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Herbs and Spices For Gut Health and Digestive Wellness

Updated: Mar 31

Think of Your Spice Rack as a Mini Pharmacy!


Herbs and spices are packed with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients and have been used medicinally for thousands of years. They are nutrient dense AF with mega healing properties. Adding in herbs and spices to your daily routine is an excellent way to increase the nutrient density of any meal and also support optimal digestion. You can include herbs and spices in soups, stews, beverages, sauces, salad dressings & marinades. One of my personal favorite ways is to make tea blends. The ritual of preparing a fresh cup of tea with certain herbs and spices is a grounding, calming and health supporting practice. I'm a Spice Girl.


Over 2,000 years ago, Hippocrates — the father of modern medicine — suggested that all disease begins in the gut. Gut health has a direct impact on your overall health! I always like to say you are not what you eat, you are what you digest. Gut health has a direct impact on digestion, immune function, cognition, sleep, weight management, mood, and overall health.


What is one simple way to support your gut? By incorporating herbs & spices into your daily routine. Below find some specific herbs and spices for gut health and digestive wellness.


Benefits of Herbs & Spices

  • Adds flavor and tastes amazing! Food is meant to be enjoyed.

  • Highly anti inflammatory.

  • Gives your food a characteristic flavor (sweet, salty, pungent, astringent, warming, cooling).

  • Mega health benefits – packed with antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, fiber.

  • Supports digestion, immune function, sleep, hormonal balance, detoxification, brain health, weight management and tissue healing.

  • Spices enable us to optimally digest and assimilate our daily foods.


Below is a list of seven herbs and spices I incorporate into my daily routine to support gut health.


Herbs & Spices to Support Gut Health & Digestive Wellness


Healing Herbs
Healing Herbs

Ginger: The Anti Inflammatory OG / Warming

  • Ginger is a warming spice that helps support digestive health and has been used medicinally for over 3,000 years.

  • Its active component, Gingerol, contains very potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds.

  • Ginger is a remedy for gas, bloating, cramps, nausea and indigestion.

  • It also can stimulate circulation in the body and has antiviral properties.

  • Pro Tip: peel your ginger with a spoon!


Mint: Relieves Indigestion / Cooling

  • Digestive carminitive aka reduces gas and can relieve indigestion.

  • A study found that peppermint oil is an effective treatment in improvement of IBS symptoms, specifically abdominal pain and bloating.

  • Peppermint contains rosmarinic acid, a powerful antioxidant.

  • Cooling to the system.

  • Anti inflammatory and boosts the metabolism.


Oregano: Anti Bacterial, Anti Fungal and Anti Viral


Fennel Seed: Beat the Bloat / Reduce Symptoms of Gas

  • Highly anti inflammatory.

  • It can help the smooth muscles of the gastrointestinal system relax and reduce gas, bloating, and stomach cramps.

  • Tones and strengthens the stomach.

  • In many parts of the world, it's common to eat a little bit of fennel after a meal to aid with digestion and relieve gassiness.

  • Rich in Vitamin C, E & K and minerals magnesium, calcium and potassium!


Cumin: Digestive Support


Coriander Seed: Digestion and Detoxification Support

  • Supports digestion by stimulating digestive enzymes and stomach acid production.

  • Can reduce symptoms of bloating and gas due to fatty acids and volatile oils.

  • Rich in antioxidants.

  • Excellent source of magnesium (aka natures chill pill).

  • Can be chewed as a breath freshener.

  • Fun fact: coriander is the seed of the cilantro plant!


Licorice Root: Soothe the Gut and Reduce GERD Symptoms

  • Also known as "sweet root," licorice root contains a compound that is about 50 times sweeter than sugar – Glycyrrhizic Acid.

  • A demulcent herb that soothes the esophageal and stomach lining.

  • Very supportive to relieve symptoms of heartburn, upset stomach or GERD.

  • Studies have shown that licorice root can help heal ulcers.

  • Contraindicated if you have high blood pressure or are pregnant.



Digestive Supportive Tea

CCF (Cumin, Coriander & Fennel) Tea is an Ayurvedic recipe that has been used for centuries to support the digestive system. When I was on my healing journey I would sip CCF tea throughout the day to soothe my gut, support digestion and reduce bloating.



Cumin Coriander and Fennel Tea

Cumin, Coriander & Fennel Tea


CCF Tea

Inspired by Ayurveda


Ingredients

1 tbs cumin seed

1 tbs coriander seed

1 tbs fennel seed

2 cups water


Preparation

Add in seeds and water

Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat

Boil for 10 minutes, remove from heat

Strain & enjoy

References

Chevallier, Andrew. (2016). The Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. New York, NY: Random House LLC.


Khanna R, MacDonald JK, Levesque BG. Peppermint oil for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2014 Jul;48(6):505-12. doi: 10.1097/MCG.0b013e3182a88357. PMID: 24100754.


Murray MT, Pizzorno JE, Pizzorno L (2006). The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. New York, NY: Atria Books.


Murray, M., Pizzorno, J. (2012). The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. New York, NY: Atria Books.

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