From indigestion to constipation, digestion woes can ruin anyone’s day. If you suffer with these issues from time to time, a natural digestion aid may be just what you need to get your body back on track. Our guide to digestion aids will help you find the right products to meet your health and lifestyle needs.
Keep the following in mind as you choose a digestion aid.
If you haven’t changed your eating habits and you’re experiencing new symptoms such as constipation, diarrhea, or heartburn on a regular basis, consult your doctor. These symptoms may signal a more serious health problem.
When selecting a product, consider medications you use and health conditions you have. Consult your doctor or pharmacist if unsure about whether any particular digestion aid is safe for you.
When using multiple products, always compare ingredients to avoid accidentally doubling up on any one particular active ingredient.
Read labels carefully to ensure you pick the right products to meet your particular digestion issues; some products are designed to address several problems at once, others only one issue at a time.
If you are pregnant or nursing, consult your doctor before using digestion aids.
Do not use any products for which a complete ingredient list is not provided.
What they are: Teas to address a particular digestion issue contain an ingredient, or combination of ingredients, such as:
Ginger, fennel, fenugreek, or chamomile for nausea, indigestion, and heartburn (acid reflux)
Peppermint for nausea (good for nausea, but may worsen heartburn)
Parsley or fennel for gas and bloating
Slippery elm or meadow sweet for intestinal discomfort and spasms
Aloe, senna, cascara, or burdock root for constipation
Why to buy: Herbal teas are generally safe and easy to use, offer gentle relief for occasional digestion woes, and are relatively inexpensive.
Things to consider: Teas for constipation can have strong laxative effects in some people; start with a quarter to half cup serving and see how your body responds. Increase the dose as needed to relieve constipation. Pregnant women, people with kidney problems, high blood pressure, or heart disease, or those who are taking diuretic medications should consult their doctor before using digestion teas.
What they are: Natural digestion aids are available in capsule or tablet form and contain many of the same herbs found in digestion aid teas.
Why to buy: Digestion aid capsules are more convenient; they can be carried with you and taken anytime, without the need to boil water to make tea. Capsules may deliver a more concentrated dose of the active ingredient than tea.
Things to consider: As with teas, products for constipation can have strong laxative effects, so start slow and increase the dose only as needed. Consult your doctor or pharmacist before using these products if you are pregnant, or have kidney problems, high blood pressure, or heart disease, or take diuretic medications.