Jillian Gileis a guest blogger for An Apple a Day and a writer on earning your nursing degree for the Guide to Health Education.
When we are at home, comfy in our modern lifestyles, we are all too quick to reach for chemical relief for our problems. Headache? We reach for aspirin. Stomachache? Its Pepto-Bismol or Tums. However, all these cures have a basis in herbal remedies. When we start feeling sick out in nature, we might not have those over-the-counter drugs handy—but we have something even better—nature itself. Here are some cures for common upset stomach symptoms that we can easly find when out in nature.
- Dandelion—nature’s most prolific weed. This humble plant is considered the bane of the suburbs, and a lot of time and effort is spent trying to eradicate it. However, dandelions are a great source for Vitamins A, C, beta-carotene, potassium, iron, and copper. This makes the plant perfect for soothing upset stomachs. A tea brewed from the leaf and roots will help with indigestion, kidney problems, and constipation.
- Chamomile. This plant isn’t just for trying to relax. Teas made with the flowers of this plant also ease cramps, diarrhea, indigestion, nausea, and disgestion problems caused by stress (because it helps you relax). Chamomile does grow in the wild and is probably right under your feet when you’re hiking and you didn’t even notice. It is a low, scrubby plant with white, daisy-like flowers. It is most notable for the sweet, pineapple-y scent when it is crushed.
- St. John’s Wort will cheer up your mind and body. This herb is mostly known for it’s use in treating mild depression and seasonal anxiety disorders. However, brewing a tea with the leaves and flowers can also soothe your stomach, from mild nauseau to uclers. St. John’s Wort actually grows wild throughout the U.S. The plant grows in spear shaped bunches of five-petalled, yellow flowers. Beware, if you are taking other prescription drugs, St. John’s Wort has been known to interfere with their absorption.
- Yarrow. This herb, like many other natural remedies, is often frowned upon as a weed. Yarrow looks a lot like the more common (though introduced) Queen Anne’s Lace, althought yarrow leaves are more feathery. Teas made with yarrow leaves soothe the stomach, and their antiseptic purposes are good for soothing upset stomachs and kidney problems.
- Fennel. This short, shrubby plant often makes its appearance in recipes more than herbal cures. It is native to the Mediterranean, although it has been introduced around the world (mostly through herb gardens) and now can be found in dry areas, sea coasts, and river banks. It can be recognized by its star shaped bunches of flowers and its strong aromatic smell. Teas made from the leaves have traditionally been used to sooth hiccups and freshen the breath, although evidence now supports the fact that it eases nausea, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and purifies the kidneys.
- Mint for fresh breath and fresh stomachs. A wide variety of mint plants grow wild throughout the world. Chances are when you are out in nature you will stumble across one type of mint plant or another. Mint teas, brewed with the leaves, are popular not only for their taste, but because they ease digestion and soothe upset stomachs. Peppermint, which contains the most of the aromatic oils that soothe stomachs, is the best to use when you’re not feeling well, but in a pinch any mint will do.
It can be miserable to feel sick when you’re out in the wild and far away from your local pharmacy, but keep in mind that nature will also be there to help you.