Clear Your Intestines, No More Constipation Using These Natural Remedies

Constipation

Constipation is a very common medical condition that affects every single one of us at some point in our life.

It is so common that it is thought to affect around 20% of Americans(1), which results in around 8 million doctor visits per year.

Symptoms primarily include negligible/ almost nonexistent bathroom rituals, the strain on the digestive system, lumpy or hard stools causing severe irritation to the person suffering from it. Constipation has its causes lined up, and the number one on the list would be foods, followed by lifestyle choices, medication, stress, and diseases.

Medically, constipation is characterized by less than three bowel movements per week. However, this only defines the simplest form of constipation. There are several types of constipation. It could range from chronic constipation to chronic idiopathic constipation (the reason is unknown as to why this particular type occurs)

However one may look at it, constipation has ramifying effects on the quality of life. Both physically and mentally. The type and severity of symptoms can vary from person to person, not the impact it bears on them. Some people experience constipation only rarely, while for others it’s a chronic condition.

There are many natural ways to help relieve and cure constipation. You can do these in the comfort of your own home, and almost all of them are backed with hard-hitting science and truth.

Natural Remedies to Cure Constipation

CURE 1: Home remedies for constipation

In the comfort of your house, you could treat and cure your constipation alongside other remedies listed above. Constipation may take time to manifest and you may not know that you are suffering from it until you feel the first occurrence of discomfort and pain. In such situations, home remedies can alleviate your pain and in the long run, can also help you prevent and cure constipation.

1. Coffee

coffee
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There have been several myths circulating around the fact that coffee could cause constipation and may affect your health rather than helping you with your constipation. However, this claim doesn’t have any validation and is just an internet myth that has perpetuated our minds helping us in forming this negative image about coffee.

Why does it work?

There have been several kinds of research that have been conducted on this subject; it was noticed that coffee has a bowel-stimulating quality that is caused due to the stimulated movement of colonic muscles, thus promoting peristalsis in the colon that results in movement of stools in the bowel.
One study(1) conducted on the same subject noted that the effect of caffeine is similar to the one induced by eating a meal. The efficacy of coffee is 60% stronger than bowel movement induced by drinking water.

Additionally, it is also noted that coffee can also cause looser stools as increased peristalsis leaves only limited time for the colon to reabsorb water from the stools thereby helping in producing well-formed stools.

How to use?

Coffee is easily available, and one of the most popular beverages consumed globally. The above-mentioned study used black colombian coffee; however, it is advised that you use the kind that is available and is most effective in your case. It is also recommended that you stick to 2 cups per day only. One after waking up and one before sleeping to help facilitate the movement of stools.

How much to use?

The above-mentioned study used 150 milligrams (mg) of caffeine, a fairly average amount of caffeine content for an 8-ounce cup. It is recommended that you stick to this limit; however, the dosage is simply variable. For caffeine to produce these effects, they are several factors that are taken into account, like BMI, metabolism and blood sugar level. It is suggested that you consult your doctor before you stick to a dosage.

2. Coconut Oil

coconut oil for constipation
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Coconut oil has been used for treating several ailments; this has been a viable home treatment in most Asian homes. Coconut oil consists of MFA (Medium Fatty Acids) making it a lubricating laxative.

Why does it work?

Coconut oil consists of medium fatty acid chains that when consumed, get accumulated on the cells and it is observed that it helps to increase the metabolism and absorption of the cells and thereby aiding in faster digestion and stool movement. Although there hasn’t been any clear idea about how coconut oil works for constipation.

However, in one study(2) that was conducted on animals it was noted that it was able to improve blood cholesterol levels, thereby hinting on its capabilities as an agent that increases the metabolic process of the body.

How to use?

There are several ways that you could use coconut oil; however, before you do, so it is suggested that you only use unrefined/virgin coconut oil as it has a higher amount of MFA in it.

It is recommended that you just mix a tablespoon of coconut oil in warm water and consume it; however, owing to the distaste it leaves in the mouth this may not be practicable by everyone.

So it is recommended that you cook with coconut oil and try to replace it with olive or canola oil that you normally use. You could also add a little into your coffee or tea. Also, you could add it to your oatmeal or yogurt each morning making it a nutritious way to start your day.

How much to use?

Ideally, it is recommended that you stick with around 1 tablespoon of this oil for every meal you prepare, or for every beverage you add it in. However, it has to be noted that you need to make the transition to coconut oil steadily as too much of this oil in one instance could cause indigestion and worsen your problem.

