4 Effective & Natural Ways To Relieve An Upset Stomach This Holiday Season
Just in case the holiday buffet table + pie overload + your favorite relatives = indigestion, heartburn, gas, bloating, or a stomachache, here are 4 effective and natural ways to get relief quickly and naturally! These include peppermint essential oil (topically and/or internally), raw apple cider vinegar, digestive enzymes, and activated charcoal in case of food poisoning.
From Halloween to New Year’s Day, the biggest eating days of the year fall during Quarter 4.
When you have a buffet table full of more food than you’ve seen at once in the last year, perhaps coupled with some overeating, quite a lot of sugar, and a few, how shall I put this???, opinionated/disgruntled/[insert other adjective of choice here] relatives…
Well, that’s a recipe for an upset stomach.
4 Effective & Natural Ways To Relieve An Upset Stomach This Holiday Season
I don’t have any natural remedies to quiet the flow of opinions “those” relatives who think they need to insert their opinions about every life choice you’ve ever made…
And I can’t wave a magic wand over the buffet table to make all the unhealthy foods disappear…
Yet, I do have 4 effective and natural ways to relieve an upset stomach! 😉
So just in case the buffet table + pie overload + your favorite relatives = indigestion, heartburn, gas, bloating, or a stomachache, here are 4 ways you can get relief naturally!
#1 — Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint essential oil is the first natural remedy I reach for whenever I find myself with any type of stomach distress.
Used for centuries for stomach ailments, including gas, bloating, and cramps, peppermint essential oil settles the digestive system quickly and effectively.
It is cooling and calming, and you’ll feel a cold, tingly sensation in a matter of seconds after applying it.
If you’re feeling nauseated, simply hold the bottle of peppermint essential oil under your noise and breathe normally. It relaxes and soothes, and quite often, that’s enough to rid yourself of nausea.
For cramps, apply 1 to 2 drops of peppermint oil (with or without a carrier) in a clockwise motion on your abdomen. Then try to relax.
If bloating or trapped gas is your issue, apply 1 to 2 drops of peppermint oil (with or without a carrier) to the left side of your abdomen. This is where your large intestine descends downward. Find a quiet spot and lay down on your left side (preferably away from people 😉 ). Breathe deeply and close your eyes to relax. In a matter of minutes, you will probably find yourself passing gas.
If somehow these 3 methods of using peppermint essential oil fail to relieve your upset stomach, I have 1 final method.
Carefully place 1 drop of peppermint oil inside a gelatin capsule and add a few drops of coconut or olive oil. Close the capsule and take with water. This delivers the peppermint oil straight to the problem and may provide better relief.
I absolutely love Spark Naturals peppermint essential oil for it’s effectiveness, pleasant smell, and speed to treat tummy issues.
#2 — Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Did overeating and/or stress cause some heartburn or indigestion?
When our stress levels are high, it automatically impairs our digestion. Stress causes our stomachs to produce less stomach acid.
Too much food + low stomach acid = heartburn and indigestion.
Raw apple cider vinegar is naturally acidic, so it can provide that acid-y boost your tummy needs to calm down and digest your food properly. I only recommend raw apple cider vinegar. Brands that are truly raw will say “with the mother” somewhere on the label. This means there is a mother culture (probiotics and enzymes) in the vinegar. Probiotics and enzymes are also amazing for digestion.
To take ACV for heartburn or indigestion, add 1 to 2 tablespoons vinegar to a glass. Then add a 1/2 cup of water and a bit of raw honey. Shoot it down. Do this once an hour until you experience relief.
#3 — Digestive Enzymes With Ox Bile
I don’t find myself needing digestive enzymes often, but I always keep a bottle of them around. Because when you need ’em, you really, REALLY need ’em.
If you’ve ever suspected that your gallbladder is in need of some TLC or if you’ve been told that you have a sluggish liver or bile, this is even more reason to keep a bottle of digestive enzymes on hand.
Digestive enzymes facilitate the chemical breakdown of food into smaller, absorbable components. Enzymes called amylases break down starches into sugar molecules; proteases break down proteins into amino acids; and lipases break down fat into its component parts (source).
Eating lots of turkey, fatty gravy, carb-y stuffing and sweet potatoes, and sugar-laden pie over the holidays means your digestive system is going to be working overtime to breakdown all that protein, sugar, starch, and fat.
Things can feel “backed up”, and this is when taking some digestive enzymes comes in handy.
Feeling cramping, tightness, or slight twinges of pain in the upper-right region of the rib cage is often a sign that your gallbladder is in distress. This is a pretty common occurrence during the holiday season — especially Thanksgiving.
Digestive enzymes with ox bile take the stress off your stomach, liver, pancreas, small intestine, and gallbladder. This, in turn, alleviates the inflammation and pain that many experience from eating too much or too many foods their bodies aren’t used to eating.
Digestive enzymes are a natural way to relieve an upset stomach. They can help reduce acid reflux, gas, bloating, and gallbladder distress after a particularly heavy holiday meal.
Don’t leave home without ’em. 🙂
#4 — Activated Charcoal
Food poisoning, unfortunately, is a pretty common occurrence during the holidays.
It happens for several reasons:
- Stressed cooks often simply overlook basic food safety, like immediately putting leftovers in the fridge, because they’re in a hurry.
- Many hands are often preparing one meal. You can’t always guarantee that every person who’s helped to prepare the meal washed their hands or made sure the foods were fresh.
- You don’t know the state of others’ kitchens or kitchen practices if your holiday feast is potluck-style.
- Cooking large turkeys can be risky business. Was the turkey thawed properly? Was it cooked completely through? It’s hard to know for sure…
Unless you end up puking for the next 24 to 36 hours. Then you know. 🙁
Activated charcoal is a remedy I keep in our cabinet at all times. It’s effective, natural, and very speedy at relieving an upset stomach due to food poisoning. You just never know when food poisoning will strike!
So how does activated charcoal work?
Activated charcoal is the world’s most effective general filtering agent. (Ever noticed that high-end water filters are made of activated charcoal?)
It stops the absorption of toxins and poison, therefore it used in poison control centers around the world (source).
Activated charcoal works by absorbing toxins. The toxins bind to the surface area of the charcoal and are prevented from being absorbed into the body. (Source.)
At the first signs of food poisoning — an overall “weird” feeling, stomach cramping, nausea, needing to vomit, but not being able to — start taking activated charcoal. Take 2 or 3 capsules at once with water, or mix the powder in to some applesauce or mashed banana and eat it. You can also empty 2 or 3 capsules into a glass of water and drink it. The charcoal won’t really mix in to the water; it mostly floats on top.
Activated charcoal should NOT be used to treat poisoning from lithium, boron, iron, petroleum products, or alcohol. And charcoal briquettes are not the same thing, so don’t use those either.
I hope your holiday festivities are merry and bright — barring those crotchety, opinionated relatives. Hey, we all have ’em, am I right?
And I hope your Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year celebrations leave you feeling satisfied and thankful, not gassy or bloated. 🙂
What are your favorite natural ways to relieve an upset stomach? Do you ever find yourself with indigestion, bloating, or stomachache after a large holiday meal?
Of course, I am not a doctor or health professional. If you find yourself in extreme distress during the holidays, it is best to seek medical treatment. You assume the risk of any natural remedies you use in your home.
Originally published November 16, 2016. Updated December 14, 2018.