According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, around 42 million Americans suffer from constipation.
The causes of constipation vary, but the reasons for this frustrating illness are usually all about the same. In general, we have a tendency to eat food that contains a large amount of insoluble fiber. This nutrient is difficult for the body to absorb. As a result, the colon absorbs the water from food that contains hard residue (aka fiber) so that it can easily pass through the digestive system. The role of the colon is vital, as it helps to create stool (or waste) by expelling it from the rectum.
This is what should happen. Unfortunately, when the stool stays in the colon for too long, it becomes hard, dry, and difficult to pass. As mentioned, the exact reasons for constipation are difficult to pinpoint, but most nutrition experts and doctors blame poor diets, low physical activity, and minimal water consumption as key causes of constipation. Other factors, like medication and stress, can also be fully or partially to blame.
Symptoms of Constipation
Being constipated means that it makes it difficult to go. Just about everybody will suffer from constipation in his or her lifetime. While the frequency and duration of bowel movements will vary widely from person to person, going longer than three or four days without a bowel movement usually signifies a larger problem. After three days in the body, your stool will become hard and difficult to pass.
If you are constipated, you will have infrequent bowel movements, and feel as though you are straining to pass stool. You may have hard or small stools, and feel incredibly bloated. This annoying condition can be caused by a number of issues, including dietary problems (such as eating too much dairy), inactivity, the overuse of laxatives, certain medications (like narcotics), and even antacid use.
Side Effects of Constipation
Constipation doesn’t just compromise bowel movements and make it hard to pass stool. It can also cause other side effects. For example, if you are suffering from constipation, you might also have the following problems:
• Constipation weakens the body’s immune system and leaves you more vulnerable to several other diseases like the flu, the common cold, and more. Since this condition puts a lot of strain on the body, some organs like the kidneys, lungs, livers have to work over time just to maintain regular functions.
In younger people, this kind of physical strain is not much of a problem, but in people over 65 it can cause serious problems such as chest pain, severe headaches, fever, or even cardiovascular issues.
• Fatigue is also a common side effect of constipation. When the energy levels of a person drop and he/she can’t perform everyday chores due to extreme fatigue, this is a serious issue that needs to be addressed.
• Constipation is also tied to obesity. This is because internal flora dysbiosis can cause weight gain. Dysbiosis is essentially a change to the gut microbiome, which can eliminate your body’s natural ability to properly digest food. This can cause food to ferment, creating the perfect environment for yeast and bacterial growth. With too much yeast and unhealthy bacteria in your gut, you will have a hard time losing or maintaining your weight.
• Acne and other skin conditions are also common when a person suffers from constipation. This is because harmful gases begin to build up in the stomach and look for ways to escape, usually through the skin, which ultimately has a damaging effect.
How to Treat It
There are several ways to treat constipation. The most common method is to improve your diet and to consume more liquids. This helps regulate bowel movements by softening digested food in the stomach.
Moreover, this change in eating and drinking habits allows the colon to absorb more water from foods. Unfortunately, if you are already suffering from constipation, you may need a remedy that will work more quickly, instead of over time or to prevent constipation from occurring in the first place. Luckily, there are other means to treat constipation that are easy and effective to implement. One such method is to drink certain kinds of teas.
This article should not substitute for medical advice – be sure you talk to your physician before making and consuming any of the following teas.
Tea Can Help Relieve Constipation
Tea is one of the most effective ways of curing constipation, yet many people say that consuming teas can worsen their personal conditions.
While some teas indeed can indeed worsen the situation, such as those that are highly caffeinated, other teas have proven to aid in a number of digestive issues such as gas, regulating bowel movements, water retention, and more.
Many teas contain herbs, which have many benefits. These benefits can include the ability to help the colon in water absorption, and to soften high fiber foods.
While any of these teas can be consumed either in the hot or cold form, warm tea might be especially effective at treating constipation. Drinking warm liquids is a great way to introduce more water into the body, and staying hydrated is a powerful natural remedy for constipation.
Extra water softens the stool, and the warmth of tea may stimulate the digestive system and help relieve constipation. Herbal teas can also be relaxing, so if your constipation is caused by stress, then these remedies may be particularly effective.
The top 8 teas that relieve constipation
1. Cascara Tea
2. Senna Tea
3. Fennel Tea
4. Alfalfa tea
5. Aloe Vera tea
6. Catnip tea
7. Peppermint tea
8. Other less common teas
Let’s have a more in-depth look at how these teas help in relieving constipation.
