Appetite, Poor

In our ‘thin is beautiful’ society, we can easily forget that a good appetite is a measure of good health. Just what is a normal appetite?

See also Anorexia Nervosa and Nausea and Vomiting.

Why Me?

Having no appetite for food usually means that you are not well. The cause may be physical or emotional. Find out.

What To Do


  • If you don’t like eating large meals, don’t. Instead, try grazing. Grazers like to eat small amounts of food frequently during the day, and tend to be tall and slender. When you graze, make sure it is high quality food, not junk.
  • Include some bitter food in your diet, eating it just before a meal, particularly dinner. The bitter taste stimulates the appetite reflex. Chicory, olives and grapefruit are all examples of bitter food.
  • Ginger can stimulate a jaded appetite. Try it in a simple stir-fry or sip ginger tea between meals.
  • Avoid high fat and sugary foods, however tempting; they will spoil your appetite for more substantial fare.
  • The Bach flower, wild rose, helps with apathy. Try this if food holds no interest for you.

Herbs and Supplements

  • Take a teaspoon of herbal bitters in water before each meal. A drop or two of the tincture of the bitter herb gentian may also stimulate the appetite. (Gentian is a constituent of the famous mixer Angostura Bitters.)
  • Herbs including ginger, peppermint, chamomile and meadowsweet can be helpful.
  • Take a vitamin B complex after breakfast every morning. B1 in particular is important for the supply energy for an efficient functioning digestive system… take 100 mg in addition to the B complex.
  • An iron supplement may help if you are slightly anaemic. Discontinue if iron supplementation doesn’t make a difference within a week.

Other Steps

  • Exercising two hours before meal time may stimulate your appetite.
  • The colour red stimulates appetite. Eat juicy red apples and berries, buy red table napkins or paint your dining room red!

At a glance

Good food
Bitter foods, ginger.
Food to avoid
Fatty and sugary foods.
Remedies to begin
Herbal bitters, B complex, iron.
Exercise two hours before dinner. Try ‘grazing’.
An appetite for food is one of the major human drives. A poor appetite may be symbolic of a deep apathy or lack of interest in life.