We all know the feeling; we get a little queasy, or bloated, there’s a tight knot in the pit of our belly, or those nervous butterflies. Sometimes, our body is rejecting whatever we just ate, or the balance of our gut bacteria is off, or we just have a queasy stomach to begin with. Other times, nervousness and the body’s stress response can show up as symptoms in our gut.
When it comes down to it, everything in our body is interconnected, and research has shown that the brain and the gastrointestinal system are directly linked in more ways than one.
When you experience psychological responses, such as a stress response, it can influence the basic function of the digestive system and lead to abdominal discomfort. Our gut is like a second brain that produces its own set of chemical messengers in the digestive process, and when digestion is disrupted, it sets off alarms to the nervous system that exacerbate the symptoms of our stress or “fight or flight” response. If you are busy and run down, it is important to recognize this unique relationship between the gut and our brain as it can offer insight and guidance to your overall health and well-being.
Whether for a nervous butterfly stomach, an upset tummy or gas and bloating, the following herbs can be helpful for a number of reasons.
Many people know chamomile for its calmative power and the gentle support it offers the nervous system. What not everyone knows is that this familiar flower embodies very similar qualities when it comes to supporting healthy digestion as well. An aromatic and carminative bitter, it’s soft, buttery and calming qualities are soothing to the body and mind, which may help if stress or worry are causing your digestive discomfort. Because of its gentle taste, it is loved by most everyone—from kids to elders, to the common picky eater! Chamomile is excellent in cases of occasional gas and bloating and for relieving the discomfort of nausea associated with pregnancy or life stressors. Like other bitter herbs, a few drops of an extract can also be taken after meals in the case of occasional heartburn.
Ginger is a warming carminative that has a long history of soothing an upset stomach. Herbalists use ginger to support sluggish digestion and/or occasional nausea from improperly digested foods. Ginger kindles the fires of digestion and soothes occasional gas, bloating and nausea.*
The herb’s essential oil contains menthol, a volatile substance that supports the smooth muscle of the digestive tract. It is helpful in soothing the nerves, and thus a nervous stomach.
4. Bitter Roots
Dandelion, Burdock or Yellow Dock – these popular bitter herbs are well known for a good reason. Bitter herbs strengthen our digestive system by supporting its natural functioning. They stimulate our body’s innate digestive response and optimize digestive work. Bitters do this by triggering production of the body’s endogenous digestive enzymes and bile secretion, and they balance HCl levels in the stomach.
- Yellow dock: the root extract makes for an excellent digestive bitter and has been used to support healthy, regular bowel function.
- Dandelion: a traditional digestive remedy, dandelion root can be used before meals to prevent gas and bloating.
- Burdock: the root is highly regarded as an unrivaled digestive tonic, and the sweetness can be attributed to the starches it stores for itself to make it through a long winter. These starches, also known as inulin, feed us as well and support our bodies in maintaining healthy gut flora and keeping our microbiome in balance.
We have crafted a unique digestive bitters formula, with many of the mentioned herbs and address some of the following:
- A calm tummy
- For nausea*
- For occasional morning sickness during pregnancy
- For occasional heartburn, gas & bloating
- To support healthy skin
- Gentle detox
- Soothing and calmative effect
- Free of citrus, fennel, & essential oils, so that they can be enjoyed occasionally during pregnancy and by more folks with sensitivities!
- A gentle, and pleasant taste—making them perfect for kiddos and elders.
Enjoy approximately ¼ teaspoon (1.2 mL) of our bitters before or after meals or alongside a cup of chamomile or peppermint tea.
*When we talk about nausea, we are talking about occasional upset stomach leading to nausea, we are not talking about daily, long term nausea. Please consult your doctor further if this is the case for you.