Hippocrates said, “All health begins in the gut.” I have to agree, so many of our health issues stem from digestive or gut issues. My functional nutrition teacher Josh Gitalis always says, it’s not just you are what you eat, but it’s what you eat, digest, absorb and assimilate. Supporting our digestive health through food and herbs can have a big impact on our overall health and wellness.
Peppermint – Supports digestion, reduces gas, bloating and intestinal spasms *Do not use if you have a gastric ulcer. If you are planting any mint, I highly advise that you do so in a container. It will over run everything within a garden if left to its own devices.
Fennel – Relieves gas and bloating. If you do not like black licorice you may not like fennel, the taste is more pronounced when raw. When cooked the flavor is lessened and you can use the leaves, which are even more mild.
Slippery Elm powder – (this is a large tree, not meant for kitchen gardens, best bought from a trusted herbal supplier) – Acts as a prebiotic, soothes the digestive tract, helps with diarrhea and can help with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease). I debated adding this because it is a tree, but it’s help with digestion is too good to not mention.
Marshmallow root – (harvest after the 2nd or 3rd year)- soothes digestive tract through its mucilaginous effect. Think of wet chia seeds and that gel like coating, it is very much the same and so soothing and helpful for your gut.
Ginger – Supports the digestive tract, helps with nausea and vomiting, anti-inflammatory, anti spasmodic, helps get digestive juices flowing. My mom has said my great grandmother who was considered to be a medicine woman carried a satchel around her neck with a piece of dried ginger in it in case she had any stomach problems.
Licorice – Soothes the digestive tract and inhibits infections through its anti-viral and anti-microbial compounds. It is an anti-inflammatory and may work as a prebiotic.
Cinnamon – Ceylon cinnamon (true cinnamon) slows gastric emptying (how long it takes food to leave the stomach).
Dill – Helps with gas and loss of appetite.
Basil – Is anti-inflammatory, which can help soothe the digestive tract.
Lemon Balm – Helps with gas, bloating, vomiting and general upset stomach.
Dandelion – Young leaves act as a digestive bitter helping to stimulate digestion, considered a spring tonic, acts as a prebiotic to help your microbiome.
Chamomile – Soothes the stomach, is used to help with gas and nausea. (Technically a flower)
Rosemary – soothes digestion, gas and bloating.
Knowing which herbs that help digestion can help us plan what herbs to grow within or near our kitchen gardens. Most of these we can grow ourselves, some you will want to purchase from a trusted herbal supplier. I have bought quality herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs and suggest them if you are looking to buy herbs within the US. You can always look for local sellers in your area. You can easily add these herbs to teas, elixirs, smoothies use as a garnish to soups, salads or main dishes. *Always properly identify herbs before using.
If you are interested in starting your own herb garden and need help through coaching or a consultation book here: Garden Coaching