INTRODUCTION

Ayurveda suggests certain home based remedies to alleviate constipation and help make the bowel movement smooth, relax and uninterrupted. Let us first quickly understand what Constipation generally means? Feces or Stool those are infrequent or hard to pass due to any bowel movement problem (like e.g. indigestion or dehydration) creates constipation. In more technical language whenever there is a tendency to suppress the natural urge of defecation (resulting in infrequent and difficult evacuation of feces) because of any faulty dietary habits, wrong lifestyle and mental factors.

As the world is moving fast so are the human beings and with the growing culture of artificial foods [junk/refined food], lack of exercise, increasing mental tension and carefree attitude towards not responding to the natural urge to defecate which is contributing to the pathogenesis of Constipation and development of certain digestive disorders. This article will cover the main causes, dietary regime, prescriptions mentioned in Ayurveda which are not yet known to the intellectuals and/or to the civilization.

EVALUATION

Constipation-Home-Remedies

Constipation is basically not a disease but symptom of a disease, thus with a person/patient presenting with constipation one should always search for the cause behind it. Thus following points should be kept in mind while generally checking someone with constipation as the main complaint:

A.) In Ayurveda it is classified under “Purishvaha Srotas Vyadhi”  (chronic apana vayu vriddhi) where causes are described as follow:

  • Prakriti (constitution): Vata type people are more prone towards developing constipation.
  • Abhyasa of vega dharan (suppression of natural urge) making the stool hard and difficult to move down easily.
  • Ahara/Vihara (dietary habits): people taking more of ruksha [dry], shita [cold], kshaya [astringent], tikta [bitter], food.
  • Antra-Avrodha: (intestinal obstruction): [emergency]
  • Dourbalya (Weakness): due to pandu (anemia), grahani (IBS), vata vyadhi (neurological disorders), jwara (fever).
  • Oushadhis (medicines): ingestion of ahiphen (morphine), lauha (iron), naag (lead), jatiphal (nutmeg), khadir (catechu) and other astringent.
  • Any iron, aluminum, calcium-containing antacids, anticholinergics, laxative abuse.
  • Due to disease with low metabolism: hypothyroidism, piles.
  • Psychological: depression, personality dysfunction, physical inactivity.

DIETARY REGIME

Ayurvedic-Home-remedies-for-Constipation

What to take and what to avoid:

  • Pathya [wholesome diet]: old brown rice, wheat, barley, maize, oatmeal, brown bread, pigeon pea, elephant yam,  green leafy vegetables in form of salad [more roughage], have preparation of sprouted cereals and vegetables with rice and roti, papaya, carrot, radish, cucumber, cabbage, bottle gourd, drink more water, regular walking and abdominal muscle exercises, mango, musk melon, raisins, prunes, dates, orange, pears, guava, honey, fresh fruit juices, spinach, fenugreek [methi], white pumpkin, drumstick, capsicum, tomato, beetroot, broccoli, walnut, almond, sesame/coconut/mustard oil, jaggery or brown sugar, adding garlic-ginger-ghee- asafetida to pulses while cooking makes them less wind forming and constipative.
  • APATHYA [unwholesome diet]: newly harvested rice, black gram, peas, banana, tubers like potato/ sweet potato, yellow pumpkin, okra, colocasia, spices [chillies mainly], onion, beans, oily/fast food, late night awakening, lack of physical exercise, suppression of urge to defecate, mental tension, overeating, aerated drinks, refined foods [which lack roughage like white bread-white sugar-white flour- (PASTRY, MACARONI, PANCAKES, BISCUITS), polished rice], tinned/preserved foods, groundnut oil, meat, fish, eggs, fried foods, addiction [avoid tobacco in any form], less use of tea/coffee, do not sleep immediately after food, have a walk for 15-20 minutes.

HOME REMEDIES AND INSTRUCTIONS

Tomato Juice- Home Remedies

Remedy I

Give purgation with olive oil which is free of side effects and is not habit forming.

