Indigestion is never any fun to be experiencing, it can actually be quite debilitating taking you away from activities and showing up as your best.
Digestive symptoms are important to address because they affect your entire body, and can result in health conditions over time.
Before we get into solutions, let's first understand what indigestion really is.
What is indigestion?
Indigestion is the general term used to describe discomfort in the upper abdomen. It is a collection of symptoms that may arise around or after meals.
Symptoms associated with indigestion include cramping, heartburn, feeling uncomfortably full during or after meals, nausea, and bloating.
What causes indigestion?
Indigestion can be a result of poor eating habits but also infections, smoking, emotional issues, dysbiosis, medications, and certain imbalances. Eating too quickly, not chewing your food properly, eating on the go, overeating, and eating too close to bedtime are all improper eating habits that can cause digestive upset.
Foods that can increase the likelihood of experiencing indigestion include fatty and greasy foods, spicy foods, coffee, alcohol, and dairy.
Though we encourage you to investigate what may be driving your indigestion, certain natural remedies can help alleviate any discomfort in the meantime.
Natural remedies for indigestion
Charcoal has been used for many years in hospitals to treat cases of food poisoning and even overdosing.
Activated charcoal is usually made from burning coconuts shells which changes its chemical structure into a fine charcoal powder that can bind to harmful compounds.
This natural supplement works by absorbing and trapping toxins and gases in the gut so they can be eliminated via the bowls while calming the digestive system.
You can use charcoal at home in powder or capsule form to alleviate gas or bloating. Always drink lots of water to avoid constipation. Don't be alarmed if your stools turn black as this is an indicator of the charcoal leaving your body.
Avoid taking supplements with activated charcoal as it may bind to whatever is currently in your system and eliminate it. This is also why we don't recommend taking it long-term but instead in acute cases. Always be careful if you are taking medications and check in with your health care provider before supplementing.
Ginger is a well-known herb and digestive aid, used as a long-time remedy for improving tummy troubles. What makes ginger so powerful? One word, gingerol. Although ginger has over 115 constituents, gingerol in particular has powerful medicinal and anti-inflammatory properties.
Ginger can be used for stomach upset, heartburn, cramping, gas, and bloating, and to relieve nausea or even vomiting (1). As a digestive carminative and stimulant, it can help improve indigestion and reduce constipation by increasing the rate of stomach emptying. Whether you react to food from a restaurant, had too much to eat, or ate too quickly, ginger is a great natural remedy to have in your holistic tool kit.
You can take ginger capsules however we recommend fresh ginger tea or chewables to stimulate digestion starting in the mouth.
Use ginger in cooking for extra flavor and to reduce digestive discomfort.
You may not automatically think of turmeric as a digestive aid, however, this herb is extremely versatile in its effects throughout the body.
Turmeric is an ayurvedic spice used in cooking but it can also treat many conditions and alleviate digestive problems. Its main active component, curcumin, is well known for its anti-inflammatory actions. Not only is it a potent anti-inflammatory, curcumin has actually been shown to be effective at relieving heartburn or acid reflux by protecting the mucosal lining due to its antioxidant nature (2).
Curcumin supplementation is the best way to fully receive its therapeutic effects however we encourage you to include turmeric spice or root in your cooking as well!
Another ancient remedy, chamomile is actually said to be one of the most ancient medicinal herbs known to mankind! Chamomile is a popular herbal remedy usually taken as a tea when symptoms like bloating manifest.
Chamomile is especially effective at decreasing symptoms like gas and bloating by lowering inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, soothing the stomach, and relaxing the muscles involved with peristalsis (3). It has been shown to be an effective natural treatment for digestive disorders, upset stomach, ulcers, and gastrointestinal irritation.
Chamomile is also a nervous system relaxant that can help support digestion by helping to regulate the parasympathetic response, improving digestive function and secretions as well as gastrointestinal disturbances such as IBS and colitis (4).
Chamomile is most commonly taken in tea form, in fact this herb is one of the world’s most popular herbal teas with about a million cups being consumed each and every day!
This sequence would not be complete without peppermint!
Not only does peppermint taste and smell heavenly, but it also can alleviate digestive discomfort fairly quickly.
Peppermint is a cooling herb that helps to calm the digestive system - reducing pain and discomfort, and demonstrating success in treating cases such as IBS (5).
Peppermint can be used in a variety of ways to benefit digestive health such as teas, essential oil topical applications, and capsules. Though most studies have observed the effects of peppermint on digestion using capsules of peppermint oil (6).
Laurence Annez is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner and Health Coach, specializing in PCOS and women's hormones. She also holds a degree in Creative Writing and has extensive experience writing on health and wellness topics. Laurence's mission is to inspire and motivate individuals to take control of their own health and reach their ultimate health goals.