Natural fast acting laxatives and stool softeners

Constipation - Definition

Constipation is a condition in which bowel movements occur less often than usual or are painful or difficult to pass. The healthy amount of bowel movements varies from person to person, but an adult who has not had a bowel movement in three days or a child who has not had a bowel movement in four days is considered constipated.

Constipation is one of the most common gastrointestinal complaints in the US and most individuals treat themselves without seeking medical help.

The most common ways to relieve constipation are:

  1. increase intake of fluids each day (six to eight glasses);
  2. exercise on a regular basis;
  3. eat a diet high in fibers (wheat, oats, flax, whole grain cereal, raw fruit and vegetables).
In some cases, individuals may be given laxatives or gastrointestinal drugs. However, dependence on laxatives is a possibility and their use should be monitored closely. A woman who is pregnant should never use a laxative. Neither should anyone who is experiencing abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting. There several foods that cause constipation (“constipating foods ”). They should be avoided:
  1. dairy products (ice-cream, cheese, etc.);
  2. greasy fried foods;
  3. frozen dinners;
  4. chips;
  5. red meat (if you eat it without vegetables);
  6. green bananas. Do bananas cause constipation? On the contrary, eating ripe yellow bananas in moderation will cure constipation. It is eating unripe, raw green bananas that will cause constipation. They still possess a lot of starch and pectin (fiber). Starch is difficult to digest, and pectin draws water from the intestines, worsening dehydration.
  7. Like bananas, caffeine can go either way. Caffeine can make have bowel movement more frequent. Yet, if you suffer from dehydration, you may discover that the caffeine in coffee, black tea, and chocolate only makes you more constipated.

Aside from the home remedies for stool softener mentioned, there are also natural laxative foods that can help you to relieve constipation.

  1. Dried plums or plum juice are safe, palatable and effective method to treat mild to moderate constipation, and should be considered as a first line therapy.
  2. Berries – plenty of fiber and loads of antioxidants.
  3. Beans –plenty of fiber, good source of vitamins and minerals.
  4. Broccoli
  5. Nuts (especially almonds) and seeds (especially pumpkin seeds)
  6. Apples
  7. Sweet potatoes
  8. Dried fruit
  9. Artichokes
  10. Brussel sprouts
A variety of herbs can be used as home remedies for constipation.
  1. Chamomile - bitter
  2. Dandelion - bitter
  3. Burdock – bitter
  4. Senna - laxative
  5. Buckthorn – laxative

Bitters – stimulate the movement of the digestive system

Laxatives – assist with bowel movement.

These "laxative" herbs are stronger acting on elimination than bitters and can sometimes cause cramping (mixing them with a calming herb like fennel or caraway can help reduce cramping). Both senna and buckthorn are powerful herbs that are best used with direction from an experienced practitioner, since they can have adverse side effects and the patient may become dependent on them.