Over 4 million people in the United States suffer from frequent constipation and surveys show that it is the most common digestive complaint across the country. Since the lack of high-fiber foods such as fruits and vegetables increases the risk of constipation, most people just increase their salad intake and are surprised when this aggravates their digestive problems. There is a simple explanation for this – according to Ayurveda, constipation is a vata imbalance disorder; vata is associated with coldness and roughness, which means that cold rough foods such as salads can aggravate vata and can make your constipation worse.
People who suffer from constipation should modify their daily diet to include vata-pacifying foods that are warm and moist. Ideally, you should increase your intake of dairy products, especially milk as well as favor oily heavy foods. Swap raw salads for steamed or stewed veggies including beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, turnips, and yams. In addition to changing your diet, you can also use Ayurvedic constipation remedies to get quick relief from this problem and improve your overall digestive health.
Ayurvedic Home Remedies for Constipation
Triphala is a churna that is made out of three components – Indian gooseberry (amla), black myrobalan (harad), and Belliric Myrobalan (baheda). This Ayurvedic formulation acts as a potent natural laxative by increasing the secretion of digestive enzymes as well as stimulating the contraction of the smooth muscles of the gastrointestinal tract. Scientific research on the benefits of triphala for constipation found that the polyphenols in triphala inhibit the growth of unhealthy gut bacteria while simultaneously promoting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.
2. Milk with Ghee
A glass of warm milk with a teaspoon of ghee is an effective natural remedy for constipation. Milk and ghee are vata balancing foods and are commonly used for quick constipation relief. You can drink this mixture every night before going to bed to treat and prevent constipation. Ghee has a lubricating effect on the colon, helping ease the passage of stools. Although there have been no clinical trials or studies to evaluate the efficacy of this remedy, there may be sound logic behind it. Fats from ghee most likely work in a similar manner to stool softeners, helping in the passage of hard stools.
3. Flax Seeds
Flaxseed is one of the best home remedies for constipation. Whole flaxseeds contain 6 to 12 percent mucilage. Mucilage is a thick, gluey substance that protects the mucous membranes by forming a protective film along the entire length of the digestive tract. This also allows stools to pass easily through the digestive tract which helps to decrease intestinal transit rates which helps to treat constipation.
Wooden spoon with flax seed
Studies on the benefits of flaxseed for constipation found that the oil and mucilage in flaxseed exhibit laxative activity and can be used as a natural remedy for constipation. To use flaxseed for constipation, boil a tablespoon of flaxseeds in a cup of water for 2-3 minutes; allow it to cool slightly and drink the water and eat the seeds. This simple Ayurvedic remedy for constipation will go a long way in alleviating your digestive problems as well as improving your overall digestive health.
4. Bael Fruit pulp
Bael or stone apple is one of the most effective Ayurvedic remedies for constipation. Ayurvedic texts recommend eating half a cup of bael fruit pulp before dinner on a daily basis to relieve chronic constipation. Scientific research shows that bael fruit pulp can stabilize colonic mast cells – this helps to treat slow tansit constipation patients. The fruit also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects which help to improve digestive health. The fruit has a tangy and slightly astringent taste and so you can add a teaspoon of jaggery to the pulp to make it palatable.
Fennel is well known as a natural galactagogue (promoting breast milk production) but it also very effective in the treatment of digestive and respiratory ailments. Fennel seeds are a rich source of volatile oils; in fact studies show that fennel seeds contain a total of 28 compounds. Many of these oils promote the production of gastric enzymes as well as prevent the proliferation of unhealthy gut bacteria that interfere with the digestive process. To use fennel as a natural cure for constipation, roast a teaspoon of these seeds and add them to a glass of warm water. Wait for a few minutes and then drink the water and eat the seeds. This remedy works as a mild natural laxative and will ensure healthy bowel movements.
6. Figs soaked in warm water
Figs or anjeer are an effective (and delicious) home remedy for constipation. Soak a couple of figs in very warm water for about an hour and then drink the water and eat the figs. This will help to prevent or treat mild cases of constipation and is often recommended for constipation in kids. Some research suggests that the intake of figs may help increase fecal output, while decreasing colonic transit time, which would be extremely helpful when dealing with diet induced constipation.
Ayurvedic Lifestyle Tips for Constipation
Yoga is a great way to counteract vata imbalance which is the root cause of constipation. Focus on poses that work on the colon (the bodily seat of vata) as well as the abdominal region. Yoga poses such as Tadasana (mountain pose), Vrksasana (Tree Pose), and Virabhadrasana (Warrior Pose) are effective yoga poses for those suffering from constipation. Include forward bending poses and inversions in your yoga routine but limit pranayama as it can aggravate vata.
Young man doing yoga warrior pose
Vata Pacifying Exercises
Regular exercise plays an important role in the prevention and treatment of constipation. It is best to avoid high intensity and fast paced activities; instead, indulge in slow pace and gentle exercise routines. Rowing, walking, swimming, and hiking are all excellent choices of exercise for constipation and similar digestive ailments.
Daily elimination is necessary for a healthy digestive system. Make it a habit to visit your bathroom every day at a specific time and stay there even if you don’t feel the urge. Within a matter of days, you will get used to this routine; this habit will go a long way in preventing constipation and related digestive problems.
A healthy vata balancing diet along with a couple of Ayurvedic remedies for constipation will help to treat and prevent this problem as well as improve your digestive health. You should also make it a point to drink an adequate amount of water throughout your day as dehydration can contribute towards the problem, especially if you live in a hot and dry region of the country. Chronic constipation can cause several other maladies which is why it is important to deal with this problem right away.
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