Diarrhea is often painful and it’s always inconvenient. At best you’ll make frequent trips to the bathroom and have loose or watery stools (poop), in other words, a runny tummy, and at worst you feel weak, crampy, and feverish. Luckily, under normal circumstances, diarrhea only lasts 1-3 days.
On average, adults get diarrhea once a year, and children twice a year. Unfortunately, for those with conditions like IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis it can happen on a regular basis, particularly after meals.
Stress is another cause of diarrhea. Other causes include certain types of medication, food poisoning, picking up a viral or bacterial infection, or eating food that doesn’t agree with you (1). Aside from managing stress and staying away from trigger foods, you, unfortunately, have to wait for your body to get rid of the infection. Help your body to do so quicker and easier with treatment.
Medication can help to stop diarrhea, but unless you have some at home, driving to the store may be the last thing you want to do. These medications also can have unwanted side effects. Rather use tea for diarrhea. Most people keep tea in the house, even it’s if only for guests who like it.
Is Tea Good for Diarrhea?
Yes! Tea is a great source of antioxidants and many people find tea soothing emotionally. Some teas do have diuretic effects which you may want to avoid during diarrhea since your body is already losing a lot of water, but there are helpful teas that will hydrate you and help to decrease the duration of your diarrhea.
Some types of tea also contain tannins which have an astringent effect. This helps to dry your intestines a little which can remove some of the water content from your stools.
The Best Teas for Diarrhea
Herbal tea for diarrhea is especially good, but so are some of the more common varieties of tea. If you need to buy tea, you can find most types of tea either in tea bag or loose-leaf form. Some of these teas most stores will have stock of. For some of the herbal teas, you may need to go to a health store or tea shop. You can also shop for tea online.
There will also be brewing instructions on most boxes of tea. If not, generally, to be safe you can go with 3-5 minutes of brewing, but some teas such as black tea and green tea can become very bitter if they are brewed for longer than 3 minutes. This isn’t bad for your diarrhea, but it if you don’t like bitter flavors you may not enjoy the tea. Herbal teas can take longer to brew, usually 5-7 minutes.
Here are some of the best teas for diarrhea:
1. Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea for diarrhea is an ancient remedy and studies have shown that it not only helps to shorten the duration of diarrhea but helps to decrease the other symptoms that come with it due to chamomile’s anti-inflammatory and soothing effects (2). If you are very stressed, chamomile tea is a great option.
Note: Chamomile tea has no caffeine so you can drink it at night too which is helpful if you have trouble sleeping.
2. Peppermint Tea for Diarrhea
Peppermint tea for diarrhea works because it has a calmative effect and reduces cramps. Studies show that peppermint tea is helpful for those who have diarrhea due to IBS and can combat indigestion which some people get before diarrhea.
Peppermint tea is refreshing and can be enjoyed hot which is best for diarrhea, but if it’s a hot day, why not make iced tea. Cool tea might be better than ice cold tea though.
3. Green Tea
Green tea for diarrhea works due to antimicrobial properties that can take care of some of the infections that cause diarrhea. It’s soothing during stressful situations.
Note: Don’t brew green tea with boiling water, either add some cold water to your cup first or wait for a while after the kettle has boiled before pouring the water into the cup. This will prevent you from burning the leaves. Green tea does contain a little bit of caffeine.
4. Ginger Tea
Ginger tea can combat gas, indigestion, inflammation, and helps your digestive system to digest food better. It also has an astringent effect to clear up excess moisture in the intestines (3). Ginger also relieves stress and anxiety.
5. Black Tea
This is one of the most common types of tea that people have on hand and if you do, you’re in luck. Studies have shown that black tea reduces the amount of trips you may need to take to the bathroom and helps stools to form properly (4, 5).
Note: Black tea contains some caffeine, not as much as coffee, but if you are sensitive to caffeine, avoid it after late afternoon.
6. Raspberry Leaf Tea
When it comes to the studies done on raspberry leaf tea regarding diarrhea, they were only done on pigs, but humans may find it helpful too (6). You may find other berry leaf teas such as blackberry and blackcurrant helpful for diarrhea(7).
Note: If you are pregnant, avoid drinking raspberry leaf tea before the third trimester. During your third trimester is fine and even beneficial for the birthing process (8).
7. Rooibos Tea
Rooibos tea can help with the cramps and also helps to stop diarrhea. It’s naturally caffeine free so you can drink it at night as well (9, 10).
Things to Add to Your Tea for Diarrhea
These ingredients add a delicious flavor to your tea and also help for diarrhea at the same time:
Baking soda (this may not taste nice, but it may be helpful if you have indigestion as well as diarrhea)
Tips and Precautions
Most people can drink 3-5 cups of tea per day safely. It’s suggested to drink a half a cup of tea every hour when you have diarrhea, but 3-5 cups a day should work well enough.
Check with a pharmacist, GP, or pediatrician about whether you can use certain teas for your children when they have diarrhea. Small children are often given tea without ill effects, but babies may not be able to have tea. Before 6 months, breast milk is fine even during diarrhea.
If you are on medication, pregnant, or have a medical condition it may be best to find out whether you can safely drink the suggested teas. The common types of tea should be fine, and even the herbal teas, but if you are going to drink more than 3 cups or so, the tea may interfere with your blood pressure, medication, hormones, and blood sugar levels.
Eat easy to digest foods like rice, white bread, and broth. Vegetables and fruit are important too but you may need to puree them if you struggle to digest them. Bananas, apples, and oranges are particularly good because of pectin, a type of fiber that forms a gel in your stomach and adds some bulk to your stools.
Stay away from alcohol, dairy, fatty foods, spicy foods, and sugary foods. You may also find that foods and drinks containing xylitol, mannitol, or sorbitol can upset your stomach.
Try to get some rest, your body needs its energy to heal you which it can’t do as effectively if you are constantly up and about.
Keep your hands clean and if you have a child with diarrhea make sure that they have washed their hands after using the bathroom. Baby nappy changing areas need to be disinfected after changing to prevent the spread of germs or reinfection.
If you have a fever higher than 102°F it’s best to see your doctor. The same goes if you have severe diarrhea for longer than 2 days (11).
If you suspect a food is triggering your diarrhea you can try avoiding the food for at least a week to see if this improves your symptoms or not.
If you get diarrhea regularly and suspect a food allergy or any other condition, go to your doctor. He or she will run tests for allergies and other conditions so that you can move forward knowing what to avoid or with the correct treatment.
If you don’t like tea, you can try one of these other home remedies for diarrhea. Please let us know which tea you find most helpful for treating diarrhea.