3. Baking soda

baking soda
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This common household ingredient can not only be used for cleaning and disinfection but also to cure several ailments from cold/cough to digestive problems. Baking soda is sodium carbonate, that is it is just an alkali chemical compound that acts as an antacid.

Why does it work?

Although there aren’t any substantial studies about the subject of baking soda for constipation. However, it is established that baking soda is an antacid that helps neutralize the stomach acid and can provide almost instant relief from the symptoms caused by constipation. However, there have also been discussions on the fact of consumption of baking soda and how it helps in imbibing water into the intestine and helps the smooth movement of stools. However, there is still a need for studies being conducted for these claims.

How to use?

Ideally, it is recommended that you drink half a tablespoon of baking soda in warm water every morning on an empty stomach to promote good stools. However, you could also take a bath in baking soda; you could use 2 ounces of baking soda in your bath and relax in it, as it is known to help relax the sphincters and will help you promote better stool movement.

How much to use?

It is recommended that you stick to the dosage of half a  tablespoon of baking soda for drinking it and 2 ounces of baking soda for your bath. It is recommended that you do this for a week and then check with your doctor/physician about your condition.

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CURE 2: Foods for constipation

One of the main causes of suffering from constipation could be narrowed down to unhealthy food, lack of fiber in your meals, irregular and erratic pattern of eating food. If you make a change on the fundamental level, that is to check on what you eat and when to eat. You’d not only be able to cure/prevent constipation, but you’d also have a healthier lifestyle.

1. Green Leafy Vegetables

Green Leafy Vegetables
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These are a powerhouse of fiber; almost every leafy vegetable has enough fiber to fulfill the recommended dietary intake for a day. Integrating them into your diet would make a monumental change in your health.

Why does it work?

It may not be known to many; however, foods that are primarily based on plant products or are directly plants are not digested by the body. As the human body doesn’t have the necessary enzymes required to digest these produce. However, adding them to your diet complements to the fiber intake of your body. Fiber is a compound that is required by the body for easier digestion as it facilitates the easy movement of the undigested food present in the large intestine.

In one study(3), it was observed that one cup of cooked spinach contains around 4.3 grams of fiber, that amounts to 17% of your daily fiber intake. It could help you cure your constipation.

How to use it?

There are several leafy greens that if cooked properly could not only be tasty but could also help in pushing the undigested food in your large intestine. You could add in at least 150 grams of these vegetables into your meals.FoodPortion Amount of Fiber1Turnip greens, cooked1 cup5 g2Mustard greens, cooked1 cup5 g3Spinach, cooked1 cup5 g4Beet greens, cooked1 cup4 g5Swiss chard, cooked1 cup4g6Collard greens, cooked1 cup4g

How much to use?

Ideally, the recommended daily intake of fiber is about 30 grams; there is a severe deficiency of fiber in our diets causing such implications in the body. It is recommended that ideally, you have at least 2 cups of greens for three meals amounting to 30-40 grams.

2. Chia seeds for constipation

Chia Seeds
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Chia is the edible seed of Salvia hispanica, a flowering plant in the mint family native to Central America. Chia seeds are oval and gray with black and white spots and bear several medical benefits.

Why does it work?

Chia seeds are one amongst the fiber-rich foods. These house a lot of medical benefits owing to the fiber that it consists off. It has been calculated that 28 grams of chia seeds contain almost contain 11 grams of fiber. There are two different types of fibers, insoluble and soluble. 85% of the fiber is the insoluble type and whereas the rest is soluble.  As there is an abundance of water in the large intestine, when chia seeds come in contact with water, they form a mucus-like gel and help in softening stools, making it an easier process.

How to use?

Chia seeds could be used as a crunchy dressing option in your salads, oats or yogurt. Additionally, you could also add them into your smoothies, dips, baked goods or desserts. This seed is versatile and could be integrated into your meals very easily.  You could also soak them overnight, strain the seeds and then consume this water.

How much to use?

Although there aren’t any dietary restrictions in regards to the consumption of chia seeds, it is ideally recommended that you stick to 10-20 grams throughout the day.

3. Prunes

Prunes
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Prunes are considered as superfruits that could cure a lot of ailments that one suffers from. It could range from helping prevent colon cancer to helping fight diabetes. Prunes have also been used as the first line of therapy to cure constipation.

