If you often feel uncomfortable after meals due to bloating, tea is a natural remedy worth exploring. While tea won’t tell you why you are bloated, it can at least help control the symptom until you can identify the trigger.
What is bloating?
When your stomach feels swollen or distended and uncomfortable, it is typically called bloating. It’s not uncommon, in a recent survey, 10% of people report feeling bloated regularly.
The amount of bloating you experience can change throughout the day, getting better or worse as the day goes on
Common bloating triggers or causes
What causes bloating? There are many different reasons someone may feel bloated, and most of them have to do with the health of your gut!
- Food intolerances or sensitivities such as wheat or dairy
- An abundance of gas in the stomach or intestines
- Dysbiosis: excessive “bad” bacteria (SIBO) and/or not enough good bacteria
- Stomach ulcers
- Intake of common gas-producing foods like vegetables in the cruciferous family (cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts) or beans
- Bacteria, yeast, or parasite infections
- Eating quickly without chewing food well
- Drinking carbonated beverages
- Eating high fiber foods (even though these can be a good choice)
- Shifts in hormones as in pregnancy or during menstruation
- Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) – including Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative colitis
Although, tea isn’t a long-term solution to bloating, sipping warm tea can provide temporary relief and can be used to help combat bloating.
Research has found these teas to be the most effective:
- Peppermint: Peppermint has shown significant antimicrobial and antiviral activities as well as antioxidant properties. Peppermint has also shown a relaxing effect on the GI tract (1). These studies were not specifically done on peppermint tea but rather peppermint oil capsules. Since there is a significant amount of peppermint oil in peppermint tea (notably six times more than a capsule), we feel comfortable recommending peppermint tea to help with bloating (2). Peppermint is a traditional choice for stomach upset since it has a soothing, and mild flavor. Note: Those with hernias or GERD should use caution with peppermint tea as it can make those symptoms worse.
- Wormwood: Although serving it as a tea hasn’t specifically been tested, 1g capsules have been shown to reduce pain in the abdomen and decrease bloating by increasing output of digestive enzymes (3). This tea is known to be very bitter so we recommend combining it with a sweetener to soften the taste. Note: This tea should NOT be used during pregnancy because it can cause contractions in the uterus.
- Lemon balm: A cousin to peppermint tea, found in the mint family, lemon balm is known for a light and lemon-like flavor. It has been shown to help with abdominal pain and bloating specifically in people with irritable bowel syndrome (4).
- Ginger: If your bloating is accompanied by nausea or indigestion, ginger tea can be very helpful. In the research, ginger supplements have shown to help to speed up gastric emptying and reduce bloating associated with gastroparesis (5 and 6). Ginger is known for having a spicy flavor and a warming tendency so if that’s not your thing, try combining it with some lemon juice to balance the flavor.
- Fennel: Fennel seeds are commonly chewed after meals to aid in digestion and relieve constipation (7). If you know your bloating is a result of being constipated, fennel tea is worth a try. This tea has a strong licorice taste and is best when blended with other sweeter teas. You could also try a blend of teas including fennel – we like this digestive blend with anise seed, ginger root, papaya leaf, and licorice.
- Chamomile: With its mild and slightly sweet flavor, chamomile tea is often used for relaxation. It can also be used to reduce bloating associated with the overgrowth of unfavorable bacteria. Chamomile has both antimicrobial and antioxidant properties (8). Chamomile may also help reduce bloating from some dairy by helping to metabolize lactose (8). Unlike most other teas on our list, chamomile tea has actually been researched rather than using it as a supplement. It is important to get teas made from the chamomile flower rather than the leaves or stems since that is the beneficial part of the plant.
- Angelica Root(also known as dong quai): This herb creates a strong, bitter tea, which makes it useful to stimulate digestion. When bloating is related to constipation, this tea is a great choice (9). This tea should be avoided if pregnant or breastfeeding. Because of its bitter flavor, it tastes best when brewed with other sweeter herbal teas such as peppermint or lemon balm.
- Green Tea: Green tea is rich in antioxidants, specifically catechins which have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial effects (10). In the GI tract, green tea has been shown to have a relaxing impact promoting the digestive process (10). If your bloating is related to slowed motility or constipation, green tea is worth a try! It is important to note that green tea is naturally caffeinated so if you are drinking it later in the day or are particularly sensitive to caffeine, it is best to get a decaffeinated version.
- Dandelion Root: Research has found that dandelion tea made from the root of the plant helps to relieve bloating related to water retention (11). If you are experiencing puffiness and feeling swollen as a result of overeating or eating foods high in sodium, dandelion root may help.
