array of diversity you have of these gut bugs, the better off your immune health and your overall health.


The diversity and health of these gut bugs that line your digestive tract are directly correlated to your dietary and lifestyle choices. That means eating colorful, fiber full foods, and avoiding highly processed foods, sugar, and saturated fats.


Of course, there’s an array of herbs that can help reduce that inflammation, improve overall digestion, and as well as heal and repair the damaged gut wall.


Here's A Few Of My Favorite Herbs To Reduce Inflammation In The Gut:


Chamomile  (Matricaria recutita)

I particularly love chamomile because of its ability to soothe the nerves, ease stress, anxiety and tension that also bring about digestive symptoms that show up as pain, gas, colic, and even ulcers. This sweet gentle friend is specific for children who suffer from

anxiety, particularly when seen in the form of an immediate tummy ache during a panic attack.

I witness this on a fairly regular basis with my child. She gets upset, tells me her tummy hurts every single time and we go to chamomile, and she’s almost instantly soothed, tummy, nerves, and all. It’s that whole gut brain connection clearly at play here. I’m just so grateful that my daughter happens to love chamomile too!


Chamomile is rich in volatile oils. If you can think back to that sweet scent of chamomile, those are it’s aromatics or volatile oils. These volatile oils promote a carminative effect which means its helpful in easing gassiness, flatulence, and smooth muscle spasms in the digestive tract, and general tummy upset.


Chamomile also acts as an anti-inflammatory, and a demulcent, meaning that it's cooling, coating and soothing to the digestive tract. Chamomile tea is fantastic for calming inflammation in cases of gastritis, colic, indigestion, heartburn, ulcers, and more.


Chamomile is quite rich in sesquiterpene lactones that are a key part of bitters, thus they are fantastic at promoting the flow of bile, and other digestive secretions, as they simultaneously help with the breakdown of fats.


I notice this most when I’m making a tea preparation, and I let my chamomile tea sit too long. That delightful flavor all of a sudden has a much more bitter flavor. I’ve learned to appreciate this, but before I knew or understood what bitters do for us, it was a bit more of an issue for me.


Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis)

No, I’m not talking about the ooey gooey marshmallows piles on smores here. I’m talking about a beautiful plant that happens to be a great demulcent herb. It’s rich in mucilage or a bunch of complex polysaccharides, which is this really cool stuff that gets slimy and gooey when it comes into contact with water. And, that’s where the good stuff really lies, it’s in the slime. Trust me on this one, and embrace the slime!


The root is very specific for inflammatory conditions of the gastrointestinal tract. It’s been used to help treat inflammation for those dealing with intestinal ulcers, gastritis, indigestion, 

acid  reflux, and more. It’s also been quite helpful in reducing chronic inflammation for those suffering from crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and diarrhea.


It’s best to drink the tea on an empty stomach for ideal results in these situations.

Marshmallow is a beloved herb I commonly recommend to people dealing with all kinds of inflammatory conditions of the gut and other mucosal tissues. Plus as an added benefit, it’s a stunningly beautiful plant to grow in your garden, with a multitude of medicinal benefits!


Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria)

Meadowsweet is known as one of the absolute best digestive herbs available. It protects and soothes mucous membranes of the digestive tract and helps to ease nausea.

It’s super helpful when it comes to reducing &/or balancing the

acidity levels in the stomach. Which means it can be very beneficial in the treatment of heartburn, hyperacidity, gastritis, and peptic ulcers as well.


Meadowsweet is rich in salicylic acid, which is what aspirin is derived from. And yes, Meadowsweet is used similarly to aspirin, only it soothes and cools the stomach and intestines, where aspirin will irritate it, and cause greater inflammation. It’s also used like aspirin for it’s pain relieving properties, which can be directly correlated to many kinds of stomach pains caused by inflammatory conditions.


Meadowsweet's bitter properties mean it helps to promote healthy digestion by releasing the necessary digestive secretions such as bile and other enzymes that help to break down fats, and improve the digestive process overall.


This lovely plant is also an astringent which make it a very suitable remedy in diarrhea, particularly for children suffering from diarrhea

Meadowsweet has also been used to relieve excessive belching, heartburn, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, or bilious attacks or excessive excretion of bile.


These are just a few of the herbs I’m so grateful to have in my medicine cabinet at the ready as I need them.

anti-inflammatory tea for gut health


Love these herbs and want to get some in your belly? You can find them, with an array of other amazing herbs for gut health in our new herbal tea blend, Backwoods Belly! 

If you want to take major action in healing your gut, and your entire body, check out my Heal Your Body From The Inside Out program over at the Herbalist's Path.


And, if you love learning about herbs, and how they can benefit your health? Check out my podcast at The Herbalist’s Path, and download my Cold & Flu Buster’s In Your Kitchen Cabinet guide complete with recipes from the medicines you didn't know you had!


About the Author: Melissa Mutterspaugh

Mel

Melissa lives in Oregon, in the foothills of Mount Hood.  She's a clinical herbalist, environmental educator, mother, wilderness therapist, lover, nemophilist, music loving maniac, and the founder of Mountain Mel's Essential Goods, and podcast host at The Herbalist's Path.  She is passionate about inspiring others to take better care of our planet, through taking better care of themselves, naturally!

 


We love the mission and sustainable herbs available through Oshala Farms & Mountain Rose Herbs and receive a small commission when you purchase through our affiliate links. 

*Always remember to contact your healthcare provider when considering the use of botanical medicine as a possible treatment option and the medical considerations. While the information in this article is absolutely relevant, herbs work differently for each person and each condition.

**I am a trained herbalist and not a licensed or registered healthcare practitioner. I cannot diagnose health conditions, nor prescribe medicines legally; I am not a medical doctor. However, I will recommend or suggest medicinal herbs for various health complaints, as I do believe in the safety and efficacy of botanical medicine.

 

***The information I’ve provided is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment. Please consult your medical care provider before using herbal medicine, particularly if you have a known medical condition or if you are pregnant or nursing.

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