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Four Best Herbal Teas for IBS

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Updated October 24, 2012

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

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.

The following herbal teas are best suited for soothing IBS symptoms:

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, but because it may act as a laxative, anise tea should be avoided by those suffering from diarrhea-predominant IBS (IBS-D). The tea is prepared by steeping ground anise seeds in boiling water.

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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.

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Fennel Tea

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Fennel tea is made from the seeds of the fennel plant. With a licorice flavor, fennel is thought to have antispasmodic qualities, to increase intestinal motility, and to have mild laxative effects.

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Peppermint Tea

Photo: Maximilian Stock Ltd./Getty Images

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

Sources:

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

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.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained on this site is for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for diagnosis or treatment rendered by a licensed physician. It is essential that you discuss with your doctor any symptoms or medical problems that you may be experiencing.

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