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7 Herbal Teas That Can Help Ease Constipation

Constipation occurs when bowel movements become less frequent (less than three bowel movements per week) and stools become hard, dry and difficult to pass. Though occasional constipation is common, some people experience chronic constipation that can interfere with their day-to-day activities.

Less intake of dietary fibre, physical inactivity, not drinking enough water, taking certain medications and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are some of the common causes of constipation.

Lifestyle changes and home remedies can help treat constipation, and if these don't work then medications are recommended by the doctor to treat constipation.
Some people use herbal tea as a home remedy to ease constipation because herbal teas are known for their soothing and laxative properties. In this article, we'll talk about the herbal teas for constipation.

Why Are Teas Used To Treat Constipation?

For centuries, people have been using herbal teas to ease digestive problems [1]. And studies have shown that certain teas can help bring relief from constipation, either directly or indirectly [2]. Most laxative herbs contain anthraquinones, an organic compound found in some plants that have a laxative effect on the intestines. These laxatives work by moving the water to the colon and increasing peristalsis, the muscle contractions of the intestines that helps move body waste through the colon to the rectum.

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Herbal Teas For Constipation

Herbal teas can be made from a combination of herbs or a mixture of leaves, seeds, roots of various plants and hot water [3]. Here are some teas that are commonly used to relieve constipation:

1. Senna tea

Senna tea is made from the dried leaves and pods of the Senna alexandrina shrub, an important medicinal plant widely used in Ayurveda. The senna plant possesses compounds called glycosides that act as a laxative, which works by stimulating the intestines to move the stool through the colon [4] [5].

How to make senna tea:

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2. Cascara tea

Cascara sagrada is a well-known laxative that comes from the bark extract of the California buckthorn tree. The bark contains anthraquinones that have a laxative effect in the intestines and stimulates the bowels. It works by causing muscle contractions in the intestines, which helps move the stool through the bowels [6].

How to make cascara sagrada tea:

  • Steep 1 tsp of bark shavings in two-thirds cup of boiling water for 5-10 minutes.
  • Strain the tea before drinking.
  • Do not drink too much of cascara tea.
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3. Peppermint tea

Peppermint tea may help prevent and treat constipation. The presence of menthol in peppermint has a soothing effect that may help relax an upset stomach while moving stool through the bowel.

How to make peppermint tea:

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4. Green tea

Green tea contains caffeine, a stimulant that speeds up bowel movements. However, drinking too much caffeine can lead to diarrhoea. A 2016 animal study showed that green tea contains a compound called strictinin that had a greater laxative effect and increased the bowel movement when it was fed to rats [7].

How to make green tea:

  • Steep 1 tsp of green leaves in a cup of boiling water.
  • Allow it to sit for few minutes.
  • Strain the tea and drink it.
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5. Dandelion tea

Dandelion tea may help with mild constipation. It can stimulate the liver to produce bile which can help ease constipation. Dandelion tea can also act as a diuretic by adding more water to the digestive system and to the stool, thus making the stool soft and easier to pass.

How to make dandelion tea:

  • Wash the flowers and leaves of the dandelion plant and steep it in hot water for 15-20 minutes.
  • Strain the tea and drink it.
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6. Ginger tea

Ginger is both used as a spice and as a home remedy to treat various gastric ailments including constipation. Drinking ginger tea after meals can help ease digestion and speed up bowel movements [8].

How to make ginger tea:

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7. Licorice root tea

Licorice root comes from the root of the licorice plant (Glycyrrhiza glabra). It has long been used to treat various ailments including constipation. It has anti-inflammatory properties and is a mild laxative which can bring relief from constipation [9].

How to make licorice tea:

  • Boil a cup of water and add 1 tbsp of licorice root.
  • Allow it to simmer for few minutes.
  • Strain the tea and sip it warm.
  • To Conclude...

    Herbal teas should be used for short-term, especially when you have occasional constipation. Herbal teas shouldn't be considered for long-term. Also, before drinking any herbal teas, it is advisable to consult with a doctor.