Herbs and Supplements to Reduce Bloating
There are many herbs and supplements that can reduce bloating and may even help to address the underlying causes. Here are a few:
- Probiotics – these are beneficial bacteria that can help to normalise bowel function. However, if there is a build up of bacteria in the small intestine that shouldn’t be there (as in SIBO) then it may be advisable to avoid probiotics until that is dealt with.
- Saccharmyces Boulardii – a probiotic yeast that can help to reduce the growth of undesirable organisms in the gut.
- Anti-microbial herbs and spices – there are various herbs and spices that may help to reduce the growth of undesirable organisms. These include allicin (from garlic), cinnamon, berberine, artemesia, black walnut hulls, grapefruit seed extract, thyme, oregano and cloves. These herbs and spices can be used in recipes but supplements often contain concentrated doses of the active part of the herb or spice that can have a more potent effect.
- Digestive herbs and spices – there are many herbs that can aid digestion including fennel, chamomile, parsley, mint, ginger and caraway. Swedish bitters can be taken before meals to stimulate digestive function.
- Ginger – gets a special mention as it stimulates the migrating motor complex thus aiding the movement of food through the gut. A herbal combination called Iberogast may also help to stimulate the migrating motor complex.
- Diuretic herbs – if bloating is caused by water retention try dandelion or nettle tea for their diuretic effects.
- Digestive enzymes – taking digestive enzymes before meals may aid the digestive process. If lactose intolerance is a problem it is possible to take the enzyme lactase for occasional indulgence in dairy products. However, it is not advisable to eat foods that your body cannot digest too often.
- Betaine hydrochloride – having sufficient acid in the stomach is vital for proper digestion. Many people take antacids to relieve digestion but this may exacerbate digestive problems in the long term. Betaine hydrochloride can be taken as a supplement with meals to aid the break down of protein in the stomach.
See posts on Causes of Bloating and Dietary and Lifestyle Strategies to Reduce Bloating.
If bloating is persistent it is worth talking to a practitioner and possibly getting tested so that supplements can be targetted to address the underlying causes.