8 Best Herbal Teas For Relief Of IBS Symptoms
For those suffering with effects of IBS it can be a struggle to control those symptoms. By looking at some of the health benefits from herbs you can see a direct link to the
If you develop any of the symptoms associated with IBS it is important to seek immediate medical attention. While we offer herbal teas to help alleviate these symptoms they may have an underlying cause that requires a medical professionals advice and guidance.
Symptoms and Causes Of IBS
IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) can cause stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhea and even constipation. Periods of illness vary in time and will come and go. The NHS points to issues with the digestive system. With stress and food passing too quickly or too slowly through the gut as various causes for these symptoms.
No long term medical treatment has been found to have had wide spread success. Advice points more towards a change in diet and lifestyle. Getting more exercise and eating a wider variety of fresh foods, alongside reducing stress.
Overall Benefits Of Drinking Herbal Tea
If you are replacing your usual caffeinated cup of tea with a fresh cup of herbal tea, you are on to a winner. Caffeine present in fizzy drinks and tea and coffee is a known trigger to those suffering with IBS as it can cause diarrhea, due to the stimulating effect on the intestine.
You may find cutting caffeine completely is tiring to you, however staying hydrated will help with your energy levels. By making your herbal infusions in a large teapot, you can drink through the day and keep adding to it.
Many of those who drink tea and coffee, do so with milk added. Lactose is a known trigger for diarrhea, not just in those who have Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Therefore removing it and drinking herbal tea’s will help to eliminate this cause of flare ups.
If you grow your own herbs for a herbal tea garden, then you also get the benefits that come with this! Relaxing, gentle exercise, plenty of fresh air and organic, fresh ingredients to add to your teas! All this said some of the herbal teas for relief of IBS are harder to grow than others, and secretly it is ok to buy ready dried herbs from time to time!
1. Anise Herbal Tea And IBS Treatment
Flavor –The anise we are talking about here is often confused with Star Anise or even Fennel. This mistake may be due to it’s light licorice flavor that it shares with both fennel and star anise. The root, leaves and seeds are used to produce medicines and are found in as varied products as the alcohol ouzo and for a fragrance in soaps.
How It Works – The active chemical found in anise is thought to have an anti-inflammatory effect to decrease swelling. Ideal for our digestive systems that are struggling. There is evidence to suggest that the bloating and pain associated with it are reduced by taking a capsule of Anise oil daily.
Warnings & Side Effects –Anise is deemed likely safe by research, however if you are allergic to asparagus, caraway, celery, coriander, cumin, dill, and fennel then you may well be allergic to Anise as well. Anise is also linked to lowering blood pressure, so if you have a pre-existing condition it will be best to trial another herbal tea remedy. Anise is also though to behave like estrogen and therefore anyone who has had a history of hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroid, should completely avoid anise.
Herbal Tea Recipe – This is quite a strong flavor so adjust the timings to bring down the intensity. 2 teaspoons of anise seeds, crushed and added to your herbal tea infuser or tea ball. Allow to steep for 10 minutes, reduce to half the amount if you are looking for a more delicate flavor.
2. Chamomile Herbal Tea And IBS Treatment
Flavor- A light apple like flavor and gentle aroma. Chamomile has a long history of use as a herbal tea. Important to note that it is the flowers that bring the taste we are talking about. Chamomile leaves are harsh and bitter, some people do like to add to a herbal tea infusion, but I would suggest to start with the flowers.
How It Works- A study of preclinical models in 2010 indicated that chamomile inhibits Heliocobacter pylori, which is a bacteria linked to stomach ulcers. There was also certain evidence to suggest that chamomile reduces muscle spasms in the stomach. A known contributor to cramps and diarrhea in those suffering from IBS.
A 2014 study found that a combination of myrrh, coffee charcoal and chamomile flower extract was effective in reducing the symptoms of patients suffering with acute diarrhea.
Warnings & Side Effects- Taken as a herbal tea, chamomile has few side effects that have been studied. This is not to say there are no side effects, if you come out in hives or have severe skin irritation you should seek medical help immediately.
Drowsiness is the main warning while drinking chamomile tea and it should be avoided before driving and operating heavy machinery.
Herbal Tea Recipe – For one cup of herbal tea use 8 chamomile flowers that you have dried. Pop into your teapot with built in infuser or your tea ball. Steep in freshly boiled water for 10-20 minutes depending upon how strong you like you tea.
Learning to grow your own chamomile is an affordable way to have a plentiful supply in the Summer months. We have a free guide to drying times available here, for those Winter months.
3. Fennel Herbal Tea And IBS Treatment
Flavor- Has a clear anise or licorice flavor. You can use the seeds or leaves in herbal teas.
