Constipation herbs are laxatives of mild, moderate and strong. They have additional benefits in digestion, anti-parasitic, anti-inflammatory, etc.
In Europe, North America and other industrialized regions, over 50% of the population have used complementary or alternative medicine at least once. An estimated 40.6 million US adults reported herb and supplement use in 2012.
11 Mild to Moderate herbal laxatives
Mild and moderate herbal laxatives are gentle in their action, provides constipation relief without or with little side effects that is bearable.
- Flaxseed or linseed (Linum usitatissimum) contain 6 to 12 percent mucilage; it is a slimy, gum-like material provides soothing and protective coating along the entire digestive tract. Additionally, it provides stool bulk and softness. It has a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, eases inflammation. Along with flaxseed, need to drink plenty of water preferably warm water. The patients who ingested flaxseed showed a significant reduction in constipation, bloating and pain. Take 1-tablespoon raw or roasted flaxseed three times a day with warm water.
- Chia seeds (Salvia hispanica L.) has a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and dietary fiber. Pre-soak chia seeds in water before eating to maximize their gelling property. Chia seeds absorb water to form a gel-like consistency. It help optimal stool formation, keep it moisten and pass easy. Take three tablespoons per day. Make sure to drink plenty of water. You can add it in smoothies, sprinkle on cereals or salad, cool drinks, and eat as pudding.
- Fennel seeds an important role in preventing constipation by increasing colonic transit time and thus the number of bowel movement. Soak a teaspoon fennel seed in water leave it overnight and eat the seeds immediately after wakeup. Alternatively, sprouting the fennel seeds, shade drying it, put it in an airtight container, and eat a spoon every day immediately after wakeup with water.
- Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) is useful for numerous digestive complains such as loss of appetite, upset stomach, constipation, and stomach inflammation (gastritis). It improves digestion, maintain healthy metabolism, cure skin problems (wounds, rashes and boils), and acid reflux. Soak 1 to 2 teaspoon fenugreek seed in water, eat seeds in the next morning, and discord the liquid.
- Haritaki (terminalia chebula) fruits are laxative, stomachic, tonic, and liver-protective properties. It is useful for abdominal distention, constipation, flatulence, inflammation of mucus membranes, ulcers, and hiccups. Supports proper function of the colon, lungs, liver and eliminates parasites. It is much effective for chronic constipation by increasing the stool frequency and complete bowel evacuation. It increases the digestive enzymes, clears undigested residues, useful for intestinal permeability and leaky gut syndrome.
- Slippery elm has a very soothing and lubricating effect on the intestinal tract and it relieves constipation. It is healing, nourishing and great for digestive complaints such as IBS or stomach cramps. Take capsules 20 minutes before every meal.
- Dandelion root is a mild laxative helpful for bed-ridden elders and others with chronic constipation. Additionally, it is helpful to detoxify, relieve constipation, soothe an upset stomach, bloating, liver-detox, and as diuretic. Take a teaspoon of the root boiled in water, filter and drink three or four times a day. Alternatively, take 3 to 4 tablets per day with warm water.
- Chicory (Chichorium intybus) has natural laxative property useful for chronic constipation. Additionally, it is useful for loss of appetite, upset stomach, liver & gallbladder disorders, cancer, and rapid heartbeat. Chicory contain inulin a type of fiber help increase the population of beneficial bacteria in the intestine, which in-turn improve digestion, absorption and elimination.
- Sea buckthorn has many essential omega fatty acids including rare Omega 7, which coats intestinal tract and lubricate mucous membranes. It ensures healthy digestion, supports quick easy bowel movements and relive constipation.
- Rhubarb (Rheum officinale) root and rhizomes are useful for digestive complaints such as constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, stomach pain, and gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding. It is useful as an antiseptic, antispasmodic, antitumor, astringent, demulcent, diuretic, laxative, purgative, stomachic and tonic. It is one of the safest and least violent laxative, still should use only occasionally.
- Yellow dock (Rumex crispus L) is good for constipation, under-active-liver, and act as laxative. Yellow Dock relieves constipation by promoting bile flow into the intestines and stimulating intestinal peristalsis without causing gripping or pain. One to two teaspoons of dried root in approximately two cups of water steeped for ten minutes. The recommended dosage up to 2 tsp, three times daily.
3 Strong herbal laxatives
For severe constipation with miserable symptoms, you require these strong laxatives to provide immediate relief from symptoms.
- Aloe Vera is popular for its soothing property, wonderful healer for the gut; it has cleansing and lubricating actions. Aloe is harsh stimulant laxative. It contains anthroquinones and anthrones, which produce a laxative effect by increasing colonic peristalsis and intestinal water content. The leaf gel contain nutrients such as vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C, E & folic acid and minerals like copper, iron, sodium, calcium, zinc, potassium, chromium, magnesium & manganese. Take Aloe gel 2 teaspoons 3 times a day. Plant an aloe plant in a pot, so that you can have fresh gel. Cut a leaf, take a piece of 1-inch length, remove the spikes & green skin, wash thoroughly, and eat this gel alone or with any sweetener (raw honey, stevia, or unrefined sugar). Alternatively, grind it with any fruit and drink the juice.
- Cascara sagrada is a stimulant laxative; works by contracting intestinal muscle to move stool through the bowels. It is useful for constipation, digestive problems, joint & muscle pain, gonorrhea, gallstones, and dysentery. It tones intestinal tract and colon. Take 1/2 teaspoon before bed; never use it continuously more than 2 weeks.
- Senna (Cassia acutifolia) leaves are a strong laxative (fruit is consider to be milder) useful to treat constipation. It contains chemical sennosides; irritates the colon lining and force bowel contractions. Due to its violent laxative effect should take for constipation with severe symptoms needs urgent relief and should not use frequently and continuously.
Herbal combination for constipation
Some herbalist suggest combined herbs for better benefits with least side effects.
One such best combination is Senna, combined with licorice, cinnamon, ginger, orange peel, fennel and coriander seed.
Triphala is a metabolic regulator, specific for chronic constipation also effective in acute conditions. It consists of three tropical fruits Haritaki (Terminalia chebula), amalaki (Phyllanthus emblica), and bibhitaki (Terminalia bellirica). It is a great colon cleanser, tonic and colon rejuvenator. Additionally, it nourishes the bones, nerves and improves appetite. Dosage is 5 to 15 grams per day. Steep one-teaspoon triphala powder in a cup of hot water for 5 minutes. Drink it before going to bed. Alternatively, take 2 triphala capsules with warm water.
Have herbal/spices tea: Ginger is the best for digestion. Cloves, Peppercorns, and Cinnamon can stimulate digestion and taste great as tea. Boil water add clove, peppercorns & cinnamon, remove from heat add ginger as paste, stir well, and strain. Make a big batch and drink 2 to 3 cups each day.
Cautious while taking constipation herbs
Most of these laxative herbs are safe to take for limited period; however, be cautious, if you are having:
- Inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
- Intestinal blockages
- Stomach pains with unknown cause
- Kidney disease