Gentle home remedies such as peppermint tea and ginger root are common herbal treatments for upset stomach. Although symptoms may differ slightly from person to person, spicy foods can cause indigestion as well as irritation of the stomach lining. For best results, drink an herbal tea and avoid your intake of spicy foods, alcohol and coffee, which may stimulate acid secretion in the stomach.
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Spicy Foods and the Stomach
According to an article in “The New York Times,” spicy foods act as stimulants to the digestive system, improving circulation and increasing body temperature. Due to insufficient evidence, the reason why individuals react differently to spicy foods is still debatable. While many people are able to consume spicy foods comfortably, others may experience feelings of stomach cramping and gastrointestinal burning. Depending on the ingredients used in preparing your dish, agricultural chemicals such as the capsaicin compound used in growing chili peppers may also cause stomach discomfort.
MedlinePlus lists a variety of anecdotal and medical uses for peppermint, including irritable bowel syndrome, gastrointestinal cramps, nausea, vomiting, gas and upset stomach. Although few studies have been performed on the effectiveness of peppermint tea on stomach problems, some evidence has linked the consumption of peppermint supplements to reduced symptoms of heartburn, acid reflux, vomiting, tension headaches ad stomach pain. For an herbal tea beverage, steep 1 tbsp. of dried peppermint leaf in 1 cup of boiling water for 10 minutes, then strain before drinking.
According to studies cited by MedlinePlus, ginger may be effective in treating stomach conditions such as vomiting, nausea, heartburn and motion sickness. Although ginger is considered relatively safe for most individuals, pregnant women are advised to limit their intake to 1 g a day, while infants below the age of 2 should generally not be given ginger products. Ginger can be taken in a variety of forms, including chewable tablets, herb capsules, teas and products such as ginger ale and ginger bread. If nothing else is on hand, you can cut small slices off fresh ginger and eat them raw.
Individuals with peptic ulcers are particularly prone to stomach upset after eating spicy foods. Seek immediate medical help if your stomach pain worsens or persists for longer than three hours. Drink plenty of herbal tea and lie down to allow your digestive system time to fully process the spicy food.