If you have ever been constipated for days on end, the thought of using laxatives may have crossed your mind. These are substances that stimulate bowel movements and offer relief to constipated people.
Note that while these substances can provide you with some alleviation, they can also pose some serious side effects. It is thus important that you choose wisely and under the watch of a medical practitioner.
Some people have taken to using tea to stimulate bowel movements. Are all teas laxatives? Which options should you choose and which ones should you avoid? This article will get into this and much more.
Teas with little laxative effect
1. Black Tea
80% of tea consumers take their tea black. This tea has undergone the most oxidization and has the highest caffeine content. There are many varieties of this, all of which offer a ton of benefits to the consumer.
However, as much as this tea is full of antioxidants and can increase metabolism, you have to watch your dosage. You should be aware of the fluoride content in this drink which can be harmful when taken in large doses.
Such was the case of a middle-aged woman who drank too much black tea. On average, she brewed about one hundred tea bags every day. This practice continued for close to two decades, seeing her drink about a gallon of tea daily.
The problem with this was that she ingested about 20 mg of fluoride each day. Taking this much fluoride can wear out your bones, and she ended up with brittle bones. She was in so much pain by the time she went to the hospital and had to have all her teeth removed. Can you imagine such an outcome?
Black tea will generally have a laxative effect on you, owing to the presence of caffeine. Note that this effect is typically present in the few minutes after consumption. But for people who are highly sensitive to caffeine, the effects can last longer.
This tea is the balance between green and black tea. It undergoes more oxidization than green tea and thus has more caffeine. As noted earlier, caffeine does have a laxative effect by irritating the lining of the bowels. Anyone looking for flavor and high caffeine content can rely on this tea. Note that the content differs based on the brand you choose.
This tea is known to control blood sugar levels, improve metabolism and heart health and can offer protection from cancer. Additionally, it is rich in manganese and other minerals and contains l-theanine.
3. Herbal Teas
Most herbal teas benefit the consumer’s health in more ways than one. Note that these teas are quite different from the conventional options in that they lack caffeine. Not all of these teas will offer you some alleviation from constipation. Let us look at a few of the ones that can help.
Parsley tea is a great option. This herbal concoction aids in better food digestion and this works in clearing the gut of any undigested food. Plus, it can bring down any flatulence.
Have you ever noticed how hard it is to pass stool when constipated? Many people end up bleeding and suffering pain as they try to do so. You can rely on marshmallow root tea to prevent this outcome as it softens the hard waste. Passing it becomes easier. You can add this tea to your usual tea for this effect.
Many people drink chamomile tea in the hope of sleeping better owing to its calming effect. Well, this tea also serves other purposes such as reducing bloating and easing constipation. It does this by preventing the accumulation of undigested food in the gut.
The fact that it also reduces stress and anxiety is a bonus. Did you know that high stress levels could be the reason behind your poor digestion?
Are you a fan of licorice? If not, it might be high time that you jump on this bandwagon as it has many benefits for the stomach. Not only is it anti-inflammatory, but it also aids digestion to a great extent. You can drink a cup of this tea after meals to enhance bowel movements.
Another tea on which you can rely is peppermint tea which improves digestion. Additionally, it helps the body to burn fat faster and can contribute to weight loss. Plus, its scent suppresses appetite which may have a lot to do with the reduced weight.
Some other factors play into your digestion which you may not think much about when eating. An example is the role of the liver. Did you know that bile formation plays a role in the working of your digestive system? It turns out that using dandelion root tea can promote this formation. It also enhances metabolism, reducing the chances of constipation.
Chewing ginger or using it as tea works in solving a myriad of stomach issues – these range from bloating to indigestion as well as controlling constipation. It does all this by stimulating the production of saliva, gastric juices and bile, all which play a role in digestion. Plus, this herb also disinfects the gut. How great is that!
Senna tea is popularly used in detox teas. It comes from the Senna Alexandrina shrub and contains glycosides. These compounds stimulate the digestive system by irritating the lining on your bowel. Another interesting option is the cascara tea which comes from discarded coffee products. Its laxative effects are so high that the consumption limit stands at one cup per day.
4. Green Tea
The number of people drinking green tea is quite high, and this comes as no surprise. After all, many nutritional bodies have termed it as one of the healthiest drinks on the planet. This beverage is not only rich in antioxidants but minerals and vitamins as well.
