If you suffer from infrequent bowel movements or the stools are hard, dry and painful to pass then you are constipated. Along with the mentioned symptoms constipation is also characterized by abdominal cramping. Many constipated people think that over-the-counter laxatives are the answer to their prayers and don’t think twice about hoarding them in the bathroom cabinets. However, the truth is that regular use of laxatives can make you highly dependent on them even when you don’t need to use laxatives.
The best way to treat constipation is by use of herbal laxatives that are completely natural, have no side effects and are highly effective in treating the problem. In this section we will look at some of the herbs that are commonly used as laxatives.
Herbal Remedy For Constipation
Slippery elm is a popular herb used in the treatment of constipation because of its natural emollient properties. The natural oils present in the herb provide lubrication to the intestinal tract and reduces the inflammation of the mucus membranes; the inflammation causes pain while passing stools.
Regular use of slippery elm will not only relieve constipation but also heal any damage caused to the intestinal tract due to the problem. The herb is useful in the treatment of painful gas and cramps caused as a result of constipation. Many herbalists recommend using slippery elm for treating irritable bowel syndrome, a condition that is related to constipation.
Buckthorn is also used in the successful treatment of constipation because its emollient properties lubricate the intestinal tract making it easier for the waste bulk to move within the tract. The herb is mildly laxative in nature and is therefore, ideal for treating constipation in children.
It is also used in combination with herbs like slippery elm and cascara sagrada to treat frequent and painful constipation. Many herbalists recommend buckthorn in the treatment of gall stones, ulcerative colitis and liver congestion.
Triphala is actually a combination of three herbal fruits; haritaki, bibhitaki and amalaki. The combination of these three herbs makes triphala that is commonly used in the treatment of problems related to digestion and constipation. Many people use it regularly as part of their body cleansing routine.
It is also given in cases of frequent constipation and is believed to cure the problem completely. Regular use of tripahala powder ensures that the body is able to retain water for its day to day activities including for preparing the bulk waste that needs to be removed from the body.
Many people are aware of the various medicinal properties of aloe vera including its use in the treatment of constipation. The herb is a natural laxative as it adds bulk to the waste and helps in its easier movement through the intestinal tract. You can take aloe vera in juice form though it is also available in many drug stores in the form of gel capsules.
The bright yellow flower of dandelion has plenty of medicinal uses and one of them is as a laxative. The herb is a natural laxative that helps in the easier movement of bowels and relieves abdominal cramping caused as a result of constipation.
Dandelion tea bags are available in many herbal stores and 3-4 cups of dandelion tea is recommended to treat constipation. People who frequently suffer from constipation should take one cup of dandelion tea 30 minutes before going to bed at night. They will find it easier to pass stools next day in the morning.
This is perhaps the best remedy for constipation since it works wonderfully well but not many people are too keen to try it because of the awful taste and smell of castor oil. The oil, which is prepared from castor bean, contains compounds that help stimulate both the intestines. Take one or two teaspoons of castor oil at night and in the morning you will be happy with the results.
Blackstrap molasses also works well to relieve constipation and the painful symptoms associated with it. Two tablespoons of the herb taken at night will give good results. However, it should not be used on a regular basis to treat constipation because it is high in calories. The laxative can be diluted using milk or apple juice if you find it very strong for your taste.
Prunes are a high source of fiber, which adds bulk to the stools and facilitates in their easier movement through the intestinal tract. Many people prefer drinking commercially available prune juice but it is very high in caloric content and can lead to immense weight gain. Eating raw prunes is the best way to cure constipation and can even be given to children.
Raisins also work much like prunes in curing constipation as they add bulk to the stools. Raisins are high in fiber content and also contain tartaric acid that gives the raisins their laxative property. Soak a handful of raisins overnight and have them first thing in the morning on empty stomach. They can also be given to constipated children as they are safe and tasty.
Many over-the-counter laxatives contain cascara sagrada as a major ingredient because the herb has natural laxative properties. The herb is sold in the form of teas, capsules as well as tinctures in the market. However, while using the herb for treating constipation it is important to follow the directions as per the package. And the herb should never be used for more than two weeks in a row because it can cause dehydration.
Senna is considered the best herbal cure for constipation and should be used in tincture form to treat the condition. Taking 20-30 drops of the tincture at night will help you pass stools easily in the morning.
While these herbs will relieve constipation to a great extent, it is also important to change your lifestyle and dietary habits if you frequently suffer from the problem. Adding more fiber to your diet, cutting down on fried and fatty foods, alcohol and tobacco will also treat constipation. Regular exercising also aids in easier movement of stools through a lean and fit body.