By Dr. Ritu Krishnatreye, BHMS
Beating constipation naturally
Nothing bogs you down like constipation. Fortunately, there are several natural ways to treat the symptoms of constipation.
Whichever you choose, make sure to drink plenty of water, as dehydration is one of the major causes of constipation.
Everybody is aware of the health benefits of this miracle plant for skin. However, what most people do not know is that aloe vera is a gentle laxative, and can be a great way for beating constipation naturally.
Drinking a little aloe vera juice in the morning is helpful to the digestive system, which in turn improves stool transit time. Aloe vera juice is available in most health food stores.
Caution: While aloe juice is taken from the center of the leaf, the outer part of the leaf contains latex, which is a strong stimulant laxative.
As with other stimulant laxatives it should only be used occasionally as needed, since the body can become dependent on it.
This herb works as a natural lubricant and facilitates the process of evacuation.
Sea buckthorn is a rich source of essential fatty acids that help in lubricating and coating the mucous membrane of the intestinal tract. This helps in easier passage of dry stool through the colon.
This natural herb is used in conventional medicine for its abilities to purge the colon of waste. Rhuharb contains tannins that may help with mild cases of constipation.
It is usually less effective for treating chronic constipation.
Senna is generally used by people suffering from constipation. The leaves and pod of this plant contain anthraquinone, Senna’s active ingredient.
Senna acts as a stimulant laxative, stimulating the colon to contract, forcing stool to move along. Senna can be taken as a supplement or as a tea.
Caution: Senna is a strong stimulant laxative that can be habit forming. It should not be used for more than seven consecutive days. It should not be taken by those who are pregnant, or by those who are taking medications.
In some cases, Senna has been reported to cause cramps and gripping pains in abdomen. It can also result in electrolyte imbalance, resulting in symptoms such as nausea, loss of body fluids and fatigue.
In case if you observe any of these symptoms, stop taking Senna immediately.
Caution: remember, just because it is an herb doesn't mean it is safe for everyone. Nursing women, pregnant women, children and people with existing conditions should not take these herbal medications without consulting their health practitioner.
Many herbs act as contradictions to certain medications.
This healthy herb works as a natural fiber laxative by adding plenty of bulk to the stool, great for beating constipation naturally.
Bulk is needed to stimulate peristalsis, the wave-like contractions of the colon that move stool along. Fiber also helps to hold in moisture so that stool doesn’t dry out as easily.
Fenugreek is also a rich source of vitamins and minerals that help with digestion. Fenugreek is available as a supplement, or may be consumed fresh in curries and soups.
This item is used by numerous fiber products for helping with constipation.
It is loaded with fiber and a great natural solution for dealing with constipation.
This natural laxative is a rich source of fiber.
Soak 10 to 15 raisins in half a cup of water overnight, then eat them first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Almost anyone can benefit from this delicious constipation remedy.
Caution: women who are pregnant should consult their physician before taking raisins each day.
Rich in fiber, flaxseeds are considered a super food because of their high nutritional content.
Flax seeds contain both soluble and insoluble fiber that increase the water retaining ability of the colon and add bulk to stools.
1. Put anywhere one or two teaspoons of flaxseed into a glass of lukewarm water and drink them down.
2. Grind 1 or 2 tablespoons of flaxseed with a coffee grinder, then sprinkle on food, or just mix it into a bowl of warm water and drink.
Although these have been popularized by Chia Pets, chia seeds are also wonderful for beating constipation naturally.
Put 1 or 2 teaspoons into a glass of water, let sit for 45 seconds till they are slimy, then drink them down.
This gives a very interesting sensation in the back of the throat, and also speeds constipation relief.
Another way to relieve constipation naturally is by taking 200 to 400 mg. of supplemental magnesium. Magnesium works as a natural osmotic laxative, drawing water into the colon.
This helps in keeping the stools soft and moist, making them easier to pass.
There are a number of things that make this a wonderful solution for constipation.
Caution: Talk with your doctor before starting a magnesium regimen. Supplemental magnesium may interfere with certain prescription medications.
Those with kidney disease should not take a magnesium supplement unless instructed to do so by their doctor.
Fermentation is a natural process that increases the quantity of gut healthy bacteria in food.
Healthy bacteria, also called probiotics, help to cultivate proper intestinal flora, which helps with digestion and the relief of constipation.
Some of the examples of cultured or fermented foods are sauerkraut, Nato (a Japanese dish of fermented soya), buttermilk, kefir, pickles and yogurt.
(Paul Schneider here. I produced this website. Here are 2 videos that tell you how to make your own inexpensive, powerful probiotics. Enjoy!)
Some foods contain a lot of fiber, and are beneficial for beating constipation naturally.
Apart from the above mentioned herbal and home remedies, certain lifestyle changes may be needed for beating constipation naturally.
Constipation is one of the most common problems, and affects almost everyone at some point in life.
For most people, using the above remedies can help in beating constipation naturally.