Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of the most common digestive issues.
According to a study from the United Kingdom, 11% of the population globally is affected by irritable bowel syndrome, and women are most at risk of this digestive system disorder.
Additionally, one of the most common symptoms of IBS includes constipation. The question is, are herbal teas effective in relieving constipation?
This article will discuss constipation, how herbal teas affect the digestive system and the best laxative teas for constipation.
Acute Vs. Chronic Constipation
Constipation is one of the mild digestive symptoms of IBS. Generally, there are two types of constipation.
The first one is acute constipation or short-term constipation. At times, this is also known as occasional constipation, and it is characterized by the following:
- Infrequent bowel movements
- May last for a few days
- Usually caused by lack of regular exercise, change in diet, or use of medications
- Can be relieved by natural laxatives or over-the-counter (OTC) medications for constipation
On the other hand, chronic or long-term constipation is characterized by the following:
- May last for months to years
- Usually caused by underlying health issues
- It can only be treated by a healthcare professional under strict medical attention
If you look at the information above, the type of constipation generally depends on how long constipation lasts.
How Do Teas Affect Digestive System and Bowel Movement
In the gastrointestinal system, there is this digestive process being followed. After ingestion, there will be propulsion, physical digestion, chemical digestion, absorption, and defecation.
But what is the role of laxative teas? How do they affect the digestive tract and bowel movements?
Generally, these tea bags have high amounts of flavonoids. According to a study from China, these teas have anti-inflammatory properties that not only manage constipation but can also prevent constipation.
9 Herbal Teas That Can Relieve Constipation
Certain teas can treat constipation. Usually, tea leaves are used to support gut health; some of these teas will be discussed in this section.
1) Peppermint tea
Sourced from Mentha piperita, peppermint tea is a natural laxative that can effectively soothe digestion.
According to a study from Iran, this tea is rich in flavonoids that can prevent constipation and bloat.
Aside from moving a stool to the intestines, peppermint tea can relieve intestinal spasms and abdominal pain.
2) Ginger tea
Ginger tea is also one of the many teas with a natural laxative effect. Based on a report from Italy, this herbal tea for constipation was used many years ago to address stomach-related problems.
Aside from its natural laxative properties, according to a study from South Africa, ginger tea can also be used to relieve nausea.
Generally, ginger tea is spicy. You can incorporate honey and lemon to reduce this spicy taste.
3.) Gentian root tea
Gentian root is one of the herbal tea bags with laxative properties. It comes with a bitter taste which is why many people mix it with honey.
According to a study from Iran, this stimulant laxative can address bloating, gas, and constipation. It also aids in breaking down food.
However, take note that this stimulant laxative can increase stomach acidity. Thus, if you have ulcers, this might not suit you.
Another herbal tea for constipation includes fennel. According to a study from India, this tea is used to prevent stomach ulcers.
Additionally, it also has laxative properties that can promote healthy bowel movements.
Based on a study from the USA, it was reported that those who took fennel every day were able to get more bowel movements compared to those who took a placebo tea.
5.) Angelica Root
Angelica root is also one of the best tea products with mild laxative effects that can affect your bowel habits.
According to a study from China, this plant aids digestion by increasing the number of healthy cells in your GI tract.
Additionally, it provides constipation relief by stimulating the secretion of intestinal acids.
Dandelion tea is also a stimulant laxative. Its extract can promote healthy digestion and can stimulate muscle contractions.
According to peer-reviewed studies from South Korea, dandelion tea can reduce stomach acid, making it suitable for those experiencing upset stomach and nausea.
Senna is one of the OTC stool softeners available in pharmaceutical and health food stores.
It is one of the flowering plants that contain sennosides that work by soothing the muscles in the gastrointestinal tract.
Usually, only adults can consume tea products. However, according to a study from Mexico, senna tea is effective in children and adults.
Senna tea also helps break down the foods causing constipation.
When you take senna, stay hydrated to maintain the electrolytes in your body. Take note as well that senna may cause liver damage if abused. To avoid this, use this tea occasionally.
8.) Coffee, Black tea, and green tea
Coffee also has a laxative effect. Generally, it speeds up bowel movements.
However, this drink should be avoided for those sensitive to caffeine or other health conditions such as hypertension.
Aside from coffee, black and green tea are also effective laxatives and herbal medications for constipation.
According to a study from India, black tea is rich in thearubigins and theaflavins that help prevent and treat stomach ulcers.
Furthermore, green tea contains strictinin, which can increase bowel movement. Aside from constipation, green tea can also treat nausea and other gastrointestinal distress.
9.) Chamomile tea
Lastly, there is also this chamomile tea that offers soothing effects to the gastrointestinal system.
Although chamomile is known for its fragrance, the compounds it contains can stimulate the liver to produce bile and can help calm gastrointestinal muscles.
How to Prevent and Treat Constipation
Aside from the best tea for digestion listed above, you can also try the following tips to prevent and treat constipation:
- Add physical activity to your daily routine
- Drink enough fluids
- Manage your dietary fiber intake
- Eat more whole grains
For mild constipation, you can try changing your diet as well. Usually, you can experience occasional constipation due to the foods you eat, so, you have to be aware of these foods.
Indeed, constipation is an uncomfortable condition that can affect your productivity and overall wellness.
Fortunately, aside from high-fiber foods, leafy vegetables, or drinking plenty of water, there are herbal products in the market that can provide a soothing effect to aid constipation which wellness professionals support as well.
Generally, these teas increase your bowel movements and enhance your stool consistency.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can herbal teas interact with some medications?
Before you take a tea for constipation, you should consider your current medications as teas can also interact with them. Some of these drugs include tricyclic antidepressants.
What is the best home remedy for constipation?
If you want to manage constipation at home, you are advised to drink more fluids. If this does not work, you can consider OTC laxatives.
What are natural stool softeners?
Aside from tea, other natural stool softeners include olive oil and castor oil.