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Occasional discomfort or slow bowel movement for a day or three days happens to everyone for a variety of reasons. Laxatives are commonly used by those suffering from digestive ailments such as constipation among others. It can range from just minor harmless constipation to chronic constipation.
You are welcome to read on a very comprehensive post I wrote on treating constipation naturally, quickly, and how to prevent it with some useful health and lifestyle tips.
Whichever is the situation, I am here to discuss simple, natural laxatives that are safe for our gut. Let me briefly explain about laxatives so you can know what is most suitable for you.
What are laxatives?
Laxatives are substances that loosen the hardened stool in the digestive tract or stimulate a bowel movement.
I have written a pretty good article on constipation remedies and care. You can read it here if you are interested.
There are four main types of laxatives meaning, there are four main ways that laxatives help the body to expel waste. They do this by:
- Softening the stool,
- Stimulating the digestive system to quickly form a soft stool,
- Drawing water into the small intestine to help pass a stool
- Stimulating the muscles of the digestive system to pass the stool.
You can read more about the laxatives here.
A quick reminder
I would like to add the one thing that we have all heard over and over again as a necessary part of having healthy bowel movements. Water. Yes, the water we take daily. We are well aware of the importance of water which is said to be the source of life and is crucial in maintaining our health.
If you look closely, most of the laxatives mentioned in this article above introduce water to the stools to soften them or ease their passage. This shows that proper hydration is very important when dealing with constipation.
I am not adding water to the natural laxative list instead, it is just a quick reminder because if you are constipated, taking plain water will not give you the immediate relief you need at the moment. It is supposed to be for a more sustainable approach to preventing constipation. So let us move on to natural laxatives.
Oranges. They are available all year round. Rich in vitamin c (we all know that), vitamin A and potassium. This one of the natural laxatives I use the most. They contain fiber and a compound called naringenin which stimulates bowel movements and relieves constipation.
The secret behind this remedy is not to take an orange or two but to take about 10-15 big oranges not more than that. That is a lot I know. But that is what works and within 30-40 minutes, you will be rushing off to the toilet.
Remember, depending on the severity of your constipation, you might need to repeat this about 8 hours after your first set of oranges. Do not use this remedy for more than two sessions in a day.
Those with health conditions such as stomach ulcers should avoid this remedy because the acid content of citrus fruits can harm their stomach. Instead, another one from the list.
How to use:
- Select between 10-15 big oranges that can produce 2-3 mug cups of orange juice depending on their size and how juicy they are.
- Juice the oranges with a juicer or manually by hand
- Drink the juice gradually and not at once
- Alternatively, cut up the oranges into pieces and estimate their juice to be about 2-3 mug-fulls of orange juice
- Then, take your time to finish the oranges (It usually takes 10-20 minutes for me).
- Do not take more than the recommended amount of orange juice at a time.
The pulp of tamarind juice is known for its numerous uses in the body. Its use is recommended for constipation in both children and adults with the children’s dosage being half of the adult dose.
Tamarind contains high malic, potassium, and tartaric acids that loosen the stools in the digestive tract, and studies have been carried out to prove their effectiveness.
Tamarind is commonly used by Asians and Africans as food so it should be available at the Asian/African stores. If you are fortunate, you can find it in the neighborhood supermarket.
How to use:
- Wash 1 long bean of tamarind (with about 5-7 segments) to remove the sand and any impurities if you bought it from the local market
- You can cut them into smaller sizes so that they can properly fit in a cup
- Soak the tamarind bean in about half a cup of water for an hour.
- Taste the tamarind extract after an hour to confirm that it is has extracted well. if it is not concentrated, then leave to soak for another 15 minutes.
- If you have the tamarind paste, simply add it to a cup of water
- Sieve the tamarind extract and take the water after meals.
- Use this remedy not more than 2 times a day
Castor fruits as we know are poisonous and should not be eaten. The castor oil though is safe to ingest in small quantities. It is a powerful laxative and it most suitable for those suffering from chronic constipation as it tends to flush everything that is in your stomach. So take it with caution.
By the way, castor oil tastes horrible but if you want a fast or immediate result, this is the remedy for you
Pregnant women are not advised to use this remedy because it is also used to induce labour and can harm your baby.
How to use:
- Add a teaspoon of the oil to a small amount of water
- drink the combination and wait for your bowels to move
- If 2 hours later you still have not visited the toilet, take another teaspoon of the oil in water
- Do not take more than a tablespoon of the castor oil in a day
- Also, do not make this your go-to remedy for every constipation rather, use it only when your situation is severe because the frequent oral use of castor oil can have adverse effects on your body
Where to get it:
Castor oil is available both in capsule and oil forms. fro those that prefer the ease of use, I will recommend that you buy the castor oil capsules made by the NOW company.
This product is affordable at $10 for 120 capsules, Non-GMO certified, cold-pressed, etc. You can buy it here on Vita Springs.
If you feel the amount is too much for you, simply include it into your skin and hair care routines. I am sure you will find much information on its wonderful benefits on the internet
Very ripe pawpaw is good for stomach health and is a natural laxative. It helps clean the stomach and stimulate bowel movement. It has high water content and digestive enzymes that help in maintaining a good environment in the stomach.
