Sunday, February 16, 2014

Natural Stomach Remedies



With two small kids at home, we've been down the upset stomach route many times.  Last week, the baby caught a 12-hour stomach bug and it was one long, sleepless night of constantly changing her clothes after nausea attacks and trying to comfort her.  She was finally able to sleep and the sickness was out of her system by daybreak.  Poor kid!
Here are some tried-and-true natural home remedies for treating a variety of stomach problems.  Some are old-time remedies passed down from family members and others I've come across in my well-loved herb book.  I've done additional research and all of the remedies I've listed have been shown to help different ailments.




Upset Stomach & Nausea 

Ginger
Ginger is the best natural remedy for nausea and upset stomach.  It's also a safe and effective remedy for morning sickness (I've been there and it does help).  Ginger is an anti-inflammatory and can help reduce stomach acids.
e Crystallized or candied ginger is an especially potent form.  It can be found in the dried fruit section of grocery and health food stores.
e Steep a ginger tea bag.
Crystallized Ginger relieves stomach aches & nausea.
e Sip ginger ale.  Make sure it contains real ginger, such as Schweppes brand.  We always pour it back and forth between two glasses to remove the carbonation, which can make an upset stomach worse.

Mint
Peppermint, spearmint, and other mints are traditional and easy remedies for an upset stomach.
e Steep a peppermint tea bag or fresh mint leaves in a mug of boiling water.
e To preserve mint leaves beyond the growing season, put leaves in an ice cube tray, fill with water, and freeze.  Cubes can be thawed one at a time when needed.
e Mint is easy to grow, but it can become invasive if not contained.  Mint will do well in a large pot; the pot can also be partially buried in the garden.  A broken pot allowed my chocolate mint to escape and it took over my flower garden!

Chamomile
Chamomile has anti-inflammatory properties and can help relax stomach spasms.
e Steep chamomile tea bags or make your own with chamomile leaves.  An added bonus is that chamomile is known to relax and help a person sleep better.
e Chamomile is another easy-to-grow plant and has beautiful, tiny white flowers and feathery leaves.

Licorice
Known to calm the stomach, licorice is made into tea and candy.
e If you go with candy, make sure it contains real licorice and not an artificial flavoring.

Toast with Jelly
Toast with a little mild jelly, like grape or elderberry, helps control nausea, absorb stomach acid, and can help a sick person keep strength up.  (Some people recommend burnt toast so the charred pieces will absorb stomach acids, but I'll pass on the cancer-causing carcinogens in burned food!)

Saltines
These were recommended by my doctor when I suffered from morning sickness, and I'll swear by it.  The salt and cracker combination helped relieve nausea and let me start my day.

Cola Syrup
Cola syrup is an old-fashioned remedy for stomach aches, indigestion, and nausea that I remember my grandmother recommending for us kids.
e It's not so easy to find anymore, but can be purchased from The Vermont Country Store.
e Flattened cola soda is weaker than syrup but also works.  Like ginger ale, drinking more will help to prevent sickness-related dehydration.

Mild Liquids
It's important to stay hydrated when sick and especially when vomiting.  Some good options include:
e flattened cola and ginger ale (We're generally a "no soda" household, but when someone is sick getting them to drink is more important.  Plus, cola and real ginger helps settle a stomach.)
e mild juices like apple (avoid anything acidic, like orange)
e juice frozen into popsicles
e tea (especially ginger, mint, licorice, and chamomile)
e although not a natural remedy, we use Pedialyte when the kids are sick to replenish electrolytes


Indigestion, Heartburn, & Bloating

Apple Cider Vinegar “Tea”
There are so many health benefits from apple cider vinegar, and relieving heartburn, indigestion, and stomach cramping is one of them.
e To make a "tea": mix one tablespoon apple cider vinegar and one tablespoon honey into a mug of hot water.

Caraway Seeds
Caraway seeds have been used for centuries in the Middle East to reduce bloating and indigestion.
e An easy way to take them is sprinkled on toast or chewed (think rye bread).
e You can also make a tea by steeping 1 teaspoon seeds in boiling water.

Fennel
Seeds, tea, and eating fennel can relieve almost any stomach complaint: bloating, indigestion, nausea, and stomachache.

Thyme
Thyme can reduce bloating.
e Make a thyme tea by steeping 1 teaspoon thyme leaves in boiling water.

Baking Soda
Mix up an antacid by combining 1/2 teaspoon baking soda with one cup warm water.


Other Stomach Problems

The BRAT diet
Bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast (BRAT) was recommended by our pediatrician for controlling
diarrhea.

Yogurt
I remember hearing about a remote Asian village where homemade yogurt was a diet staple for all the villagers.  Their average life span was over 100 years and their good health was attributed to the yogurt.  We now know that the probiotics in yogurt boost the immune system and aid in digestion.
e If taking antibiotics has given you a stomachache or yeast imbalances, eat yogurt daily to help replace the good bacteria.   (See my tutorial on how to make homemade yogurt.)

Prunes
Loaded with fiber, prunes can help you be more "regular".  My daughter will be very upset with me someday for writing this, but she has five prunes with dinner every night to keep things on schedule.  Cherries, raisins, and apricots are also high in fiber and, along with prunes, are known as the CRAP diet (how appropriate!).


Join the Link Party fun!  This post linked up to... Clever Chicks Blog Hop and Motivation Monday and Monday Funday and Homestead Barn Hop and Backyard Farming Connection and Maple Hill Hop and Tuesdays with a Twist and One Project at a Time and Wildcraft Wednesday and Handy Man Crafty Woman and Down Home Blog Hop and Penny Pinching Party and Wednesday WhitsIts and Home & Garden Thursday and Thursday Favorite Things and The HomeAcre Hop  and Green Thumb Thursday and Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways and Thrifty Things Friday and The 104 Homestead and Weekend Bloggy Reading and Simple Saturday and Get Schooled Saturday and Simply Natural Saturdays