The Top 5 Best Herbs for Digestion & IBS

by | Jan 23, 2018 | Digestion, Herbal Medicine

I love herbal medicine. I’ve really grown to appreciate the many diverse benefits and uses of herbs over the years, especially for digestion!
Having a sensitive gut myself, I’ve come to know each of these 5 herbs very well and just how wonderful they are. Whether you have IBS or you’re just looking for some ways to support digestion, I highly recommend keeping these stocked up in your pantry!
I’m personally a big tea drinker. All 5 of these herbs can be taken as such, or in capsule, tincture, powder, used fresh in cooking, or cut and sifted in bulk to be brewed yourself!

The Top 5 Best Herbs for Digestion & IBS



Peppermint is a classic for digestion; you may have even guessed I’d be mentioning this one! I never used to be a fan of anything minty, but I can now safely say I’ve acquired a taste for it.
Peppermint is a carminative which means it helps to expel gas in the intestines and reduce bloating. Peppermint is also antispasmodic making it great for intestinal spasms, cramping, or abdominal pain. Irritable bowels tend to respond well to peppermint.
I enjoy peppermint in the morning, but it’s also great at the end of the day, or throughout the day after meals.


Just like peppermint, fennel is a carminative which makes it particularly great for bloating. In fact, fennel is one of the #1 herbs I recommend for bloating!
If you like the taste of black licorice, then you’ll love fennel. I can’t say I’m a fan of its taste, but I suck it up and drink it anyways because I love how soothing it feels when I drink it. It’s great after a meal or in the afternoon!

Slippery Elm

Slippery elm is a fantastic herb for digestion and has some very impressive benefits, including its mucilaginous content. Mucilage is a soothing polysaccharide that’s slimy, goopy, totally weird but also amazing, and helps to:
  • Heal and soothe mucus membranes and intestinal lining
  • Reduce inflammation; great for inflammatory conditions
  • Supports immune system
  • Promotes healthy intestinal flora
  • Great for both constipation and diarrhea
I personally use slippery elm in powder form and I enjoy it as a “gruel”. Slippery Elm Gruel is basically a slimy, porridge-like (dare I say, “mucus-like”?) recipe that consists of slippery elm powder and hot water. Here’s how to make it:
Slippery Elm Gruel
  • 2 tbsp slippery elm powder
  • 1/4-1/2 cup boiling water
  • toppings as desired: cinnamon, maple syrup, fruit, etc.
Mix all ingredients together until you create a goopy but strangely comforting bowl of weirdness.

Marshmallow Root

Just like slippery elm, marshmallow root contains mucilage. It’s not only great for helping to facilitate the healing of our gut lining, but it’s also anti-bacterial, great for urinary and kidney health, and sore throats!
Marshmallow root is also useful for indigestion or heartburn. According to Dr. Axe:
It coats the inside of the stomach and prevents acid from causing discomfort and “burning.” (6)
If you haven’t before made your own homemade marshmallows as a treat, you should give them a try! Check out this 4-ingredient gut-healing marshmallow recipe from my friend Cassandra.


Ginger is incredible for digestion. It has many functions and is pretty much anti-everything: it’s anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, and it’s anti-emetic which means it helps to prevent nausea and vomiting. It contains active constituents that help stop food from coming up, and it also helps to regulate gastrointestinal motility and rhythmic contractions. It’s a pretty powerful food if I do say so myself! #plantpower
Ginger is great as a tea (with lemon, too!) but it’s also excellent to cook with. Grate it fresh or use it powdered in stir fries, smoothies, and salad dressings.
For additional ways to soothe digestion, make your own concoction by mixing any of these herbs mentioned together and drinking as a tea!

Have you used any of these herbs? Which one is your favourite for digestion? Leave me a comment below!

by Meghan Livingstone

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  1. Marisa

    I stumbled upon your website in search of some type of relief from my stomach discomfort. I have all the classic symptoms of IBS. Right now I am taking a probiotic, celery juice in the morning, peppermint tea and marshmallow root capsules. I haven’t had any significant relief. I’m starting to read a lot about a FODMAP free diet. Is there anything else you can recommend for the discomfort (bloating, spasms, urgency) while my body gets used to these new foods and herbal supplements?

    • Meghan

      Hi Marisa. The Low FODMAP diet is extremely helpful for many, including myself. I’d rule out any other underlying issues with your doctor because bloating, spasms and urgency can be related to specific foods you may be eating (dairy, greasy foods, etc.) The herbs/supplements you’re taking sound great! Let me know how Low FODMAP goes if you explore it.


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I’m a Certified Holistic Nutritionist with a passion for simple living, digestive wellness, and all things healthy and natural. I’m here to inspire you to live a life you love living.