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Dr. Matt Dorsey, DACM, LAc

Smooth Move Tea Ingredient Analysis & Review

Do you ever use Smooth Move tea to relieve constipation?  Are you curious about how effective it is, what the benefits are, and whether there are any major side effects or drawbacks?  If so, this article is for you. 

Constipation is a frequent occurrence for millions of people, and it’s understandable that many folks look for cheap, natural solutions like Smooth Move.  

If you’re one of those people, then you should know what the research says about the herbs it contains, including a full understanding of their benefits as well as side effects, which can be surprisingly severe if misused.    

Smooth Move ingredients overview 

A quick look at the supplement facts panel for Smooth Move reveals that it’s composed of 54% (1,080 mg) senna leaf, which is the main active ingredient that allows the tea to rapidly induce a bowel movement.  

The remaining 46% (920 mg) of the formula is a proprietary blend of the following ingredients:

  • Licorice
  • Fennel
  • Orange Peel
  • Cinnamon Bark
  • Coriander Fruit 
  • Ginger 
  • Orange Peel Oil on Guar Gum 

[Note also that 100% of the herbs in Smooth Move are certified organic, which we very much appreciate.]

Because proprietary blends don’t reveal the individual amounts of their constituents, we can’t know exactly how much of any of these ingredients is in Smooth Move.  

CHOQ is one of the few supplement companies that practice full-disclosure labeling.  Check out this article to learn more about why we don’t use proprietary blends because they’re not in line with our transparency standards. 

Doing some quick math, we can see that the average amount of each of these is approximately 130 mg.  Even though the individual amounts of these accessory herbs are fairly low, however, they can still as a whole confer significant benefits while also enhancing the flavor.  

Despite the fact that the majority of Smooth Move is senna leaf, these accessory herbs serve some important functions that make the formula significantly more well-rounded and better at soothing digestion. 

We’ll get more into these herbs in a moment, but first, let’s talk about senna leaf, its chief ingredient.  

Smooth Move’s chief herb: Senna leaf, a powerful stimulant laxative 

Also known by its formal designation Senna alexandrina, senna originates from Africa and has a long history of use by herbalists to relieve constipation and stomach pain.  

It contains compounds called sennosides which act as stimulant laxatives, providing rapid relief for constipation, but it also comes with some very serious complications if misused (more on that later).  

It’s also used to clear the bowels before colonoscopies and can help lower blood sugar by acting on a peptide hormone called GLP-1.  

Senna is incredibly effective.  It’s the only herb I’ve ever seen prescribed in a hospital, a testament to just how potent and reliable it is as a laxative.  A typical dose of 1-2 grams (containing between 10 and 30 mg of sennosides) will generally act within 6-12 hours to produce a bowel movement.    

How does the senna leaf in Smooth Move Tea work as a laxative?

Your intestines have smooth muscles that, unlike the striated ones attached to your skeleton, are not under conscious control…thank God.  We’re already busy enough without having to remember to manually move food through our guts!

Your autonomic nervous system tells these muscles to contract and relax in a slow, rhythmic fashion in order to move their contents along.  The technical term for this is ‘peristalsis’.  

Like other stimulant laxatives, senna works to quicken bowel movements in 2 primary ways:

  • Alters intestinal contractions to favor increased peristalsis
  • Reduces water absorption in the large intestine, moistening and softening stools

This second function of senna brings up two important points.  The first is that, if misused, it can result in dehydration and electrolyte imbalances, which we’ll go into in more detail in the section on warnings and side effects.  

The second point has to do with basic gut physiology.  Most people don’t know that one of the functions of the large intestine is to reabsorb water from the stools.  This is why dehydration–in addition to inadequate fiber intake–is one of the main drivers of constipation (and also why senna can result in complications in those who lack adequate fluid intake).

Your body uses all sorts of clever survival strategies to keep you alive, and some of them revolve around what to do to prevent fluid depletion when your water intake suddenly dips.  

