When tummy troubles flare, it can be tough to know the best course of action for relief. Though you may reach for an over-the-counter medication as a matter of course to quell stomach pain, many common drugstore meds can come with drawbacks.
Still, how do you know which foods, oils, or supplements to trust? A number of folk remedies supposedly relieve stomach pain, but before you spend your money, it’s best to determine what’s based on evidence.
1. Peppermint Oil
Peppermint has more to offer than flavoring Christmas candy canes. It can actually serve as a powerful analgesic. “The volatile oils and compounds like menthol that give peppermint its wonderful aroma relax the muscles of the gastrointestinal tract while increasing the flow of bile from the gallbladder, helping your body to more effectively digest fatty foods,” says Dr. Low Dog.
2. Licorice Root
First peppermint, and now licorice? We’re sensing a candy theme here. There’s a catch, though: Medicinal licorice root bears little similarity to the chewy sticks you remember from your trick-or-treating hauls. Known by its scientific name Glycyrrhiza glabra, licorice root is actually a legume that grows in the Middle East, Asia, and Europe.
If you’ve ever been pregnant, you may have discovered the power of tucking a few ginger chews into your purse to combat unexpected bouts of morning sickness. Ginger has been recognized since ancient times for its calming effects on the stomach, and more recent studies verify its ability to combat nausea and vomiting. When these complaints accompany stomach pain, try making a ginger tea by steeping a chunk of fresh ginger in hot water.
4. Chamomile Tea
“Anti-inflammatory” is a popular buzzword these days when it comes to diet. As it turns out, anti-inflammatory foods aren’t just good for your heart and brain; they can help your stomach too. One such anti-inflammatory is chamomile tea.
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