Castor oil and prunes. For many people, this was the go-to remedy for constipation. Luckily there are far better alternatives out there, and after some research, I have come to the conclusion that just about everything we eat, when consumed in excess, will either block you up or flush you out. Obviously, the aim of this remedy is to flush you out without putting your gut, liver, kidney or other organs at risk, which means choosing the right ingredients. In this article, I will show you a natural laxative recipe to completely empty your bowels.
Plants with Laxative Effects
Taking any laxative should only be done when you are suffering from constipation.
Like many of my recipes, I’m not going to give you a strict list of ingredients, but rather a list that you can choose from to suit your own tastes and body (although you can find a simple recipe at the bottom of the article to get you started). These ingredients are safe to consume daily.
Magnesium, particularly magnesium citrate increases water in the intestines to soften stool. Pumpkin seed kernels are one of the richest sources of magnesium citrate, having twice as much as other sources such as almonds and spinach. Like all nuts, they are also a great source of fiber.
Seeds such as flaxseed and chia have soluble fiber or mucilage which turns into a gel when it absorbs water. This acts as an emollient to help soften your stool and protect the lining of your digestive system. Just be sure to always drink plenty of water when eating these types of seeds, otherwise you may risk further “blockage”.
Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) protects the mucus membrane, and its high concentration of glycerin (in the form on glycyrrhizin) helps your colon to retain more water.
Plantago seeds (Plantago ovata) are the source of psyllium which is the main remedy for constipation. Drink plenty of water when consuming psyllium.
Lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus) tea can potentially increase the “transit rate” as well as reduce inflammation and improve the gut microflora.
Rhubarb root (Rheum spp.) contains high amounts of rhein and anthraquinones which have well known laxative properties. Alternatively, the stems also contain these compounds, but at lower concentrations.
Burdock root (Arctium lappa) acts as a mild laxative and mild diuretic.
Fumitory leaves (Fumaria officinalis) have been traditionally used as a laxative and can be brewed into an effective tea.
Prunes or dried plums (usually Prunus domestica) are a common remedy for regular bowel function and have laxative effects, probably due to the sorbitol content.
Fruits with high water and fiber content help soften things to get your bowel moving. Papaya, oranges, pears and kiwi fruit are a good option.
Fermented foods are probiotics which can help relieve constipation. Any fermented food such as yoghurt, kefir, kombucha or fermented soda will work in this remedy, but ferments that specifically use Lactiplantibacillus plantarum are recommended to decrease “transit time” in adults.
⇒ How To Make an Elderflower Probiotic (Video)
Castor oil is an effective option but shouldn’t be taken regularly. 1 tablespoon can be added.
Coconut and olive oil can also soften and lubricate food as it passes through your gastrointestinal tract, and taste better than castor oil.
Black Walnut (Juglans nigra) husks can be brewed into a tea but like senna, it is not suitable for daily use due to the high amount of anthraquinones.
DIY Natural Laxative Recipe
Even though it is possible to make a simple pill, for example, by drying and grinding rhubarb root, increasing your water and fiber consumption is one of the best ways to treat constipation. Therefore, this remedy involves a delicious smoothie which contains fruit, vegetables, grains and herbs to help get things moving again.
You can throw everything in the blender if all your ingredients are fresh, but since some of your ingredients are probably going to be dried, then make some tea first, strain and add this to your fruit smoothie (which is what I will be doing below).
- 2 cups of water
- 1 tsp. of dried lemongrass
- 1 tsp. of dried licorice root
- 1 tsp. of dried fumitory leaves
- 1 tsp. of dried burdock root
- ½ a peeled orange
- ½ a peeled kiwi
- ½ a pear
- 1 tbsp. of pumpkin seed kernels
- 1 tbsp. of flax or chia seeds
- 1 tbsp. of psyllium seeds
- 5 dried prunes or 2 fresh plums
- ½ cup of yogurt or kefir
- ½ cup of rhubarb stem (when in season)
- First make the tea. Brew the dried ingredients for about 10 minutes, strain and then place in the fridge to cool. Alternatively, you can leave the ingredients to brew while it’s cooling in the fridge for a more intense flavor and stronger remedy.
- Once the tea has cooled, place all the ingredients for the smoothie in a blender with the tea and mix.
- This is perfect for breakfast (albeit a large one!), otherwise drink it throughout the day. Enjoy!
Dosage: The recipe below is safe to consume everyday day for up to a week to relieve constipation, and if you decrease the concentration of the tea to half a teaspoon of each dried ingredient, then it can be taken daily to manage constipation over the long-term.
Even if you can’t get your hands on all the ingredients in the recipe above, you can still substitute with other fruit, vegetables and herbs that are in season or locally sourced. The key to managing constipation is to increase your water, fiber and magnesium content daily, while other compounds like glycerin, anthraquinones and mucilage can help get things moving when you find yourself blocked up.