When your nervous system detects that an insufficient amount of water has been consumed, your body assumes that you might be in an area where it’s not available and initiates some emergency protocols to prevent you from dying of dehydration.  

Aside from increasing hormones that induce both a profound sense of thirst and decreased urination, the body also purposely induces constipation by slowing down peristalsis when you’re dehydrated, allowing the colon to absorb more water and electrolytes from the stool before passing it.   

You’d think that something so incredibly fundamental about how your gut works would be common knowledge, but it’s anything but.  Very few people seem to understand the relationship between hydration and gut health.  

As a medical practitioner, I’ve explained this basic fact of GI physiology to easily a thousand chronically  constipated patients over the last 15 years, and not a single one of them has ever said, “Oh yeah, I already knew that.”

Senna’s ability to dehydrate you and deplete you of electrolytes is but one of the many calamities that can result from its misuse.  In a moment, we’ll discuss Smooth Move’s various warnings and potential side effects, but first, we’ll provide a brief overview of its many non-laxative ‘accessory’ ingredients.  

Ashwagandha can affect the immune system in only 4 days, illustration of person and immune cells

Smooth Move’s accessory herbs

As a professional herbalist trained in the tradition of Chinese medicine, I’ve spent hundreds of hours studying the ancient art of formula making.  Typically, it’s common for a formula to have what we call a chief herb that comprises a larger percentage of the overall blend and a variety of other herbs present in smaller amounts.  

Though Smooth Move’s many accessory herbs are present in far smaller amounts than senna, a quick analysis of their properties reveals that they’re still likely to enhance the product’s ability to soothe the GI tract in a variety of ways.  

Here’s a quick glance at each of these secondary herbs.  

Licorice

Despite the fact that people mostly know it simply as an awful-tasting candy, licorice root is actually an incredibly potent herb with a long history of use in herbal medicine.  

It excels at soothing the digestive system, reducing spams, and is also highly beneficial as an adrenal tonic, but that’s not even half of its wide array of uses. 

It’s also used in small amounts in countless classic formulas in Asian herbology to harmonize the rest of the formula and mitigate the digestive harshness of other herbs.  

Fennel 

Fennel is commonly used to relieve flatulence.  Like many other celebrated herbs, it also acts as an antioxidant and regulates the inflammatory process. 

Have you ever been given fennel seeds at the end of your meal at an Indian restaurant?  That’s because Indian people have known about their digestive benefits for centuries.  

Orange peel 

Orange peel is another favorite in traditional Asian herbology.  Practitioners use it to enhance digestion, soothe nausea, and reduce some of the undesirable effects of certain other herbs.  

In addition to using orange peel itself, Smooth Move also includes some pure orange peel oil, which contains a powerful terpene common to all citrus fruits called D-Limonene.  

D-Limonene boasts a variety of health benefits and is often used by natural medicine practitioners to reduce acid reflux and soothe stomach ulcers.  Interestingly, it naturally occurs in many varieties of cannabis and has subtle but noticeable mood-brightening effects.  

Cinnamon bark

Cinnamon is a great example of a highly effective healing herb masquerading as a mere spice.  In addition to undoubtedly enhancing the flavor of any herbal formula, it can boost circulation and support healthy immunity and inflammation response.  

It’s also been studied extensively for its ability to help with healthy blood sugar levels.

We love cinnamon, which is why our CHOQ Lit Powder organic cacao + superfood drink contains organic ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum), the preferred species for flavor and health benefits.

Coriander 

Coriander is used in multiple herbal traditions to relieve various forms of digestive upset, including nausea, flatulence, and GI discomfort.  It’s also been used as a natural preservative, a reflection of its antioxidant potential.  

Ginger

Probably the most widely-known digestive soother in Smooth Move, ginger root is nothing short of a powerhouse.

In addition to reducing intestinal cramping and nausea– as well as imparting a delicious flavor to any formula–ginger is a powerful regulator of inflammation that works on some of the same enzymatic pathways as aspirin (cyclooxygenase-2, AKA ‘COX-2’).