1. Cascara Tea
Cascara tea is an herbal tea that helps in regulating muscle contractions in the intestine, thereby helping to regulate bowel movements. This is a special herbal tea that is obtained from a bark of a tree called The California Buckthorn.
It not only aids in relieving the symptoms of constipation but helps with several other problems, too, such as joint and muscle pain, digestive issues, gallstones, gonorrhea and dysentery.
How Does Cascara Tea Help Relieve Constipation?
This tea goes into the intestine and works to improve muscle contractions. It contains a special kind of a chemical called anthraquinone which gives this tea a laxative effect.
Since the bacteria in the intestines play a major role in blocking the stool from passing through, this chemical fights the bacteria and works to improve the movement of stool out from the rectum.
Who Shouldn’t Drink This Tea?
While this tea is highly recommended for people who are suffering from constipation, there are certain conditions in which this tea can prove to be harmful.
This tea shouldn’t be consumed if a person is suffering from an inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease because the tea can worsen the inflammation around the intestinal walls. In addition, people who have had appendicitis or any form of kidney disease should also avoid this tea. Pregnant women and children below the age of twelve should also avoid this tea, and should instead resort to other methods of treating constipation, such as increasing the consumption of fluids.
If you choose to consume Cascara tea to improve your constipation, start off small. Keep your dosage minimal, particularly if you are on any kind of medication. This tea can react with certain types of medication, another reason why it is so important to consult with your doctor before making the decision to try it. The recommended dosage of this tea is two grams of cascara per one cup of tea.
When you take this tea, you need to drink plenty of water. The tea is highly laxative, so the water is needed to help soften the stool. The recommended water intake for this tea is about ten glasses, which seems excessive, but is entirely necessary. The tea and the water will work together to soften the hardness of your stool and to allow if to pass more easily.
Keep in mind that the exact dosage of this tea will vary depending on your body type and metabolism. Only a medical expert can determine the right dosage of tea for you. You should never use this tea for the long-term and only when you have occasional issues with constipation.
Cascara tea is easy to make. Here’s how. First, boil water in a container, allowing it to reach 93 degrees. Add a few teaspoons of Cascara and allow it to steep for three to four minutes. Strain the tea, and remove any pulp. Allow it to cool slightly before serving.
2. Senna Tea
Senna tea is another herbal tea that can work wonders when it comes to treating constipation. This tea is obtained from the leaves of a common plant, known as the Cassia Senna plant.
At first sip, this tea seems incredibly sweet. After a while, the tea will taste bitter and can even become a challenge to force its way down your throat. You might want to add honey or mix in green tea to help alleviate the bitterness of the tea and to make it more drinkable. The scent of the tea, too, is not pleasant, and it can taste more like a medicine than a tea.
How Does Senna Tea Help Relieve Constipation?
Like the Cascara tea, this tea, too, works on the intestine. When a person drinks this tea, it creates a movement in the walls of the intestine and helps push the stool along.
This reaction is caused mostly by a chemical known as sennoside. This chemical is naturally present in the tea, and has a laxative effect by irritating the lining of the bowels to help move the stool on out.
According to research, when the final results of Senna tea were compared to other laxative producers, the results came out in favor of the Senna tea.
Who Shouldn’t Drink This Tea?
Senna tea is said to aid in weight loss, but doctors highly suggest people avoid its use for weight loss purposes and to use it just as a constipation- relieving tea. This is because Senna can cause dehydration and can interact with other medications. It can make you dependent on laxatives for weight loss too.
People with colon, heart or liver diseases should also avoid drinking this tea.
Doctors recommend using this tea for two weeks at a time and no longer. After this period of time, the person may experience side effects like nausea, vomiting, stress, faintness, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and more. It is unclear what causes these side effects and why it is only after this period of extended use, but if your constipation has not cleared after two weeks of use, you should probably be seeking medical care anyway.
To make Senna tea, place half to two grams of Senna in a container and add hot water (though not boiling) over the top of it. Allow it to steep for at least ten minutes, and then drain. Serve after it has cooled ever so slightly. You won’t notice the impact of this tea right away, with effects usually showing after about six to twelve hours instead.
3. Fennel Tea
Fennel is another herb that has been used as medicine to cure digestive problems for many years. Today, tea made from this herb is popular around the world, as it can radically improve the symptoms related to constipation.
