In this age of fatty foods, carbonated beverages and high-sodium meals, gas and bloating are common complaints. Gas is caused by air bubbles forming in the intestinal tract as a result of food intolerance, swallowing of air or other factors, while bloating generally occurs due to water retention, constipation or hormonal factors. A variety of herbal teas are available to help with gas and bloating, many of which can be purchased in grocery stores for under $10.
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Peppermint, known by the scientific name Mentha piperita, is an herb from the mint family that is valued for both its fragrance and medicinal properties. The stems and leaves of the peppermint plant contain menthol, the compound responsible for its healing properties and characteristic smell.
Peppermint tea has soothing analgesic effects that make it invaluable for treating digestive complaints like gas and bloating. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, peppermint eases tense muscles in the digestive tract, allowing gas to dispel more quickly and easily.
To make an invigorating tea from peppermint, simply add 1 tsp. dried peppermint leaves to one cup of boiling water for five to 10 minutes, strain and drink. People with gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) should avoid peppermint tea, as it can relax the esophageal sphincter and allow stomach acid to enter the esophagus more readily.
Lemon Balm Tea
Another member of the mint family, lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) has been used since the Middle Ages as a remedy for insomnia, anxiety, digestive discomfort and low appetite. It contains volatile oils called terpenes that give the plant its healing properties. Eugenol -- the main active compound in lemon balm -- is responsible for much of its ability to numb pain and ease muscle spasms in the digestive tract, creating a less conducive environment for gas.
For a relaxing tea, add 1 to 1.5 tsp. lemon balm leaves to one cup of hot water, steep for 10 minutes and drink. Lemon balm may cause unwanted drowsiness, which may be worsened by alcohol. Avoid drinking alcohol and taking other depressants while using lemon balm tea, as the combined effects can result in dangerous sedation.
Fennel Seed Tea
Fennel seed comes from the fennel plant (Foeniculum vulgare). Fennel seed is a carminative, promoting digestion by preventing gas formation and aiding in the passing of gas. Mixed with sodium bicarbonate, anise seed and dill, fennel seed is one of the traditional ingredients in gripe water, a natural medicine used to treat colic and flatulence in infants.
To make tea from fennel seeds, pour one cup of boiling water over 1 tbsp. crushed or bruised fennel seeds, strain and drink. According to Drug Information Online, people with epilepsy should avoid taking fennel, as it may increase the risk for seizure. In rare instances, allergic reactions may occur and require immediate medical attention.
Dandelion Root Tea
Made from the roots of a common weed, dandelion tea is an effective remedy for bloating and other digestive symptoms. It can be used as a healthy substitute for coffee due to its rich, earthy flavor and has been used medicinally to relieve gas, bloating and other digestive complaints.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, dandelion acts as a diuretic, increasing urination and decreasing water retention caused by hormonal fluctuations and other factors. It is also useful for treating symptoms stemming from poor digestion, and contains potassium, a mineral that is often deficient in people taking diuretics. It is a rich source of many nutrients, including vitamins A, B-complex, C and D as well as minerals such as magnesium, calcium and iron.