17 Best Types of Tea for Diarrhea and Upset Stomach

Experiencing the occasional bout of diarrhea and upset stomach is unfortunately a part of being human.  But when this stuff is happening regularly, it becomes a huge P-I-T-A!  Whether your unwanted symptoms are occasional or chronic, the good news is there’s a variety of different types of tea for diarrhea and upset stomach that – in my personal and professional opinion – are worth exploring.

Disclaimer:  This article was written for general education purposes.  The information and insights in this article should not replace medical and nutritional advice from your treatment team! Consult with a doctor, gut health dietitian, and clinical herbalist for custom advice tailored to your bio-individual needs.

Disclosure:  This article contain affiliate links*.  If you make a purchase through my affiliate link, I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you. (If applicable, thank you for supporting my small biz!)

Key takeaways

  • The best teas for diarrhea and upset stomach generally tend to be astringent, antimicrobial, carminative, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and/or nervine.
  • The most helpful tea for your diarrhea and upset stomach will depend on your root causes and bio-individuality.
  • In many cases, given the nature and complexity of diarrhea, tea can complement and enhance, but not replace, medical and nutritional interventions.

What is diarrhea?

“Diarrhea” can mean a lot of different things.  For the purposes of this article, experiencing diarrhea means you’re having any or all of the following:

  • Loose, unformed stools – i.e. a Type 6 or Type 7 on the Bristol Stool chart
  • Too-frequent bowel movements (more than 2 to 3x per day)
  • A sense of sudden urgency (running to the bathroom) with incontinence

Diarrhea can be acute (occasional) or chronic (ongoing).

What causes diarrhea? 

There are literally dozens of different possible reasons behind why you’re having diarrhea and an upset stomach!

It’s important to uncover your root causes, since that will determine which types of tea will be most and least helpful for you.

As I like to say to my clients, and in my paperback IBS Food Diary

“Everything happens for a reason. Leave no stone unturned until you feel realigned!”

-Jenna Volpe, RDN, LD, CLT

I’ve found some of the most common root causes of diarrhea to include any – or multiple – of the following:

  • Bile acid diarrhea
  • Gallstones
  • Pancreatitis
  • Fructose intolerance
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Sucrose intolerance
  • Sulfur intolerance
  • Microbial overgrowth (candida, dysbiosis, and/or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (celiac, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and/or diverticulitis)
  • Food sensitivities
  • Food poisoning
  • Neurological damage (i.e following a concussion and/or motor vehicle accident)
  • Medication side effects
  • Trauma history (leads to a mis-firing nervous system)

But sadly, I’ve noticed that most gastrointestinal practitioners still aren’t up to speed on a lot of this.

So, they won’t usually take the time to look into most of those possible root causes of your diarrhea before hastily slapping “irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)” on your medical record. 

(I don’t even really believe in IBS anymore!  As a former “IBS sufferer” who’s been in remission since 2014, I eventually came to realize IBS is really just the culmination of functional imbalances left unchecked – OR simply an undiagnosed medical condition masquerading as IBS.)

Anyways – I digress.  Many underlying root causes of diarrhea tend to fly under the radar for months, or even years!  

Cause people don’t know what they don’t know.

For this reason, I now offer a step-by-step roadmap which you can access in Module 1 of my online program, the Complete Gut Repair Roadmap, if you’d like extra guidance on how to uncover your root causes! 

Types of tea for diarrhea, by category

In clinical herbalism, we categorize herbs based on their constitutional properties and “herbal energetics” – aka their specific actions on the tissues of the body.

Anti-inflammatory tea

If your diarrhea or upset stomach is caused by diet-induced inflammation (aka food sensitivities) and/or an inflamed gut lining (such as in cases of inflammatory bowel disease like celiac, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, and/or diverticulitis)… you could likely benefit from this type of tea!

Tea with anti-inflammatory properties is high in antioxidants, which fight oxidation (cell damage) and reduce levels of pro-inflammatory chemicals (like cytokines) in your gut.

These teas also seem to have prebiotic properties, indirectly impacting inflammation by increasing the amount of certain probiotic microbes in your gut. (Feel free to read more about prebiotics and probiotics here!)

Examples of anti-inflammatory tea for diarrhea includes the following, in no particular order:

  • Black tea (1, 2, 3, 4)
  • Calendula tea (5, 6)
  • Cinnamon tea (7)
  • Green tea (8, 9)
  • White tea (10)
  • Oolong tea (11)
  • Ginger tea (12, 13)
  • Turmeric tea (14, 15, 16)
  • Rooibos tea (17)

General recommended dose:  Drink 1 to 3 cups of anti-inflammatory tea per day – or as advised by your healthcare team.

Warning: Just make sure you don’t have a food sensitivity to any of these herbs, or you could have an adverse reaction!

(Believe it or not, some of my clients have uncovered they are sensitive to tea, turmeric, cinnamon, and/or ginger. Learn more about food sensitivity testing in my clinic here, if you’re curious.)

Antimicrobial teas 

Certain types of tea have antimicrobial properties, which can be potentially beneficial whether you’re dealing with an acute foodborne illness (hello, Salmonella!) or chronic dysbiosis which is a more common type of functional imbalance in your gut microbiome.

Types of tea found to have antimicrobial properties include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Black tea (4)
  • Cinnamon tea (7)
  • Ginger tea (12, 13)
  • Green tea (9, 18
  • Oregano (19, 20)
  • Oregon grape root tea decoctions  (21, 22)
  • Rosemary tea (23, 24)
  • Thyme tea (25)

General recommended dose:  Drink 1 to 3 cups per day on an empty stomach – or as advised by your healthcare team.

