Constipation is one of those things that all of us have experienced, but nobody really wants to talk about. Yet extended constipation can lead to serious health issues, and even short-term constipation can be seriously uncomfortable. When you’re constipated you want relief, and fast.
The good news is that sometimes feeling better is simply a matter of drinking a cup of tea.
Studies have shown that one of the main causes of moderate constipation is actually mild dehydration. So anything you have to drink, including tea, will help. Additionally, there are some teas that have been scientifically proven to be either active laxatives, or to help soothe irritation and inflammation in the digestive system.
Here are some of the teas that may help you when you are constipated:
Senna tea is made from the leaves and flowers of a large group of plants from the legume family. It has been used as a laxative since ancient times, and can often be found in over the counter constipation supplements and weight loss pills (though it is very much not recommended that you use it for weight loss).
There has been a good deal of research done on senna, and studies have shown that it is indeed an effective laxative. However, it is important to note that you should only use senna as a laxative in the short term- for no more than a week – because it could lead to laxative dependence, serious liver damage, and other medical issues.
If your symptoms persist beyond a few days it is imperative that you go see a doctor to see what is going on with your digestive system. Likewise, you should not take senna if you have IBS, Crohn’s disease, or if you have liver, heart, or kidney conditions.
Regarding the taste- senna tea- such as Buddha Teas Senna Tea– is a bit bitter, so you may want to sweeten it with some honey or another sweetener. Because of this bitterness, senna can often be found in various cleansing tea blends, as opposed to on its own. Some of the better blends are: The Art of Tea Cleanse Tea, and Traditional Medicinals’ Smooth Move Tea.
Peppermint has long been used to soothe digestive issues. One of the main components in peppermint is menthol. This is what gives peppermint tea its sharp-sweet cool taste. Studies in animals have shown that peppermint oil, which is high in menthol, relaxes the gastrointestinal tract, which could help with constipation.
Likewise, clinical studies have shown that peppermint tea could be helpful in relieving symptoms of IBS. One of those symptoms is constipation.
There are some great peppermint teas out there. Harney and Sons makes an excellent peppermint tea, as do the Art of Tea and Buddha Teas. In addition, Traditional Medicinals makes a senna-peppermint Smooth Move blend specifically meant to help with constipation.
A 2016 study found that strictinin, a compound found in green tea, served as a laxative for rats, and that rats who had been given strictinin pooped more than those who had not been given strictinin. Though the study was not on green tea, per say, it does indicate that green tea may have laxative properties.
Another property that green tea contains, and that is proven to be a laxative, is caffeine. Green tea has about 28 mg per cup of caffeine in it, which is less than brewed coffee (96 mg/cup), but still enough to have an effect on your gastro-intestinal system.
The good news is that green tea is everywhere. The possibilities are almost endless. The Art of Tea alone has nearly 60 teas listed in its green tea collection. Buddha Teas has nearly 20 in its collection.
So when it comes down to green tea the biggest factor when deciding what to drink is taste. I personally find that green tea on its own is too grassy tasting for me, so I prefer to drink green tea as part of a blend. One of my favorite blends is the Art of Tea’s green pomegranate tea. But as mentioned above, the possibilities are nearly endless. So have fun finding the right green tea for you.
Other Beneficial Teas
Some other teas that may be beneficial in relieving constipation are:
- Ginger tea- studies have shown that ginger tea may help aid digestion
- Licorice root tea- Licorice root has been shown to help aleve the symptoms of indigestion
- Chamomile Tea- There are some indications that chamomile tea may help regulate contractions in the digestive system, which could ease constipation.
Things to look for in teas that help relieve constipation
Usually, the first thing we say to look for in a tea is taste, but when it comes to constipation, not all of the beneficial teas taste very good. Senna tea, as mentioned above, is bitter. So, in this case, the first thing you should look for is effectiveness.
All bodies are different, so whether it’s senna tea, chamomile, or peppermint tea, choose the tea that works best for you and your body.
Of course, it is important to take precautions. Do not drink too much senna tea, and if you find yourself constipated for more than a week, check in with your doctor to make sure that there is nothing else going on.