Some of its benefits include better brain function, protection from some cancers and a boost in metabolism. Some studies have also shown that taking this tea can reduce the chances of death by a considerable percentage.
Note that this tea is high in caffeine. Thus, you are likely to use the loo more often if you take too much of it, as is the case with black tea. This effect will present within a few minutes of having tea. It also depends on how sensitive you are to the presence of caffeine. Thus, people will respond to it differently.
5. White Tea
This tea falls under conventional teas as it comes from the Camellia sinensis plant, unlike herbal teas. It undergoes little or no oxidization and thus has a naturally sweet taste.
Anyone who does not enjoy the bitterness present in green and black teas can opt for this option. It is high in antioxidants and is protective against some conditions such as cancer, diabetes and bacterial infections.
Studies show that it can also prevent ageing, which is another reason some people swear by it.
It can provide relief from constipation by helping the body flush out toxins and other harmful substances. It also aids digestion to some extent. You can drink it after every meal, ensuring that you gauge how much you drink.
Too many cups of white tea can have some undesirable side effects.
6. Lemon Tea
When it comes to this tea, you have two options. You can buy lemon-flavoured tea, which in most cases, is of low quality. Many manufacturers use low-quality leaves and instead sell the lemon flavor. You are more likely to end up ingesting high amounts of noxious metals. However, there are some good brands out there. The other option is to squeeze fresh lemon juice into your morning cup of tea, such as black tea.
Lemon is known to get the gut going and can aid a great deal in digestion. Note that it is high in acidic content and can thus pose problems to people with sensitive stomachs. You should reduce the number of cups of this tea per day.
7. Pu Erh
This tea undergoes partial oxidization and fermentation which give it a rich and creamy taste. Ageing can take place for a few years or continue for decades.
The longer the tea ferments, the pricier it becomes. Many people laud it for its weight loss benefits, with some studies supporting these claims. Additionally, it lowers high cholesterol and protects from some diseases.
This tea is rich in microorganisms which are beneficial to the digestion process. They increase healthy bacteria in the gut and pave the way for the efficient breakdown of foods.
People who consume this tea often state that their bloating has reduced. You can drink it before meals for the best effects. Note that it also has some side effects, of which you should be wary when downing this drink.
Teas to avoid for their laxative effect
1. Detox Teas
Some people believe in using teas to detoxify their systems. Well, here is what you need to know. One, the body can pretty much get rid of any toxins without your help. That is thanks to the liver and kidneys, organs which work round the clock.
As long as you eat right and keep up with medical advice, these should be fine. If you have underlying medical conditions, your doctor will tell you what you can do to ease the flushing of toxins. In this case, using detox tea would not be a good idea.
That said, people still use these teas, which contain formulas that include laxatives. They believe in flushing out toxins with the added benefit of losing weight.
The problem is that most people do not lose much weight this way. What they end up losing is water or waste weight, which comes back over time. Some people get hooked to these drinks owing to this perceived loss. And studies show that these drinks can fuel eating disorders.
Some of the ingredients used, such as the senna leaf can irritate the lining of your bowels. This irritation stimulates bowel emptying, which is a relief for constipated people.
Also, doctors use this when they want to operate on someone as it makes their work easier. Thus, in small and spaced-out doses, the laxative should be okay to use. The problem comes in when the irritation is regular.
If you want a laxative effect, then these teas will work. However, their downsides outweigh their good sides, and you should moderate their use as much as possible.
2. Kava Kava Tea
Many people refer to this drink as nature’s Xanax, thanks to its anti-anxiety effects. It can sedate you to the point of drunkenness and has been known to be misused by some people. In some countries, it is illegal as it has been linked to some diseases.
Note that while it can have a laxative effect, its other side effects can be pretty dangerous. It gets worse when mixed with alcohol or meds, and things can take a turn for the worse pretty fast.
Should you drink tea for its laxative effects?
The answer is yes, and no. If you opt for the good teas, then yes, you can drink them now and then for their digestive benefits. However, when taking detox and kava kava drinks, you could put your health at risk.
If constipation has become a huge problem for you, talking to your doctor is a great idea. They can advise you accordingly, allowing you to protect your gut.