Cramping, stomach pain, bloating and gas may occur due to any number of causes including viruses, gallbladder attacks, overeating, food allergies or bowel disorders. Flatulence and bloating may respond to herbal remedies; however, herbs can also produce side effects. Consult your health practitioner if you choose to use herbs to treat stomach upset and bloating.
The mint family includes peppermint, spearmint and basil, all herbs that may be helpful in reducing stomach bloating and gas. The mints are soothing on the digestive tract and dissolve large gas pockets that contribute to bloating, according to “The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook." There are several ways to use the mints to obtain relief. Simply chew on a leaf of fresh mint or basil if you have some growing in a pot or your yard. Add a few drops of extract to hot water to make a soothing tonic. Make peppermint tea with fresh or dried herbs or use prepared teabags. Sip throughout the day for relief from bloating and gas pain.
Activated charcoal is derived from burned, carbonized vegetation and is used to relieve a variety of stomach and abdominal problems. It is primarily known for absorbing ingested poisons and is also helpful in reducing bloating that results from overeating and poor digestion where putrefaction is evident. Additionally, activated charcoal is excellent for relieving unpleasant odor when passing gas.
Although activated charcoal is not technically considered an herb, it does come from herbal sources and merits being included in a list of herbs and remedies to relieve stomach bloating. It can produce mild side effects if too much is consumed. If you experience black stools or constipation, stop using it.
Green tea soothes the digestive tract and contains compounds known to relieve gallbladder colic and bloating, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Green tea is available in dried, loose form or as prepared teabags and extract. The extract may be easier to carry around in a purse or briefcase; however, drinking the tea itself offers the additional benefit of being able to relax while you take a break, which may aid digestion and relieve painful bloating. Green tea contains caffeine, which can cause side effects in those who are sensitive. It may produce nervousness and insomnia. If you are sensitive to caffeine, buy decaffeinated green tea, which contains the same healing compounds.
Ginger is both a culinary herb and a medicinal treatment of numerous digestive disorders involving bloating, flatulence and stomach upset. It is especially good for those suffering from motion sickness, and it stimulates digestion, helping food move rapidly from the stomach through the intestines. Due to the increased speed of digestion, ginger helps prevent bloating as the system develops more motility, or movement. Ginger may also be helpful in reducing pain, bloating and nausea during gallbladder attacks.
- Go Ask Alice: Remedies for Gas Pain
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Ginger
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Peppermint
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Gallstones and gallbladder disease - Symptoms
- “The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook: Your Everyday Reference to the Best Herbs for Healing“; James Duke; 2002