Got tummy trouble? Try mixing up one of these nine healthy tonics to help improve digestion.
Digestion is a process that takes anywhere from 24 to 72 hours, depending on what you’ve eaten, and the efficiency of your digestive system.
In most cases, food passes through the stomach and small intestine in less than eight hours and then spends an average of 24 hours further breaking down in the large intestine.
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When digestion isn’t working as it should, we can notice discomforts that range from bloating and gas to intestinal cramping and pain. Not only do we feel miserable when we have an inefficient digestive system, but we also aren’t fully utilizing the nutrients that we’re eating.
Digestive tonics have been used for centuries to improve digestion and overall health. These nine recipes have benefits to improve digestion, reduce inflammation, improve elimination, and more.
1. Turmeric + Collagen Tonic
Turmeric is well known for its anti-inflammatory benefits, which can aid the digestive system and even protect against ulcers. (1) Pairing turmeric with collagen, which supports good gut health and can even repair the damage done by a leaky gut, is a one-two punch that can help to turn a sluggish digestive system into one that efficiently absorbs nutrients. (2) Don’t skip the black pepper in this recipe. While it seems out of place, it helps the body use the turmeric and without it you won’t get the full benefits of the major component of this tonic.
Turmeric + Collagen Tonic
- 8 ounces full-fat (canned) coconut milk, unsweetened
- 2 ounces filtered water
- 1 t ground turmeric
- ⅛ t ground black pepper
- 2 t collagen peptides
- Pinch of sea salt
- ½ t Ceylon cinnamon
- ¼ t ground ginger
- ½ t raw honey
- Combine all the ingredients in a blender and pulse until well combined. Serve warm or cold.
2. Horseradish + Garlic Tonic
This spicy fermented tonic is excellent for boosting digestion, and can also help clear sinuses when you’re congested. Horseradish is antibacterial, which helps with upper respiratory tract infections. (3) When it comes to digestion, horseradish is best for easing excess gas to cure belching and flatulence.
When paired with antimicrobial garlic, this intense tonic is a perfect one-two punch for pesky digestive problems or seasonal colds and flu.
If the taste is too extreme, add an extra half-teaspoon of raw honey to help temper the zest before you drink it.
Horseradish + Garlic Tonic
- Mason jar
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar (with the mother)
- ⅔ cup grated horseradish
- ½ cup raw garlic cloves, minced or crushed
- ¼ cup raw onion, diced
- ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper (leave out if sensitive to nightshades)
- 1 lemon, juiced and zested
- 1 orange, juiced and zested
- ¼ cup raw honey
- In a large Mason jar, combine all the ingredients except honey. Cover with a cheesecloth and then screw on the lid. Shake to combine.
- Allow the mixture to naturally ferment in an area that receives some natural sunlight, for 10 days to 2 weeks.
- Once it has reached desired fermentation level, strain the liquid, add the honey, and drink 1-2 tablespoons daily in divided doses (before meals) as a digestive tonic. Store leftovers in the fridge.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar + Mint Tonic
This digestive tonic can help to ease heartburn and feelings of fullness after a heavy meal. Apple cider vinegar is a natural go-to remedy for heartburn and acid reflux, and the addition of mint tea can provide soothing stomach relief.
Apple Cider Vinegar + Mint Tonic
- 1 bag of organic mint tea
- 4 oz of boiling water
- 2 T apple cider vinegar (with the mother)
- 1 t raw honey (optional)
- Brew the mint tea as you would a normal cup of tea and discard the tea bag after 10-15 minutes.
- Stir in the ACV and honey and drink 15-20 minutes after a meal. This tonic can also be consumed before bed for reflux.
4. Tart Cherry + Coconut Kefir Tonic
If digestion is a perpetual challenge, it might mean that you have a leaky gut, which needs a little extra TLC. Fermented foods or beverages, like coconut kefir, can help to boost the beneficial bacteria that live in the gut which in turn can ease digestive woes.
This drink can be consumed first thing in the morning, before bed, or before or after a meal.
