Ginger tea can help calm your stomach. [Photo: Bigstock]

Herbal teas to ease a holiday hangover

22 December, 2015

If you are doing some last minute food and drink shopping for the holidays don’t forget to think ahead to the aftermath of all that over-indulgence.

Hangovers are an inevitable consequence of holiday partying and all that pain and suffering is a sign that you’ve done your body – in particular your liver – some damage.

Although time and plenty of water (and sleep) and the promise of “never-ever again” is often best cure there are some natural, gentle ways you can help get your body back on track after a heavy night. In fact, some of the same herbs you used to cook your holiday meal – such as thyme, rosemary or ginger – can be brewed as teas to help soothe your stomach afterwards.

The age old adage of eating lots of fat the morning after may sound comforting but if you really want to help heal your stomach and your hear step away from the chips and try these herbal teas instead.

Green tea

Something you can get on every supermarket shelf these days, green tea is packed with antioxidants, which keep your body’s cells—and therefore organs—healthy. This means a healthier liver, which will help you recover faster. If you’re feeling nauseous, add a sprig of rosemary to your tea while it’s brewing to clear your head help calm your stomach. Another good combination is green tea and lemon. The vitamin C in the lemon can boost your body’s ability to absorb the beneficial antioxidant catechins that are so abundant in green tea.


Dandelion has a reputation for aiding detox – useful if you have overindulged. It helps the liver and gall bladder to eliminate toxins and stimulates the sensory nerves of the kidney’s helping to remove excess water (and unlike many diuretics it does not deplete the body of potassium).  The fresh herb is hard to find in winter, but the dried herb can be used to make a tea or you can use a tincture. To make tea use 1-2 tsp dried herb (or double that of fresh leaves) to a cup (175ml or 6 oz) of boiling water.


People have used ginger for tummy trouble for thousands of years and is still a popular remedy today. It’s a great treatment for nausea, ginger is also useful for soothing a variety of gastrointestinal complaints, ranging from wind to stomach ulcers. Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to assist the movement of food through the intestines and is thus an aid digestion and also has blood sugar balancing properties. Try brewing ½-1 tsp (2-4g) of minced or finely chopped fresh ginger per cup. Drink several cups a throughout the day, with a slice of lemon if you prefer.


One of the most popular herbal teas – and one that is widely available. Peppermint is a good choice any time of day because of its refreshing taste. But peppermint can also relax the gut, relive both nausea and wind and also has a strong antimicrobial action. Try drinking it through the day to settle your stomach and relieve headache – and remember that it can be made with either fresh or dried leaves. To make a tea use a heaped teaspoon of the dried herb per cup (175ml, or 6 oz) steep in boiling water for 10 minutes and drink several times a day.

Linden flower

Also known as lime flower, linden has a long tradition of use for indigestion. It has an anti-spasmodic action that helps relax the gut and ease cramping. It also helps to settle the stomach and relive wind.  Steep 2–3 tsp of flowers in a cup of hot water for 15 minutes. Drink throughout the day.


If you are feeling bloated or your tummy is upset fennel is a good choice. Try brewing ½ tsp (2 to 3 g) of the ground or crushed seeds as a tea, three times daily. You can buy fennel tea, but you can also make a brew by gently crushing 1-2 tsp of seeds and let them steep for 10 minutes in a cup of boiling water. Alternatively take 2-4 ml of tincture in water. Fennel also blends well with other stomach soothers like peppermint and caraway.


Both German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis) can help soothe an upset stomach and calm yoru nerves. Of the two German chamomile is the most well studied and the one you are most likely to find sold as a tea bags in the shops. Chamomile has both digestive and stomach settling properties as well as an anti-inflammatory action that means it can help relive heartburn and acid reflux. In addition, chamomile promotes normal digestion to help rebalance things after you have over-indulged. To make a tea use 1 tsp dried herb (1 or 2 two tsp fresh) to a cup (175ml or 6 oz) of boiling water. Drink as necessary.


Thyme has a relaxing effect on the gut that can help relieve wind and cramping in the stomach and bowel.  It’s also a good choice for treating diarrhoea, bowel infections and ‘holiday tummy’ and to help re-establish a normal bacterial population in the gut.

Brewed in a tea thyme energises the whole system, and through its fortifying effect on the nervous system it is excellent for treating physical and mental exhaustion, tension, anxiety and depression.


Although caffeine may seem an attractive option when you are low, it can upset your stomach more. Rooibos is a traditional tea from South Africa  usually brewed as a tea to aid digestion. It is reputed to soothe the digestive tract and ease nervous tension that can make digestive problems worse. It is also rich in healthy antioxidants. You can buy rooibos in supermarkets as teabags. If you want to try the loose leaves use 1-4 teaspoons (5-20g) of the herb is simmered in one cup of water (175ml, or 6 oz) for up to 10 minutes. Drink liberally throughout the day.