My experience with gut problems means I’ve learnt the importance of foods that act quickly on the gut to ease cramping, bloating or pain. Teas can be such an effective, easy (and relatively cheap) therapeutic food that anyone can use. Below are my top teas for the tummy:
- Fennel tea: one of my favourites which I've found to be super effective at easing cramping and bloating. Fennel reduces gas (carminative), breaks down spasms (spasmolytic) and is also antimicrobial. Woo! A 2013 study compared the effects of fennel/vitamin E to ibuprofen in women with severe menstrual pain. They found fennel to be more effective at reducing pain intensity compared to the ibuprofen group! It has a very distinct flavour, similar to aniseed and liquorice.
- Ginger tea: known for it's well documented anti-nausea effects, ginger is a deliciously warming tea that aids circulation and reduces gas. Ginger tea can easily be whipped up with freshly grated ginger or brewed from a few fresh chunks of the rhizome.
- Peppermint tea: peppermint has long been used traditionally to relieve cramping and spasms within the the gastrointestinal system. For those with IBS, peppermint may help relieve those unwanted griping cramps and bloating. Bonus breath freshener too :)
- Chamomile tea: chamomile is a powerful internal and topical anti-inflammatory that also breaks down smooth muscle spasms. Be aware that when consuming the tea, it's sedative effects will often induce relaxation and sleep!
- Dandelion tea: I've previously posted about the benefits of dandelion tea. Unlike the above teas, dandelion doesn't work directly on smooth muscle but aids digestion by increasing bile production, thus supporting digestion.
Important note: most teas you find in the supermarket have been sprayed heavily with pesticides to ward off insects during growth. Peppermint tea is allowed high levels of the herbicide, glyphosate. A Greenpeace report found Lipton and Twining’s tea both contained some of the highest levels of pesticide residues. To avoid consuming a pesticide brew, it’s always worth investing in certified organic tea to ensure you’re getting all the tea’s therapeutic goodness and no other surprises.
Bone, K 2010 The Ultimate Herbal Compendium, Phytotherapy Press, Warwick, QLD
Greenpeace India 2014, ‘Trouble Brewing: Pesticide residues in tea samples from India’<http://www.greenpeace.org/india/Global/india/image/2014/cocktail/download/TroubleBrewing.pdf>
Nashei et al 2013, 'Comparison of the effectiveness of combination of fennel extract/vitamin E with ibuprofen on the pain intensity in students with primary dysmenorrhea', Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery, vol. 18, no. 5