Abdominal inflammation and bloating are two very common digestive issues. If you suffer from these two symptoms, you are not alone! Easing these symptoms can take time but implementing Happy Tummy Practices, as I call them, can help you on your way to loosen their grip on you. While there are many causes for these symptoms, like diet, food intolerances, and even an undiagnosed digestive disorder, here are four natural remedies that can help an unsettled stomach and reduce inflammation and bloating.
1. Ginger tea — The fresher the ginger, the better. Cutting up ginger root and putting it in a pot of water to boil can create an excellent ginger tonic. Ginger is used in calming uneasy stomachs, reducing nausea, and aids with digestion. Just add 1–2 tsp of cut-up ginger to a pot of water. Three cups of water is enough for one person, all depending on how much ginger tea you want. Bring the ginger and water to a boil and reduce the heat to low for 5 mins. If you want a stronger tonic, boil it for longer. For a weaker tonic, boil it for a shorter amount of time.
2. Slippery Elm tea — Slippery Elm is a type of Elm tree whose inner bark has medicinal properties. Its high fiber content absorbs water quickly, which creates a thick gel-like substance that coats the mucosal membranes of the stomach. It also causes the digestive tract to secrete its own mucus, which also helps coat the digestive tract. This coating is helpful for painful digestive disorders. Slippery Elm should not be taken with any medications because it decreases its potency. Speak to your doctor if you consider adding Slippery Elm to your diet.
3. Castor Oil Packs — Castor oil packs are washcloths soaked in castor oil and placed on the skin with a hot water bottle or a heating pad placed on them. Castor oil packs are used to reduce abdominal inflammation and, in some cases, constipation. The heat applied to the castor oil pack helps drive the oil into the skin and helps relieve inflammation. Directions for how to do a castor oil pack are at the end.
4. Breathwork — Diaphragmatic breathing has been shown to stimulate the vagus nerve, calming the nervous system. When we have high amounts of stress in our lives, we can see an increased amount of cortisol. Cortisol is one of the leading stress hormones that cause stomach fat. By disengaging our stress response and engaging our relaxation response, we can drastically reduce inflammation.
Castor oil pack directions (pointing down)
What you’ll need:
1. Castor oil, at least 8–16 ounces
2. Large bowl
3. 1 washcloth
4. Saran wrap
5. Hot water bottle or heating pad
1. Soak your washcloth in castor oil in a large bowl.
2. Apply the castor oil pack to your abdomen.
3. Wrap yourself with your washcloth in saran wrap to create a barrier between the cloth and your hot water bottle or heating pad.
4. Place your hot water bottle/heating pad on top of the wrapped cloth and sit for 45 to 60 mins.
Have a happy tummy!
*Information adapted from https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/herb/slippery-elm and https://www.verywellhealth.com/castor-oil-pack-88242. Visit their websites for more information. And always speak to your doctor before adding anything new into your diet.