Why does it work?

Prunes are high in fiber and also house several other chemical compounds that could help your body fight with constipation.

According to a study(4) conducted by Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, it was seen that prunes and prune juice and the other derivatives could prevent constipation and even reduce the chances of having colon cancer.

It was also established that minerals present in prunes could prevent cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and diabetes.

There were several studies(5) that were conducted on prune juice as it was observed that it was better than medications containing psyllium.

How to use?

It is ideally suggested that you use prune juice for adults and kids, as it is one of the easiest ways to reap the benefits of this fruit. However, it is also suggested that you directly eat the fruit. For the juice, it is recommended that you choose the organic variety, it will be available in the nearest stores to you.

How much to use?

It is recommended that you stick to 4 to 8 ounces of the juice in the morning on an empty stomach, as it stimulates the bowel movements.  For kids, it is recommended that you stick to 2 to 4 ounces at a time and adjusting the amount as required. It is to be noted that increased fiber doesn’t translate into good bowel movement. It is recommended that you stick to the dosage mentioned, as more fiber could just mean dehydration to the body.

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CURE 3: Herbs for constipation

Herbs are naturally occurring substances which originated from plants or plant derivatives. They have shown immense potential in curing a lot of diseases effectively including digestive disorders such as acidity, constipation, diarrhea. Herbal remedies are easily accessible and don’t bear any kind of side effects.

1. Senna for constipation (Senna alexandrina)

Senna for constipation
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Senna is an herb that is derived from several different flowering species of the Cassia plants. Primarily, the leaves, flowers, and fruits of the senna plants are being used as natural laxatives to treat constipation. They are available in the form of tea, supplements, and tinctures. The Cassia senna plants used are the C. acutifolia, and C. angustifolia plants, which are grown in the Middle East and India.

Why does it work?

Senna is a natural laxative that has been used from ages to treat constipation. Owing to its natural laxative properties, this herb is known to simulate the movement of bowel. This herb takes about 8 hours to affect the body, hence it is normally administered in the night.

According to a study(6), it was noticed that seena was a long term option that could be considered even for children and didn’t pose any kind of side effects when used for a longer period.

How to use?

Ideally, it is recommended that you use the supplements that are easily available in the market. Alternatively, you could also use herbal tea that is available. However, before deciding on using this remedy, it is highly recommended that you check with your doctor/physician as this herb counteracts with some medicines that you may be talking.

How much to use?

It is ideally recommended that you take one tablet before you go to sleep and for kids, it is the same as well. However, it may be variable depending on the severity of your disease, body, drugs you may be using. Hence it is recommended that you first consult with your doctor/physician before you start using this regimen.

2. Triphala for constipation

Triphala
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Triphala has been used as a healing remedy for over 1,000 years. It is one of the staples in the ayurvedic stream of medicine. This polyherbal concoction consists primarily of amala, Bibhitaki, and Haritaki. This concoction is known to have a synergistic effect and results in extra therapeutic effectiveness, that can treat a range of ailments.

Why does it work?

Triphala is considered to be a bulk laxative. It works on the large intestine and helps in smooth movements of the bowel as well as maintaining digestive health. It is also known to prevent the occurrence of cancer. In a study(7) conducted with patients treated with this laxative, it was noticed that during the time period, there were significant improvements in symptoms of constipation, including decreased straining and more complete evacuations.

How to use?

Triphala is widely available now. Thanks to its soaring popularity, it is now available in the form of teas, powders, tinctures, supplements. It is ideally recommended that you use the powder or the supplement. However, before adhering to this regimen, it is better to consult with a doctor/physician as Triphala is known to cause interactions in the body when you are on certain medications such as blood thinners.

How much to use?

It is ideally suggested that you take Triphala between meals on an empty stomach for maximum absorption. Typically, it is recommended that you take a dose of 500mg to 1gram as it is known to treat symptoms of constipation. You could also use the powder and mix it in warm water and honey and gulp it down. However, for doses that are specific to you, consult your doctor/physician as they vary for each person depending on various factors.

3. Green Tea

This tea has been used since generations in Asia and parts of Japan. It is extracted from the same plant that produces oolong tea, black tea, white tea. The distinguishing feature is how the leaves are treated. They are instantly dried and made into a powder to prevent oxidation of the leaves.

Why does it work?

