20 Natural and Home Remedies for an Upset Stomach
Whenever a stomach or digestive problem crops up, we all reach for the nearest remedy to ease the discomfort. These 20 remedies make use of food items we already have on hand and elimate a few of the common offenders in order to improve our digestive health.
By Joan Whetzel
Having an upset stomach can make a person feel awful all over. It not only interferes with the enjoyment of food, it interferes with the absorption of the food’s nutrients. The cause can range from simple problems like trapped gas or simple indigestion from spicy foods, to pregnancy, stomach flu, to something more severe like appendicitis or a hernia which would require surgery. The more minor stomach ailments – the ones not requiring surgery – can be eased with these few natural and home remedies. But be sure to always consult your doctor first to be certain of the cause of the upset.
The Natural and Home Remedies List
1. Salted Crackers. Ask any woman who has suffered from morning sickness, basic saltine crackers absorb the acid and soothe the stomach.
2. Flat Soda. This offers a bit of sugar without the carbonation, which can exacerbate the problems, especially if the sufferer already has trapped gas. To flatten soda, leave a bottle or can open overnight in the fridge shake the bottle or can while closed, then let the gas erupt over the sink. What remains will be the flat soda, minus most if not all of the carbonation.
3. Peppermint and Spearmint. Any kind of peppermint candy will do here. Or steep some fresh mint in hot water and sip it down like a cup of hot tea. The mint calms the stomach and esophagus by triggering them to release a film of mucus to coat these areas of the digestive tract.
4. Basil. Pick a fresh leaf and chew it, or brew into a tea to be served warm or cold, in order to settle acid reflux.
5. Hot Water with a Dash of Salt or Baking Soda. This works something like a combination of warm tea and saltines to soothe the stomach. Don’t use too much salt, though. A little is good, but more is not better.
6. A Good Diet. Your diet should include lean meats and plenty of fruits and vegetables as well as several glasses of water. Limit some vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower if you find that they create too much gas in your digestive tract. To reduce gas from canned beans, rinse them before heating and serving them. To reduce gas from fresh beans, soak them overnight, then throw out that water, cooking them in fresh water. 7. Tea and Toast. Ideally the toast should be dry. That’s right, no butter or jam. Just toasted bread. Served with warm tea, they are both soothing to the stomach. 8. Avoid Fatty Foods. This is especially important if you suffer from gall stones or any other problems involving the gallbladder. The gallbladder is responsible for releasing bile into the digestive tract every time you eat. The bile helps digest the fat. High fat levels in the diet make the gallbladder work harder, which will only make existing problems worse. 9. Avoid Spicy Foods. For those who find they get indigestion or an upset stomach after eating spicy foods, don’t eat them. This doesn’t apply to those who can handle the spicy foods. 10. Green Tea. Available in loose leaf or in tea bags, green tea is very comforting to the digestive tract. For those who suffer ill effects from caffeine, make sure to get the decaf version. 11. Ginger Ale. The ginger, used as a base for this soda, is a well known digestive aid. Drink it with the carbonation if it helps settle your stomach and you don’t have trapped gas. Drink it flat if the carbonation is a problem.
12. Eat Ginger Root. Fresh ginger root is great for digestion. Peel it, and cut off a very small piece – about the size of a large pea. Start off with one piece and go from there. This can be consumed several times a day. Fresh ginger can also be brewed into a tea.
13. Candied Ginger. An alternative to fresh ginger root is candied ginger. It’s a dried, sweetened version of the fresh ginger. It comes in bottles and is sold in the spice section at any grocery store. Many a pregnant woman has sworn by this remedy.
14. BRAT Diet. BRAT stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. This is particularly useful when the stomach upset is accompanied by diarrhea.
15. Licorice Root. This one has been around for centuries. It is said to stimulate the digestive tract’s production of prostaglandins and mucus to relieve stomach and esophageal irritation. Brew it into a tea and serve it hot or cold.
16. Caraway Seeds or Fennel Seeds. These seeds help with indigestion, gas and stomach cramps. Simply brew them into a tea. The caraway seeds can also be chewed after a meal.
17. Watch What You Drink Milk may calm the irritation caused from eating highly spicy foods, but for some stomach problems, it can actually sour in the stomach or make your stomach feel worse. Also cut back on coffee and alcohol intake as these act as irritants in the stomach.18. Check to See if You Are Pregnant. The elevated hormones and the pressure of the growing uterus both wreak havoc on the digestive tract. Check with your doctor before trying any remedy. Saltine crackers, tea and candied ginger are generally believed to be safe remedies during pregnancy. Also try eating smaller, more frequent meals, since a full stomach following a large meal will take longer to digest. 19. Cinnamon for Improved Digestion. Cinnamon stimulates the digestive tract to move food through more quickly. So if slow motility is a problem causing your stomach upset, trying adding some cinnamon to your diet to help speed things along a bit. 20. Thyme. Thyme also stimulates the digestive tract, which will help with cramping and trapped gas. Steep some thyme leaves in hot water and serve as a warm tea, up to 3 times daily.