8 Herbal Teas to Help Reduce Bloating
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.
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By Eric Tate and Christopher Emrich
Disasters stemming from hazards like floods, wildfires, and disease often garner attention because of their extreme conditions and heavy societal impacts. Although the nature of the damage may vary, major disasters are alike in that socially vulnerable populations often experience the worst repercussions. For example, we saw this following Hurricanes Katrina and Harvey, each of which generated widespread physical damage and outsized impacts to low-income and minority survivors.
Mapping Social Vulnerability<p>Figure 1a is a typical map of social vulnerability across the United States at the census tract level based on the Social Vulnerability Index (SoVI) algorithm of <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1540-6237.8402002" target="_blank"><em>Cutter et al.</em></a> . Spatial representation of the index depicts high social vulnerability regionally in the Southwest, upper Great Plains, eastern Oklahoma, southern Texas, and southern Appalachia, among other places. With such a map, users can focus attention on select places and identify population characteristics associated with elevated vulnerabilities.</p>
Fig. 1. (a) Social vulnerability across the United States at the census tract scale is mapped here following the Social Vulnerability Index (SoVI). Red and pink hues indicate high social vulnerability. (b) This bivariate map depicts social vulnerability (blue hues) and annualized per capita hazard losses (pink hues) for U.S. counties from 2010 to 2019.<p>Many current indexes in the United States and abroad are direct or conceptual offshoots of SoVI, which has been widely replicated [e.g., <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13753-016-0090-9" target="_blank"><em>de Loyola Hummell et al.</em></a>, 2016]. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) <a href="https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/placeandhealth/svi/index.html" target="_blank">has also developed</a> a commonly used social vulnerability index intended to help local officials identify communities that may need support before, during, and after disasters.</p><p>The first modeling and mapping efforts, starting around the mid-2000s, largely focused on describing spatial distributions of social vulnerability at varying geographic scales. Over time, research in this area came to emphasize spatial comparisons between social vulnerability and physical hazards [<a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-009-9376-1" target="_blank"><em>Wood et al.</em></a>, 2010], modeling population dynamics following disasters [<a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11111-008-0072-y" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Myers et al.</em></a>, 2008], and quantifying the robustness of social vulnerability measures [<a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-012-0152-2" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Tate</em></a>, 2012].</p><p>More recent work is beginning to dissolve barriers between social vulnerability and environmental justice scholarship [<a href="https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2018.304846" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Chakraborty et al.</em></a>, 2019], which has traditionally focused on root causes of exposure to pollution hazards. Another prominent new research direction involves deeper interrogation of social vulnerability drivers in specific hazard contexts and disaster phases (e.g., before, during, after). Such work has revealed that interactions among drivers are important, but existing case studies are ill suited to guiding development of new indicators [<a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijdrr.2015.09.013" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Rufat et al.</em></a>, 2015].</p><p>Advances in geostatistical analyses have enabled researchers to characterize interactions more accurately among social vulnerability and hazard outcomes. Figure 1b depicts social vulnerability and annualized per capita hazard losses for U.S. counties from 2010 to 2019, facilitating visualization of the spatial coincidence of pre‑event susceptibilities and hazard impacts. Places ranked high in both dimensions may be priority locations for management interventions. Further, such analysis provides invaluable comparisons between places as well as information summarizing state and regional conditions.</p><p>In Figure 2, we take the analysis of interactions a step further, dividing counties into two categories: those experiencing annual per capita losses above or below the national average from 2010 to 2019. The differences among individual race, ethnicity, and poverty variables between the two county groups are small. But expressing race together with poverty (poverty attenuated by race) produces quite different results: Counties with high hazard losses have higher percentages of both impoverished Black populations and impoverished white populations than counties with low hazard losses. These county differences are most pronounced for impoverished Black populations.</p>
Fig. 2. Differences in population percentages between counties experiencing annual per capita losses above or below the national average from 2010 to 2019 for individual and compound social vulnerability indicators (race and poverty).<p>Our current work focuses on social vulnerability to floods using geostatistical modeling and mapping. The research directions are twofold. The first is to develop hazard-specific indicators of social vulnerability to aid in mitigation planning [<a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-020-04470-2" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Tate et al.</em></a>, 2021]. Because natural hazards differ in their innate characteristics (e.g., rate of onset, spatial extent), causal processes (e.g., urbanization, meteorology), and programmatic responses by government, manifestations of social vulnerability vary across hazards.</p><p>The second is to assess the degree to which socially vulnerable populations benefit from the leading disaster recovery programs [<a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/17477891.2019.1675578" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Emrich et al.</em></a>, 2020], such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) <a href="https://www.fema.gov/individual-disaster-assistance" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Individual Assistance</a> program and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) <a href="https://www.hudexchange.info/programs/cdbg-dr/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Disaster Recovery</a> program. Both research directions posit social vulnerability indicators as potential measures of social equity.</p>