Tart Cherry + Coconut Kefir Tonic
- Tall glass
- ½ cup coconut kefir
- ¾ cup tart cherry juice (unsweetened)
- ½ t raw honey
- Stir to combine and drink at room temperature or chilled.
5. Ginger + Cayenne Tonic
Ginger is another anti-inflammatory food that can help to reduce chronic digestive problems, balance fasting blood sugar, and reduce nausea from numerous causes. (5,6,7) It can be grated fresh, drank as a tea, pickled, or used as a spice used in baking. This tonic uses freshly grated ginger root but if that’s hard to find you can sub in organic ginger tea.
Cayenne pepper also has several digestive benefits, including suppressing hunger hormones and increasing natural digestive ability, as well as reducing symptoms of GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease.
The peppery and spicy blend of ginger with cayenne can be a hot cup to swallow, but tempered with lemon and honey, it’s an awakening drink that can be enjoyed first thing in the morning or before or after any meal.
Ginger + Cayenne Tonic
- Large lidded pot
- 4 cups water
- 1 medium-sized ginger root, grated
- 1 lemon, juiced and zested
- ¼ t cayenne pepper
- 1 t raw honey
- Boil the water, then add the ginger. Continue simmering for 5-7 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and add lemon and cayenne.
- Cover, and steep for 5-10 minutes.
- Add honey and drink warm.
6. Baking Soda Tonic
Baking soda is perhaps the most classic of all remedies. Make this tried-and-true tonic anytime bloating, belching, or heartburn gets the best of you.
Baking soda has an alkalizing effect on the stomach, and when paired with apple cider vinegar, the fizzy combo can help to settle reflux and heartburn faster than you can pop any over-the-counter antacid pills. It’s so effective and easy, it’s great to mix up in the middle of the night if that late dinner tries to ruin your sleep.
Baking Soda Tonic
- Drinking glass
- 1 T apple cider vinegar (with the mother)
- ¼ t baking soda
- 4-6 ounces of filtered drinking water, room temperature
- Combine all the ingredients and drink within 5 minutes for reflux relief.
7. Pineapple + Coconut Water Tonic
Bromelain, an enzyme in pineapple, boasts digestive benefits that can help to relieve system-wide inflammation. (8) This drink can be made with plain water, coconut water, or even sparkling water – or you can just drink the pineapple juice on its own.
This is best used as a daily tonic to improve overall digestive function, ideally consumed before a meal. You can also reap the same health benefits by adding this to any smoothie.
Pineapple + Coconut Water Tonic
- 1 pineapple, sliced
- 2 cups coconut water
- Purée the pineapple in a blender. Add the coconut water (using more if needed) until the slush is easily drinkable.
- For a smoother drink without pulp, filter the blended pineapple through a cheesecloth or strainer before mixing with the coconut water.
- Drink a ¼ to a ½ cup before meals. Optional: Freeze in individual serving sizes and thaw overnight in the fridge for the next morning.
8. Cranberry + Cinnamon Tonic
Cranberries are a long-used natural remedy for digestive problems. They can also be beneficial for supporting healthy kidneys, bladder, and the intestines thanks to their rich source of vitamin C.
This zesty digestive tonic can also double as an after-dinner dessert drink.
Cranberry + Cinnamon Tonic
- ¼ cup unsweetened cranberry juice
- ¼ cup sparkling water
- 1 large orange, juiced
- Pinch of Ceylon cinnamon
- ¼ t raw honey (optional)
- Combine all the ingredients and serve chilled.
9. Kiwi Tonic
Kiwi is a fruit that can specifically help aid in the digestion of proteins. (11) While some avoid meat because they get uncomfortable bloating, reflux, or constipation after eating it, drinking this kiwi tonic before or after eating protein can help promote more efficient digestion and the breakdown of proteins.
Pair kiwi with other favorite fruits to enjoy a fruity tonic that not only has health benefits but tastes like a tropical dessert.
- 1 kiwi fruit, peeled
- ½ cup full fat coconut milk
- ½ t raw honey
- Purée all the ingredients together in a blender.
- If the mixture is too thick to drink, add a tablespoon of water and pulse again. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
(Read This Next: 5 Signs of Digestive Problems and How to Heal Them)