Herbal remedies for natural treatment of constipation

By:Ashish Agarwal

Constipation refers to the condition where stools become hard and dry, making it hard to empty the bowels. Constipation results in less bowel movements than normal triggering the accumulation of metabolic wastes (body toxins) in the body tissues.

In Ayurveda, constipation is considered as the mother of all diseases. Getting constipated hinders the process of elimination of body toxins. If such a condition becomes chronic, it would result in the piling up of the body toxins which would eventually make their way into the blood stream to circulate throughout the body and accumulate in the body tissues. It would trigger the immune system and cause chronic inflammatory diseases.

Long term, chronic constipation is one of the prominent causes for many health issues including hemorrhoid (piles), anal fissures, skin break out (acne, pimple, eczema, psoriasis), irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel diseases, hyperacidity and even heart problems. In this post, we would discuss in a fairly detailed manner about various herbs which can be used to strengthen the body metabolism and digestive system to eradicate the problem of constipation from its root.

As per Ayurveda, constipation is the result of disturbances caused in the colon by the cold and dry qualities of the vata. Thus the proper way to treat constipation is by inducing oil, warmth, and hydration to the system which will counteract the excess vata.

Below enlisted is a comprehensive list of herbs to be consumed for long term relief from constipation naturally:

  • 1.Ashwagandha - Ashwagandha or the Indian ginseng is one of the most common ayurvedic herbs used for treating constipation. The regular consumption of the herb helps in improving digestion and maintaining the level of the stress hormone, cortisol. So, if the underlying cause of your constipation is indigestion or stress, then ashwagandha is the perfect ayurvedic supplement for you. The mild laxative properties of the herb make it a potent ayurveda treatment of constipation. Ashwagandha is readily available in the form of powder and capsules.
  • 2.Kumari asava - This one is a concoction of multiple ingredients; the base ingredient being pure aloe vera juice. This ayurvedic concoction helps in regulating the flow of bile juices into the intestines, improves digestion and relieves constipation. It helps in getting rid of obstructions in the bile duct if any. The laxative and diuretic properties help in the free and smooth flow of stool. The kumari asava is available in the form of syrup.
  • 3.Triphala - The word triphala is made up of two words- tri (three) and phala (fruit) which means it is a mixture of three fruits; namely- amla, harad and baheda. Out of all the ayurvedic treatments available for constipation, triphala is certainly the most known and trusted one. Its mild laxative nature helps in relieving constipation. For best results, consume triphala powder/churna every night with warm water before going to bed.
  • 4.Sunthi - Sunthi or dried ginger is used since the ancient times to treat several digestion related problems such as indigestion, low appetite, vomiting and constipation. People suffering from irritable bowel syndrome or constipation should definitely include sunthi in their everyday diet to benefit from it. The best way to consume sunthi is by mixing it with a little bit of jaggery and having it with warm water every night before going to bed.
  • 5.Kushmanda - Kushmanda or ash gourd has naturally occurring laxative properties which help in relieving constipation. The fresh pulp from the fruit can be utilized for this purpose. Cut the fruit into cubes and simmer them in water. Consume the cooked kushmanda and use the water in stews and curries. Over time this will ease out your bowel movement and relieve constipation.
  • 6.Shikakai - Shikakai is a very well known herb mostly used for its hair and scalp related benefits. But along with that, it is also a potent treatment for constipation. Shikakai has mild laxative properties which help in easing out the bowel movement. For treating constipation with shikakai, soak a deseeded shikakai pod in water for an hour and then drink that water.
  • 7.Mahanimbu - Mahanimbu or pomelo acts as a mild laxative and helps in improving the digestion. It is also an effective remedy for colic problems and worms. All these properties combined together make it a perfect Ayurveda treatment of constipation.
  • 8.Jeera - Jeera or cumin is a common ingredient in the Indian kitchen and is used extensively in several meal preparations. Apart from being a taste enhancer it also helps in correcting indigestion and flatulence. It is also very helpful in suppressing the symptoms of intestinal and abdominal colic. Thus regular consumption of it can reduce the pain felt during passing constipated stools considerably.
  • 9.Shatapushpa - Shatapushpa or Saunf(fennel) is another easily available ingredient in the Indian household. Fennel seeds are mostly consumed after having a meal as they help in moderating the vata and pitta. For people suffering from constipation, it is advisable to consume a teaspoon of fennel seeds post each meal for better digestion and thus a smooth bowel movement.
  • 10.Haritaki -Haritaki or harad when consumed on its own can also work really well for treating mild constipation as it contains mild laxative properties. The haritaki powder can either be prepared at home or it can also be purchased from the market. Add the prescribed amount of the haritaki powder in hot water and drink it once it is lukewarm. The best time to consume it is at night just before going to bed.

Final words
Herbs are natural and safe to use remedies for people of all ages. They neither impose any side effects when consumed in the long term nor they are habit forming. But, being natural doesn’t mean that self-diagnosis is allowed here. It is highly advisable to consume any of the above herb only after consulting an ayurveda health expert and do not consume beyond the recommended dosage. Also, as explained above, constipation is a lifestyle disorder. Hence, do include suitable changes in your diet and lifestyle for long term benefits from this new age epidemic.

  • Include physical workout or Yoga in your daily routine
  • Drink enough liquids- water, juices and herbal teas
  • Eat more of raw fruits and green vegetables instead of processed/ junk foods
  • Consume whole foods- whole grains, brown rice, whole wheat bread, sprouts and dalia. These foods provide a good quantity of dietary fibers
  • Cut down on alcohol, black tea, coffee and smoking
  • Take a daily sleep of 6-8 hours
  • Adopt a stress free, relaxed lifestyle with the help of pranayam and meditation
  • Avoid late night dinner and do sit in vajrasana after the dinner for 15-20 minutes for better digestion and body metabolism.

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