If you’re suffering from constipation, tea can be a gentle alternative to harsh laxative products.
Some teas contain natural laxative compounds while others can help to smooth out rough patches with your digestion by soothing, hydrating, and stimulating your digestive tract.
It’s time to turn on the kettle if you’re backed up. So let’s take a closer look at how to use tea to keep things moving.
Here is a summary of the best teas for relieving constipation:
- Senna Tea: A potent herbal laxative that stimulates colon muscles to move stool along.
- Cascara Tea: This stimulant laxative works in a similar way to senna tea.
- Pu’er Tea: Contains caffeine and strictinin and induces passing of stool.
- Peppermint Tea: Relaxes intestinal muscles and helps improve digestion.
- Green and Black Tea: These teas contain caffeine and may help relieve constipation.
- Ginger Tea: Enhances digestion and can help stimulate bowel movements.
- Parsley Tea: Includes natural oils with mild laxative properties.
- Licorice Tea: Contains flavonoids that improve overall digestive health.
What Causes Constipation?
Being constipated means that your bowel movements are not as frequent as usual or that your stools are hard and dry.
While it’s not usually a very serious issue, getting back on track with regular bowel movement will definitely make you feel better. And even if the condition gets prolonged, you are not alone — in the US only, millions of people see a doctor every year because they feel constipated.
In order to relieve constipation, it helps to understand what causes it in the first place.
Here are some common causes and risk factors:
Dehydration can make your stool dry and hard.
A diet that lacks fiber can make it harder for the food to pass through your digestive system.
Stress hormones influence bowel movements and may hinder normal digestion.
Lack of Exercise can result in more passive colon muscles.
Age affects metabolism and slows it down.
Pregnancy affects a woman’s hormone levels and can make you more prone to constipation.
Medication such as antidepressants or strong pain medication that contains opiates (e.g. codeine, oxycodone).
Digestive Disorders such as IBS or problems with digestive tract’s nerves or muscles.
Why Drinking Tea Can Help With Constipation
Teas made from the tea plant (Camellia Sinensis) and herbal tisanes prepared with leaves, roots, seeds, and other parts of various plants can provide a natural way to relieve constipation.
Here is how teas can help you:
- Some teas have natural laxative compounds such as strictinin found in pu’er tea.
- Teas with caffeine produce a natural laxative effect that stimulates the colon muscles to contract and release more often. In studies, black, green, and pu’er tea have been shown to improve gastrointestinal motility via their caffeine content.
- Many herbal teas contain ingredients known to aid healthy digestion.
- The hydrating effect of tea can help lubricate the intestines.
- Hot beverages promote blood circulation in the digestive system and encourage regular bowel movements.
Caffeine and Constipation
When you are well hydrated, drinking a cup of tea with high caffeine content can help you with passing stool.
However, caffeine is also a diuretic, and consuming too much may dehydrate you. This can result in dry stool, which will be harder to pass through the digestive tract.
So remember to always drink enough water or other non-caffeinated beverages. Otherwise, you risk becoming even more constipated.
What Teas Are Good for Constipation?
While any hot beverage should help to get things moving, certain teas are especially beneficial for curing constipation because they contain ingredients that trigger the activity of the muscles in your digestive system.
You can expect a gentler experience than what you’d get from laxative drugs. Just don’t overdo it with the number of cups you drink!
Here is a proper look at the top teas to keep in your cupboard to curb constipation:
1. Senna Tea
Senna tea gets things moving by acting as a stimulant laxative that triggers intestinal activity. In fact, many brands market senna tea as a laxative beverage and it’s definitely one of the best teas to make you poop.
The active compounds in this herbal tea are called senna glycosides or sennosides. They are hydrolyzed by the bacteria in the colon and promote muscle contractions that push the stool along the digestive tract.
There are two important things to know about using senna tea for constipation.
The first is that you might want to add some honey or natural sweetener because senna is notoriously bitter. The second is that you should slow down before reaching for a second cup of senna tea because its effects can be surprisingly potent once they kick in.
You should also avoid consuming large amounts of senna tea regularly as it may cause liver damage.
2. Cascara Sagrada Tea
Cascara tea is a stimulant laxative taken from the bark of a North American shrub. It works in a very similar way to senna.
This traditional Native American remedy is such a potent laxative that it’s actually sold in a capsule form as well. What’s more, products made from dried cascara bark are approved by the FDA as over-the-counter laxatives for treating constipation.
