You probably knew this already, but we love herbal tea here at Vivo HQ!
Walk into our office and the first thing you’ll see is a shelf full of the stuff. Not only do they taste great, but they come with a range of amazing health benefits too!
One of the main traditional uses for herbal tea is as an aid to digestion. For thousands of years, tea has been sipped after a meal to help with the assimilation of food. If you ever suffer from bloating or digestive discomfort after a meal, it’s always a good idea to have a few different blends on hand to help.
Whether it’s a ginger tea to stimulate enzyme production or peppermint to soothe the digestive tract, herbal tea can make a massive difference to how you feel after eating. Here are five of our favourite herbal teas to improve digestion and beat the bloat!
#1 - Ginger
In Ayurveda, the ancient Indian art of wellbeing, ginger tea is traditionally consumed before the main meal of the day to ‘ignite the digestive fire.’ Ginger has been shown to stimulate the secretion of digestive enzymes, which help to break food down more efficiently – thus helping to prevent bloating and discomfort after a meal.
Ginger is a fiery herb that has been shown to increase the body’s metabolic rate¹, encouraging healthy transit of food through the digestive system and promoting regular elimination. Along with it’s benefits for digestion, ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory herb that is excellent for the health of our brain, joints and skin.
Try steeping some finely chopped fresh ginger root in hot water for 5 minutes, and drinking it half an hour or so before your main meal. To really get the digestive juices flowing, squeeze in the juice of half a lemon.
#2 - Peppermint
As a natural anti-spasmodic, peppermint tea is ideal for easing bloating and tension in the digestive tract. If you feel a bit heavy or sluggish after a meal, try a small mug of peppermint tea.
As one of the most well researched herbs, there's some good evidence on peppermint's ability to improve digestion. This herb has been clinically studied as a treatment for IBS, and has been shown to significantly reduce abdominal pain in subjects that were tested². It's calming effect on the digestive tract also helps to prevent flatulence, and helps to ease the passage of food through the intestine³.
In Ayurveda, peppermint is traditionally combined with liquorice root (see number 3!) – so try a mug after your meal and see if you notice the difference.
#3 - Liquorice
Liquorice root has a cooling, soothing effect on the digestive system, and has been used since Ancient Greek times as a remedy for digestive discomfort, stomach ulcers and acid reflux. It’s effectiveness is due to the high concentration of anti-inflammatory flavonoids, which help to treat conditions of high stomach acid such as heartburn, acid reflux or GERD. Liquorice is also a mild diuretic, which may help to reduce water retention.
Liquorice tea can be enjoyed at any time of day, either on it’s own or combined with other herbs.
#4 - Fennel
Dating back as far as Ancient Egyptian times, fennel seeds are one of the oldest known remedies for digestion. They are rich in essential oils which help to relax the muscles in the digestive tract, thus providing relief against cramping, bloating and flatulence. Fennel also stimulates bile production, which helps to break down food. Fennel seeds are traditionally chewed after a meal in ancient Egyptian and Indian folklore. They can also be enjoyed in a tea – look our for fennel tea bags in most supermarkets to try it out.
#5 - Chai
Chai is a traditional Indian herbal blend used to boost the immune system and improve digestion. Take a trip to North India and you will find one thousand different recipes for chai; if you can’t, Pukka Herbs' Vanilla Chai Tea is as good as it gets.
Vanilla Chai Tea contains ginger, liquorice and fennel, the benefits of which have all been discussed earlier. Also included is cinnamon, which helps to relieve digestive discomfort4, and cardamom, which can improve the rate at which food moves through the digestive system5. If you’re looking for an all-in-one digestive boosting tea, it doesn’t come much better than a tall, hot mug of chai!
Ready to put the kettle on?