How to use:
- Peel and clean one medium-large-sized whole, ripe, and sweet pawpaw depending on the severity of your condition.
- Peel and cut into smaller sizes suitable for you
- Take the entire fruit alone and you will feel the difference right away
Oats are known sources of soluble fiber that enable the retention of water in the stools by preventing the over absorption of water in the intestines. This fiber also makes the stool softer, larger, firmer and easier to pass out of the body.
How to use:
- Make a simple, plain oat porridge using whichever recipe you choose. or simply follow the direction on the oat pack to make it.
- Do not overcook it and do not add milk and other additions.
- Use a little sugar or preferably honey as a sweetener if you have to.
- Take at least one whole bowl of this cereal to loosen your bowels
A Good source of Fiber: Fonio
Fonio is one of those little-known super-foods that has so many benefits that it is unfortunate they are not eaten more widely by the population. You have probably never heard of it before.
It is a whole food that has very tiny grains even smaller than couscous but they are very nutritious and delicious. It is a superfood that contains not just fiber but many other useful nutrients in one grain.
You can read more about this wonderful grain on health line, especially if you are into healthy eating and love discovering new food options.
This is another of my front-line healthy remedies against constipation when I know I need to eat something that will clear my digestive tract. It is a natural laxative because of its very high fiber that is even higher than oats and quinoa. Now you can see why it is a must-have at home.
How to use:
- Make a simple recipe of this grain without too many spices or much oil in it. You can easily find fonio recipes on the internet. In my experience, you can cook it using a rice or couscous recipe then, substitute the rice or couscous for fonio.
- Eat a considerable amount of the grain and you will feel its effect within 30 minutes.
Alternatively, you can choose another source of fiber such as flaxseed (Add a tablespoon of the grounded seeds to a cup of water, take it after 10 minutes), chia seed (Add a tablespoon of the seeds to a cup of water, allow it to form a gel then drink the water, after meals), etc. Any good source of fiber will do. Fonio is simply my choice of fiber.
Senna is a herb that is a well-known laxative and is available in capsules, powder, and tea bags. I have used the capsules for my constipation and it was effective for me.
I hope for the same results for you. Once you have cleared your constipation, stop taking it immediately else, you can harm yourself.
How to use:
Take the herb as described on the product package. Try taking the daily advised dosage from the minimum to the maximum amount to learn which is best for you.
Even the maximum number is safe for you so don’t worry about overusing it. Try to buy the pure senna, not the senna mixed with other herbs.
Where to get it:
Here you have two options. You can buy the senna tea ot the senna capsule.
For the senna tea, the organic senna tea by Alvita is very affordable at $7. It contains 24 teabags which will last for a while and is gluten-free for the gluten sensitive. You can buy it here on Vita Springs.
To be honest, this remedy is not one that I have personally used for constipation but it is one of the most commonly recommended laxative juices and I have seen numerous studies on its effectiveness and superiority to other conventional remedies. I believe all of these evidences most have some truth in them.
If you have used this fruit before, please do let me know of your experience in the comment section below or if you just tried it because of this post, please share your experience with us so that we can learn from you.
How to use:
You should take 10-15 whole, fresh pitted prunes at a time. Another option is to juice it or blend it in a blender with some water. I will not really advise you to use store-bought prune juice. It will not be very effective but, you can try it and see. Repeat after 3 hours if you wish.
Read more prunes as laxatives on medical news today.
How to use these remedies for best results
The above remedies are ones that I have had a direct or indirect personal experience with them and I am sure of their effectiveness as natural laxatives. The ones I recommend the most from the list are the oranges juice, fonio, and castor oil. Even though all the remedies in this article work, these are the ones that I use the most. So feel free to select whichever is most suitable for you.
Bonus Tip: Combine two or three of the remedies for those with chronic constipation or those that have been constipated for days with relief such as taking the oranges and then an hour later take the papaya, using the tamarind juice and an hour later, eating some oats, eating the fonio and two hours later, using the castor oil.
I will not recommend that you use both at once but you should space them well to give it enough time to work its magic. Only use a second remedy if the first one is not fast enough for you.
Other remedies that I have read much on their effectiveness but I am yet to try them out as natural laxatives are chia seeds, flaxseed, prunes (prune juice), and coconut oil.
If you have had any experience with these mentioned remedies, kindly let us know in the comment section below so that we can all learn more.
The use of pharmaceutical laxatives should be as infrequent as possible because of their harmful effects when used inappropriately or on a long-term basis. It is best to use natural laxatives because they are foods we eat all the time and unless taken in a crazy fashion, they will not harm us.
I hope you find relief with these simple everyday natural solutions. Many of these remedies are easily available where ever you are in the world. Remember to improve your diet and exercise for permanent relief from constipation. Laxatives natural or not are only for immediate, short-term relief from the problem.
Kindly rate this article below to help me improve my writing skills and let me know of your experience with using these suggested laxatives in the comments below. I will really appreciate that.
I hope you enjoyed being here. Thank you for stopping by, and have a nice day.