Green tea helps by cleaning the colon by flushing out plaques and toxins. Due to the laxative effect that it imposes on the body, it is observed that they are able to push the toxins and plaques out of the body. Additionally, green tea also contains polyphenols(8) that help in promoting proper functioning of the liver and the kidney and thereby, indirectly promoting the betterment of excreting toxins and built up waste in the body.

How to use?

Green tea is available in many different formulations, including capsules, powders, tinctures, and teas. You could choose any of them that appeals to you. However, it is advised that you consult with your physician/doctor before you start using this regimen.

How much to use?

It depends on the severity of the condition and the brand that you are using. In a general sense, it is recommended that you start with a low dose like 2 cups a day when you feel like you have a disturbance in your colon. You could then increase the dosage as suited; however, before doing so, it is recommended that you consult with your physician if you could adhere to this regimen.

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CURE 4: Essential oils for constipation

These oils are extracted from the barks, flowers, stems and other living parts of the plant and have a lot of beneficial effects for humans as they are able to help in prevention and control of several ailments.

1. Ginger Oil

Benefits of Ginger Oil
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The oil extracted from this rhizome is considered to be one of the most effective essential oil that has been used for several years now for treating different ailments. It is to be noted that you cannot consume essential oil. It is only meant for topical use and should be diluted with a carrier oil.

See Also
gingivitis

Why does it work?

In the renowned book, Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects(9), ginger’s medical benefits have been elucidated; ginger possesses several chemical compounds that have digestive stimulatory effects that are known to increase gastric motility and are known to prevent and treat constipation. Additionally, they also help control several symptoms caused by constipation such as nausea, acidity.

How to use?

It is to be noted that essential oils cannot be consumed. It is only for topical use alone. As ginger oil is a strong essential oil, you need to mix it with a carrier oil like castor, coconut, almond oil, etc. You could mix 3-5 drops of ginger oil with 8ml of carrier oil, and after mixing them properly, you could pour it onto a gauze and massage it on your abdomen.

How much to use?

It is ideally recommended that you do this two to three times a day for at least a week on an empty stomach or before consuming any meal.

2. Peppermint oil for constipation

Peppermint Oil
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This essential oil is considered to be one of the most important essential oils that can help you combat, cure and prevent constipation. This essential oil is known to be an antispasmodic agent.

Why does it work?

This essential oil is known to be an antispasmodic agent; it helps in relaxing the muscles of the intestine and thereby helps in making the bowels looser. In one study(10) that was conducted in 2008, it was established that peppermint oil was an effective method to cure constipation in people who are  suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

How to use?

It is to note that essential oils cannot be consumed. It is only for topical use alone. As peppermint oil is a strong essential oil, you would need to mix it with a carrier oil like castor, coconut, almond oil, etc. You could mix 3-5 drops of peppermint oil with 8ml of carrier oil, and after mixing them properly, you could pour it onto a gauze and massage it on your abdomen.

How much to use?

It is ideally recommended that you do this two to three times a day for at least a week on an empty stomach or before consuming any meal.

3. Lemon Oil

lemon essential oil
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This essential oil is extracted from lemon, this citrus packed essential oil packs a punch like its source fruit. It is used to cure several ailments ranging from headaches to digestive disorders.

Why does it work?

This essential oil is highly concentrated and contains several antioxidants that can improve digestion and simultaneously reduce inflammation. These functions primarily help promote better digestion and prevent/cure constipation. In one study(11) it was noticed that using lemon oil in the form of aromatherapy was able to considerably boost digestion.

How to use?

It is to note that essential oils cannot be consumed. It is only for topical use alone. As lemon oil is a strong essential oil, you would need to mix it with a carrier oil like castor, coconut, almond oil. You could mix 3-5 drops of lemon oil with 8ml of carrier oil and after mixing them properly, you could pour it onto a gauze and massage it on your abdomen.

How much to use?

It is ideally recommended that you do this two to three times a day for at least a week on an empty stomach or before consuming any meal.

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CURE 5: Supplements for constipation

Supplements form the adjuvant therapy, .i.e you follow this treatment alongside the primary treatment. Supplements form the backbone for your recovery as lacking nutrients and minerals could lead to weakened immunity and digestive disorders making your body prone to several debilitating health conditions.

1. Glucomannan Supplements

Glucomannan is a water-soluble dietary fiber that is derived from konjac root (Amorphophallus konjac).  Glucomannan is a bulk-forming laxative; it acts on the colon and helps in the movement of stools in bulk and providing almost instant relief to the body.