Smooth Move’s side effects and warnings: the dark side of senna

When used as directed, senna-containing products like Smooth Move are unlikely to cause significant harm.  Senna is, however, a very powerful herb, and–as they say–with great power comes great responsibility.  

It’s extremely rare for an herbal tea to come with any warnings, let alone several paragraphs, but we applaud Traditional Medicinals for being conscientious enough to go out of their way to encourage responsible use.

Here’s a screenshot from their website, showing a complete list of cautions (highlights added by us):

In addition to the warnings about dehydration and contraindications for various conditions, notice that the label also suggests that you not use it for more than one week.  

It’s incredibly important to limit your use of senna-containing products so that you don’t form a tolerance.  

Over time, stimulant laxatives like senna will weaken the bowels.  If abused, senna can cause ‘rebound constipation’, making the bowels dilated and sluggish, which then requires you to take higher and higher amounts to continue producing bowel movements.  

The most common demographics that abuse senna are those who suffer from eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, issues that–by virtue of the brain-gut axis–are only worsened by this unfortunate habit. This which is why the warning at the bottom of the panel advises people to avoid consuming it as part of any kind of cleansing or dieting regimen. 

Laxatives are NEVER a healthy way to lose weight and should only be used for occasional constipation.

Final verdict and closing thoughts on Smooth Move tea

Smooth Move is undoubtedly a high quality and well-formulated product that has a low potential for harm if used in accordance with the directions. 

If you have constipation only on rare occasions, using it once in a while is unlikely to cause problems, but–as stated at the beginning of the article–millions of people suffer from chronic constipation, and many if not most of them are either unwilling to make the proper lifestyle changes to fix it or are unaware of what those changes even are in the first place.  

Here’s a brief list of some behaviors that can support digestive health and healthy bowel motility:

  • Be mindful of your fluid intake.  Drinking a full glass of filtered, room temperature water first thing in the morning is a great way to start your day off on the right foot.  
  • Remember that foods can either be hydrating (e.g. tomatoes and cucumbers) or dehydrating (e.g. foods that are dry or high in protein) 
  • Eat enough fruits and vegetables get adequate fiber, which don’t just add bulk to stools, but also serve as prebiotic fuel for your microbiome
  • Be aware of the effects that alcohol, recreational drugs, and prescription medications can have on constipation (opioids, including Kratom, are notorious for causing it)

[Disclaimer: always speak to a licensed healthcare practitioner about what’s right for you as an individual]

Chemicals & stress: the secret stool stoppers

It’s crucial that you understand the relationship between the chemicals & stressors you may be exposed to and your gut health, and take measures to enhance detoxification and stress mitigation. 

Pesticides and a variety of other chemicals can wreck your microbiome (see this article for a deep dive on glyphosate, which was actually patented as an antibiotic and is known to cause gut problems). 

Again, Smooth Move Tea is fine to relieve constipation once in a while, but it’s not enhancing your health on a deep level the same way that many other supplements can.

Many people with sensitive digestive systems can experience constipation and other forms of GI upset as a result of stress.  If you’d like to get a handle on your stress hormones, CHOQ Ashwagandha is an ultra high potency solution backed by clinical research that can reduce coritsol, boost mood & energy, and support a healthy inflammation response.

It contains 14x the amount of active constituents (withanolides) as most generic Ashwagandhas, enabling you to get powerful effects with only one capsule per day.

If you’re looking to support healthy detoxification of many of the common chemicals that can wreck your gut health and overall vitality, then APEX Glutathione is your best friend.

An expert-formulated blend of high-absorption liposomal glutathione, NAC, and 11 other ingredients that support healthy detoxification, cellular energy production, mood, and focus, APEX is the most advanced glutathione supplement on the market. 

Here at CHOQ Nation, we’re extremely passionate about educating you on how to protect yourself from the toxicity of the modern world.  If you’d like to learn more about toxins, digestive health, and how to reclaim your vitality amidst the chaos, then you’ll enjoy the following articles: