The Best Tea for Bowel Movement

Loose leaf tea for bowel movement

Herbal teas have been used as a digestive aid for thousands of years.

Herbal tea relieves digestive symptoms like bloating, gas, stomach pain, and irregular bowel movement patterns like constipation and diarrhea. 

Remember that every person finds varying levels of success depending on the tea and the dose when using herbal tea for bowel movement (constipation).

Constipation defined

Did you know you can have a bowel movement daily and still be constipated? Constipation can look like any of the following:

  • Bowel movements feel incomplete.
  • Your stool is dry, hard, or looks like small rabbit pellets. 
  • You don’t have a daily bowel movement.

Drinking enough fluids daily is fundamental for daily bowel movements. Herbal teas are a natural way to promote bowel movement and support hydration. Herbal teas are not only hydrating, but they contain compounds that encourage the movement of stool through the GI tract. 

Additionally, the warm temperature of the water can further stimulate digestion and support more regular bowel movements. Therefore, tea can improve the frequency of bowel movements. 

These are the best tea for bowel movement when you’re constipated. 

Ginger Tea for Bowel Movement

Ginger tea has a long history of medicinal use for countless ailments. Ginger tea speeds up motility which means it can relieve constipation. It can also relax the muscles of the GI tract which can help stool move through the intestines more easily.

Also, ginger helps the body make more digestive enzymes that help break down food. When digestion is optimized, bowel movement is likely to be more regular. 

There are several ways to make ginger tea. The easiest method is to buy ginger tea bags from the store. Another way to prepare the tea is as follows:

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger root
  • 1 cup hot water

Directions:

  1. Grate fresh or frozen ginger root using a microplane into a mug of hot water.
  2. Allow the tea to steep for 5 minutes before sipping. 

Peppermint Tea for Bowel Movement

Peppermint tea alleviates constipation in a few ways, thanks to its natural properties. 

Peppermint contains compounds that can help muscles in the GI tract relax, including the muscles in the colon. The relaxation can help move stool along and relieve constipation. 

In addition, peppermint has antispasmodic properties that may reduce spasms in the intestines. This is helpful for people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or other digestive conditions that cause cramping or constipation. 

Finally, like ginger tea, peppermint tea can encourage the production of digestive enzymes. This may improve the digestion process and improve regular bowel movement.

Peppermint is found in many varieties of tea bags at grocery stores. You can also steep the fresh or dried leaves in hot water to brew your own at home by following these instructions:

Ingredients: 

  • 1-2 teaspoons of dried peppermint leaves
  • 1 cup of hot water

Instructions:

  • Boil water and pour it into a mug.
  • Add the dried peppermint leaves to the mug. 
  • Cover the mug and let it steep for 5-10 minutes. 
  • Remove the peppermint leaves and drink the tea while it’s warm. 

Senna Tea for Bowel Movement

Senna is well known for its laxative effect. It is found over the counter in supplement and tea form to relieve constipation. 

Senna contains plant compounds called Sennosides that stimulate the digestive system. The compounds encourage contractions of the intestine by irritating the gut lining. They also prevent water loss in the colon.  

*NOTE: Senna tea should not be used as a long-term solution for bowel movements as this can lead to electrolyte imbalances and liver damage. 

If you have any type of heart, liver, or kidney condition, are pregnant or breastfeeding, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before using senna.

Caffeinated Tea for Bowel Movement

Research shows that caffeine causes contractions of the colon which can trigger bowel movements. Non-herbal teas like black tea and green tea both contain varying amounts of caffeine and have a laxative effect.

Caffeine also makes the colon anywhere from 20- 60% more active than water alone, depending on the dose. Varieties like Earl Grey, Jasmine, Matcha, Oolong, and Green tea all contain caffeine and can be used to promote bowel movement. 

Lavender Tea for Bowel Movement

Lavender tea for bowel movement

Lavender tea is often consumed to promote relaxation and reduce stress. While lavender tea may not directly improve the frequency of bowel movements, lavender tea can be used as a tool to relieve constipation in the following ways:

A study done in 2020 demonstrated that lavender tea reduced anxiety and depression in individuals diagnosed with these mental health conditions. Constipation is strongly linked to anxiety and other mental health conditions.  

Therefore, anxiety-induced constipation can be treated using herbal teas like lavender. 

Other factors to consider

In addition to hydrating with the best tea for bowel movement, there are several other important factors to consider if you struggle with chronic constipation. 

Constipation contributes to other symptoms like gas, bloating, hormone imbalance, acne, and low energy. If you suspect you have chronic constipation, these are other areas to address that may help alleviate your digestive symptoms and beyond. 

Diet

People whose diet lacks fiber are more likely to be constipated. Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. Fiber improves the frequency of bowel movements by adding bulk to stool. Other types of fiber absorb water and soften stool making it easier to pass. If you follow a Low FODMAP diet, check out this article on Low FODMAP, high fiber foods.

Movement/ Exercise

Regular movement like walking, stretching, and yoga can alleviate constipation. These movements help stool move through the GI tract. Avoid long periods of sitting throughout the day to improve constipation. 

Probiotic Foods

Probiotic foods populate the gut with protective bacteria. This improves digestive symptoms like gas, bloating, and constipation. For a list of probiotic foods and how to incorporate them into your diet, read this blog post: 8 Delicious Non-Dairy Probiotic Foods. 

Resources:

  1. Senna: As immunity-boosting herb against Covid-19 and several other diseases. J Herb Med. (2023). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9830937/
  2. Ginger in gastrointestinal disorders: A systematic review of clinical trials Food Sci Nutr. (2019). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6341159/
  3. Is coffee a colonic stimulant? Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol (1998). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9581985/
  4. The effect of lavender herbal tea on the anxiety and depression of the elderly: A randomized clinical trial. Complement Ther Med (2020). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32444033/ 

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