- Turmeric: Turmeric supplements are a common choice for pain because it’s a natural anti-inflammatory. Turmeric can also help with bloating and abdominal discomfort associated with excess gas buildup (12). Turmeric tea has a strong, slightly smoky flavor we recommend it with a little added sweetener or made into a latte with your choice of nut milk.
- Hibiscus: Hisbiscus tea helps with bloating by increasing urine output through regulation of a hormone called aldosterone. This helps to beneficially control electrolyte levels, which can be a player in bloating. This tea has a sweet and slightly tart flavor with hints of cranberries.
Conclusion: Is tea the answer to bloating?
- Depending on the cause of your bloating, different teas can provide temporary relief.
- Most of these studies are not on the tea itself, more research is needed to measure the actual impact on the gut and specifically bloating with herbals teas.
- It is worth noting that teas are an easy, simple option to try since there are rarely negative side effects.
- As functional nutrition providers, we recommend identifying the root cause of your bloating and addressing that to really get rid of your bloating
- Our LEAP/MRT Food Sensitivity Testing Program and Restore Gut Health Program are two programs we have designed to get to the root cause of gut imbalances.
- Potential imbalances in your gut can be addressed by boosting beneficial bacteria through probiotics and taking steps to get rid of the overgrowth of potentially pathogenic microorganisms
- Simple lifestyle changes can also be made to prevent constipation, such as increasing fluid intake, moving more, and regulating fiber intake.
- Possible negative consequences of tea intake could be an allergic reaction to a tea, or if the herb or flower interacted with a supplement or medication that someone was taking. It’s always recommended to talk to your doctor or meet with a dietitian before making any major dietary changes.
- McKay DL, Blumberg JB. A review of the bioactivity and potential health benefits of peppermint tea (Mentha piperita L.). Phytother Res. 2006;20(8):619-633. doi:10.1002/ptr.1936
- Kowalski R, Baj T, Kowalska G, Pankiewicz U. Estimation of Potential Availability of Essential Oil in Some Brands of Herbal Teas and Herbal Dietary Supplements. PLoS One. 2015;10(6):e0130714. Published 2015 Jun 25. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0130714
- McMullen MK, Whitehouse JM, Towell A. Bitters: Time for a New Paradigm. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:670504. doi:10.1155/2015/670504
- Vejdani R, Shalmani HR, Mir-Fattahi M, et al. The efficacy of an herbal medicine, Carmint, on the relief of abdominal pain and bloating in patients with irritable bowel syndrome: a pilot study. Dig Dis Sci. 2006;51(8):1501-1507. doi:10.1007/s10620-006-9079-3
- Giacosa A, Morazzoni P, Bombardelli E, Riva A, Bianchi Porro G, Rondanelli M. Can nausea and vomiting be treated with ginger extract?. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2015;19(7):1291-1296.
- Hu ML, Rayner CK, Wu KL, et al. Effect of ginger on gastric motility and symptoms of functional dyspepsia. World J Gastroenterol. 2011;17(1):105-110. doi:10.3748/wjg.v17.i1.105
- Badgujar SB, Patel VV, Bandivdekar AH. Foeniculum vulgare Mill: a review of its botany, phytochemistry, pharmacology, contemporary application, and toxicology. Biomed Res Int. 2014;2014:842674. doi:10.1155/2014/842674
- McKay DL, Blumberg JB. A review of the bioactivity and potential health benefits of chamomile tea (Matricaria recutita L.). Phytother Res. 2006;20(7):519-530. doi:10.1002/ptr.1900
- Allam S, Krueger D, Demir IE, Ceyhan G, Zeller F, Schemann M. Extracts from peppermint leaves, lemon balm leaves and in particular angelica roots mimic the pro-secretory action of the herbal preparation STW 5 in the human intestine. Phytomedicine. 2015;22(12):1063-1070. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2015.08.008
- Koo MW, Cho CH. Pharmacological effects of green tea on the gastrointestinal system. Eur J Pharmacol. 2004;500(1-3):177-185. doi:10.1016/j.ejphar.2004.07.023
- Clare BA, Conroy RS, Spelman K. The diuretic effect in human subjects of an extract of Taraxacum officinale folium over a single day. J Altern Complement Med. 2009;15(8):929-934. doi:10.1089/acm.2008.0152
- Bundy R, Walker AF, Middleton RW, Booth J. Turmeric extract may improve irritable bowel syndrome symptomology in otherwise healthy adults: a pilot study. J Altern Complement Med. 2004;10(6):1015-1018. doi:10.1089/acm.2004.10.1015
- Nwachukwu DC, Aneke EI, Obika LF, Nwachukwu NZ. Effects of aqueous extract of Hibiscus sabdariffa on the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system of Nigerians with mild to moderate essential hypertension: A comparative study with lisinopril. Indian J Pharmacol. 2015;47(5):540-545. doi:10.4103/0253-7613.165194