Tea for Constipation: 6 Naturally Laxative Teas

Updated in October 2022

Drinking a laxative tea, like senna tea, rhubarb tea, or frangula tea, is a great, natural way to treat constipation and restore bowel movements. These teas can be taken to loosen the stool if you have been constipated for over.3 days, or if the stool is very firm and eliminated in pieces. 

Teas for constipation contain substances like sennasides and mucilage, which help to relieve symptoms related to constipation and help with easier bowel movements. The recipes below are very easy to prepare at home once you have the right ingredients.

These teas should not be used for more than a week or two, as they can be irritating to the intestines. Rhubarb tea, senna tea and cascara buckthorn tea, in particular, should be used for a maximum of 3 days. If the constipation does not resolve within a week, you should see your family doctor or a gastroenterologist for further assessment and possible treatment. 

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Tea recipes 

Try one of the following tea recipes to treat your constipation today: 

1. Senna tea

Senna tea helps to increase bowel motility to treat constipation without causing gas. It contains sennosides, mucilage and flavonoids and has a more laxative effect. This tea can be made using dry Senna alexandrina or Cassia angustifolia leaves.

Ingredients

  • 0.5 to 2g of dry senna leaves 
  • 250 mL (about 1 cup) of boiling water

How to prepare

Add the dry senna leaves to the cup of boiling water. Allow to soak for 5 minutes, then strain and drink. 

Another great option is to prepare a senna solution made with 8 mL of senna extract or senna syrup. You can dilute any of these fluids to 250 mL (1 cup) of water and drink. 

There preparations can be taken 2 to 3 times per day. They are generally effective within 6 hours of ingestion. 

Senna should be taken by pregnant or breastfeeding women, by children under 12, or by those with a history of chronic constipation or inflammatory bowel disease. This plant should also be avoided by those with intestinal problems (like a bowel obstruction), abdominal pain, hemorrhoids, or appendicitis, nor by patients who currently have a UTI, actively menstruating, cardiac disease, renal failure or liver failure.

2. Psyllium tea

Psyllium, which is scientifically referred to as Plantago ovata, is a medicinal plant that absorbs water in the gut and stimulates intestinal motility. This plant’s seed contains a thick gel that is rich in soluble fibers that help to add bulk to stool and regulate bowel movements. It can contribute to an overall healthy digestive tract.

Ingredients

  • 3 g of psyllium seeds
  • 100 mL of boiling water

How to prepare

Place the psyllium seeds in the cup of boiling water. Allow to soak, then strain and drink up to 3 times per day. 

Psyllium should not be used by pregnant or breastfeed women, or by children under 12 years old. 

3. Cascara buckthorn tea

Cascara buckthorn tea, scientifically known as Rhamnus purshiana, is a medicinal plant that contains carcarosides. These work by irritating the intestine to increase intestinal motility and promote bowel movements. 

Ingredients

  • 0.5 g (about 1 teaspoon) of cascara buckthorn bark
  • 150 mL (about 5 oz) of boiling water 

How to prepare

Add the bark to the boiling water and soak for 15 minutes. Then strain and drink immediately. This tea should be taken before going to bed, as it is usually effective 8 to 12 hours after ingestion. 

Another option is to mix 10 drops of cascara buckthorn extract in a cup of water. This solution can be taken 3 times per day. 

Cascara buckthorn should not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women, as it can be toxic to babies. It should also be avoided by children under 10. Do not drink this tea or fluid extract if you have abdominal pain, gas pain, and anal fissure, hemorrhoids, a bowel obstruction, appendicitis, intestinal inflammation, dehydration, nausea or vomiting. 

4. Prune tea

Prune tea is rich in soluble fibers like pectin and insoluble fibers like cellulose, which work by absorbing water into the digestive tract. These fibers form a gel that help to regulate bowel movements and promote optimal digestive health. Prunes also contain sorbitol, which is a natural laxative that helps with bowel movements. 

Read more about other naturally laxative foods, like prunes, that you can incorporate into your diet. 

Ingredients

  • 3 pitted prunes
  • 250 mL (about 1 cup) of water 

How to prepare

Add the prunes to a pot with 250 mL (1 cup) of water. Boil for 5 to 7 minutes, then allow to cool. You can sip on this tea throughout the day. 

Another option is to soak 3 pitted prunes in 1 cup of water overnight, and then to eat them on an empty stomach the following morning. 

5. Frangula tea

Frangula, also known as Rhamnus frangula, is a medicinal plant that contains glucofrangulin, a sbutstance that has laxative properties. It adds moisture to the stool and stimulates digestion and bowel movements. This substance also increases bile production, which contributes to optimal digestion and regular bowel movements. 

Ingredients

  • 5 to 10 g (about 1 tablespoon) of frangula bark 
  • 1 L (about 4 cups) of water 

How to prepare

Place the frangula bark and the water in a pot and boil for 15 minutes. Then allow to soak for 2 hours, strain and drink 1 to 2 cups of the tea before going to bed. This tea’s laxative effect emerges 10 to 12 hours after ingestion. 

This tea should not be consumed by pregnant women or by people with a history of colitis or ulcers. 

6. Rhubarb tea

Rhubarb is rich in sennasides which as a potent laxative action that can be used to treat constipation. This plant is more effective then senna, cascara buckthorn and frangula, and therefore should be used with caution. 

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of rhubarb stalk 
  • 500 mL (about 2 cups) of water

How to prepare

Place the rhubarb and water in a pot and boil for 10 minutes. Then allow to cool, strain and drink 1 cup before going to bed. 

This tea should not be consumed by pregnant women or children under 10. It should also be avoided if you have abdominal pain, bowel obstruction, nausea, vomiting, Crohn’s disease, colitis or irritable bowel syndrome. This tea should also not be taken by people who use medications like digoxin, diuretics, corticosteroids and anticoagulants. 

Considerations for use

Laxative teas should not be used for more than a week or two, as they can lead to fluid and mineral losses that can impact your health. You should particularly be careful with rhubarb, senna and cascara buckthorn teas, as these are potent laxatives that should not be used for more than 3 days. Laxative teas should not be used frequently or in large doses. Be sure to speak to your doctor before trying a medicinal plant. 

These teas may help with constipation, however if symptoms do not improve within a week, you should see your doctor for further assessment.

Other tips for treating constipation 

To treat constipation, you should drink 1.5 to 2 L of water per day, engage in regular physical activity (like daily walks) and eat a healthy, balanced diets with plenty of fiber and little processed food or fast food. Check out our other home remedies for constipation that you can use to achieve relief quickly.