Fennel seeds (obtained, of course, from fennel plants) must first be dried before being used to make tea. Fennel can be grown in a number of climates, and can also be found at a majority of grocery or health food stores, making it one of the easiest teas to come by when you are looking to cure your constipation. This tea has a rich taste and also is soothing to drink.
Fennel tea doesn’t just help cure constipation. It has many other benefits, including improving eyesight, strengthening memory, and regulating hormones. Fennel can help relieve indigestion and anemia, and contains multiple healthy minerals like sodium, vitamin C, potassium, calcium, iron, zinc, and more.
How Does Fennel Tea Help Relieve Constipation
Drinking fennel tea can reduce the effects of constipation to the point of reducing or removing it entirely. Fennel works on the muscles that help to carry out digestion in the stomach, reducing the pressure needed to pass the stool and making the job less laborious.
Often, constipation can also be caused by the toxins present in the stomach. These toxins restrict the smooth movement of the bowel system. This tea helps to remove these toxins and to cleanse the stomach, thereby curing constipation.
Who Shouldn’t Drink This Tea?
For the most part, this tea is safe for anyone to use. However, there are some groups of people who should avoid it, as its impacts are not clear. Babies, for example, should not drink fennel tea, as it can impact their metabolism and even worsen the constipation. Pregnant women should also stay away from fennel tea, as there is an oil found in fennel seeds which can impact the body and the developing child.
Interestingly, people who are allergic to carrots should also stay away from fennel tea. Fennel belongs to the carrot family, and it can actually trigger allergic reactions in people who are already vulnerable to the related plant.
In addition, people with blood diseases or who are on certain blood thinners should avoid the use of fennel tea.
People who have blood diseases or use blood thinners should also not take this tea.
Fennel is not one of the more potent teas on this list. As a result, there are no specific criteria on how much fennel should be consumed. That being said, large quantities of this tea should be avoided.
To make fennel tea, mix a tablespoon of crushed fennel seeds with a cup of boiled water. The fennel seeds should be placed in a tea ball. The water and tea mixture should be steeped for seven to ten minutes. After the time has passed, you can remove the tea ball and serve the tea once it has cooled.
4. Alfalfa Tea
Alfalfa tea has a unique and amazing impact on the symptoms of constipation, as it is made from the leaves of an ancient plant named Medicago Sativa. The nickname for this plant is the “Father of All Foods,” a nod to the plant’s incredible laxative effects and its ability to ease the stomach by normalizing bowel movements and treating constipation.
How Does Alfalfa Tea Help Relieve Constipation?
Alfalfa is another herb, and is one which contains a number of essential nutrients that can purify the stomach and intestines, removing any and all harmful gases. Since alfalfa provides several vitamins (A, K, C, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6) as well as minerals such as zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, calcium and copper, a number of digestive problems (including constipation) can be cured by consuming this tea. Alfalfa tea is also known as a “detox tea,” because it can help get rid of any harmful toxins in the body which cause constipation and other harmful illnesses.
Who Shouldn’t Drink This Tea
Pregnant women are advised to avoid drinking alfalfa tea, as it can cause birth defects in the developing child. People who suffer from ailments like lupus, kidney, or blood diseases should also avoid this tea, as it can cause further complications.
Drink this tea twice a week and no more, as consumption above this amount can cause bloating and a worsening of conditions.
To make alfalfa tea, combine a tablespoon of dried alfalfa leaves with a boiled cup of water. Allow the mixture to steep for fifteen minutes, then drain, cool, and drink.
Alfalfa tea on its own can have a bit of an off-putting flavor, with the texture and taste of the brew resembling vegetable broth. To remedy this, consider adding a bit of peppermint to improve both the taste and aroma of the tea. As an added bonus, peppermint can also help cure renal problems and to improve constipation symptoms, providing an extra benefit to this mixture.
5. Aloe Vera Tea
Aloe vera tea is derived from the sap of an aloe plant. This extract can be used to make tea that can treat a number of various digestive problems including constipation.
It contains many nutrients which helps the body stay in good shape and can also help treat different symptoms of constipation as well as other ailments, including acne.
How Does Aloe Vera Tea Treat Constipation?
One of the many reasons that people become constipated is due to the presence of parasites in the stomach. This makes the intestinal walls stiff and hard to move. As a result, the stool in the colon is too hard to pass.