  • Oregon grape root:  Drink 4 ounces of homemade tea decoction 1 to 4x daily for acute bouts of infectious diarrhea

Warning:  If you’re killing off a microbial overgrowth, beware of something called “die-off”! (This is a toxic reaction that occurs when the bad microbes are dying off. They release endotoxins, which wreak havoc in your system.)

There are ways to prevent this, but it goes beyond the scope of this article.  Preventing and managing die-off is is something we cover in Module 3 of the Complete Gut Repair Roadmap online course.

Antispasmodic teas

Herbs with antispasmodic properties are great for settling an anxious stomach – and for reducing the colonic spasms that often occur with “the runs”.

Antispasmodic herbal teas include:

  • Chamomile tea (26, 27)
  • Fennel tea (28)
  • Lemon balm tea (29)
  • Rooibos tea (17)

General recommended dose:  Drink 1 to 3 cups per day, before or after meals, as needed.

Astringent (drying) herbal teas

Astringent herbal teas have a tendency to dry and tighten loose, damp tissues of the body.  Given the damp and loose nature of diarrhea, this makes perfect sense!

I find these types of tea work more on the level of symptom management, but they’re still natural and they don’t have any adverse unwanted side effects.

Astringent teas shown to help reduce symptoms of diarrhea include the following:

  • Black tea (1)
  • Blackberry leaf tea (30)
  • Calendula tea (5, 6)
  • Green tea
  • Oolong tea
  • White tea

General recommended dose:  Drink 1 to 3 cups per day, before or after meals, as needed.

Related article:  Herbal Astringents – List, Potential Benefits & Uses

Nervine teas

If you’re prone to a “nervous stomach” – and you’ve noticed that stress seems to worsen your diarrhea, nervine teas could become your new favorite herbal ally!

How they work:  Nervine herbs help to soothe and relax your nervous system.  

(These herbs work directly on your nervous system, versus adaptogenic herbs which reduce stress via  the adrenals and HPA axis.)

My favorite nervine teas for diarrhea include:

  • Chamomile
  • Lemon balm

General recommended dose:  Drink 1 to 3 cups per day, before or after meals, as needed.

Related article:  Intro to Nervines: Your Best Nervous System Allies

Complete list of tea for diarrhea and upset stomach

You may have noticed, lots of these teas fall into more than just one category – cause the whole is greater than the sum of its parts!

I realize it can get overwhelming to narrow down your options, when there are so many.

You can mix and match, but keep in mind that in holistic nutrition and herbal medicine, less is more. 

It’s better to partner with just a few of the RIGHT herbs (and take them as a custom herbal tea blend) than to try and drink half a dozen different teas, inconsistently. 

Please take what you need, and leave the rest.

  1. Black tea
  2. Blackberry leaf tea
  3. Calendula tea
  4. Chamomile tea
  5. Cinnamon tea
  6. Fennel tea
  7. Ginger tea
  8. Green tea
  9. Lemon balm tea
  10. Oolong tea
  11. Oregano tea
  12. Oregon grape root tea
  13. Rooibos tea
  14. Rosemary tea
  15. Thyme tea
  16. Turmeric tea
  17. White tea

(You can work with a clinical herbalist 1-1 or consider scheduling an initial Holistic Health Consultation with me if you’d like to customize and narrow down options!)

Frequently asked questions 

Is peppermint tea good for diarrhea?

While peppermint oil delayed release capsules are studied extensively (and benefit symptoms of gas and bloating, I couldn’t find any studies on the benefits of peppermint specifically for diarrhea aside from studies that were inconclusive.

Does chamomile tea cause diarrhea?

In many cases, chamomile has been shown to help reduce symptoms of diarrhea since it’s a bitter, nervine, and anti-spasmodic herb. But everyone is different!

Chamomile tea is considered high in FODMAPs, so if you suspect you reacted to chamomile tea, this is entirely possible.

You could even be reacting to something that you added to the tea – such as honey, sugar, milk, or a milk substitute that your body isn’t tolerating.  Or perhaps you had your chamomile tea with a side of cookies, and you’re reacting to something in the cookie?

Lastly, you could have a sensitivity to chamomile from a food sensitivity standpoint, and diarrhea is sometimes a symptom of food sensitivities.

There are lots of variables to consider here!  When in doubt, listen to your body and consult your treatment team as needed.

Is there a tea for food intolerances?

If you’re dealing with food intolerances, you can’t rely exclusively on tea.  (Some astringent teas and antispasmodic teas may help reduce and manage symptoms, but the benefits are transient and fleeting.)

You may benefit more from an elimination diet (such as the low FODMAP diet or a low sucrose diet) and/or digestive enzymes such as:

Pancreatic enzymes and herbal bitters can also be helpful for general digestive insufficiency, more so than tea.

When herbs aren’t enough

As I mentioned earlier, herbal tea isn’t usually enough on its own as a stand-alone intervention to completely resolve diarrhea and upset stomach – particularly in the more chronic (versus acute) cases.

(You’ll likely also need nutritional interventions, and in some cases even medical intervention.)

For example, if your diarrhea is caused by a sucrose intolerance, no amount of tea is going to be enough to counteract your need for going on a sucrose intolerance diet.

Or if your diarrhea is triggered by food sensitivities, you’ll need to uncover and remove those foods from your diet – with help from a certified LEAP therapist!

  • Recommended reading:  

More resources & related articles

I know this is a LOT to digest… pun intended!  But gut health is complex, ya’ll! There’s a lot to be said.  

While the scope of one article is limited, you may enjoy checking out the following articles and resources:

Next steps

If you’d like additional support in the nutritional department, I would love to help you!

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