The overall health of an individual is well-defined by gut health. One of the most common gut health issues is constipation, which means infrequent bowel movement. Constipation increases the chances of bad breath, headache, pain and flatulence, discomfort, and distention.
In adults, the prevalence of constipation was estimated to around 16 percent. According to epidemiological reviews, the progression in an individual's age is highly associated with the high prevalence of constipation.
One possible reason to increase this issue is the sedentary and modern lifestyle, which mainly includes the consumption of junk food, over-eating, alcohol intake, and smoking.
Constipation is classified as a Vata disorder in ayurvedic terms because vatic doshas are responsible for moving and eliminating waste from the body.
Although it can be treated by using laxatives, they serve as the temporary fix of the issue. However, a complete cure of this condition requires effective treatment approaches; you might include ayurvedic home remedies for constipation.
But the effective treatment of the medical condition starts with the confirmed diagnosis of a medical condition. This mainly requires the identification of symptoms that indicates a particular medical condition. Thus, the identification of signs and symptoms is important to use ayurvedic home remedies for constipation.
What are the causes?
The most probable causes of constipation include the slow movement of stool or waste through the digestive tract or the system's inability to eliminate waste from the rectum. This leads to hard or dry stool. Other possible causes that lead to chronic constipation include:
- Rectum or colon blockage.
- Contraction of pelvic muscle restricting waste elimination.
- Hormonal imbalance
- Other risk factors like dehydration, low fiber content, and medications.
Similarly, no more than 10 percent of the Western population consume an adequate amount of dietary fiber and whole fruits representing less than half of the recommended amount.
What are the symptoms?
The bowel movement of each person varies and might be different from others. The symptoms for the diagnosis of constipation mainly include the following signs:
- Difficulty to pass stool.
- Straining when passing stool
- Less stool than usual
- Hard, dry, or lumpy stool
- Feeling of fullness
- Loss of appetite
- Rectal blockage
Why choose ayurvedic remedies?
Being a holistic approach, ayurvedic remedies have been used for the treatment of thousands of conditions. According to a 2015 review, ayurvedic remedies have been highly effective in treating chronic diseases compared to allopathic treatment.
Unlike other medical approaches for treatment, ayurvedic remedies work directly to manage the symptoms. This is primarily aimed to address the root cause of the problem. It works by detoxifying the body to allow the medication to function better and treat the right issue.
More than just medicines
Considering the impact of other medications, the effect of a medicine is greatly influenced by the patient's lifestyle and diet style. It sustains the benefits after the completion of dosage. The use of ayurvedic remedies is equally focused on lifestyle and diet.
The root-cause effect of Ayurveda effectively brings a reduction in the probability of severe health complication risk that might arise from the untreated cause of the condition. The risk of health complications is reduced with the completion of an Ayurveda treatment.
Ayurvedic herbs for constipation
Several easy, low cost and natural remedies can be considered to resolve constipation. Ayurvedic remedies for constipation can be used in homes with comfort, as supported by scientific evidence.
Here are some natural ayurvedic remedies for constipation treatment:
Triphala has a long history of being used as an ayurvedic medicine to treat wide-ranging medical conditions, i.e., dental cavities to stomach ailments.
Triphala is a combination of three herbs, which include Amla (Emblica Officinalis), Bibhitaki (Terminalia bellirica), and Haritaki (Terminalia chebula).
Triphala's consumption helps in cleansing the colon and relieving symptoms of bloating, flatulence, incomplete evacuation, and anorectal blockage.
In the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, laxative was used to treat patients combined with Triphala, Senna extract, and Isabgol husk. Triphala showed a significant reduction in the constipation symptoms and decreased straining when passing stool and more complete evacuations.
A 2006 study in the Iranian Journal of Pharmacology and Therapeutics included participants experiencing gastrointestinal disorders. The use of Triphala had reported a significant reduction in constipation, consistency of bowel movement, flatulence, abdominal pain.
Because no research has been conducted on pregnant and lactating women, Triphala should not be consumed by pregnant and lactating women.
Despite this fact, the Triphala's effectiveness represents it as one of the powerful ayurvedic remedies for constipation treatment and can be taken in the form of Triphala tea.
A bulk-forming laxative has been used for the treatment of constipation. The absorption of liquid in the intestine allows it to swell and lead to bulky stool formation, which is easy to be passed. The high absorbent Psyllium moves through the colon, acting as a scrub brush.
In the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, the soluble fiber content in Psyllium had been more effective in improving stool characteristics than wheat bran.
In a 2018 study, 51 people experiencing constipation and type 2 diabetes were given 10 g of Psyllium two times a day. This led to a significant reduction in constipation, cholesterol level, blood sugar levels, and body weight.
However, Psyllium maintains regular movement of the bowel; it also softens the stool by keeping the body hydrated, which treats constipation. In this manner, the use of Psyllium helps in the prevention of constipation complications like anal fissures and hemorrhoids.
Additionally, psyllium is known to help manage painful symptoms with such conditions.
Daily intake of Psyllium is recommended to be 1-2 tablespoon in warm water or juice.