Social Vulnerability as a Measure of Equity<p>Given their focus on social marginalization and economic barriers, social vulnerability indicators are attracting growing scientific interest as measures of inequity resulting from disasters. Indeed, social vulnerability and inequity are related concepts. Social vulnerability research explores the differential susceptibilities and capacities of disaster-affected populations, whereas social equity analyses tend to focus on population disparities in the allocation of resources for hazard mitigation and disaster recovery. Interventions with an equity focus emphasize full and equal resource access for all people with unmet disaster needs.</p><p>Yet newer studies of inequity in disaster programs have documented troubling disparities in income, race, and home ownership among those who <a href="https://eos.org/articles/equity-concerns-raised-in-federal-flood-property-buyouts" target="_blank">participate in flood buyout programs</a>, are <a href="https://www.eenews.net/stories/1063477407" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">eligible for postdisaster loans</a>, receive short-term recovery assistance [<a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijdrr.2020.102010" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Drakes et al.</em></a>, 2021], and have <a href="https://www.texastribune.org/2020/08/25/texas-natural-disasters--mental-health/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">access to mental health services</a>. For example, a recent analysis of federal flood buyouts found racial privilege to be infused at multiple program stages and geographic scales, resulting in resources that disproportionately benefit whiter and more urban counties and neighborhoods [<a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/2378023120905439" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Elliott et al.</em></a>, 2020].</p><p>Investments in disaster risk reduction are largely prioritized on the basis of hazard modeling, historical impacts, and economic risk. Social equity, meanwhile, has been far less integrated into the considerations of public agencies for hazard and disaster management. But this situation may be beginning to shift. Following the adage of "what gets measured gets managed," social equity metrics are increasingly being inserted into disaster management.</p><p>At the national level, FEMA has <a href="https://www.fema.gov/news-release/20200220/fema-releases-affordability-framework-national-flood-insurance-program" target="_blank">developed options</a> to increase the affordability of flood insurance [Federal Emergency Management Agency, 2018]. At the subnational scale, Puerto Rico has integrated social vulnerability into its CDBG Mitigation Action Plan, expanding its considerations of risk beyond only economic factors. At the local level, Harris County, Texas, has begun using social vulnerability indicators alongside traditional measures of flood risk to introduce equity into the prioritization of flood mitigation projects [<a href="https://www.hcfcd.org/Portals/62/Resilience/Bond-Program/Prioritization-Framework/final_prioritization-framework-report_20190827.pdf?ver=2019-09-19-092535-743" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Harris County Flood Control District</em></a>, 2019].</p><p>Unfortunately, many existing measures of disaster equity fall short. They may be unidimensional, using single indicators such as income in places where underlying vulnerability processes suggest that a multidimensional measure like racialized poverty (Figure 2) would be more valid. And criteria presumed to be objective and neutral for determining resource allocation, such as economic loss and cost-benefit ratios, prioritize asset value over social equity. For example, following the <a href="http://www.cedar-rapids.org/discover_cedar_rapids/flood_of_2008/2008_flood_facts.php" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2008 flooding</a> in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, cost-benefit criteria supported new flood protections for the city's central business district on the east side of the Cedar River but not for vulnerable populations and workforce housing on the west side.</p><p>Furthermore, many equity measures are aspatial or ahistorical, even though the roots of marginalization may lie in systemic and spatially explicit processes that originated long ago like redlining and urban renewal. More research is thus needed to understand which measures are most suitable for which social equity analyses.</p>
Challenges for Disaster Equity Analysis<p>Across studies that quantify, map, and analyze social vulnerability to natural hazards, modelers have faced recurrent measurement challenges, many of which also apply in measuring disaster equity (Table 1). The first is clearly establishing the purpose of an equity analysis by defining characteristics such as the end user and intended use, the type of hazard, and the disaster stage (i.e., mitigation, response, or recovery). Analyses using generalized indicators like the CDC Social Vulnerability Index may be appropriate for identifying broad areas of concern, whereas more detailed analyses are ideal for high-stakes decisions about budget allocations and project prioritization.</p>
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