Constipation is one of the great evils of our time. While many people don’t consider it a serious problem, one thing is sure–many theories confirm that intestines that do not function correctly can be the origin of many chronic and degenerative diseases. Depending on what has caused it, constipation can require different remedies. Here we’ll review different options and natural remedies that may be of some use.
Constipation caused by improper diet
An improper diet can provoke constipation, perhaps not immediately, but definitely long-term. It is especially important to avoid white and refined flours and an excess of animal protein, and instead aim for a diet rich in:
- Ripe fruit that is in season, consumed fresh or in smoothies
- Vegetables, creams, and salads
- Whole grain cereals
- Dried nuts, dried fruits, and seeds
Additionally, there are some foods that function as laxatives without irritating the intestines:
- Flax seeds that have been soaked overnight
- Fresh, ripe figs
- Acacia honey
- Kudzu or Japanese arrowroot
- Psyllium husk
- Agar agar
- Apples cooked with the skin
Just as critical as diet is drinking enough water between meals, at least 6 glasses a day. One of the main characteristics of constipation is dryness, so if we keep ourselves correctly well-hydrated it can also help to move the fiber from our food along.
Caused by sedentary lifestyle
Our intestines also move when we move our bodies, which is why it is indispensable to do at least a half hour of physical exercise a day.
Caused by tension and stress
Stress affects your entire system and can cause changes on every level. One of these is constipation. Your intestine is a muscle that also suffers from cramps and tension, just like your back. If this is the issue in your case, then the following options are available to you for treatment:
- Lemon balm, valerian, or passionflower teas
- Deep-breathing exercises
- Stomach massages
- Light exercise such as yoga or tai chi
Caused by bad liver functioning
The liver and the gallbladder are also directly related to the intestine. Some signs that can confirm improper liver function as a cause are bad digestion and a heavy feeling in the stomach, vision problems, hair problems, crow’s feet, a yellow tint to the skin or pain under the ribs on the right side. Should this be the case, the following solutions are available:
- Boldo, sea holly, or dandelion teas
- Having a lighter and earlier dinner
- Sleeping with a hot water bottle under your ribs on the right side
- Consuming the juice of half a lemon and a tablespoon of olive oil between meals
- Eating an umeboshi prune once a day (available in Japanese food stores or diet stores)
Caused by the abuse of laxatives that irritate your intestines
People who have already struggled with constipation for some time and use laxatives that irritate the intestines (whether chemical or natural laxatives that engage such ingredients as sen or aloe) should know that over the course of a long time this usage can affect the normal functioning of the intestines, causing diarrhea, ulcers, calcium deficits, etc.
In any case, it is best to avoid them early on, or only to use them in cases of extreme urgency. The first 3 or 4 days after you stop taking laxatives, your intestines may take time to function correctly. These first few days can be quite irritating, but with a bit more time your intestines will return to their normal function and you can switch to using mild and natural laxatives.
There are people who can’t do #2 outside of their own home. This detail is more important than it may seem, as regular bowel functioning is not something that we should be consciously controlling. Your intestines let you know when it is time to go, but if you ignore its signals, it can also affect its proper functioning over the long term. In order to resolve this, if we can’t do it on our own, we should seek the help or advice of a therapist or psychologist.
Difficult or urgent cases
In particularly important cases of constipation, such as in cases of older people or urgent cases where all other remedies have failed to work, before resorting to chemical laxatives we can opt for the homeopathic remedy Opium 15CH. You should take three units under your tongue, three times a day, separate from meals and strong or minty flavors, for a period of no longer than three months. Once you notice improvement, you can stop taking them and return to your previous remedies.