Instead of opening up the medicine cabinet the next time you feel gassy or bloated, reach into your pantry instead.
Herbal teas have long been used to treat a variety of ailments like menstrual cramps, colds, insomnia and allergies, but there are certain teas that can help calm an unruly tummy — specifically, helping to banish bloat and gas.
A number of things can lead to bloat and the buildup of gas. The types of foods you eat — those high in fiber, foods high in FODMAPs (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols), artificial sweeteners and cruciferous vegetables — are all common culprits.
The way you eat also plays a role: Did you eat too fast or too much?
Regardless of why you're stuck with an expanded stomach and more flatulence than you care to admit, you'll want to try these best teas for bloating and gas to help soothe your discomfort.
1. Peppermint Tea
Peppermint tea is brewed from the leaves and the oil of the peppermint plant. Menthol is one of the main components of the plant and it's what gives the tea (and anything peppermint-flavored) that refreshing taste.
Menthol also relaxes the muscles in our intestinal wall, according to the Canadian Society of Intestinal Research.
Research on peppermint tea itself is lacking, but peppermint oil is well-studied for its health benefits and it's often used to help treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
An August 2016 clinical trial in Digestive Diseases and Sciences tested peppermint oil against a placebo over the course of 28 days and found that those who took peppermint saw a significant reduction in a number of IBS symptoms — including bloating.
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2. Ginger Tea
What can't ginger do? It's commonly used in cooking because it brings a spicy bite and flavor to dishes but it has a number of health benefits, too, including calming an upset stomach.
Ginger extract has what's called a carminative effect, which means it prevents gas from building or helps to remove gas from the body, per a November 2018 study in Food Science & Nutrition. The review also notes that ginger prevents reflux along with bloating. That's because ginger can increase gastrointestinal motility and decrease pressure on the esophageal sphincter.
While more research needs to be done to confirm these findings, the study also notes that ginger rarely induces any negative side effects, so it's worth a shot.
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3. Fennel Tea
Fennel tea may be a little less popular, but when it comes to reducing bloat, it works.
A June 2016 study in the Journal of Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease found that when people with IBS were provided a fennel and curcumin (the active component found in turmeric) treatment, they saw a significant improvement in all IBS symptoms, including decreased bloating.
Fennel seeds contain a compound called anethole, which is similar to dopamine and has a relaxing effect on the muscles that make up the lining of our GI tract, according to a February 2017 paper published in Gastroenterology Report.
Fennel seeds have a licorice-like flavor, which makes for a delicious sipping experience.
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4. Turmeric Tea
Turmeric stands out with its bold golden color and uniquely strong flavor that's commonly used in curries. The spice contains curcumin, an active component that is responsible for many attributed health benefits.
In the Journal of Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease study, curcumin was used along fennel in a study of people with IBS and was found to provide significant relief in all symptoms associated with the condition.
It's thought that because curcumin stimulates the gallbladder to produce bile, it may help improve digestion, according to Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. What's more, turmeric helps reduce bloating and flatulence in those with indigestion.
Of note, if you have kidney stones, gall bladder disease or are on blood-thinning or blood-sugar-lowering medications, you should avoid curcumin, advises Consumer Labs.
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5. Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea is made from the dried flowers of the Matricaria species. When brewed, it takes on a floral flavor that is typically mild in taste.
Chamomile has a long history of being used to treat digestive issues like cramping, reflux and flatulence, notes an October 2011 review published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition.
The review also cites more current research supporting its use, highlighting a previous study where chamomile extract was successfully used to treat common GI issues like gas, stomach spasms and gastritis.
The flavonoids and other active compounds found in chamomile appear to have an anti-spasmodic effect.
- Digestive Diseases and Sciences: "A Novel Delivery System of Peppermint Oil Is an Effective Therapy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms"
- Food Science & Nutrition: "Ginger in Gastrointestinal Disorders: A Systematic Review of Clinical Trials"
- Journal of Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: "Curcumin and Fennel Essential Oil Improve Symptoms and Quality of Life in Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome"
- Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center: "Turmeric"
- Consumer Labs: "Turmeric and Curcumin Supplements and Spices Review"
- International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition: "Functional Foods with Digestion-Enhancing Properties"
- Canadian Society of Intestinal Research: "Peppermint and Irritable Bowel Syndrome Pain Relief"
- Gastroenterology Report: "Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Diet"