The Best Herbal Teas for IBS Symptoms

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Best Herbal Teas for IBS Symptoms

woman sipping tea
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Sipping a warm cup of herbal tea is a nice soothing option for dealing with the discomforts of IBS. Although research support for the effects of herbal teas on IBS is limited, certain herbs have traditionally been used for the purpose of soothing digestive symptoms. Remember that although herbal teas are generally considered safe, you should always consult your physician before regular use of any IBS remedy.

Pre-packaged varieties of the following herbal teas for IBS can be found easily. A more economical option is to buy the herb in bulk and then brew your own tea as needed. For best taste results, follow the brewing instructions that accompany your purchased tea. A general rule of thumb is to place one teaspoon of your chosen herb into a cup of boiling water, brew for 10 minutes, strain out the ​herb, and enjoy your tea. For those of you so inclined, it is fairly easy to grow your own herbs.

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Peppermint Tea

cup of peppermint tea
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Peppermint tea has long been associated with having a soothing effect on the GI tract. Like its counterpart peppermint oil, peppermint tea is thought to reduce intestinal spasms, relieve abdominal pain, and relieve symptoms of intestinal gas.

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Anise Tea

cup of anise tea
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With a licorice-type flavor, anise tea has long been thought to provide the benefits of soothing stomach aches and relieving the symptoms of gas and bloating. Anise is also considered to have antispasmodic effects, which helps to relieve IBS pain. Anise tea may act as a laxative, making it a good choice for anyone who has constipation-predominant IBS (IBS-C), but not a good choice for anyone with diarrhea-predominant IBS (IBS-D).

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Fennel Tea

fennel tea and seeds
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Fennel tea is made from the seeds of the fennel plant. With a licorice flavor, fennel is thought to have pain-relieving antispasmodic qualities, to increase intestinal motility, and to have mild laxative effects. Therefore fennel tea is a good choice for those with IBS-C.

Fennel tea is not appropriate for anyone with IBS-D or anyone following the low-FODMAP diet for IBS.

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Chamomile Tea

cup of chamomile tea
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Chamomile tea is brewed from the flowers of the chamomile plant. Animal research has indicated that chamomile has the following effects:

People who suffer allergic reactions to plants in the daisy family should not drink chamomile tea. In addition, chamomile tea is not appropriate for a low-FODMAP diet.

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Low-FODMAP Teas

cup of brewing tea
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The following teas may not necessarily help your IBS symptoms, but because they are low in FODMAPs are not likely to make your symptoms worse:

  • Black tea
  • Chai tea (weakly brewed)
  • Dandelion tea (weakly brewed)
  • Green tea
  • Peppermint tea (best choice!)
  • White tea

Sources:

McKay, D. & Blumberg, J. "A Review of the bioactivity and potential health benefits of chamomile tea" Phytotherapy Research 2006 20:519-513.

Monash University Low FODMAP Diet App 

Picon, P., et.al. "Randomized clinical trial of a phytotherapic compound containing Pimpinella anisum, Foeniculum vulgare, Sambucus nigra, and Cassia augustifolia for chronic constipation" BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2010 10:17.

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