Just about everyone experiences constipation at least one time in their lives. Most acute constipation comes on suddenly but infrequently. However, in certain cases constipation can be chronic. In acute cases of constipation, herbal teas can be used to relieve constipation. If you experience chronic constipation, consult your health-care provider as you may be suffering from a serious illness. Always consult a doctor before using any herbal supplement to rule out negative drug interactions and possible side effects.
Constipation occurs when your normal bowel movement pattern is disrupted. You may experience hard, painful bowel movements or may be defecating less frequently. Constipation can be painful and inconvenient. In most mild cases of constipation, those lasting only a few days, herbal teas containing specific ingredients that act as laxatives can help alleviate the pain and in some cases relieve constipation. Always consult your health care provider before taking any herbal remedies or supplements as they can be harmful to your health. Herbal supplements are not regulated by the FDA. Consult your health care provider if you are pregnant or nursing before using any laxative. Herbal laxatives can be harmful when used for extended periods of time.
Senna leaf is a natural laxative found in many commercial constipation relief teas. Upon consumption, senna leaf increases the peristaltic movements of the colon, relaxing the lower bowel, thus relieving constipation. The leaf contains an herbal stimulant called sennosides that create a laxative effect on the body. Senna leaf has a sweet flavor somewhat similar to anise or fennel. Some commercial teas that contain senna as a main ingredient are Yogi Tea's "Get Regular" and Traditional Medicinals "Smooth Move." Consult a physician before starting a senna regimen.
Rhubarb, one of the most commonly used herbs in Chinese medicine, is known to have a balancing effect on the digestive system. It has a sour taste similar to that of a cranberry. The root of the plant contains anthraquinones which have a purgative effect on the body. When rhubarb root tea is ingested, it stimulates peristalsis of the colon thus relieving constipation. Rhubarb root tea can easily be made at home by combining 1 teaspoon of ground rhubarb root with 8 oz. of boiling water. Check with your doctor before starting a rhubarb regimen.
Aloe latex is a bitter liquid derived from the skin of the aloe leaf. When dried and ground up into tea, it acts as a powerful laxative. The aloe vera plant comes from the same family as the senna leaf. Tea made from the latex of the aloe vera plant is such a powerful laxative that it can cause painful cramping and is only recommended in cases of extreme constipation. Aloe vera has a bitter taste, somewhat similar to alcohol. Consult a doctor before using aloe vera latex as a laxative.