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How A Registered Herbalist Deals With Post-Meal Bloat & Discomfort

Hannah Frye
Author:
November 01, 2023
Hannah Frye
Assistant Beauty & Health Editor
By Hannah Frye
Assistant Beauty & Health Editor
Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including health, wellness, sustainability, personal development, and more.
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Image by Daniel Kim Photography / Stocksy
November 01, 2023
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Post-meal bloating sucks. Apart from the blatant discomfort that comes along with it, an upset stomach can ruin the rest of your day and even prevent you from falling asleep if it happens after your last meal.

So, it's safe to say that having a de-bloat tool kit at the ready can come in handy. Here's what herbalist Rachelle Robinett, R.H., recommends keeping in yours: 

First, try carminative herbs

There are countless types of medicinal herbs, but perhaps the best type to consider for bloating is carminatives, Robinett notes. 

"These herbs help relax muscles in the digestive tract1 to relieve gas and bloating. All have additional benefits (which is true of every herb) ranging from digestion improving to gut healing, microbiome rebalancing, and more," she explains.

Below, some of the carminatives Robinett frequently reaches for in her practice: 

Consider utilizing these herbs in the form of teas or tinctures for both pre- and post-meal digestion support.

Next, opt for digestive bitters 

Sometimes, chronic bloating can be caused by low stomach acid, a deficiency also known as hypochlorhydria2, Robinett says. 

"One symptom is often heartburn, which again leads people to misinterpret it as too much stomach acid (and then to start taking antacids, further worsening the problem)," she adds. So if antacids never work for you, this could be why. 

Instead, she recommends digestive bitters such as gentian and artichoke leaf, dandelion and burdock roots, mugwort, and wormwood. 

"These herbs help stimulate our natural digestive processes, which enhances absorption, eases gas and bloating, [and] encourages normal motility," Robinett explains. 

You can also incorporate bitter vegetables (think broccoli rabe, arugula, mustard greens, etc.) into your meal for extra support. Or, if you're looking for a ready-made bitter tincture or tea, Robinett recommends HRBLS Digestness (her herbal remedy brand), Traditional Medicinals Belly Comfort Peppermint Tea, and Apothekary Never Been Bitter tincture—all of which combine bitter herbs and carminatives. 

Finally, practice mindful eating

Occasional bloating happens to the best of us, but chronic discomfort every time you eat may be a sign that something is off. If you've ruled out underlying gut health issues, it could come down to how you're eating your meal.

"Most often, it's what we're eating, or how (too fast, while stressed, on the go, etc.). So, before looking for any herbs to remedy the situation, we want to know what's creating it, and therefore what we're actually treating," she notes. 

As a rule of thumb, try to practice mindful eating—put your phone down, schedule adequate time for meals, and try to take a few deep breaths before the start of your meal. It may seem unnecessary, but research confirms that mindful eating can encourage better digestion3.

If you just can't beat consistent bloat, consult your health care provider. There may be something going on behind the scenes that you'll need to address for truly optimized digestion. 

The takeaway

Registered herbalist Rachelle Robinett recommends enlisting the help of carminative herbs and digestive bitters to beat post-meal bloat. No matter what your remedy is, consider mindful eating an essential step in this process as well. Here, even more remedies for bloating to consider

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