So, your day has not gone as planned, and you seem to have had a little trouble pooping this morning. And yes, it happens to most of us, though to be sure, it is not a subject we typically announce to the world.
But, with nearly 15% of us in the US suffering from chronic constipation, the problem is real, and can have profoundly negative effects on our mental and physical wellbeing.
The good news is, taking care of occasional bouts of constipation can be as easy as enjoying a nice, relaxing cup of herbal tea, which not only tastes great, but also has benefits which can go beyond taking care of your constipation. Plus, it’s a lot more undercover than a bottle of laxatives or surreptitiously sipping prune juice – that’s like announcing to the world that you’re system is nice and clogged up.
This, of course, doesn’t mean that even the best laxative teas are going to solve all your constipation woes. If you suffer chronic constipation, please see a doctor, since chronic constipation is more than just uncomfortable – it can indicate worse problems, such as colorectal cancer.
But, if you do suffer from occasional constipation, a cup of herbal tea may be just the tasty solution to getting things moving again.
And the best part? No pills or products full of unpronounceable ingredients to damage your health – just natural herbal ingredients which are safe and effective.
Plus, your office-mates will be none-the-wiser, since they will think you are just enjoying a nice cup of tea – which you are. Tea with bathroom benefits 😉
The first thing you’ll need to know to choose the best laxative tea is what to look for in a good laxative tea – after all, what is the tea if not for the ingredients?
No, you don’t want to find a bunch of stimulants such as ephedra or loads of caffeine, even though these types of stimulants can work – for now. However, getting wired only offers a temporary solution, and can also leave you jittery, sleepless, tense and dehydrated, so it is recommended that you avoid taking this route.
But, there are some highly effective herbal ingredients which you should look for in a good laxative tea, including:
One of the most common herbal laxatives, Senna is known as a stimulant laxative, though not the kind which speeds you up and makes you jittery. Instead, Senna activates the nerves in your colon, and works in unison with your gut bacteria to get things moving safely and effectively.
Since Senna contains sennosides which are activated by bacteria in the colon, it needs time to get down to the lower levels of your intestine through the digestive process, which is why it is recommended as an overnight laxative, or at least one which needs about 8 hours to work.
Please keep that time lapse in mind – more than a few senna users have made the unfortunate mistake of drinking more and more senna, confused about why it was not working, only to experience explosive regret when this highly effective laxative herb caught up to them.
You’ll also want to know that going beyond the recommended dose can move things along too fast, so moderation is suggested. After all, it is a gentle flow you are looking for, NOT a raging river!
Another common herbal laxative, slippery elm not only has properties which aid in healthy digestion, but can also be used to heal wounds, sore throats, and even to treat diarrhea. As a laxative tea ingredient, slippery elm coats the walls of the intestines, and stimulates intestinal nerves so that the gastrointestinal tract can get to work and move things along.
Slippery elm is also high in fiber and antioxidants, both of which can help loosen up stools, as well as reduce inflammation of the digestive tract.
Okay, so those “weeds” on your lawn may not be such bad things after all, since they can play a key role in alleviating constipation – along with many other health and nutritional benefits.
Used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries for the relief of constipation and to support the digestive system, dandelion works by helping your liver and gallbladder produce more bile, which is necessary in helping you poop. Dandelion is also a diuretic, which means it can relieve bloating and water retention, which also plays a role in keeping things stopped up.
Dandelion does have a bitter flavor, although the taste can easily be hidden with other ingredients commonly found in laxative teas, such as licorice and orange peel.
Great tasting, and it helps get rid of constipation – does it get any better than that? Ginger is full of soluble fiber, which gels up when it absorbs water and helps form healthy stools, and it also stimulates peristalsis, which are the wave-like movements of the intestines that move waste along.
Ginger is naturally soothing for the digestive system as well, which not only helps get rid of constipation, but also helps improves overall digestion and gut health as well.
Now that you know which ingredients to look for, here is a short list of teas which can help you “pull the plug” on your moderate, occasional constipation. Most of these teas can be found alongside other herbal teas in your local grocery or health food store, and many are also available online.
However, they do not all work the same for everyone, so you may need to try a few of them and find out which one works best for you:
Not only effective, but with a pleasant citrus flavor from orange peel, this popular tea from Traditional Medicinals will keep you moving while tasting surprisingly great. However, it is one of the more potent laxative teas out there, so please remember to use patience when trying it for the first time.
The active ingredient in it is Senna, which doesn’t work instantly, so you need to give it about 8 to 12 hours to work.
Therefore, DO NOT follow the first cup with a second, third, fourth, etc., in hopes of getting more immediate results – not unless, that is, you have LOTS of time to spend on the toilet the next day. Too much can also trigger abdominal cramps, nausea and low potassium in the blood, so take it slowly!
Yogi makes some of the best herbal teas in the industry, and their Get Regular blend does not disappoint. Like Smooth Move, Get Regular relies on Senna as an active ingredient, and includes an Ayurvedic blend of anise, cardamom and ginger for a great-tasting, wonderfully spicy and soothing tea. This one is awesome in the autumn, by the way!
However, the taste may not be for everyone, and like Smooth Move, it is recommended that you try ONE cup, and then give it 8 hours or so before trying more, since overdoing it can trigger diarrhea. For those who don’t like the flavor, try it with a bit of honey, lemon, or both.
Choice Organic Tea’s Regularity Wellness adds warming herbs such as licorice and ginger root to help gently assist Senna, organic orange peel, cinnamon bark, and fennel seed in working their digestive wonders.
However, just keep in mind that the flavor isn’t for everyone. It’s a slightly spicy, citrus-y, licorice-y tea that’s complex and yummy for some tastebuds but not for others. To add to this, this tea is also accused of not being strong enough – which actually makes it perfect for those sensitive to the effects of Senna but not so great for those used to something stronger.
This makes it a better option for those in need of a gentler laxative, and Regularity Wellness is also certified organic, caffeine-free, and is herbalist formulated in partnership with Bastyr University.
Organic India has created an herbal tea which not only gently relieve constipation, but combines holy basil, Rama, fennel, coriander, cardamom and cinnamon for a great-tasting and calming blend.
The Senna in the product helps stimulate the bowels for a nice, smooth flow (and again, give it 8 hours or so before upping your dose), and holy basil is known for the calm, relaxed sense of wellbeing it promotes, making this an excellent choice for those suffering stress-induced constipation.
The taste is light, and licorice dominant, so if you love licorice and would like a calming tea, this is an excellent choice for you.
So, while constipation is never any fun, you will be happy to know that alleviating occasional bouts of it can be as simple and delicious as enjoying a nice cup of tea.
Remember too that you don’t need to wait until you have that bloated, full-of-concrete feeling to enjoy any of these teas, since they are also just fine to drink daily, though in moderation – particularly with teas containing Senna.
After all, a cup a day keeps the constipation away, and prevention is the best cure!