Herbs That Increase Appetite

Written by jennifer byrne
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Herbs That Increase Appetite
Known for its ability to soothe stomach upset, ginger may also trigger a healthy appetite. (ginger root image by Neelrad from Fotolia.com)

When it comes to herbal remedies for appetite, many people tend to think of appetite suppression. However, there are some people who experience diminished appetite for any number of reasons, including illness, certain medications or advanced age. The factors that may cause a lack of appetite may be complex, and you should see a doctor to determine the cause of your lack of appetite. In addition, there are various herbs and herbal tinctures that are thought to stimulate appetite. While none of these are medical treatments, you may find them helpful as an accompaniment to the treatment your doctor recommends for you.

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Gentian Root

Named after King Gentius of ancient Illyria, gentian root is taken from a perennial plant indigenous to the alpine meadows of central and southern Europe, reports Flora Health Herb Encyclopedia. Gentian root is also known as bitter root, and this protected plant can't be harvested without a permit in Germany, Yugoslavia and other countries. It is used to address a variety of gastrointestinal or digestive problems, including flatulence, colic, indigestion and lack of appetite. Some people also take it for earache, heartburn, ulcers and hypothyroidism, Flora Health Herb Encyclopedia reports. It has not been scientifically proven as a cure for any of these conditions.

Blessed Thistle

Blessed thistle is a plant that grows primarily in North Africa, southern Europe and western Asia. According to Drugs.com, it is used to promote the production of saliva and gastrointestinal juices, and also is an appetite stimulant. It is available on its own or in combination with other herbs as part of homeopathic remedies. Drugs.com reports that it is a minor component in an herbal alternative cancer treatment called Flor-Essence, although its effectiveness for this usage has not been proven in clinical studies. Blessed thistle is approved by the German Commission E, a regulatory agency in Germany, for use in addressing dyspepsia and lack of appetite, Drugs.com reports. It is nevertheless not a medical treatment for these indications.


Ginger is known for its various benefits in soothing digestive or gastrointestinal upset, and promoting a healthy appetite is yet another of its uses, reports Discovery Health. You can enjoy ginger through ginger ale made with real ginger, ginger snaps, or ginger tea. Although ginger has been used as a home remedy for various maladies for many years, it is not considered a medical treatment. Discovery Health cautions that if you're pregnant, you should speak to your doctor prior to taking ginger.


Peppermint not only provides palate-cleansing refreshment, but may serve as an appetite stimulant, Discovery Health notes. You can prepare a peppermint tea, or instead try peppermint lemonade by simply adding peppermint leaves to your lemonade mixture. Peppermint is not a scientifically proven appetite stimulant.

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