Natural laxatives

Traditional hunter-gatherers didn't need natural laxatives because their food gave them all the fiber they needed. It is very rare to see an account of these people that mentions them being troubled for bowel problems but then their diet was fiber-rich.

Fiber-rich foods are the best laxatives but rarely do we eat an equivalent amount of fiber as our hunter-gatherer ancestors or exercise enough.

If you are having trouble with constipation then the place to start is with your diet but that is part of a lifestyle change that should include exercise and it will take time to implement.

However, you can start today by just adding more fruit or vegetables to your diet because the soluble fiber in fruit and vegetables absorbs water and softens the stool which makes it easier to pass.

Have a salad with lunch. Eat an apple for a snack. Go for a walk.

If you are having trouble with constipation and want to fix it right now you can look at using some natural laxatives like:

  • Bowel cleansing – using colonics (colonic irrigation or hydrotherapy) involves introducing warm water to the colon which loosens fecal matter and washes out the colon. They are not a natural laxative but can be useful for people with long-term bowel problems, especially constipation.

The medical profession is very sceptical of colonics but then, as is often the case, they don’t know much about them, and there is no money in it. Of course, many doctors are truly concerned about dangers to your health and don’t believe colonics achieve anything.

I have tried them and think they work well for bowel cleansing without ill effects. I would certainly prefer to have a few colonics than a colostomy bag.

  • Water – yes, plain old water. Many of us do not drink enough water. You need water to keep the stool soft. Low in water = hard, dry stools which are difficult to pass.
  • Prunes or prune juice – high in soluble and insoluble fibre they usually work fairly well but don’t work for everyone.
  • Plants or herbs can be helpful. The following are known for their natural laxative properties:

  • Psyllium seed or husks – available from health food stores and contains high levels of soluble fibres. You can collect them yourself from the Plantain plant which grows in most places. When steeped in warm water they produce mucilage which when drunk can soften stools.
  • Also the following can help:

    • Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
    • Aloe Ferox
    • Senna
    • Passion flower (Passiflora incarnate)
    • Aloe vera
    • Buckthorn Bark
    • Cassia Pulp
    • Slippery elm

    Most of these require making a tea out of them or grating a leaf and mixing with water. They can be bought ready to use from health food stores but it is easier and more effective to use herbal fibreblend (see below).

    weight loss

    Although natural laxatives should not be used for weight loss they can be helpful to remove some of the estimated 1-5lbs(0.4 to 2 kg) of waste products that may be lining the walls of your colon.

    If you are serious about weight loss try one of the diet links at the bottom of this page and the exercise link to my best aerobic exercise page.

    Personal experiences

    My wife suffered from constipation for 30 years from the age of 17. She was still suffering from it when I met her four years ago.

    She would give herself regular enemas to relieve the problem but she suffered a lot from gas and was often in pain after eating, even though she always ate only small amounts of food.

    She increased the amount of fruit and vegetables in her diet and her health improved but the constipation remained a problem.

    A friend recommended a product called Herbal Fiberblend so I bought some hoping it would help her and she has been using it regularly now for the past year with no ill-effects and an end to her constipation and gas problems.

    To see your wife in pain constantly and not be able to do something about it is maddening. Now she has no problem and her quality of life has improved dramatically. I began using it myself, for bowel cleansing, after years of the wrong foods and I feel great. I was doing colonics for a few months and although they are effective, the cost is high. Herbal Fiberblend is cheap by comparison and ended up saving me around $300 a month in colonics.

    It is also useful for skin conditions like acne because a lot of skin problems start with a toxic bowel.

    Fiberblend is gentle, based on Psyllium, licorice, black walnut and a host of other plant materials (including some of those mentioned above) and it works great.

    It comes as a powder so you just mix it with water and there are plain and raspberry flavours. Just be aware though that just because something is ‘natural’ that doesn’t mean it is safe for long term use or in large amounts.

    Obviously, if you have continuing digestive symptoms you should seek medical advice. Prolonged use of laxatives is undesirable and may cause serious bowel problems. However, my wife had serious bowel problems and now they are gone and she uses the product every day.

    I would suggest you use it for a couple of months and evaluate if it has had the desired effect. If so, stop using it for awhile. If your symptoms return use it again for a month and see if they disappear. You can cycle on and off it.

    Don’t use it when abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting are present and pregnant and nursing women should seek medical advice before taking it. Also, don’t use it with children under 12.

    One 13 oz/375 g container will usually last you a couple of months and costs around $US40 (AUS$47) plus postage so it is pretty good value for the effect that it has.

    If you live in the USA you can order it here. If you live in Australia you can order it by phone on 1300 880 908 for the cost of a local call. Postage is $7.50 no matter what amount you order.

    I don't receive any commissions if you buy it, I just want to see you well.

    Remember that even natural laxatives shouldn't be necessary if you get your diet right, so in the longer term use:

    1) Exercise – for unknown reasons a lack of exercise can contribute to constipation, especially in people who are bedridden. So start walking or visit my running to lose weight page.

    2) Increase the fruit and vegetables in your diet and have a look at my paleolithic diet or zone diet pages.

    Good luck

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