By Marsha McCulloch, MS, RD
If your abdomen sometimes feels swollen and uncomfortable, you’re not alone. Bloating affects 20–30% of people (1).
Traditionally, people have used natural remedies, including herbal teas, to relieve bloating. Preliminary studies suggest that several herbal teas may help soothe this uncomfortable condition (5).
Here are 8 herbal teas to help reduce bloating.
Test-tube and animal studies suggest that plant compounds called flavonoids found in peppermint may inhibit the activity of mast cells. These are immune system cells that are abundant in your gut and sometimes contribute to bloating (7, 8).
Animal studies also show that peppermint relaxes the gut, which may relieve intestinal spasms — as well as the bloating and pain that can accompany them (7).
Peppermint tea hasn’t been tested for bloating. However, one study found that a single tea bag supplied six times more peppermint oil than a serving of peppermint leaf capsules. Therefore, peppermint tea may be quite potent (10).
You can buy single-ingredient peppermint tea or find it in tea blends formulated for stomach comfort.
To make the tea, add 1 tablespoon (1.5 grams) of dried peppermint leaves, 1 tea bag, or 3 tablespoons (17 grams) of fresh peppermint leaves to 1 cup (240 ml) of boiled water. Let it steep for 10 minutes before straining.
Test-tube, animal, and human studies suggest that flavonoids and oil in peppermint may relieve bloating. Thus, peppermint tea may have similar effects.
2. Lemon Balm
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) tea has a lemony scent and flavor — along with hints of mint, as the plant is in the mint family.
Lemon balm is a key ingredient in Iberogast, a liquid supplement for digestion that contains nine different herbal extracts and is available in North America, Europe, and other regions, as well as online.
However, lemon balm or its tea hasn’t been tested alone for its effects on digestive issues in people. More research is needed.
To make the tea, steep 1 tablespoon (3 grams) of dried lemon balm leaves — or 1 tea bag — in 1 cup (240 ml) of boiled water for 10 minutes.
Traditionally, lemon balm tea has been used for bloating and gas. Lemon balm is also one of nine herbs in a liquid supplement shown effective for digestive issues. Human studies of lemon balm tea are needed to confirm its gut benefits.
Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) is a leafy, green herb that makes a bitter tea. It’s an acquired taste, but you can soften the flavor with lemon juice and honey.
Due to its bitterness, wormwood is sometimes used in digestive bitters. These are supplements made of bitter herbs and spices that may help support digestion (17).
Human studies suggest that 1-gram capsules of dried wormwood may prevent or relieve indigestion or discomfort in your upper abdomen. This herb promotes the release of digestive juices, which can help optimize healthy digestion and decrease bloating (17).
Animal and test-tube studies report that wormwood may also kill parasites, which can be a culprit in bloating (18).
However, wormwood tea itself hasn’t been tested for anti-bloating effects. More research is necessary.
To make the tea, use 1 teaspoon (1.5 grams) of the dried herb per cup (240 ml) of boiled water, steeping for 5 minutes.
Wormwood tea may stimulate the release of digestive juices, which may help relieve bloating and digestive issues. That said, human studies are needed.
Ginger tea is made from the thick roots of the Zingiber officinale plant and has been used for stomach-related ailments since ancient times (19).
Notably, these studies were done with liquid extracts or capsules rather than tea. While more research is needed, the beneficial compounds in ginger — such as gingerols — are also present in its tea (22).
To make tea, use 1/4–1/2 teaspoon (0.5‒1.0 grams) of coarsely powdered, dried ginger root (or 1 tea bag) per cup (240 ml) of boiled water. Steep for 5 minutes.
Alternately, use 1 tablespoon (6 grams) of fresh, sliced ginger per cup (240 ml) of water and boil for 10 minutes, then strain.
Ginger tea has a spicy flavor, which you can soften with honey and lemon.
Studies suggest that ginger supplements may relieve nausea, bloating, and gas. Ginger tea may offer similar benefits, but human studies are needed.
The seeds of fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) are used to make tea and taste similar to licorice.
Fennel has traditionally been used for digestive disorders, including abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and constipation (23).
Constipation is another contributing factor in some cases of bloating. Therefore, relieving sluggish bowels — one of fennel’s potential health effects — may also resolve bloating (1).
When nursing-home residents with chronic constipation drank 1 daily serving of an herbal tea blend made with fennel seeds, they had an average of 4 more bowel movements over 28 days than those drinking a placebo (25).
Still, human studies of fennel tea alone are needed to confirm its digestive benefits.
If you don’t want to use tea bags, you can buy fennel seeds and crush them for tea. Measure 1–2 teaspoons (2–5 grams) of seeds per cup (240 ml) of boiled water. Steep for 10–15 minutes.
Preliminary evidence suggests that fennel tea may protect against factors that increase bloating risk, including constipation and ulcers. Human studies of fennel tea are needed to confirm these effects.
6. Gentian Root
Gentian root comes from the Gentiana lutea plant, which bears yellow flowers and has thick roots.
The tea may initially taste sweet, but a bitter taste follows. Some people prefer it mixed with chamomile tea and honey.
Traditionally, gentian root has been used in medicinal products and herbal teas formulated to aid bloating, gas, and other digestive issues (26).
Additionally, gentian root extract is used in digestive bitters. Gentian contains bitter plant compounds — including iridoids and flavonoids — that stimulate the release of digestive juices and bile to help break down food, which may relieve bloating (17, 27, 28).
Still, the tea hasn’t been tested in humans — and it’s not advised if you have an ulcer, as it can increase stomach acidity. Thus, more research is needed (28).
To make the tea, use 1/4–1/2 teaspoon (1–2 grams) of dried gentian root per cup (240 ml) of boiled water. Steep for 10 minutes.
Gentian root contains bitter plant compounds that may support good digestion and relieve bloating and gas. Human studies are needed to confirm these benefits.
Chamomile (Chamomillae romanae) is a member of the daisy family. The herb’s small, white flowers look like miniature daisies.
Still, human studies of chamomile tea are needed to confirm its digestive benefits.
To make this pleasant, slightly sweet tea, pour 1 cup (240 ml) of boiled water over 1 tablespoon (2–3 grams) of dried chamomile (or 1 tea bag) and steep for 10 minutes.
In traditional medicine, chamomile has been used for indigestion, gas, and nausea. Preliminary studies suggest that the herb may fight ulcers and abdominal pain, but human studies are needed.
8. Angelica Root
This tea is made from roots of the Angelica archangelica plant, a member of the celery family. The herb has a bitter flavor but tastes better when steeped with lemon balm tea.
Angelica root extract is used in Iberogast and other herbal digestive products. The herb’s bitter components may stimulate digestive juices to promote healthy digestion (34).
Overall, more human research with this root is needed.
Some sources claim that angelica root shouldn’t be used during pregnancy, as there isn’t enough information on its safety. You should always consult your doctor before using any herb during pregnancy or while breastfeeding to ensure proper care (35).
A typical serving of angelica tea is 1 teaspoon (2.5 grams) of the dried root per cup (240 ml) of boiled water. Steep for 5 minutes.
Angelica root contains bitter compounds that may stimulate the release of digestive juices. Human studies are needed to confirm whether its tea has anti-bloating benefits.
The Bottom Line
Traditional medicine suggests that several herbal teas may reduce abdominal bloating and relieve digestive upset.
For example, peppermint, lemon balm, and wormwood are used in digestive products that have shown preliminary benefits against bloating. Still, human studies are needed on individual teas themselves.
That said, herbal tea is a simple, natural remedy you can try for bloating and other digestive issues.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.