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Complementary Medicine

Is it Safe to Take Herbal Tisane Laxa-t Tea With Wellbutrin and Calcium?

01/20/2004

Question:

I have found some herbal tisane laxa-t tea. I was wondering if it is okay to have a few cups of this a day? I have started to take Wellbutrin daily about a month ago. Wellbutrin with my calcium is giving me so much problems with constipation. My doctor does not want me to take any kind of medication in fear that my intestine will get lazy. Here are the ingredients of my herbal tea: Senna leaves, buckthon bark, fennel seeds, dandelion leaves, dandelion root, marshmallow roots, peppermint leaves, liquorice root. I am afraid to take something that might give me problems later. Is this Herbal Tea okay to take? If so, is it okay to take as often as I feel the need (like two or three times in a day and every day) or should I take this only once in a while? Can this tea cause my intestines to get lazy later on in my years? Thanks for helping.

Answer:

The main ingredient in Laxa Tea that relieves constipation is Senna. Senna is a very powerful stimulant laxative (as opposed to a bulk-forming laxative). Stimulant laxatives are OK to use infrequently (no more than once per month). Your doctor is right, it can make your gut lazy (dependent on it in order to ever have a bowel movement) with regular use. It can also have powerful effects on your electrolytes, so that your body may lose too much potassium and bicarbonate. This can be very dangerous.

My preference is to have you control the constipation with diet. Eating food high in fiber, especially prunes, dates, and raisins, can help to keep you regular. The other form of laxatives, the bulk-forming laxatives, which are sources of fiber (like psyllium) are safe to take daily. Use those if diet alone does not alleviate the problem.

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Response by:

Tanya I Edwards, MD, MEd Tanya I Edwards, MD, MEd
Formerly, Associate Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University