Remedy II

Early morning on empty stomach one can try one of the following:

  • Eat 10 cashew nuts with 4 raisins.
  • Drink 100 gm tomato juice.
  • Drink lukewarm water [stored in a copper vessel overnight] after coming out of bed.
  • Take 2 tbsp ghee with warm water early morning.

Remedy III

In children rubbing ‘castor oil’ over abdomen [near navel] also results in the removal of constipation.

Remedy IV

One can give syrup of fig/viola odorata [one teaspoonful in half glass water] to children.

Remedy V

One can take purified gandhak [sulphur] from chemist and consume 60 mg daily.

Remedy VI

Buy or order small haritaki [terminalia chebula] and without crushing or roasting just wash with plain water and suck 2-3 times daily.

PS:-  Never give enema or strong purgatives without first examining/palpating the abdomen, also avoid giving strong purgatives in pregnancy as they may induce contractions.

HERBAL MEDICINES FOR CONSTIPATION

Medicines for Constipation-Home Remedies

Since modern drugs are mainly habit forming and treat symptomatically thus one can safely go for Ayurveda drugs which are free of side effects [but only after proper examination by a qualified physician] which not only acts on the root level [i.e. normalizing the digestive fire] but also improves the functioning of liver and thereby cleanses the colon and cures constipation.

I. Herbs mentioned by Acharya CHARAKA:  Trivrit [ operculina turpethum], amaltas [ cassia fistula], snuhi ksheera [euphorbia neriifolia], amalvetas [ garcinia pedunculata].

PS:- Use laxatives if and when required.

II. Medicine which can be obtained OTC [over the counter] and is/are well versed among Pharmacies: Cap Herbolax, Triphala Churna, Kayam Churna, Panchskar Churna, Nityam Churan, Isabgol , Tablet gasex, Abhyarishta.

III. Single Herbs useful In treatment of constipation is/are:

  • Bael [aegle marmelos] : 5gm three times a day with warm milk/water [as bael powder]
  • Ghritakumari [ aloe vera ]: 10 ml of juice with pinch of salt [as kumaryasava]
  • Draksha [ vitis vinifera] : 6 teaspoonful, twice daily with equal amount of water, after meals [ as draksharishta]
  • Haritaki [terminalia chebula} : 2.5 to 5 gm twice a day with warm water [as haritaki churna]
  • Eranda  taila [ricinus communis] : 5 drops with a cup of milk alongwith sugar and cardamom. [As castor oil]
  • Isabgol [ plantago ovata]: 1-3 tbsp of husk is mixed in half glass water and taken immediately [ as isabgol husk]
  • Yashtimadhu [glycyrrhiza glabra]: one tbsp two or three times a day mixed with honey along with warm water. [ as yashtimadhu churna/saptamrit lauha]
  • Syrup/drops liv. 52: for improvement of liver functioning in children.

IV. Padmasana  [ lotus position], Vajrasana [thunderbolt pose], Paschimottanasana [ forward bend], Halasana [ plough pose], Bhujangasana [ cobra pose] are some of the yogic exercises for constipation which one can practice under the guidance of a yoga trainer which helps to increase the tone of abdominal muscles and stimulate peristalsis.

SUMMARY

Constipation is diagnosed by the patient and not by the Physician. We hope that the aforementioned home remedies and instructions will surely be helpful for you. These simple home remedies can surely make your life much easier.

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Dr Munish Sood

Dr Munish Sood

B.A.M.S, MD (Ayu) Kayachikitsa
He is an Ayurveda Specialist with working experience of almost 18 years as: Sr. Consultant cum Physician (M.D.) & Sr. R.M.O, JNANI Hospital: (An Undertaking of Tibetan Craft Community, Tashijong, Kangra), Paprola. Consulting (M.D.) & Sr. R.M.O, DTIL Hospital, Chimbalhaar, Palampur. Sr. Medical Officer, Simla Sanitarium & Hospital, Himachal Pradesh. Assistant Professor & Medical Officer, SUDAC & Hospital, Hoshiarpur.