Are there any natural remedies to help with bloating?

Response from Nikki Biddiss, medical herbalist:

THERE are many reasons why our abdomen can feel inflated and uncomfortable after eating. It could be due to excess gas, constipation, swallowing air (by eating to quickly), food intolerance or IBS.

To reduce gas, avoid fizzy drinks and cut down on gas-producing foods such as beans and cabbage. Fennel tea is traditionally used to alleviate trapped wind and ginger tea can also help as an after meal drink.

Constipation can be eased by eating a fibre-rich diet, drinking lots of fluids and exercising regularly. I also find that many clients are not giving themselves enough time to go to the toilet and not relaxing. Herbal teas such as chamomile or liquorice may help here.

Food intolerances lead to bloating if the bowel doesn’t empty properly, gas gets trapped or too much gas is produced as a reaction to the food. Main offenders are gluten, wheat or dairy. Keeping a food diary may help track foods which are causing you problems.

Bloating from IBS can be worse at night and tends to be caused by the erratic propulsion of food through the bowel. A simple peppermint tea may help here or take slippery elm powder mixed with water to calm irritation in the digestive tract.

Research is currently focused on certain carbohydrates which some people struggle to digest. FODMAP foods include those with a high fructose content e.g. corn syrup, honey and some fruits; lactose (found in dairy products), wheat and artificial sweeteners. However I would be cautious about excluding any food groups without the guidance of a nutritionist.

If you suffer persistent bloating (doesn’t come and go) and have abdominal or pelvic pain, please visit your GP to rule out more serious conditions.

Response from Irene McCabe, naturopathic nutritionist:

BLOATING is one of the most common symptoms experienced by clients who attend my allergy clinic. In my experience most bloating is caused by the internal eco system being out of balance. This can happen for many reasons including, food intolerance, eating the wrong foods at the wrong times, or the over use of antibiotics.

Bloating can be remedies by using a good quality Pro Biotic. Many marketing campaigns focus on how many billions of lactobacillus acidophilus, or bifidobacteria etc there are in a pro biotic product, but far more important than this it is essential to have a pro biotic product that has numerous “strains” included in it’s make up. These strains or “families” of good bacteria can help replace any strains you may be deficient in and can make a big difference to your overall health and immunity as well as helping your bloated tummy

If you enjoy fruit try to eat fruit for breakfast before eating any other food stuffs. If you eat fruit after other foods it can ferment in your gut causing gas, belching, flatulence and bloating. To remedy flatulence try taking some charcoal tablets which are amazing at deterring gas and can help avert some embracing wind release!

If you are still bothered by bloating after trying the above measures it would be beneficial to be tested for food intolerances. Eliminating suspect foods and introducing alternatives can have a profound affect on your overall wellbeing. Hippocrates the father of modern medicine once said “All disease begins in the gut.” Look after your gut and it will look after you

Consult your health practitioner before following any advice if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or have underlying health issues.

Nikki Biddiss is a medical herbalist, aromatherapy massage therapist and stress and wellbeing coach. Irene McCabe is a naturopathic nutritionist and has been an independent nutritional researcher for more than 30 years. Irene also practices allergy and intolerance testing and advanced clinical hypnotherapy and is the former owner of Napier’s in Glasgow’s West End.

For consultations call 0141 339 5859 or email