Tea Of The Month: Tea For Digestion (Herbalist Approved)
Tea blends have been used in herbal medicine to address various health concerns and support healing through the complimentary use of herbs. This herbal tea for digestion is a custom blend of five herbs for digestion that have been used to for centuries to enhance digestion and promote stress reduction.
Today tea is the worlds most popular beverage (second only to water) with billions of cups consumed around the world everyday. While coffee lovers may be shocked to learn that their favorite caffeinated beverage comes in behind tea in popularity, this really isn’t all that surprising given the long history that tea has, spreading across countless cultures over thousands of years.
This is what makes tea such an incredible resource for connecting various cultures and traditions, especially in regards to holistic herbal practices that use tea as a form of healing. While many holistic healing modalities can feel very foreign or unaccessible, the practice of using tea as a complimentary way to support wellness is ancient, and is something that billions of people around the world can have access to in a way that feels natural and instinctual within their specific culture.
This is in essence what drew me to studying herbalism and herbal medicine, because the capacity that herbalism has to improve the health and well-being of people around the world is unparalleled. Because herbalism is rooted in an intrinsic connection between plants and humans/animals, it is one of the oldest known healing modalities, and one of the few healing modalities that can reach most of the worlds population.
So to celebrate the wonderful overlapping history of tea and herbalism I decided to create a “tea of the month” series where I will share various herbal tea blends (or tisanes) that can be incorporated into everyday life for healing benefits, but also can be used as a means of connecting you with nature.
Herbal Tea For Digestion
To kick this tea of the month series off I wanted to address one of my favorite tea blends and a common concern that I hear from so many people, which is digestive upset.
While digestive issues can be caused from a wide variety of reasons (and chronic digestive issues should absolutely be addressed with your doctor or dietitian), I have found that many digestive issues stem from some form of stress, which is why understanding the gut-brain connection is so important. Because no herbs for digestion are going to make a significant impact if you aren’t also addressing your stress levels.
This is because your brain and digestive system are closely connected and are constantly in communication with one another through both the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system is your body’s “rest and digest” mode that allows your body to properly relax and digest food.
On the other hand your sympathetic nervous system is what is commonly referred to as your “fight or flight” response. It is what prepares your body for any immediate threat. It moves blood into your extremities to prepare your body to able to run or fight, and takes energy away from your digestive system effectively shutting down your digestion.
So what do these two systems have to do with your digestive issues? Well if you are constantly feeling stressed (which many are today) your body is finding itself in its sympathetic nervous system, which over time can impact your digestion, the balance of your gut bacteria, and your overall health.
For these reasons and many more I love using herbal tea for digestion because it does provide herbal support that can reduce symptoms, but the process of making and sipping tea is also a very calming and therapeutic process that I believe can help address the stress component that is often associated with chronic digestive issues.
Herbs For Digestion
There are many herbs for digestion that can be used when creating tea blends, which is why I love to provide some insight on what each herb can be used for so that you can determine for yourself what herbs you may want to use when making your own tea blends. For this particular tea for digestion, I decided to go with the following herbs that address a few of the mot common issues associated with poor digestion and are also helpful for calming the nervous system, which as we now know is essential for good gut health.
Dandelion (taraxacum officinale)
Dandelion, which is most commonly thought of as a weed that grows in on your lawn or in your garden is actually one of the most powerful herb for digestion. This is because dandelion is known to be a bitter, nutritive herb, which can stimulate digestive function and detoxification via the liver by increasing bile production and excretion.
Chamomile is a beautiful yellow flower that is often used for its essential oil and calming benefits. Chamomile is an excellent herb for treating nausea, indigestion, and cramping as well as relieving stress and anxiety.
Cornflower is a beautiful blue flower that can be used stimulate and improve digestion. The seeds of the cornflower have been used as a mild laxative for children and can also be used as a topical treatment to calm irritated skin/heal wounds.
Marshmallow is often used as a protective and soothing herb, which is what makes marshmallow a great herb for digestion. Marshmallow is particularly helpful for addressing IBS, acid reflux, and gastritis.
You have probably used ginger in cooking recipes before, but ginger can also be used for making a tea for digestion. Ginger contains protein digesting enzymes and can help relieve bloating, gas, and nausea.
the best tea for digestion and gut health
4 tsp dried dandelion leaf root
3 tsp dried chamomile
2 tsp dried cornflower
2 tsp dried marshmallow
1 tsp fresh ginger root
Optional: 1 tsp raw honey
Combine all herbs together in a small jar and shake until well combined.
Scoop four teaspoons of the herb mixture into a tea diffuser and pour boiling water over the tea.
Allow to steep for 5 minutes and then sweeten with honey if desired. Sip slowly, and enjoy.
If storing your tea opt for dried ginger or simply grate fresh ginger into your tea blend immediately before steeping.
I always recommend sourcing your herbs for your herbal tea blends locally whenever possible. However, if you would like to source your herbs online check out this post for a guide to what to look for when sourcing herbs and my favorite online bulk spice and herb suppliers.