A variety of health issues can arise from bowel irregularity; for this reason, it’s best to regularly evacuate the colon. The accumulation of fecal matter in the bowel creates an ideal environment for parasites and bacteria to proliferate. This can create or further exacerbate bowel issues such as diarrhea, constipation, hemorrhoids and diverticulitis. Constipation can increase your chances of developing candida, an overgrowth of yeast. Additionally, some parasites, such as roundworm, can contribute to intestinal blockage due to their size. While pharmaceutical laxatives are commonly sought out to remedy constipation, they can be harsh on the colon, create dependency, decrease the colon’s ability to contract, deplete the body of minerals and damage the nerves, muscles and tissues of the colon. The following three herbs can be used as remedies for constipation and can also help keep the bowels regular.
The outer leaf of the aloe vera plant contains strong laxative properties. Constipation can be remedied by blending a small piece of aloe, spiky tips removed, and drinking the juice once a day. The clear gel, found inside the aloe leaf, may help promote bowel regularity and may also be used to remedy constipation. The inner portion of the aloe leaf is milder and generally safer to use than the outer part of the leaf that contains the strong laxative compounds. Adverse side effects have been reported when using the outer portion of the leaf, so try using the inside portion first. Aloe can also help soothe and repair stomach ulcers, damaged intestinal tissue and inflammation.
Ginger is an antiseptic, mild laxative and a stimulant. It promotes bowel regularity by improving digestion and stimulating the muscles of the bowel to move matter along. Its mild laxative properties make ginger a great herbal remedy for constipation. The amount of ginger consumed can be increased to create a slightly stronger laxative effect, in cases of constipation, without the negative side effects of pharmaceuticals. Ginger also strengthens the stomach, aids digestion and stimulates appetite, according to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. According to a study published in Cancer Prevention Research, ginger reduced markers of colon inflammation and “may have potential as a colon cancer prevention agent.” The study showed that 2 grams of ginger extract daily, over a period of 28 days, was able to reduce pro-eicosanoids in the colon. Keep bowel movements regular and improve digestion by drinking 2 teaspoons (1 gram) of freshly grated or powdered ginger in 8 ounces of hot water. In times of constipation, drink 2 to 3 cups of ginger tea per day.
Slippery elm contains mucilage — a thick glue-like substance produced by most plants — that is beneficial against gastrointestinal inflammation. Slippery elm has been used by Native Americans for centuries. The Native Americans made salves out of it to heal wounds, burns, ulcers, boils and skin inflammation. Taken orally, it can also help relieve diarrhea, stomach issues, coughs and sore throats. A salve can be made by mixing powdered slippery elm with water, stirring it and letting it sit. You’ll notice that it will start to thicken and take on a gel-like consistency. Its mucilaginous property soothes the stomach and intestines. Slippery elm also contains antioxidants that help fight inflammation of the bowel. Additionally, it promotes reflux stimulation of nerve endings in the gastrointestinal tract that leads to an increase in mucus secretion, which protects against excessive acidity and ulcers. This is a a great “all-purpose” herb, because it’s effective for constipation and equally for diarrhea, helps regulate the bowel, and heals and soothes irritated tissue in the gastrointestinal tract.
Click here for on cleansing the bowel, written by the author, Jeanette Padilla.