Constipation is not a matter you should take lightly. It can lead to various health issues and could even cause bloating, weight gain, lethargy, skin problems and fatigue. Staying regular is very important but you cannot rely on commercial laxatives all the time. Not only do these contain ingredients that cause cramps; they can also be habit forming. Overuse of laxatives can cause the intestines to develop tolerance due to which you’d need higher and higher doses of the medicine for relief each time. Over time, one could suffer from bloody stools, cramps , electrolyte imbalance and a host of other problems. So let us take a look at some of the best natural laxatives which work fast for gentle relief.
1. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar laxative is suitable for elderly patients as well as younger children. Take a tablespoon or two of raw apple cider vinegar in water or juice. Drink this before meals to stay regular. You can also mix acidic juices like lemon, orange or grapefruit juice with apple cider vinegar. The acids aid in the digestion of food and lead to a bowel movement.
2. Aloe vera
Aloe vera laxative is another popular natural remedy to overcome constipation. Taking aloe vera gel or juice internally and topically causes the intestines to contract pushing out the fecal matter. This is due to the presence of anthraquinones in Aloe which lead to gentle relief without cramps. Avoid taking Aloe vera juice in excess as it could cause electrolyte imbalance.
Senna is the oldest natural laxative and it has been used since centuries for relief from hard stools. Many fast active laxatives available in the market contain Senna. However, you should be cautious when using this natural laxative tea as it can cause cramps, diarrhea and stomach issues in some people.
4. Cascara Sagrada
Cascara sagrada bark and leaves have been used since centuries as a powerful purge for gentle overnight relief. Many brands of natural laxative teas and natural laxatives for weight loss available commercially contain cascara sagrada. Like Aloe and Senna, this herb also contains anthraquinones which work on the intestines causing contractions. Like with senna, be careful when using this herb; it can cause diarrhea, cramps, bloating and accidents. Here is a homemade laxative tea recipe:
- Boil 1 rounded teaspoon of cascara sagrada leaves.
- You can also take 5-15 drops of tincture of cascara sagrada in a cup of hot water.
Drink the tea at bedtime for fast relief the next morning.
5. Hemp agrimony
This is a fast acting, bitter natural laxative. Boil 20 grams of the herb in 1 liter of water and steep for 10 minutes. Drink 2-3 cups of this bitter tea daily.
6. Alder buckthorn
This herb was once native to Europe but is now grown extensively around the United States. Its action is gentle and well tolerated by most. Alder buckthorn capsules are available readily- take 1-2 per day for fast relief. You can also take its tincture in a glass of warm water (15 drops or more as needed in 8 ounces of water).
7. Cassia fistula
This is a pleasant tasting natural laxative fruit which you can eat for relief from dry, hard stools. Alternatively, take 50 grams of the crushed pod in water (boil it for 10 minutes).
Licorice is a well known among all natural laxatives for adults. Its advantage is that it does not cause cramps, bloating or diarrhea as long as you do not exceed maximum dosage. Gel caplets of licorice are available in the market- take 1-2 as needed. To steep a tea: add 50 grams of the herb to a liter of water. Boil then macerate the leaves/root. Steep the tea for 12 hours. Drink 2-3 cups daily.
9. Fennel and vervain tea
These natural laxatives also aid in weight loss. Mix a teaspoon of fennel seeds and vervain herb and boil with 8 oz of water. Vervain has mild laxative effect and fennel prevents gas and bloating. Avoid taking vervain if you have heart disease, high BP or diabetes.
Mineral oil, castor oil and olive oil are gentle natural laxatives. They work by softening the stools and also make the colon walls slippery. You can use any food grade oil. Take 1-2 tbsp of the oil of your choice first thing in the morning for gentle relief.
Check out this other article on Natural Remedies for Constipation.