Constipation is a very common digestive disorder worldwide with approximately 2.5 million people visiting doctors annually due to this problem. Constipation, which is characterized by difficulty in passing bowels due to hardened feces, is as a result of slowed movement of stool in the digestive tract. An individual can be said to be constipated if they produce less than three bowel movements in a week.
Even though it is not a serious illness, constipation can be very uncomfortable. It is, therefore, crucial that one understands some of home remedies that can be used to deal with this problem. Luckily, there are a lot of natural and readily available products that have proven to be effective in dealing with constipation. Firstly, though, you will need to understand the causes of this problem to help you in preventing it in the first place.
Causes of constipation
Constipation can be due to different factors. The most common causes of constipation are poor diet and lack of exercise.
1. Poor diet
A diet filled with refined carbohydrates, sugars, processed foods, unhealthy fats, synthetic additives, insufficient consumption of water and alcohol can very easily result in constipation. Insufficient consumption of water, for example, leads in the production of hard feces that becomes difficult to move along the intestines and extracting it from the body.
2. Lack of exercise
Physical activities are very crucial to for the digestive system in that they help to strengthen muscles and increase the flow of blood. This ensures the muscles along the digestive tract walls remain efficient in moving the bowel down towards extraction.
Other minor causes of constipation include increased stress levels, consumption of certain medications such as antacids, antidepressants iron and calcium supplements, hormonal or thyroid problems, and aging.
So what are the natural home remedies for constipation?
Naturopathy for constipation requires consumption of following food items and following a healthy regime.
Both dry and fresh figs are very popular for the treatment for constipation. They are natural laxatives which are also rich in fiber that improves bowel movement. An adult could consume after dinner two figs (dried type) soaked in water for 12 hours. This will help in relieving constipation in morning. The fig remedy has benefitted a lot of patients and several patients suffering from piles have also achieved good results.
Lack of water consumption leads to dry bowel which becomes hard to move along the tract. Adequate intake of water helps to ensure that bowel moves swiftly.
3. Aloe Vera
Pure Aloe Vera gel freshly taken from the Aloe Vera plant has multiple uses one of which is that it aids in dealing with a constipated digestive tract. Two tablespoons of this fresh gel boosts digestion and improves movement of bowel along the tract.
Honey is a mild laxative that can be very useful in dealing with constipation boosting the functioning of GI tract walls. Two teaspoons of honey taken three times a day or mixed with lemon juice in warm water will help in getting the job done.
Spinach has exceptional effects on the gastrointestinal tract. It regenerates, reconstructs and cleanses the whole tract easing constipation. It can be consumed raw, mildly cooked or as a raw juice.
6. Fresh and dried fruits
Fresh and dried fruits are usually rich in fibers. They help to scrub food, waste particles and clean the digestive tract making it easier to move the food in the tract swiftly.
7. Fresh lemon
Lemon contains citric acid which can act as a stimulant for the digestive tract. The acid can also serve to get rid undigested material in the colon and toxins. One fresh lemon with a single glass of warm water will help in relieving constipation.
8. Ginger or Mint tea
Peppermint has menthol whose antispasmodic effects relax muscles along the GI tract. The two alleviate slowed digestion.
Prunes are very rich in fiber. Furthermore, they contain a sugar type called Sorbitol. Sorbitol is highly efficient in loosening stool and reducing the duration of transit of stool thus preventing constipation.
Fennel seeds have for long been used to treat not just constipation but also indigestion and bloating. These seeds influence the smooth movement of muscles in the digestive tract.
11. Flaxseed oil
A cup of 1 spoon of flaxseed oil and a single orange juice glass can also be used to relieve constipation. This mixtures coats stool and intestines increasing the frequency of bowel movements.
12. Blackstrap molasses
A single teaspoon of the molasses mixed with tea or warm water will have lots of vitamins and minerals such as magnesium that help the digestive tract muscles to move the bowel.
13. Olive oil
Olive oil is one of the commonly found products in any household. Few people know that pure olive oil can assist a lot in easing constipation. A single tablespoon of olive oil in the morning before you eat anything will stimulate your digestive system boosting bowel movement significantly. You can add one spoon of lemon juice for better taste and results.
14. Castor oil
Castor oil is also useful in treating constipation. These oils not only stimulate intestines for easy passage of bowel but could also lubricate it making it easier for the bowel to slide through.
15. Sesame seeds
The oily nature of these seeds assists in moisturizing intestines if constipation is due to a dried stool.
Grapes have insoluble fiber capable of producing regular bowel movement treating constipation. One can consume half a glass of freshly prepared grape juice or boiled milk with 12 seedless grapes every evening.
A particular study conducted on a population showed that individuals who consumed raisins had their digestion time sped up. Raisins contain fibers and tartaric acids that bring a laxative effect useful in treating constipation.
18. Epsom Salt
Epsom salt is rich in magnesium which when consumed boosts contraction of muscles facilitating better functioning. It also assists in drawing water from around it which results in the softening of stool for smoother movement.
19. Baking soda
A teaspoon of this product mixed with little warm water aids in re-alkalizing and neutralizing acid in your stomach, getting rid of air and allowing smoother passage of bowel thanks to the bicarbonate found in it.
Coffee can function as a stimulant for your colon improving its general performance. You should, however, avoid consuming too much of it as it is also diuretic.
A study on Herbal Remedies For Management Of Constipation And Its Ayurvedic Perspectives (Rawat et al., 2012) shows that indeed the above remedies are effective and together with physical exercises such as yoga and morning/evening runs are capable of treating constipation.