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7 Carminative Herbs and Spices You Should Have at Home

We don’t think twice about how we season our food when it comes to cooking. Herbs are the final touch of a dish, and spices get thrown into our meals for more complexity and flavor. But they are so much more than that. They have incredible healing properties and have been used medicinally since the beginning of time. Today you can find them in many easy-to-use forms like oils, creams, supplements, and of course, raw herbs. They treat a laundry list of ailments, with digestion being the most common. When you’re feeling gassy or queasy, you'll want to look for herbs known as carminatives.

It’s incredible to see how they’ve evolved for our use today. Supplements, skincare products, and tinctures line grocery store shelves and are great options. But let's not forget that the simple form of raw herbs have some of the most extraordinary health benefits.


Carminative Herbs


Understanding Carminatives

Carminatives are herbs and/or spices that move flatulence (gas) through the digestive tract and prevent it from forming. They help ease digestion and bloating, break up gas pockets, and can eliminate recurring GI issues. The volatile oils found in carminatives activate many of your body’s systems. Volatile oils can be extracted to create essential oils.

There are a lot of carminatives out there, making it easy to get that extra boost in your daily life. Being more intentional by adding them to your diet can be a great, simple way to improve digestive health. It's as easy as sprinkling black pepper on your eggs, or cinnamon in your morning coffee. Even aromatherapy can open your body and mind up in amazing ways. The list of medicinal herbs and their uses is quite extensive, but don't get overwhelmed! Here are seven carminatives, that are easy to prepare, taste good, and will maximize your digestive health. And hey... they may already be in your pantry!

1. Ginger

Possible Benefits: gastrointestinal motility, bloating, morning sickness

Nothing that warms the body like a steaming cup of fresh ginger tea. This abstract root has a spicy kick. It can be used in sweet and savory dishes, making it versatile, and a favorite in Asian, Indian, and Caribbean cuisine. It can relieve nausea, clear congestion, and reinvigorate the body. Ginger can be too intense for some, making it less appealing than other carminatives. It would be unfortunate to miss out on the health benefits because of the taste. You can tone it down by putting some natural sweetener in ginger tea. Adding it to a coconut milk based sauce is another way to help you get the health benefits without the overwhelming flavor.

2. Garlic

Possible Benefits: boosts immunity, supports heart health, fights bacteria, prevents disease

Ever come home and inhale the rich smell of garlic roasting in the oven? The thought of it is enough to pique your senses. Garlic needs no formal introduction. It has a bold flavor and is religiously used in cooking. This carminative has been used throughout history as a treatment for many of the most deadly epidemics. There are over 20 known bioactive compounds in garlic that help align your gut. Stimulating digestion, supporting the absorption of food, and detoxing the body are only a handful of its perks. To maximize benefits eating it raw is best. The pungent taste can be overpowering, so try rubbing it on some toast or tossing it in a salad dressing.


3. Turmeric

Possible Benefits: regulates metabolism, relieves pain, helps depression, promotes weight loss, reduces chronic inflammation

An herb and a spice, turmeric is said to be the world's most powerful spice and the most powerful herb in Ayurveda. This carminative can benefit nearly every part of the body. Curcumin is the polyphenol in turmeric that gives it that vibrant, yellow color and potency. Used medicinally for centuries, turmeric is popular in the culinary world but is found mostly in Indian food. It’s a go-to for treating digestive disorders, as it fortifies the GI tract, and relieves blocked gas, spasms, and ulcers.

4. Cinnamon

Possible Benefits: stimulates circulation in the lungs and joints, regulates blood sugar and metabolism

The perfect topping for oatmeal, dessert, or coffee. Cinnamon smells great, tastes great, and has several medicinal properties. This remarkable spice does wonders for the gut. It can spark digestion, treat abdominal pain, eliminate flatulence, and soothe IBS symptoms. One study showed that people with diabetes had lower blood sugar after taking cinnamon, and some had continued benefits after they stopped. Its anti-fungal effects can help with candida overgrowth.

5. Peppermint

Possible Benefits: improved IBS symptoms, clarifies all parts of the body, soothes itchy skin, relieves headaches and muscle aches 

Unlike cinnamon which has a warming effect, peppermint has the opposite–a cooling effect. This fragrant, fresh carminative is something most of us use daily when we brush our teeth. It’s frequently used in topical beauty products for its ability to heal and repair skin. Mint brings a cooling sensation when ingested or applied to the skin, calming the body in numerous ways. It breaks up mucus and stimulates the flow of bile which is needed to break down food.

6. Oregano

Possible Benefits: may help fight viruses and infections, prevents oxidative stress, has super high levels of antioxidants

Anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, antiviral, basically anti-everything–oregano is something you should have on hand at all times. This herb is one of the most powerful and is “magic” when it comes to healing the body. Vitamins A, C, K, B, and E are found in oregano. Carvacrol is one of the herb's various phytonutrients, which claim to give it its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immunity-boosting properties. Supplementing your diet with oil of oregano or oregano essential oil can help your intestinal barrier integrity by regulating intestinal bacteria and inflammation. In other words, your gut will thank you for a pinch of it.

7. Chamomile

Possible Benefits: muscle relief, anti-inflammatory, relieves anxiety, promotes better sleep, and promotes digestive health

The benefits of chamomile seem to never end. It comes from a daisy-like flower and is consumed mostly as a tea. It’s a great way to relax and decrease inflammation in the gut and joints. Molecular Medical Reports review on the herb says “Chamomile has been valued as a digestive relaxant and has been used to treat various gastrointestinal disturbances including flatulence, indigestion, diarrhea, anorexia, motion sickness, nausea, and vomiting.” 


Lilith Mesidor

Lilith is originally from The Hudson Valley in New York. Growing up in this area made it easy to access the outdoors, and having a healthy, active lifestyle has always been natural to her.  Her sense of adventure and curiosity has taken her around the globe, shaping her perspective on life and human connection.

After graduating from SUNY Purchase College in Westchester, NY, she moved to Brooklyn. From there, she got bit by the travel bug and spent three years traveling on and off all over the world, using NYC as her base. She backpacked solo through South America, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, and parts of the Middle East. After returning from a year-long stint overseas, she moved to Aspen where she spent a winter season on the slopes.

Lilith sees the value of art and incorporates it into her life by doing or seeing at least one artistic thing a week. When she's not geeking out over health and wellness, she can be found checking out a new restaurant, seeing live music, and petting every dog she sees walk by.

She currently resides in beautiful, sunny Los Angeles.