Constipation is when someone has fewer than three bowel movements in a week. However, some people may feel constipated if they do not have a bowel movement every day. The stool may be hard, dry, and difficult to pass.
In this article, we look at how different teas can help to get the bowels moving, and we discuss the causes and risk factors of using herbal teas.
Can tea help with constipation?
Certain teas may help with constipation, either directly or indirectly.
Drinking warm liquids is a great way to get more water into the body, and staying hydrated is a powerful natural method for easing constipation.
Extra water in the stool makes it softer and helps it to pass more smoothly. In fact, being low on fluids is a common cause of constipation.
The warmth of tea may also stimulate the digestive system and help to relieve symptoms.
Stress may play an additional role. Authors of a 2014 review concluded that stress can cause problems with the digestive system.
This may explain why so many people use herbal teas to relax and relieve anxiety. To relieve stress, try adding herbal teas into a self-care routine.
Stimulating teas and coffee also have a laxative effect.
Black tea, green tea, and coffee naturally contain caffeine, a stimulant that speeds up bowel movements in many people.
People often drink these beverages in the morning to wake themselves up and encourage a bowel movement.
Caffeine can have negative side effects in people who are sensitive to it, however.
6. Licorice root
Tea made from licorice root is a popular tonic for digestive issues. Licorice root has an anti-inflammatory effect, and it may aid digestion.
After a meal has settled, drinking a cup of licorice root tea may soothe the digestive system and encourage a bowel movement.
7. Marshmallow root
Marshmallow root may have a similar soothing effect as licorice, and its laxative properties make it a common ingredient in medicinal teas.
It may be best to drink a cup of this tea toward the end of the day.
Chamomile is a familiar fragrant herb used in teas for its soothing effects on the body.
Drinking a cup of chamomile tea after meals or toward the end of the day may help to calm the muscles in the intestines and speed up the time between a meal and a bowel movement.
Parsley is a common herb that may help with digestive disorders.
A tea that includes the leaves or seeds of the plant may help to relieve mild constipation.
Traditionally, people have chewed the leaves or stems to address issues such as bad breath and flatulence.
Many OTC laxatives are available, and most are very effective at treating the occasional bout of constipation.
The following strategies can prevent constipation from recurring:
- Stay hydrated. Staying hydrated is essential for good bowel health and overall body functioning. People with recurring constipation should drink more than 8 glasses a day.
- Increase activity. Physical activity stimulates the digestive system and helps to keep bowel movements regular.
- Reduce stress. Techniques such as yoga, breathing exercises, or meditation can help people who experience stress-related constipation.
- Improve your diet. Eating plenty of high-fiber foods, including vegetables and fresh, whole fruits, often helps to regulate bowel movements.
Some herbal teas aid digestion and help the stools to pass, relieving occasional constipation.
However, severe or long-term constipation may have an underlying cause that requires medical treatment.
If constipation occurs frequently or lasts for more than a few days at a time, see a doctor.
For anyone interested in trying the teas listed above, there are a wide variety of brands and flavors to choose from. They are often stocked in health food stores and some supermarkets.
The teas are also available for purchase online:
- senna tea
- peppermint tea
- ginger tea
- dandelion tea
- green tea
- black tea
- licorice tea
- marshmallow root tea
- chamomile tea
- parsley tea
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