Most of us need some digestive first aid after overindulging during the festive season or just eating too much any day.

Here are my best tried and tested digestive first aid home remedies to relieve most digestive upsets. It may be a good idea to print and keep them handy in the kitchen!

Bloating and gas

  • A strong cup of peppermint tea should give relief quickly, especially if you walk around just after you drink it.
  • A hot water compress or bottle placed directly on the abdomen quickly relieves gas pains.
  • Soothing seeds – mix of anise, caraway, dill and fennel seeds. To release the healing oils gently crush the seeds and add ½-1 teaspoon to a cup of just-boiled water. Let it steep for 10 minutes. Strain and drink. Repeat as needed.
  • Ginger tea – add 1/4 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger to 1 glass of just-boiled water. Steep for 10 minutes. Drink 3 cups of the mixture throughout the day. You can also use powdered ginger.
  • Charcoal tablets – take 1-2 tablets (as per the label) between meals for a day or two. Charcoal is best used sporadically and for calming down severe bloating and not for regular use. It absorbs many substances in the gut including minerals and vitamins that are bound and excreted without being absorbed.

Heartburn (reflux)

  • In case of acid indigestion – thoroughly chew a tablespoon of dry rolled oats, then swallow.
  • Digestive seeds – chew a mix of anise seeds, cardamom seeds or caraway seeds, these are great for sore stomach.
  • Honey and apple cider vinegar – mix 1 teaspoon of honey and 2 teaspoons of organic apple cider vinegar into a glass of hot water and drink the mixture a few times per day.
  • Eat papaya after meals – fresh, ripe papaya helps digestion thanks to the potent digestive enzyme papain.
  • Add fresh basil to food while cooking – it will make the food more digestible and also help prevent constipation.
  • Avoid coffee, fried foods, alcohol, chocolate and spicy foods – they trigger reflux.
  • Don’t lie down – the backflow of stomach acid into the oesophagus increases when you lie down (especially on your right side).

Constipation

  • First thing in the morning drink 2 glasses of warm filtered water mixed with 1 teaspoon of raw honey and 1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice. This has a cleansing effect on the digestive tract and encourages bowel movements (peristalsis).
  • Prune drink – most of us know this remedy! Cover 10 prunes with warm water and leave overnight. In the morning before breakfast eat the moist prunes and drink the juice diluted with water.
  • The combination of dried apricots and prunes works wonders for most people. Soak six of each overnight. Next morning eat three of each and drink half of the juice diluted with 1 glass of water. Then in the late afternoon or an