Note that there is also cascara coffee cherry tea, which is a completely different beverage.
3. Pu’er Tea
Pu’er is a type of fermented and aged Chinese tea with earthy and woody taste.
In studies, Pu’er tea has demonstrated laxative activity that is presumably caused by accelerating small intestinal transit. This is due to the strictinin found in the tea as well as its relatively high caffeine content.
Pu’er tea also offers the added benefit of producing antibacterial qualities. Many people prefer the gentler effects of this popular beverage over teas that are primarily used as laxatives.
4. Peppermint Tea
Peppermint tea is one of the most popular teas used as a digestive aid. In fact, several studies support the use of peppermint for indigestion and irritable bowel symptom.
This is a tasty, gentle option that may help you to move things along if your constipation is caused by poor digestion.
5. Green and Black Tea
The caffeine found in both green and black tea can help stimulate bowel activity. Caffeine consumption may help trigger basal anal sphincter pressure in just 10 minutes.
Black tea contains more caffeine than green tea but green tea also has strictinin, which is a mild laxative.
6. Ginger Tea
Ginger tea has been associated with digestive health for centuries. The well-documented “warming effect” of ginger tea on the body may help to compound the benefits of drinking hot beverages to stimulate bowel movements.
The anti-inflammatory properties of this spicy herbal tea can also help reduce the discomfort of slow digestion.
7. Parsley Tea
Parsley is a common herb that has been used holistically to treat digestive issues for centuries. It has been shown to have a mild laxative effect.
One of the best things about parsley tea is that you can make it at home as long as you have some dried parsley to place inside a tea ball. If you have fresh parsley, squeezing the juice from the leaves can create a very potent tea that offers relief from constipation without the need to make a trip to the store to buy anything special!
8. Licorice Tea
Licorice root is one of the most common herbs used for easing digestive stress.
Research indicates that it may be beneficial for easing upper-abdominal discomfort, promoting colon health, and preventing peptic ulcers. A hot cup of licorice tea after a meal can also help to stimulate bowel movements.
However, the FDA has also shared some warnings about the negative health consequences of “overdoing it” with licorice products. So speak with your doctor before consuming licorice root if you are pregnant or nursing.
How to Treat Constipation Naturally
If your constipation is not that serious or long-lasting, you might want to try some natural ways to relieve it before taking laxatives or seeing a doctor.
Here are a few things that are likely to help:
- Make sure you are well hydrated by drinking more water.
- Add more fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain to your diet.
- Start exercising regularly. Alternatively, you can incorporate physical activity (e.g. walking or biking to places, gardening, cleaning) into your daily routines.
- Relieve stress by meditating, doing breathing exercises, or just by walking in nature or listening to relaxing music.
- Try some of the teas introduced in this article.
Constipation & Tea FAQ
What is the best herbal tea for constipation?
According to research, senna tea and cascara tea are the most effective herbal teas for relieving constipation.
How much senna tea should I drink to relieve constipation?
You should start with drinking just one cup of senna tea to avoid having too strong of an effect. Note that it might take 6 to 12 hours before it kicks in.
If nothing happens within 12 hours of drinking the tea, you can try drinking two cups and see if that works.
Does green tea help with constipation?
Green tea contains some caffeine and strictinin, which might help stimulate bowel movements. It also provides warm liquids that may help.
However, green tea does not have a very strong laxative effect and might not be enough to ease constipation.
Does black tea cause constipation?
Black tea has a relatively high caffeine content and drinking too much might make you dehydrated. On the other hand, if you are well-hydrated, a strong cup of black tea can help with stimulating bowel movements and relieve constipation.
Final Thoughts on the Best Teas for Constipation
Easing constipation using a relaxing, soothing cup of tea can be a great way to get relief without turning to harsh laxatives. Teas work with your body to naturally stimulate intestinal and bowel movements instead of “forcing” something to happen.
The best part is that many of the teas that are known to help with constipation can actually be consumed safely on a daily basis to keep your digestive health in top condition!
While herbal and caffeinated teas are generally considered safe for all people, some specific teas pose risks for toxicity and contraindications. If you are suffering from severe constipation or other major digestive issues, always talk with your doctor before using any herbal or natural remedy as a treatment.
Enjoy your tea and stay healthy!
PS. Check out also this guide with teas that improve digestion.
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