Why does it work?

As the name of the supplement suggests, it is a water-soluble dietary fiber that can help increase the stool movement and promote the betterment of the colonic ecology.

In a study(12) conducted in 2008, it was observed that a modest dose of konjac glucomannan supplements encouraged bowel movements in constipated adults by 30% and improved colonic ecology in general.

How to use?

Glucomannan is available in many different formulations, including capsules, powders, and tinctures. You could choose any of them that appeals to you. However, it is advised that you consult with your physician/doctor before you start using this regimen.

How much to use?

Ideally, if you are using the powder it is recommended, that you use 3-4 grams daily in water, that is followed by a second glass of water. If you are using any of the other formulations of the product, it is advised to check with your physician/doctor for the dosage that would suit you.

2. Magnesium citrate for constipation

Magnesium citrate
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Magnesium is a well known essential mineral that is required by our bodies to perform several functions ranging from DNA replication to kidney functions to nervous transmissions. Although most people do receive their dietary magnesium through food, there is a high chance that you may not be getting enough, thereby contributing to the development of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)

Why does it work?

Magnesium Citrate is known as an osmotic laxative. To break this down, it basically means that when magnesium citrate enters your body, it affects the colon and simulates the water present around to enter the colon and causes the dry stools to move smoother and almost instantly.

Although it works very effectively, it is also known to cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. Hence it is recommended that you consult your doctor before you start this regimen.

How to use?

Magnesium Citrate is easily available in your nearest pharmacies in the form of supplements, you could directly use the supplements. However, before doing so, it is strongly advised that you consult with your doctor/physician.

How much to use?

According to the University of Michigan(13), the range of dosage for this supplement lays in between 2grams to 2000 milligrams. It is also advised that you should not take more than 2-3 tablets and 1 capsule a day. Before settling on your dosage, do consult with your doctor.

3. Cod Liver Oil Supplements

Cod Liver Oil
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Fish oil supplements are typically made from certain kinds of fish, such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, halibut, cod liver, seal blubber, or whale blubber. Its medicinal benefits originate due to the presence of omega 3-fatty acids. This supplement is classified as a lubricating laxative.

Why does it work?

As this supplement(14) primarily is omega-3 fatty acids, it consists of mineral oil and this oil coats your intestinal surface and prevents the reabsorption of water, thereby softening the stool by retaining water in the intestines. Additionally, it is also considered as an effective lubricating laxative as it is able to cover your intestines without being absorbed into the body. Cod liver oil that is on the intestine is later broken down by the body for various other functions.

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How to use?

Fish-oil supplementation is very simple and could be followed by just using them right from the container. Although it is strictly advised that you check with your doctor/physician before you do so.

How much to use?

Ideally, it is recommended that you stick to the dosage available on the container. However, before doing so, it is recommended that you consult with your physician if you could adhere to this regimen.

Preventive Tips

      1. Eat your main meal early in the day – at midday, rather than in the evening.
      2. Drink at least 8 – 10 glasses of water every day.
      3. For each mouthful, chew your food 20 to 30 times.
      4. Use digestive enzymes when you mix-combine foods or eat too much protein.
      5. Promote the friendly bacteria in your intestines by using probiotics.
      6. Exercise regularly – walk, swim, cycle.
      7. Practice breathing exercises at least three times each week to relax your abdominal organs.
      8. Practice yoga postures at least three times each week to tone and stimulate the digestive organs.
      9. Devote time each day to relax quietly and pay attention to managing your stress.
      10. Get enough sleep – 6 to 8 hours a day is the usual requirement for most people.

Things to AVOID

      1. Avoid Processed or Fast Foods – White bread, french fries, hamburgers, baked foods.
      2. Avoid Skipping meals –  Skipping meals disrupts the schedule of your digestion and thereby causes constipation.
      3. Try to avoid straining -At times it may be difficult, however, straining can lead to tears and hemorrhoid formation.
      4. Avoid overuse of laxatives stimulant laxatives- Laxatives could decrease muscle tone in the bowel over time which can cause your bowel movements to be irregular.

Constipation may seem like a hindrance and a recurrent problem that may scar your quality time. Instead of doing something productive, you are stuck in the bathroom. These aforementioned naturopathic remedies will help you effectively get rid, prevent and cure your constipation in a matter of few days. However, do remember to follow them once you start them.

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