This is where aloe vera tea can be of great help, as the nutrients it contains can help eliminate the parasites that cause constipation. Moreover, it helps to regulate smooth bowel movements and to pass stool.
Aloe vera is also effective at reducing inflammation around the walls in the digestive system. It helps in bile production and liver cleansing to ensure that the digestive system works smoothly. Bloating is another common side effect of constipation. Because aloe vera has anti inflammatory properties, it can also help reduce bloating and the uncomfortable pain it produces.
Who Shouldn’t Drink This Tea
People with kidney problems, as well as those with poor heart health, should consult a doctor before using this tea. This is an important part of drinking aloe vera tea, as it can lead to other diseases or worsen your condition if you are not careful. Aloe vera can trigger abdominal cramps and severe pain as it has major laxative effects, meaning you must exercise caution when taking it.
Pregnant women should not take aloe vera tea, as it can cause miscarriages and affect the health of the mother. Otherwise, aloe vera has no side effects unless you have a preexisting condition such as a heart or kidney problem. This, of course, assumes that you are not taking the tea in high doses.
Aloe vera offers multiple benefits, and can blend in well with any tea. You can prepare green, black, or herbal tea, and simply add aloe vera to it for a great-tasting brew. Simply add about one tablespoon of aloe vera to your brewed tea, adding honey for taste. Stir the honey in completely to make sure it fully melts.
6. Catnip Tea
This tea comes from the catnip plant, also referred to as catmint. And no, it’s not just for cats! Catnip belongs to the mint family, and since mint is one of the most effective herbal remedies (for constipation as well as a myriad of other conditions), it is considered to be one of the best ways to naturally treat digestive issues.
There are more than 250 varieties of catnip, but only the gray-green heart-shaped leaves are typically used to make catnip tea. This tea works on constipation like a charm and cures it in a jiffy.
How Catnip Tea Can Treat Constipation
People who have stomach complaints, particularly those who are suffering from poor bowel movements, should turn to this tea. This tea has the tendency to relieve constipation by softening the stool as it makes its way out of the body. Here’s the reason why.
One of the main reasons we get constipated is that acid and gases build up in the stomach. They prevent the walls from contracting, causing them to stay stiff and preventing stool from passing down through the rectum. The compounds found in this tea can cure acid reflux and help to aid in digestion.
Not only does it help with constipation but colic, cramps, diarrhea and flatulence can be cured by drinking this tea as well. It is an antispasmodic, meaning that it also helps to treat stomach ulcers and inflamed intestinal walls by soothing the stomach at the root of the problem.
This tea is the ultimate remedy when it comes to getting your stomach back on track. It will allow you to return to having healthy bowel movements even when you eat foods that contain insoluble fiber contents.
Who Shouldn’t Drink This Tea
Children are common victims of constipation and its side effects, because they are undergoing physical changes and suffer poor bowel movements as a result. Another common cause related to constipation in children? They like to eat junk food (and, of course, so do adults).
While we love eating junk food, it can cost us dearly in terms of our health. Many stomach and digestive issues occur as the result of eating unhealthy foods. These foods impact our digestive system and cause gas to build up. This makes it difficult to pass stool. Catnip tea can help neutralize the harmful gases that develop when we eat too much junk.
Medications like antibiotics have no effect on constipation, but constipation-relieving teas that are safe for children – like catnip tea – can work wonders. Don’t take the risk, however, and seek your doctor’s opinion before giving your child catnip tea. There is a chance that your child could be allergic, and the tea could further damage their health.
Stomach pain and fever may also accompany because constipation for a few days can weaken the immune system. This tea can help reduce a fever and to eliminate pain caused by exerting pressure while trying to pass the stool.
Because this tea is purely an herbal remedy, there are no dangerous side effects associated with it. However, doctors have restricted women who are pregnant from taking this tea because it can affect the uterus and cause false menstruation. Beyond that, you should avoid drinking catnip tea at night, as it can disturb your sleep.
To make catnip tea, start by filling a cup with 250 grams of hot water. The water needs to be hot, not boiling, because at boiling point, the tea will begin to lose the nutrients that help treat constipation.
Once the water is hot, add the catnip leaves and flowers before covering the cup. Allow it to steep for fifteen minutes, and then strain the tea. If you’d like, you can add honey for sweetening. Catnip tea has a tendency to taste bitter. You can also add a squeeze of lemon to add additional flavor and a pleasant aroma.
