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Increase Appetite Naturally with Herbs

written by: BStone • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 12/24/2010

Herbal medicine can be used to safely and naturally stimulate a poor appetite. What are the best herbs to increase appetite and to help get the digestive system back on track?

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    Poor Appetite

    ginger There are many potential problems that can lead to a loss of appetite. Digestive issues, from more minor problems such as indigestion and nausea to more serious problems such as a stomach ulcer, can curb the desire for food. In fact, a diminished appetite may be what a troubled stomach or overburdened liver require to recover. Stress, depression, tension, and grief can all affect appetite. Overcoming a serious illness, recovering from surgery, and anorexia are also potential causes of appetite loss.

    Herbs to increase appetite can be used to stimulate and tone the digestive system, thereby improving appetite and helping the body return to a state of balance and health. While plant medicine can benefit digestive health by improving appetite, it is important to see a doctor in cases of persistent appetite loss. This could be a symptom of a serious medical issue.

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    Useful Herbs

    The following herbs can be used to increase appetite naturally.

    • Fennel is a gentle, yet effective herb for digestive issues. It is well-suited for improving appetite in cases of gas and upset stomach.
    • Ginger is one of the best stimulating herbs for the digestive system. It increases blood circulation, promotes a healthy appetite, and stimulates the flow of saliva and production of digestive juices.
    • Peppermint is both a digestive and a nervine tonic. It will relax visceral muscles, relieving gastric problems such as nausea, colic, and gas, while also stimulating the secretion of digestive juices. By also easing anxiety and tension peppermint is ideal in cases of appetite loss due to emotional disturbances.
    • Gentian is one of the best bitter herbs, having a general stimulating effect on digestive juices when the taste buds are exposed to the bitter principle.
    • Wormwood is another bitter digestive tonic that is also extremely beneficial for dealing with any type of infection. mugwort leaves 
    • Mugwort is another general tonic, stimulating digestion and toning the nervous system.

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    How to Use

    To use these herbs try making an herbal infusion. Each herb can be taken alone or blended together or with other beneficial plants for a more potent effect. Steep one to two teaspoons of dried herbs in one cup of boiling water for ten minutes. Drink one to three cups daily. For stimulating appetite it is better to drink an herbal infusion than to take a powdered capsule as a supplement. Try blending gentian with ginger, and even adding other aromatic herbs such as cardamon. Fennel and anise tea is a wonderful digestive tonic to help relieve problems and encourage appetite. Wormwood does have an extremely bitter taste, but is very beneficial. Try blending with the cooling, aromatic taste of peppermint.

    Using these herbs to increase appetite is a natural, effective solution for appetite loss due to digestive problems, emotional stress, and recovery from an illness. When the cause of poor appetite is unknown, and the symptom persistent, be sure to make an appointment with your doctor.

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    References

    Hoffmann, David. "The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal: A Safe and Practical Guide to Making and Using Herbal Remedies." (Element Books, 1996).

    Balch, Phyllis, CNC. "Prescription for Nutritional Healing, 4th Edition." (The Penguin Group, 2006).

    photo by Elenadan

    photo by Jerry Kirkhart

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    Disclaimer

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