Herbs can be an incredible ally when it comes to supporting your gut health. You may know that a healthy gut leads to an overall healthy body, mind, and soul. Of course, it’s very important to get to the root problem, before we can achieve true healing. You can learn more about in-depth gut healing through the 4R program in this blog post, Four Steps To A Balanced, Healthy, & Happy Gut. When you work to truly heal your gut, and add some of these herbs into your regimen, you can achieve optimal health and balance in life!
On to a list of the best herbs to lead to a healthy gut and a healthy you!
Calendula ~ Calendula officinalis
Calendula, calendula! One of my personal favorites for many reasons. However, for the purpose of this post we will focus on the benefits calendula provides for the gut! Calendula can improve digestion and absorption, reduce inflammation in the gut wall, detoxify the body from pathogens, help fight amoebic infections and worms and help to heal pelvic and bowel infections. It’s very diverse, gentle, and effective for clearing the gut and helping to heal your damaged gut wall! It’s one of the main reasons we use it in our Diges-Teas blend, other than the fact that she’s absolutely gorgeous!.
Chamomile ~ Chamomilla recutita or Chamomilla matricaria
It’s no secret that chamomile can calm the nerves and help us relax. That’s why it’s great at soothing stress-related digestive troubles! It’s also known for aiding in indigestion, reducing heartburn and acidity, helping babies through colic, and resolving infections such as gastroenteritis. A super cool fact about chamomile is that it is anti-ulcer! The bisabolol (a type of alcohol compound and primary constituent in German chamomile essential oil) found in this magical plant helps to speed up the healing process of ulcers--how awesome! Chamomile is also rich in bitters, which help to get the digestive juices flowing well. It’s lovely and feels great to drink. We use it in both our Diges-Teas, and the Peaceful Baby blends, specifically for the gut health benefits, and of course the calming benefits too.
Fennel ~ Foeniculum vulgare
Fennel is a wonder herb when it comes to tummy mischief. It’s most commonly
known for soothing tummy aches but it sure does more than that! Fennel has the ability to give us energy by enhancing appetite, digestion, and absorption. It can help the human body break down and digest fatty foods too! Not only that, but it has the power to stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce sugar cravings. In my opinion, this is a great herb to incorporate while trying to step away from the common American diet. (Lots of fat & sugar sound familiar?!) Fennel can definitely settle the tummy so it helps us out with colic and bloating. You know that pink drink commonly advertised on the TV for stomach troubles? Fennel is certainly an herbal comparison to it since it relieves heartburn, indigestion, nausea, upset stomach, and diarrhea!
Ginger ~ Zingiber officinale
Ginger is one of those herbs that has created quite the buzz in the media these days. Known for it’s tummy soothing abilities and it’s anti-inflammatory properties, ginger is a great herb to talk about when discussing gut health. It’s a warming digestive stimulant that helps to improve both digestion and appetite. Ginger also removes the buildup of toxins which can enhance our immunity and prevent any further inflammation from occurring. It helps to relieve indigestion, gas, nausea, IBS, and food allergies. Ginger can also help pregnant mamas who are experiencing morning sickness...and for all you party animals out there--It’s great for relieving hangovers!
Peppermint ~ Menthe Piperita
Marshmallow ~ Althaea Officinalis
Marshmallow Root is great because of its mucilage constituent. Mucilage is a gel-like substance that attracts water to then form a viscous fluid. This helps to coat and soothe the mucous membranes of the digestive tract. That's what makes it great for fighting against heartburn, IBS, and constipation due to dryness. Marshmallow root also has anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it great for healing ulcerative colitis, gastritis, and peptic ulcers! Thank you Marshmallow root for being so awesome!!
Plantain ~ Plantago major or Plantago minor
Plantain is one of those herbs that is commonly overlooked in our day to day life. Living in the PNW, it’s easy to dismiss plantain as a common weed but it’s actually an extremely medicinal plant! You can often find both species of plantain in your backyard or along the sidewalk. Learn more about Plantain and its medicinal properties over here. Plantago major or Greater plantain is great for gut health because it has the ability to counter-irritation and inflammation in the tummy and bowels. This is why it can be used when combating diarrhea, gastritis, colitis, and various stomach infections. Its other superpower is that it is an AMAZING wound healer, aiding in the repair of damaged mucosal tissue, such as the gut wall! Another cool fact about plantain is that its seeds have the ability to be used as a bulk laxative! Wow! All of that, and so much more in this little "weed". We use plantain in our Diges-Teas for its gut-healing properties, and you can find it in our Respiratory Rescue, which is formulated for sore throat, but is also great for gut health!
Turmeric ~ Curcuma longa
Turmeric is amazing when it comes to healing funky gut. Not only does it aid in the basic stomach functions of digestion, absorption and metabolism but it also does some more complex work! Turmeric actually can regulate intestinal flora which makes it great for maintaining gut health. For this reason, it’s been used to help the gut recover after taking antibiotics. Turmeric also soothes gut mucosa which can help protect the gut during stressful times or when we are experiencing excessive acidity. This helps the body reduce the risk of infections such as ulcers and gastritis. It also has the ability to lower blood sugar levels in diabetics! It’s quite an amazing herb!!
Well, there you have it! Just a few of our all time favorite herbs for gut health. I hope you learned a bit about what the herbal world has to offer. It is a vast and complex world with many magical things! If you’re looking for some great teas that can help you on your journey to gut health, check out our Diges-Teas, or the Peaceful Baby for those that need something a bit more gentle. If you’re a peppermint hater, or have issues with ulcers, I would recommend out Respiratory Rescue to help soothe your gut.
If you found this article helpful, and have some friends who could use some tummy love, please share this post with them! #spreadlikewildflowers
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*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.
About the Author: Melissa MutterspaughMelissa (Mountain Mel) lives in Oregon, in the foothills of Mount Hood. She's a clinical herbalist, environmental educator, mother, wilderness therapist, nemophilist, music loving maniac, dog lover, and the founder of Mountain Mel's Essential Goods. She is passionate about inspiring others to take better care of our planet, through taking better care of themselves, naturally!
Hoffmann, David. Medical herbalism: the science and practice of herbal medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003. Print.
McIntyre, Anne. The complete herbal tutor: the ideal companion for study and practice. London: Gaia, 2010. Print.