Multiple benefits of psyllium make it one of the most appropriate and effective ayurvedic remedies for constipation and other medical conditions like diabetes. A review of 11 trials recommended it for the treatment of hypertension.
3. Acai Berries:
Undoubtedly, fiber is the essential factor that maintains healthy digestion. Acai berries are known for the cleansing effect of the digestive system. The cleansing of the digestive system is important for removing hazardous toxins from accumulation in the body.
According to a 2016 study, acai seeds contain polyphenols that increase the 0production of nitric oxide, resulting in regulating metabolic conditions like metabolic syndrome, renal failure, and hypertension.
According to the health benefits of acai that have been recently studied and is a natural digestive cleanser, it works by helping kidneys and liver eliminate toxins from the body.
Similarly, it also works as a colon cleanser, which helps prevent the accumulation of toxic chemicals and undigested particles from staying lodged in the colon.
Because such accumulation leads to the onset of constipation and related digestive issues, an improvement in the metabolic activity, acai berries can speed up the bowel's transit time, prevents food fermentation in the intestines that cause constipation, gas, and bloating.
Papaya is considered an effective remedy to treat constipation other symptoms related to IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).
In a 2013 Randomized clinical trial in the Neuro Endocrinology Letters, the use of papaya-based formula as a medication to treat constipation showed a significant reduction in bloating and constipation.
Papaya contains papain responsible for improving digestion because it is rich in water and fiber content. Intake of the recommended amount of fiber is important for preventing constipation and regulating a healthy digestive tract.
Studies have reported that eating papaya is highly beneficial to bring a significant reduction in gastric acid production.
Because Papaya is rich in antioxidants, it is known to provide other health benefits in association with improvement in digestive function. Thus, it can be used as an ayurvedic treatment for constipation.
According to a 1984 Animal study, papaya represented the protection against ulcers and reduced gastric acid secretion. The results were observed after two hours of papain medication. The effects of the papain enzyme lasted for about 48 hours and waned after 96 hours.
One of the healthiest spices of the planet – ginger-is an effective ayurvedic remedy to treat conditions like constipation. The presence of laxative properties assists in promoting bowel movement.
According to the 2011 Randomized Control Trial, ginger can stimulate antral contractions and gastric emptying in functional dyspepsia patients.
Considering poor digestion as the potential cause of constipation, ginger root is considered helpful. Ginger has been used to reduce irritation in the digestive tract and bring improvement in indigestion.
Muscle relaxing properties of ginger help release the trapped gases that reduce bloating and provide protection to the stomach lining.
Constipation makes a person uncomfortable. Because of the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect, the use of ginger has been reported to relieve symptoms like nausea, vomiting, constipation, flatulence, and abdominal discomfort in the Scientific Reports.
Ginger consumption to relieve symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and abdominal distention has been considered safe as it does not induce any side effects.
Drinking 1 cup of ginger tea after each meal helps in indigestion for improved food processing and production of bowel movements.
A natural and FDA-approved laxative – Senna is considered safe and effective herbal medicine to treat constipation.
Glycosides structure in the Senna plant is known for nerve stimulation in the gut, which significantly helps speed up bowel movements.
Senna is considered safe to relieve the symptoms of constipation temporarily. But, the use of Senna is not recommended for pregnant and lactating women.
According to the National Institute of Health, senna is considered safe and effective when used with psyllium to treat constipation in adults.
Senna can be prescribed to the children as well. A 2018 review in the Journal of Pediatrics Surgery showed that the use of Senna as long-term treatment is considered safe for children suffering from constipation.
Senna encourages bowel muscles for the movement of stool in the body. The effect of Senna can be observed within 8-12 hours of intake.
But, Senna is avoided by many of the clinicians because of less scientific justifications, possible side effects, and tolerance.
Things to avoid!
Making a healthy food choice is often difficult but essential to avoid the probability of constipation and to relieve the symptoms of constipation. To efficiently deal with constipation, implementing few routines in the daily activities would help in treating constipation.
- Avoid eating a combination of two different protein products at one time as a part of your meal, like tofu with chicken and meat with eggs.
- Avoid yo eat complex carbohydrates and proteins in one meal. Like noodles with chicken and rice with fish. Because the digestive process for the carbohydrates and proteins is different and requires different digestive enzymes, the working of two digestive processes is difficult.
- Avoid meals with a combination of dairy products with acidic or sour fruits, grains, and animal proteins.
- Avoid intake of foods that contain white sugar, white flour, and other processed food products.
The Bottom Line
The approach to navigate constipation during a cleansing process might turn out to be delicate. For most people who have been experiencing constipation issues, adopting some of the ayurvedic remedies would help in regular bowel movement.
Each ayurvedic remedy has its importance and potential benefits that help maintain the well-being of an individual.
A combination of these remedies of adequate amounts would help eliminate harmful toxins and improve energy levels and reduce symptoms associated with constipation such as bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, and gas.
To prevent constipation, regular exercise and staying hydrated with a combination of ayurvedic remedies would result in effective bowel movement.