By Pharmacist Anusuya Kashi
Natural remedies for constipation
It is quite likely that you’re come to this Natural Remedies for Constipation page to find something that really works for constipation.
You needn't feel embarrassed to admit it, since most Americans deal with constipation from time to time.
This article covers 20 natural remedies for constipation. Find the ones that work best for you, end enjoy elimination that is regular and more comfortable. Also, check out these supplements that may help.
Mineral oil is a lubricant laxative. It helps to retain water in the stool by blocking receptors in the colon from pulling water out.
This extra water makes the stool softer and helps it to pass through the intestine with less difficulty.
While mineral oil is effective, it is best to avoid using it long term.
The same action that prevents water from being absorbed by the colon also hinders absorption of nutrients, including fat-soluble vitamins needed by the body.
Second, too much mineral oil can cause seepage from the anus.
Mineral oil should not be used in the elderly, people who are bedridden, or by children younger than 6 years old.
Castor oil is a stimulant laxative that increases peristalsis and helps move the stool along; it can be taken as a home remedy for constipation.
It should be taken on an empty stomach. If you don’t like the taste, mix it with a little juice.
It is natural for castor oil to cause a slight cramping in the abdomen but if you have severe nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or dizziness, consult a doctor at once.
Stimulant laxatives are habit forming. Regular use may increase the likelihood of constipation.
Olive oil has a mild laxative effect, plus it helps to lubricate the inside of the intestines.
Add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil into a cup of coffee or juice, or simply drizzle some olive oil onto the vegetables and fruits you are about to eat.
Coconut oil contains medium chain fatty acids that play a major role in digestion.
Better digestion means that stool moves along faster, which helps to prevent it from getting dry and hard.
Start by adding a teaspoon each morning and evening to meals, then gradually increase the amount until you hit the dose that works best for you. Two tablespoons a day is a good goal.
Coconut oil is one of the healthiest oil we can consume. It is an excellent cooking oil, the perfect replacement for unhealthy vegetable oils.
Like mineral oil, flax seed oil helps to lubricate the intestines. However, it’s a much healthier option than mineral oil.
Flax oil is a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids which help to protect the heart.
Unlike mineral oil, flax oil does not cause a depletion of fat-soluble vitamins, and may actually promote their absorption.
Both adults and children may take a tablespoon a day.
Flax seed is as good a remedy for constipation as the flax oil extracted from flax seeds. It may even be better, since the seed is a more complete food.
Flax seed contains extra nutrients like dietary fiber and minerals like magnesium, manganese and copper.
Sprinkle a little raw or roasted flax seed over breakfast cereal or yogurt, cook it into a meatloaf or casseroles, or add into baking flour.
You may also put up to two tablespoons a day into a glass of water and drink. I enjoy the somewhat delightful sensation this produces in the mouth and throat as they go down.
Prunes are one of the classic natural remedies for constipation. Prunes and prune juice are a fiber rich laxative that’s equally safe as natural remedies for constipation for adults and children.
Prunes contain sorbitol, a substance that passes through the intestine undigested.
It can absorb a lot of water, making stools soft and bulky. The result is an increased urge to go, and more regular bowel movements.
As many of you already know, you can get too much of a good thing. Be careful not to consume more than two glasses of prune juice a day – one in the morning and another at night. Too much sorbitol may cause diarrhea or excessive gas.
Rhubarb has a mild laxative action and is traditionally used for constipation. Half a cup of rhubarb stalks has sufficient amount of fiber to help keep one’s bowels in good condition.
Chop the rhubarb and blend with some apple juice, honey and lemon to get a smooth puree.
If a woman is pregnant, she should avoid eating rhubarb, as it can cause uterine contractions.
If a baby is breastfed, the mother should avoid eating rhubarb, as it contains a lot of oxalic acid. This acid can pass through the milk to the child and build up to a lethal level.
Rhubarb contains certain chemicals that either may harm the kidneys or cause kidney stones.
It may also have an irritating effect on the intestine and should therefore be avoided by persons who have intestinal and kidney problems.
To the rest of you looking for natural remedies for constipation, go ahead and enjoy some rhubarb.
If a person’s constipation is not very bad, Karo syrup might just do the trick. Simply mix 2 teaspoons into a glass of warm water and consume once every day.
Cayenne is not just a spice. It helps with digestion by increasing the secretion of hydrochloric acid in the stomach.
Second, cayenne can stimulate peristalsis – the colon’s wave-like action that moves stool through the digestive tract to help with elimination.
Add 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder into your tea, stir and drink with a meal.
During the first few days of use you may feel a mild burning sensation. This sensation usually goes away as your body gets used to the cayenne.
Women who are pregnant and looking for natural remedies for constipation should not drink cayenne tea.
Herbs such as ginger, fennel, chamomile and dandelion have good digestive properties.
As I mentioned above, better digestion means that food stays in the colon for a shorter time, which helps to keep stool from drying out.
When you drink hot tea made with such ingredients, the heat also plays a role in stimulating bowel movements that make elimination easier.
Drinking a mug of warm green tea each morning on an empty stomach may be just right when looking for natural remedies for constipation.
This remedy works best when no milk or sugar are added. To add flavor, squeeze in a little lemon juice.
For best results, eat a fiber rich breakfast about 30 minutes after your tea.
Herbs such as senna and cascara contain anthraquinones. These highly irritating chemicals are a stimulant that causes peristalsis. This forces the evacuation of the bowels.
Herbs can be highly effective in treating severe constipation, but their continuous use is strongly discouraged.
Over time they tend to make the digestive system sluggish.
Use them as a last resort and avoid using them if you are pregnant or breastfeeding your baby.
You should also avoid taking them if you have ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome or hemorrhoids.
The aloe plant contains a gel in the inside of the leaf, and latex, a yellow part just under the skin of the plant.
The latex can be made into a juice and drunk to relieve constipation. However, it is a very powerful stimulant laxative and may cause painful cramping.
Stimulant laxatives like Aloe Vera work by causing the colon to contract and move stool along.
As with herbs, over time stimulant laxatives like the latex in Aloe Vera can actually cause constipation to become worse. Therefore they should only be used occasionally, even though they are listed among natural remedies for constipation.
When the leaves of milk thistle are crushed, they release a milky substance that can be made into an effective remedy for constipation.
Milk thistle helps to stimulate the secretion of bile that is important for effective digestion.
It also speeds up peristalsis and adds bulk to the stool, making it easier for the intestines to eliminate waste.
Acacia fiber is obtained from the sap of the Acacia Senegal plant and is also called gum Arabic or gum acacia.
Like the fiber found in fruits and vegetables, acacia contains soluble fiber, which can help to improve digestion and reduce constipation. That's why it is included in this list of natural remedies for constipation.
Dehydration is a major cause of constipation.
Drinking enough water to stay hydrated helps to keep bowel movements smooth and regular.
Herbal tea, soup and fruits can also help with hydration.
Beverages that contain caffeine or alcohol tend to have a dehydrating effect on the body, and should be taken in moderation.
Black Cohosh was used in Native American medicine to treat constipation. However, it has a tendency to cause gastric problems and is not generally recommended.
The guava fruit is an effective laxative. It
All these are beneficial for regular bowel movements.
Guava works best if it is eaten in the morning or afternoon with meals.
Since magnesium is bitter, I recommend taking it in grape juice, chocolate milk or lemonade.