Rather than popping a pill for nausea or an upset tummy, why not try a gentle herbal remedy? These time-honored recipes are safe and effective, without scary side-effects!
For hundreds of years, people have carefully written down and passed along their knowledge of caring for the sick at home. While some of these remedies are now out-moded (and some can be downright dangerous!), many are still quite useful. This particular group of recipes treat the discomforts of an upset tummy: nausea, bloating and gas, cramps.
One thing you do want to keep in mind whenever using any remedy - whether "alternative" or from a pharmacy - is that common sense is the rule! If a little of something is good, a lot may not be better, so always follow directions carefully - they are provided to good purpose.
The remedies I recommend below are for the garden-variety "my tummy doesn't feel good" - they are not intended to cure ptomaine poisoning or repair a ruptured appendix. So if you are running a high fever or have severe vomiting or diarrhea, please consult your doctor, as you may require serious medical treatment.
Why do I feel like this and what can I do?
When we have an upset tummy - when we feel queasy and crampy and perhaps a bit gassy - it is usually because our body is fighting off some sort of attack. Whether the attack is bacteria or a virus or our own self-indulgence, the result can be nausea, vomiting, and sometimes cramping and diarrhea. So the first thing you want to do is take all strain off the digestive system. Stop eating for a day or so, and drink mild fluids to help flush out the offenders (nothing too cold, as that can contribute to cramping).
One gentle and effective drink, which is found in numerous old cookery and home nursing books is toast water. Toast water is made by steeping 2 slices of toasted stale bread in 1 cup of boiling hot water until cooled to a sipping temperature. Some recipes suggest straining the drink, and others suggest gently shredding some of the soaked toast and floating it in the cup. This drink may be served with a dash of sugar to make it more palatable.
Another old favorite, known even to the ancient Greeks and Romans, is peppermint tisane. You can purchase this as peppermint tea in most markets, or you can make your own: simply take 4-6 large clean peppermint leaves, crushed (some people like to slice or tear them into strips) and infuse in 1 cup boiling water for a few minutes. Some like to add a touch of honey. Others like to add a cinnamon stick, for its antimicrobial properties. Peppermint has long been known as a digestive aid, in fact that is why many restaurants offer after dinner mints! It soothes and calms, and this action relaxes the digestive system to allow the release of painful gas and calms the stomach muscles to improve digestive flow.
Of course, the grande dame of home tummy remedies in ginger. Many studies have been done on the efficacy of ginger in relieving nausea, whether due to morning sickness, chemotherapy, or simple overeating. And it works! The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends powdered ginger capsules, at a dose of 1 gram (1/2 teaspoon) every four hours. The Mayo Clinic suggests a grated ginger tisane, a delicious and traditional approach. For ginger tea, simply grate 1-2 tablespoons of fresh ginger, and infuse in 1 cup boiling water, steeping until tepid. This may be served with a touch of honey. You may also try chewing a small piece of peeled ginger root, but it can be quite spicy to those not accustomed to it!
My personal favorite remedy, chamomile tea, is even recommended by Mama Rabbit, in that childhood classic "Peter Rabbit" by Beatrix Potter: "1 tablespoon, to be taken at bedtime" - and it is often used to treat nausea and general upset in children. We can be a bit more generous in our dosing, being rather larger than wee Peter - but first be certain your patient is not allergic. Those who suffer hayfever do not generally tolerate chamomile, so use common sense! Chamomile tea is easily purchased at the market, and should be infused with boiling water and steeped 10 minutes for maximum effectiveness. It is best served with the merest dash of honey. This soothing tisane soothes the tummy and relaxes the nerves.
Soothing lavender has many uses, and can aid the nausea sufferer as a tisane. Infuse 2 teaspoons of the flowers in 1 cup boiling water. Steep 5-8 minutes, strain and drink with a dash of honey. In addition to the relaxing effects of the tisane on the digestive system, the scent of lavender alone can often help quell the queasies! A teaspoon of lavender flowers can also be added to the mint or the chamomile tisane recipes above, as it blends delightfully with these herbs and is complimentary in action.
What else can I do?
In addition to trying one or more of the beverages listed above, your body requires rest while healing. Be sure to keep the room in a comfortable temperature range, as being overly warm can contribute to worsening nausea. Take some fresh air if you can, and have the sun shine on your face - even if only for a few minutes. And remember, once your tummy settles down, it still needs tender care! So start with soft and rather bland foods: applesauce or tea with toast or light soups are natural choices.
Be sure to stock up on these gentle healing herbs for the next time you have an upset tummy!
NOTE: While each of the remedies suggested are considered safe for pregnant or nursing mothers, it is always best to talk with your personal healthcare provider before trying anything new. We each have our individual quirks, after all!
As originally published on Yahoo.