People have drunk tea for thousands of years and tea still forms a big part of many people’s lives today. In fact, after water, tea is the most consumed beverage in the world. There are over 3000 tea varieties and with so many to choose from there is literally a tea for every occasion. Originally tea was drunk and valued for its medicinal properties and has a long history of use to help aid digestion and in more recent years science has confirmed that many teas do indeed have medicinal properties and when it comes to digestive symptoms and digestive health, a good cup of the RIGHT tea can be very beneficial for alleviating, reducing and soothing many digestive symptoms. So which teas should you choose for your digestive symptoms?
Fennel Tea – Fennel is a first choice if you suffer from bloating and excess wind, which can then lead to cramping and pain in the digestive system. Fennel has anti-flatulent and anti-spasmodic properties, so a perfect choice for these type of symptoms. You can easily make fennel tea using dried fennel seeds, easily available at supermarkets. Slightly crush 2 tsps of fennel seeds to release the oil from them and put in a mug. Pour over hot water and leave to steep for 15-30 minutes. Strain the liquid from the seeds and drink either hot or cold. If you suffer throughout the day with your symptoms, taking fennel tea and sipping throughout the day, especially after large meals, will help alleviate many of these digestive symptoms.
Dandelion root – An easily recognisable plant, the dandelion has a long history of use as medicine. (Fine out more about foraging dandelions and their medicinal properties by downloading your free Ebook when you sign up to the Natures Wild Medicine news here). Dandelion root is generally considered a plant that aids digestion and can have a mild laxative effect, which can offer relief if you suffer with constipation. It also contains the prebiotic fibre called Inulin, so excellent for improving the health of your gut microbiome. Dandelion leaves help relieve gas by increasing stomach acid and giving digestion a boost. The leaves also have diuretic properties so great if you suffer with swelling in the body due to excess water.
Caraway Seeds – These are produced from the caraway plant and have an anise taste. The oils in these seeds have a direct effect on the smooth muscle tissues which line the digestive tract and have shown to be helpful to alleviate indigestion, cramping and bloating symptoms. It has also shown to be helpful for stomach ulcers and the associated digestive symptoms that these can cause.
Ginger – When nausea and vomiting strikes, ginger is the best food to have to hand. Most of gingers medicinal action is down to the component called Gingerol, which is shown to have anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger has also shown to improve the efficiency of digestion, by increasing the speed at which food moves through the digestive tract. This can be especially beneficial if you suffer with constipation and feel you have a ‘backlog of food’ that you are struggling to pass, or if you are feeling bloated or have a sluggish digestive system. Chopping finely a 1-2cm cube of fresh ginger and pouring over hot water makes a great refreshing tea, hot or cold.
Peppermint tea – Probably the most widely known tea associated with digestive health, peppermint has the ability to calm and sooth the digestive tract and the muscles that line it. It has also shown to improve the flow of bile, which is responsible for breaking down the fats we eat. Some studies have shown that peppermint can prevent the smooth muscles that line our digestive tract from contracting which can reduce spasms and cramping. Tea can be made using the leaves of the peppermint plant and crushing or chopping them roughly to then infuse in hot water.
Chamomile – This tea is well known for its calming and soothing ability and helpful at easing tension and stress, so can be helpful if your stomach symptoms are bought on by stress or anxiety. Chamomile has also been shown to help reduce the symptoms of acid reflux and has also been shown in some studies to be effective in relieving general IBS symptoms. Proven to calm the nerves it has also been shown to calm and relive intestinal irritation so another good tea for relieving digestive symptoms. Read also why chamomile is a girls best friend when it comes to period problems.
Drinking tea is a daily ritual for many people and often one that provides a lot of comfort, so as they have the additional effect of relieving digestive symptoms too tea can certainly sooth body and mind so get drinking.
RESOURCES & FURTHER READING:
Prevention and Cure of Digestive Disorders Through the Use of Medicinal Plants, 2017. Journal of Human Ecologogy
Chamomile efficacy in patients of the irritable bowel syndrome, 2015. Der Pharma Chemica
Using Chamomile for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome, 2013. Gastrointestinal Nursing
Peppermint oil for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis, 2014. Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology