Herbs to relieve digestive discomfort

Acidity, constipation, diarrhea, swelling, pain or nausea are some of the most common disorders that affect the functioning of the digestive system.

If these problems occur frequently, you should consult a health professional as soon as possible, since it may be a serious condition. However, when they are mild or appear eventually, they can be calmed with the help of some herbs. Here is a list of the most effective ones:

Star anise

Here we refer to star anise (Illicium verum), also called star anise, Chinese star anise, or badian.

Not to be confused with anise (Pimpinella anisum), whose seeds are used in liquor, bakery and confectionery, much less with star anise from Japan (Illicium anisatum) which is highly poisonous.

Star anise is recommended to relieve abdominal cramps, colic, constipation, gas, bloating, and indigestion.

There is even evidence that chewing its leaves helps control hiccups, although more studies are still needed to support this benefit.

How to consume it

The best way to obtain the properties of star anise is through its infusions. To do this, you must bring water to near its boiling point, add a couple of anise “stars” and let stand between 3 and 5 minutes over low heat.

Remove the infusion from the heat, strain and drink. It is advisable to drink up to two cups a day, preferably after a meal.


the boldo (Peumus boldus) is a plant native to the Andean regions and historically it was used for medicinal purposes in different regions of Chile and Peru.

Its infusions are especially useful to combat constipation or diarrhea. Experts believe that this is due to boldine, one of its compounds to which they attribute antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

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Boldo also has diuretic effects that help “clean” our body by eliminating toxins from the kidneys, it can reduce inflammation in the belly and promotes the health of the intestinal mucosa.

How to consume it

You can consume it through infusions. To prepare it, place a tablespoon of its dried leaves in a cup or bowl, add hot water (approximately 250 ml), let them stand for a while and then filter them.

It is recommended to drink this infusion after dinner to enhance its digestive and sedative effects.

Infusion is not the only way you can take advantage of this plant, since it also comes in the form of oils or capsules. However, it is advised to consult a health professional before opting for these products.


Cinnamon is the bark of the cinnamon or cinnamon tree (Cinnamomum verum). Along with pepper or cardamom, it is one of the first spices to be used for gastronomic purposes by humans.

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Cinnamon is also used for medicinal purposes, specifically to relieve stomach pain, diarrhea, flatulence, muscle and stomach spasms, and even to prevent nausea and vomiting.

How to consume it

Making a cinnamon infusion to take advantage of its benefits is very simple. You just need to boil water, add two cinnamon sticks, let them boil for 2 minutes, remove from heat and let stand another 5 minutes.

In this way the flavor will be concentrated and you will be able to enjoy its properties. It is advisable to drink this infusion when you feel discomfort or stomach heaviness.

You can also use it to flavor hot chocolate, rice pudding, baked goods or ice cream.


Ginger is a plant belonging to the Zingiberaceae family. Its rhizome, that is, the underground horizontal stem, is used for its fresh aroma and spicy flavor, although it is also highly demanded for its medicinal properties.

Ginger is believed to be good for improving digestion as it stimulates the appetite, while also preparing the digestive system for the arrival of food. There are also records of its carminative effects, useful to relieve or prevent flatulence.

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How to consume it

You can combine grated fresh ginger with fruit, or use it to season fish or chicken.

If you can’t get it fresh, the ground option is very attractive, although a little more concentrated (1/8 teaspoon is equal to a whole of fresh). So you can easily add it to your favorite smoothies, juices, dressings or infusions.


The Mint (peppermint), according to different studies, can help reduce the symptoms and discomfort caused by Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Researchers believe this is possible thanks to the presence of a compound called menthol, which helps close the calcium ion channels responsible for muscle contraction.

This has a positive effect on the intestinal walls and helps reduce abdominal pain. Its consumption also seems to combat feelings of nausea, especially those that occur during pregnancy.

How to consume it

The best way to take advantage of the effects of mint is by drinking a hot infusion after eating. You can make it with fresh mint leaves, although it is advisable to use those that are already dry.

Place a tablespoon in a cup and pour water to boiling point, let stand for 5 to 10 minutes, strain and drink. It is advised not to exceed 4 cups daily.


Licorice is the root of Glycyrrhiza glabra, a woody-stemmed herb. It is characterized by a sweet taste, due to the presence of a compound called glycyrrhizin, which is much sweeter than sugar.

Licorice is rich in flavonoids, vitamins, especially B and E, minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, potassium, selenium, and zinc, among others, and certain essential phytonutrients, such as glycyrrhizin, thymol, or phenol.

Because of this nutritional composition, it is often used to relieve various discomforts of the digestive system, such as:

  • Acidity.
  • Colic.
  • Gastritis.
  • Inflammation.
  • Food poisoning.
  • stomach ulcers
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How to consume it

A good way to consume licorice to relieve digestive discomfort is through an infusion. To do this you must place ½ tablespoon of chopped licorice in a cup and then pour water to the point of boiling. Let stand between 5 and 10 minutes, strain and drink after meals.

If you get the powdered option, you can pour a teaspoon into a cup, mix with boiling water, let stand, and use as a gargle.


Tilia or lime trees are plants that belong to the Malvaceae family, whose flowers, leaves and extracts have been used for medicinal purposes for centuries.

This is because they have a significant concentration of beneficial compounds, such as phytonutrients, flavonoids, and tannins, which give them antioxidant, sedative, beneficial for the immune system, and digestive properties.

Regarding this last aspect, it is believed that the presence of tannins favors the proper functioning of the digestive system, relieving constipation, reducing swelling and fighting inflammation.

How to consume it

The dried flowers and leaves of the linden can be obtained in any market and are consumed as an infusion.

To do this, place 1 tablespoon of dried linden flowers in a cup and then pour water to a boil. Let stand 5-10 minutes, strain and drink after meals or an hour before bed.

To remind:

Until there is meaningful scientific evidence from human trials, people interested in using herbal therapies and supplements should be very careful.

Do not abandon or modify your treatments, talk to your doctor first about the potential effects of alternative or complementary therapies.

Remember, the medicinal properties of herbs and supplements can also interact with prescription medications, as well as other herbs and supplements, and even alter your diet.

Sources consulted: Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, US National Library of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, US Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

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