How It Works- A study of 121 patients found a significant reduction in symptoms of IBS and a high increase in stated quality of life. This was when they were given curcumin and fennel together. I have popped a recipe together below for just such a herbal tea! Fennel is known to have anti-spasmodic effects which can significantly reduce the cramps and resulting diarrhea in IBS sufferers. There is also a known calming effect of fennel and this can be very useful to reducing stress.
Warnings & Side Effects- Always consult a medical professional before taking fennel as it may interact with certain medicines. Pregnant women are not recommended to use fennel essential oils or to take in tea form.
Herbal Tea Recipe – 2 tablespoons of crushed fennel seeds to every cup of tea. Steep in a tea ball in boiled water for around 10 minutes. In the Summer months you can also use fresh fennel leaves from the garden for amore gentle taste, especially when popped in with fresh chamomile flowers too!
Growing our own fennel has allowed us to explore the calming effects in our garden as well as our teas. I can highly recommend planting fennel alongside pathways and brushing passed to release the aroma.
4. Ginger Herbal Tea And IBS Treatment
Flavor- Strong and fresh astringent flavor. It is hot and will bring a tear to your eye if you are not used to fresh ginger. Used in many different dishes to bring heat as well as sweetness. A little will go a long way in a herbal infusion.
How It Works- There is a lack of scientific research into the effectiveness of ginger for IBS sufferers. However this is not to say that there is not plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest a link to drinking ginger tea and a reduction in IBS symptoms. It is though to decrease inflammation and promote movement in the intestines, in a much more gentle way than caffeine!
Warnings & Side Effects- Some user report heartburn, diarrhea, burping and general stomach discomfort. If this should occur discontinue using ginger as a herbal tea.
Herbal Tea Recipe – You will need a piece of fresh ginger root, one inch or roughly the length of the end of your thumb. Thinly slice it and pop into your tea ball or teapot with built in infuser. Pour over boiling water and leave to steep for 10 minutes. More likely than not you will find that ginger tea goes well with other herbal ingredients. We love cinnamon sticks, turmeric and mint. Sometimes all at once, but follow the recipe at the bottom of the article for more!
It is possible to grow your own ginger from seed and this fresh ginger supply can come in very handy through the year!
5. Lavender Herbal Tea And IBS Treatment
Flavor- For a traditional English girl like me, Lavender smells like relaxed afternoons at your family home. Sweet and perfume like with tones of floral. The taste is light and can be overpowering with the addition of too many sprigs of lavender. Best used as one ingredient of many!
How It Works- Lavender is known for its calming properties. It is also though tot act as an anti-spasmodic in the intestines, however as yet there has been scant research conducted.
Warnings & Side Effects- Due to the scant levels of research it can be difficult to gauge side effects of lavender. When taken as a herbal tea it would be best to avoid if you are pregnant and breast feeding. If you are due to have surgery, or you have recently been discharged from hospital it is best to avoid lavender as it is though tot slow down the central nervous system.
It is always best to consult a medical professional prior to starting a course of alternative medicines, herbal teas included.
Herbal Tea Recipe – Due to the strong flavor of lavender it goes very well with other herbal teas. For example mint and lavender. Take one teaspoon of dried lavender to 5 teaspoons of dried mint. Pop in to your infuser of choice and steep in boiled water for 5-10 minutes. Enjoy a lovely refreshing cup of soothing tea.
If you want to grow your own lavender it couldn’t be easier and we have a beginners guide to growing from seed or propagation available here.
6. Nettle Herbal Tea And IBS Treatment
Flavor- This may sounds strange but it is the earthy version of seaweed. Like a sweeter more mature version. Again a little goes a long way and diving straight in with this tea can be a mistake and put a lot of people off herbal teas.
How It Works- Nettle tea is linked to reducing constipation and diarrhea. This is due to its regulatory effects on the digestive system. Unfortunately this has had little modern research and we have ancient traditions to go on alone. Having been used as far back as 3000 B.C.
Warnings & Side Effects- Pregnant women and those breast feeding are advised against using nettle tea. Seek further medical advice before starting to take herbal tea remedies.
Herbal Tea Recipe – Choose older leaves for a sweeter taste. Try to get as little stalk as possible and pop 1 tablespoon of chopped nettle leaves in to a teapot with built in infuser or tea ball. Allow to steep for 5-10 minutes. I would recommend you follow a recipe which includes other herbs as well.
This herbal tea is ideal for foraging or for buying pre-made teabags. Clipper sell organic nettle teabags available here.
7. Peppermint Herbal Tea And IBS Treatment
Flavor- The classic sweet but sharp flavor of mint, is fresh and zingy. Often used as a palate cleanser inbetween courses.
