Willow Sidhe is a nature enthusiast with over a decade of experience creating natural health and beauty products for herself and her family.
Natural laxatives are often the better choice when dealing with painful or chronic constipation due to the risk of long-term dependence when taking over-the-counter or prescription laxatives too often. The bowels and intestines eventually get used to the laxatives doing all of the digestive work for them, and eventually they will not function at all without chemical stimulation. This is a worst-case scenario and usually only occurs with excessive use of laxatives. Why run the risk when you can use natural laxative remedies with cheap and inexpensive products available at the local grocery store.
Along with being an excellent laxative, natural home remedies are also healthy and usually contain vital vitamins and minerals that would not otherwise be obtained using over-the-counter medications. The most important thing is knowing what types of natural laxatives are available, and how you can fit them into your lifestyle. Proper treatment will keep your constipation under control and your bowels healthy.
Types of Natural Laxative
There are four basic types of natural laxative remedies available:
- malt soup
Bulk-forming foods are those that expand in the intestines and help push the blockage out of the bowels. Bran laxatives perform basically the same as bulk-forming foods, but can also help regulate weight and cholesterol in the body. Psyllium husks are some of the most common types of laxatives, and are commonly sold over-the-counter as Metamucil. If one is going to purchase a commercially available laxative, this is the most effective way. Malt soup is another bulk-forming option that has no side-effects and does not cause dependency issues.
Bulk forming foods are some of the most common natural home remedies for laxatives, and some of the easiest to incorporate into a diet. Some of the most common varieties of bulk forming foods include prunes, rhubarb, figs, sauerkraut and aloe vera. For most people, a couple of prunes or a glass of prune juice every day is more than enough to maintain a regular bowel schedule.
An easy and cheap way to incorporate prunes into your diet is to boil five or six prunes over low heat for about an hour. Drink the juice in the morning and eat the prunes at night, and any constipation issues should be eliminated. Remember, moist prunes are much more effective at battling constipation than the dried varieties.
Malt Soup Extract
Malt soup extract is another natural option that works in the same way as bran or psyllium. Though psyllium is considered a more effective method, malt soup extract is much easier to ingest. Like other natural remedies for constipation, malt soup extract has no risk of dependency and no side effects.
Psyllium husks, also sold as psyllium husk powder or Metamucil, is a plant fiber that has amazing constipation relieving abilities. Most sufferer's are cured within 24 hours of taking the remedy. This simple fiber has the power to expand feces, which stimulates the intestinal lining and provides a massive boost to the speed at which waste passes. It is effective and used by people with chronic constipation especially, though it helps regulate people with normal bowel movements. It even helps people with diarrhea or loose stool.
To ingest psyllium, simply stir in a heaping teaspoon of the powder into a glass of water. Stir constantly until the liquid begins to thicken, and drink. Follow this glass with another glass of water to help activate the psyllium and prevent it form thickening in the esophagus and stomach. Metamucil is another effective option, and many claim it works just as well as other constipation home remedies.
Wheat, rice and oat bran are all effective ways to treat constipation. While not as tasty or easy to incorporate into a diet as prunes, bran can be added with a little imagination. Sprinkling bran over cereal every morning will help regulate the bowels and prevent constipation from every occurring. It can also be used as a garnish with meat and vegetables.
Another option is to eat a spoonful of bran every day. Be sure to always follow a spoon of bran with at least 8 ounces of water, as too much bran with too little water worsens constipation as opposed to curing it.
What are Psyllium Seed Husks?
In the following video, expert Merrilee Jacobs explains just what psyllium seed husks are and how they affect the body.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
carol stanley from Arizona on August 28, 2012:
Some good basic concepts on a common problem ..Very good hub.