Constipation could be a periodic, occasional or a chronic problem among men and women of all ages, and it is caused by a range of factors, including lack of fluids in the body, specific medication, poor dietary status, lifestyle and emotional status. Constipation could be a nuisance and a serious disorder if not treated properly. People have started using several herbs to cure the problem of constipation. Though there are several laxatives available in the western system of medicine, their viability and overall effectiveness are still uncertain and unconfirmed. To avoid the desirable side effects, natural health specialists prescribe you several herbs for treating the problem of constipation.
To get rid of constipation means, a smart management technique that includes non drug methods like doing yoga, meditation, increased fluid intake and calibrated dietary changes along with a good herbal drug. Natural Acidophilus and Prune juice still remain the most viable, complete and harmless herbal laxatives, and they are used by a large number of people. To learn more about treating constipation with juicing, click here.
Barley, Indian Isabgol and Oat extracts have also been used successfully to treat constipation. Traditional homes in Europe still use a glass of apple-cider juice as an effective remedy for constipation.
Nature has provided us many fruits and vegetables that can solve the problem of constipation; stewed fruits like prunes, figs, or dates when mixed in licorice tea make a delicious laxative mixture with an excellent healing action. The herbal approach to tackle constipation still remains hinged on using a good laxative that can facilitate the normal movement of bowel. Whatever the herbal laxative one might take, it takes a minimum of 24 hours to see visible results.
In practice, there are three classes of herbal laxatives-bulk, mild and purgative; you can use any one of these herbal laxatives based on their effectiveness and viability. If you’re suffering from gentle constipation, using a bulk herbal laxative will work wonderfully to provide instant relief. Extracts of Flaxseed, Fenugreek and Psyllium are three well-known herbal bulk laxatives.
The typical recommended serving of whole psyllium husks for adults and children over 12 years of age is one tablespoon mixed into eight ounces of a liquid of your choice (water, juice, milk, etc.) one to three times daily. For children 6–12, the recommended dosage is one teaspoon one to three times daily. The typical recommended serving of psyllium husk powder for adults and children over 12 years of age is one teaspoon mixed into a liquid of your choice one to three times daily. For children 6-12, the recommended dosage of psyllium husk powder is a half teaspoon one to three times daily.
If you find that Psyllium and Flaxseeds are very harsh and potent in their actions, then you can think of using a milder version of herbal laxatives to get instant relief. Dandelion root is a quite famous herbal laxative that is recommended by herbal specialists. Specially recommended to treat constipation among elderly patients, Dandelion could be consumed as leaves in salad or as tincture and vinegar during the meals. Many herbal specialists also recommend yellow dock root tincture as a remedy for constipation.
Rhubarb extracts along with dandelion leaves and yellow dock root tincture are excellent laxatives for curing constipation among women, who are undergoing menopausal related health problems. However, purgative laxatives is the category best used and recommended world over, and purgative herbs are also used in dietary formulations and in many commercial over-the-counter preparations. These may include aloe, buckthorn, cascara, rhubarb, and senna in varying proportions.
All the above herbs contain a very strong component called anthraquinone which forces the bowel to empty out in the shortest possible time. You may need to be very cautious while using such laxative as uncontrolled usage may lead to a condition known as “lazy bowel syndrome.” At high doses anthraquinone-rich herbs are gastrointestinal irritants, causing toxicity symptoms that can include nausea, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, dermatitis, dizziness, acute abdominal pain & cramping, and in severe cases, kidney damage. Use these herbs cautiously, no longer than 10 days in a row. Recurrent use or abuse can lead to electrolyte imbalances (particularly hypokalemia), dehydration, and muscle and kidney damage.
These herbs are effective, but use them very responsibly:
- Aloe barbadensis (Aloe)
- Cassia sp. (Senna)
- Rheum palmatum (Turkey Rhubarb)
- Rhamnus frangula/purshiana (Cascara sagrada)
- Rumex crispus (Yellow Dock)
Experts still believe that cascara is the world’s best natural laxative without serious side effects. Senna is a bit strong and effective, but could be used occasionally to treat the problem of acute constipation. Among anthraquinone-containing laxatives, the gentlest acting compounds belong to Yellow Dock (Rumex crispus) and Rhubarb (Rheum palmatum). In oriental countries like India and China, traditional medical system suggest the use of peppermint, ginger, and fennel to relax the intestines and prevent cramping. Indian ayurveda also suggest the use of aloe juice to provide a calibrated relief to the problem of constipation. However, experts also suggest that aloe is too strong and too bitter for the body to utilize it properly and comprehensively. Indian ayurveda also recommend using several proprietary formulations prepared by using many herbs like aloe, fenugreek, isabgol and ginger. Ayurvedic herbal mixture called Triphala is also known as a laxative at bigger dosages.
Herbs could play a vital role in finding a long-lasting and viable cure to the nagging problem of constipation. However, you may need to be very careful while using any of the above herbs; when in doubt, seek professional guidance from your herbal specialist to get more details on a particular herb.
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