How It Works- Many IBS patients will have been prescribed peppermint oil tablets. These can cause belching and heartburn, so herbal teas can also be recommended. Peppermint acts to relieve bloating as well as the spasms associated with IBS. A recent study in Adelaide shows peppermint is active in reducing pain receptors associated with the gastrointestinal condition of IBS. This is good news indeed and well worth adding peppermint tea to your herbal medical kit!
Warnings & Side Effects- Do consult your local medical professional before starting to use peppermint herbal tea to treat IBS symptoms.
Herbal Tea Recipe – Use a large teapot with built in infuser or a tea ball and add about 15 large peppermint leaves, roughly ripped apart by hand. Then pour over a cup of boiled water, allow it to steep for 10 minutes. Often drunk cold and added to lemon juice over ice cubes.
Growing your own mint is ideal in any kitchen garden, just make sure to grow it in pots to keep it from taking over!
8. Turmeric Herbal Tea And IBS Treatment
Flavor- You may not wish to drink turmeric on its own. This is a bitter, earthy and overall savory flavor. Therefore it goes very well with herbs like fennel or anise as it picks up the musky, peppery flavor of turmeric and matches it to sweeter flavors.
How It Works- The Curcumin in turmeric is the active ingredient that works as an anti-spasmodic to reduce contractions of the stomach. There has been a body of research into this area and when used with fennel it can be seen to significantly reduce symptoms.
Warnings & Side Effects- Perhaps due to the level of research into turmeric there is much more evidence of side effects than our other herbal teas. In clinical trials side effects have included constipation, dyspepsia, diarrhea, distension, gastroesophageal reflux, nausea, vomiting, yellow stool and stomach ache. However these are all closely associated with IBS and there can be something of a cause and effect loop occurring. If you have any concerns, visit a medical professional prior to starting any course of herbal treatment.
Herbal Tea Recipe – Mixing turmeric with other herbs is always a good idea, as mentioned above. So a classic recipe is turmeric, ginger and lemon tea. 3 teaspoons of ground turmeric to 1 teaspoon fresh ginger and the zest and juice of a lemon (unwaxed). Put the ingredients into a teapot with infuser or a tea ball and steep in boiled water for 5-10 minutes, depending on the strength of flavor you require.
You can grow your own turmeric and use fresh, just as you would ginger really. Or you can grow your own and dry it ready to use!
Herbal Tea Blends For IBS Sufferers
- Lavender and Chamomile – very much not to be drunk before a long car journey. This is a gentle aromatic herbal tea, perfect for just before bedtime. Designed to relax those cramps that can build up for evening time and to alleviate trapped wind.
- Fennel, Turmeric and Anise – will make a golden orange cup of tea! Smelling of spices and a real Winter warmer as a result. There is significant medical evidence to suggest that curcumin (found in turmeric) and fennel work well together to reduce IBS symptoms.
- Ginger, Nettle and Rose Hip (or honey to sweeten) Use roughly one inch of fresh ginger and 15 nettle leaves. Thinly slice the ginger and pop into a teapot with an inbuilt infuser or a tea ball with the nettles. Only add rosehips once the ginger and nettles have had about 5 minutes to steep in freshly boiled water. Add around 4-5 rosehips per cup of tea, or 1 teaspoon of local honey.
- Turmeric, Apple and Chamomile – This is a decoction rather than a herbal infusion. This recipe is for one cup of tea. In a saucepan add 1 teaspoon of turmeric and 1/2 a sharp green apple chopped or 4 dried apple rings. Add 1 1/2 cups of water and slowly bring to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes. Allowing the apple to infuse with the turmeric. Take off the heat and immediately add 8 chamomile flowers. Leave to steep with the lid on the saucepan for a further 20 minutes. Remove all of the botanicals and drink immediately.
- Peppermint and Lavender – is an incredibly easy to drink herbal tea. Mix 5 parts fresh mint leaves to 1 part dried lavender. Steep in boiled water for 5-10 minutes. You can make up a large pot of tea with this mix and just top up with boiled water as and when required. We find this to be a great herbal tea to go with a floral tea party in the garden! (the kids think it is fairy juice or pirate tonic , depending on the day!) Water it down and add honey, then chill for several hours if the kids are going to drink it. Perfect frozen as ice lollies as well.
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Further Reading And Support For IBS Sufferers
Please let us know how you get on with these herbal tea blends. IBS can be a life limiting illness and getting much needed support is always a positive. Make sure to keep your GP up to date with any changes to your diet and consult them prior to starting a herbal course of medicines.
Best of luck and we sincerely hope that you find a blend that works for you.
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