Discover the 7 Best Laxative Herbs

Laxative herbs should be used in moderation, only in specific cases. If your constipation is chronic, it's best to see your doctor to discover other treatment options.
Discover the 7 Best Laxative Herbs

Last update: 12 May, 2022

Constipation is a problem that affects thousands of people. Processed food, refined flour, and stress are some of the main causes. However, there are some laxative herbs that can help to combat mild cases of constipation.

In most cases, treatment of constipation mainly consists of making changes to your diet. This includes increasing your intake of fiber and probiotics. Your doctor may also recommend taking laxatives, supplements, or medication.

Thus, while you can use medicinal laxative herbs to prepare some home remedies, the best thing to do is talk to your doctor to determine the most appropriate course of treatment. That way, you’ll not only relieve any symptoms, but you’ll also be able to reduce the risk of constipation reoccurring in the future.

Constipation: what you need to know

Many of your daily habits can trigger a lot of different imbalances in your body. One of them is constipation, a condition produced by improperly functioning intestines. When your intestines work inefficiently or are full of unhealthy food and waste, you may find you’re unable to go to the bathroom.

Constipation goes further than feeling bloated or uncomfortable, waste can build up and lead to other health problems-

In addition, bowel movements shouldn’t require too much effort and stool should be soft. Otherwise, it’s constipation. Although it’s usually sporadic, some cases can become chronic and last.

Laxative herbs: which are the best?

To be able to go to the bathroom once or twice a day, you need to eat a healthy diet that includes fruit, vegetables, and legumes and avoid processed, fried, and breaded foods, as confirmed by gastroenterology experts.

It’s also essential to drink 8 to 12 glasses of water and exercise daily. However, to help your body get rid of waste, you can take advantage of the powers of certain laxative herbs and plants.

While there’s insufficient scientific evidence to support the use of these alternative remedies, there are some small studies which suggest they may be beneficial for regulating intestinal activity. They may also help to reduce feelings of fullness and bloating.

However, it’s important to be aware that they won’t be suitable for all cases. Moreover, taking excessive quantities could cause adverse side effects. So, before trying any of these home remedies, it’s best to consult with a doctor to find out which to avoid and how much you should take.

1. Plantain leaves

The leaves of this tree contain a large amount of mucilage, which can help those suffering from constipation, dyspepsia, and irritation of the stomach lining, as described in an article published in the Electronic Physician Journal.

Plantain leaf tea.
The mucilage in plantain leaves is positively associated with constipation relief. However, more studies on this are required.


  • 1 tablespoon of plantain leaves (10 g).
  • 1 cup of water (250 ml).


  • First, put the water and plantain leaves in a pot.
  • Put on low heat until it starts to boil.
  • Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Filter and drink immediately.
  • You can have plantain tea twice a day (one time before bed).

2. Nettle

There is insufficient scientific evidence to support the supposed laxative properties of nettle. However, in natural medicine, it’s said to stimulate the digestive system. It has also been suggested that it may help to regulate microflora in the intestines, which is essential when it comes to combating constipation.


  • 1 tablespoon of nettle leaves (10 g).
  • 1 cup of water (250 ml).


  • First, place the water and nettle leaves in a pot.
  • Heat, and once it reaches full boil, let simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and let sit for another 5 minutes.
  • Filter and enjoy.
  • You can drink up to 3 cups a day (one on an empty stomach, and the others a half hour before lunch and dinner).

3. Licorice leaves

Licorice is a natural way to combat heartburn and help eliminate the build-up of waste in the intestines.

According to an investigation published in the Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, licorice contains a substance known as glycyrrhizin, which has laxative and anti-inflammatory properties.

However, it’s not a good idea to use this home remedy for more than two consecutive weeks, as it could cause fluid retention or increase your blood pressure. It’s also unsuitable for diabetics.


  • 1 tablespoon of licorice leaves (10 g).
  • 1 cup of water (250 ml).


  • First, heat the water and licorice leaves in a pot for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Strain and enjoy.
  • You can drink up to 3 cups a day (one on an empty stomach, without food, and the others after meals).

4. Mallow

According to popular belief, it’s said that mallow prevents constipation, aids digestion, and even calms stomach pain and prevents cramps.

Similarly, an investigation published in Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy determined that the Malva sylvestris aqueous extract (MSAE) present in mallow increases intestinal motility and water intestinal secretion, helping to relieve constipation.

Mauve leaves.
The laxative effects of mallow are still being researched. At the moment, some anecdotal data suggest that it has benefits against constipation.


  • 1 tablespoons of mallow leaves (10 g).
  • 1 cup of water (250 ml).


  • First, heat the water, and once boiling, pour into a cup.
  • Add the mallow leaves and cover.
  • After 10 minutes, uncover and strain.
  • Drink before it cools.
  • You can enjoy up to three cups a day.

5. Prickly pear

Though you may not consider it an herb because of its shape (it looks a bit like a cactus), prickly pear is a plant that’s worth trying if you suffer from constipation. According to information published by the Mayo Clinic, it can increase the volume and frequency of bowel movements.


  • 1 piece of prickly pear.
  • 2 cups of water (500 ml)


  • First, heat the water and once boiling add the prickly pear.
  • Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes.
  • Finally, remove the prickly pear and drink the tea over the course of the day.

6. Verbena

Verbena extract is known for its antispasmodic properties. While it’s also useful for treating diarrhea, it can be used to combat constipation. In general, it helps to balance intestinal activity and promote the elimination of waste.

Verbena tea.
In popular literature, verbena has been used to balance the intestine. As there isn’t enough evidence, it should be used sparingly.


  • 2 tablespoons of verbena leaves (20 g).
  • 1 cup of water (250 ml).


  • Boil the water and add the verbena leaves.
  • Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes.
  • After this time, filter and drink.
  • Drink one cup on an empty stomach and the other before bed.

7. Olive leaves

The leaves of this well-known Mediterranean tree apparently have the ability to relieve constipation. In fact, according to information published in Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, they’re an anti-inflammatory and can help to reduce gut discomfort.


  • 2 tablespoons of olive leaves (20 g).
  • 2 cups of water (500 ml).


  • First, heat the water, and once boiling, add the olive leaves.
  • Then, cook for 5 minutes, remove from heat, and let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Finally, filter and drink one cup on an empty stomach, without food, and another a half hour after lunch.

Conclusion on laxative herbs

There are several laxative herbs which can help to relieve constipation. However, it’s important to be aware that they can cause side effects. What’s more, evidence proving their effectiveness is limited.

Remember, if you’re suffering from symptoms of constipation, it’s important to consult with your doctor to discuss the different treatment options for your case.

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