By adding honey or a lemon, you will be left with a nice, pleasant smelling, yellow-green tea. You can drink this tea two or three times a day to help cure your constipation.
This will get you a nice light greenish yellow tea. Drink it 2 to 3 times a day to cure constipation.
7. Peppermint Tea
Peppermint is considered to be a toxin- cleanser. People who have a weak digestive system often complain about constipation because these toxins harden the intestinal walls and make it hard for the stool to pass out.
Peppermint not only aids in eliminating these toxins but also softens the walls and regulates movement. Peppermint is an herb that is used widely to bring relief from stress and to cure digestive issues as well.
Unlike other teas, this one can be consumed before bedtime because it is totally caffeine free. It can be a great remedy to provide a pleasant sleep.
How Peppermint Tea Treats Constipation
Constipation occurs when food stays in the intestine for a long period of time and makes the walls of the intestine too stiff.
Stool shouldn’t stay for a long time in the large intestine because this is where the water is absorbed by the intestine walls. The stool will become dry and hard, making it hard to pass along.
Peppermint is a carminative herb that makes sure that no gas stays in one place in the body but instead keeps on moving. This is exactly what peppermint tea does.
It lightens the stomach by moving the gases which cause discomfort and help get relief from constipation.
Who Shouldn’t Drink This Tea?
People suffering from asthma should stay away from this tea because it can cause breathing problems. Just as with many other teas, pregnant women and babies should also avoid drinking this tea. It can cause various health problems, such as increasing the blood flow to the uterus and causing miscarriage.
In addition, stomach ulcer patients as well as those suffering from liver or kidney problems (including inflammation and gallbladder problems) should also first consult a doctor before taking this tea. Because peppermint tea can decrease blood sugar levels, individuals with diabetes are also advised to avoid this tea.
For people with a severe case of constipation, three cups of tea per day are recommended for a period of eight weeks. However, if possible, first visit a doctor to determine the right dosage for you.
To make the tea, add a tablespoon of fresh peppermint leaves to a teapot. Boil 250 gm of water and pour it into the teapot, allowing the mixture to steep for five to ten minutes. This will allow the peppermint’s extract to be nicely absorbed into the water. You can add other items, like citrus fruits, ginger, lavender, and honey to improve the taste of the brew as well.
Cool, and then serve.
There are several other less common teas, like dandelion and licorice root teas, which are less popular for treating constipation but still work incredibly well nonetheless.
Dandelion tea is one such example. This tea can help with mild digestive symptoms, like bloating or constipation, and can also stimulate the liver to produce bile. Dandelion tea also acts as a diuretic, adding more water to the body, and can relieve mild constipation. Try drinking a cup of dandelion tea after every mealtime, for best results.
Black and green teas are other popular solutions to constipation, but are two teas that you will need to be careful in consuming. This is because they are stimulating and contain caffeine. Drinking these teas will wake you up and can cause a bowel movement, but too much can have the opposite effective, so be conservative in your approach.
Licorice root tree is a popular remedy for digestive issues. Licorice has an anti-inflammatory effect, and can help promote good digestion. Like dandelion tea, it is best consumed after meal time to soothe the process. Like licorice root, marshmallow root is another soothing tea that is best consumed toward the end of the day, or immediately following a meal.
Chamomile tea is a fragrant herb that is best known for inducing a calm, relaxed feeling. It can help loosen the muscles in the intestines and speed up the time you experience between a meal and a bowel movement.
Parsley is an ingredient that most people think of only for its flavorful addition to meals. However, when brewed as a tea (usually including the leaves and seeds of the plant), this common herb can help heal digestive disorders. It is particularly helpful in treating flatulence.
Finally, ginger is commonly used to treat digestive issues like nausea and heartburn. This is because ginger root helps to calm irritation in the digestive system. An herb that is safe for everyone, ginger can be consumed in a tea after meals – one or two cups is generally considered safe and will be effective in producing bowel movements.
Constipation is a serious problem as it’s not only painful but can lead to various other diseases and problems as well. These teas can help cure your constipation without you having to rely on dangerous pharmaceuticals or expensive remedies that your body might not be able to handle.
While the elderly and young children are the most vulnerable to constipation, this is an ailment that will affect everyone at some point of their lives. These herbal teas can be given to anyone, particularly under the advisement of a doctor, to help ease the pain and eliminate the stress related to constipation.