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Constipation occurs when one is unable to pass stool or completely empty one’s bowel. Issues of constipation affect young babies as well as the elderly. Many of us at some point have been constipated – it’s a very uncomfortable feeling.

Occasional constipation may not be a serious cause for concern; unfortunately, many of us suffer from chronic constipation which has serious underlining problems for our health. There is a general saying – ‘death begins in the colon’ – it’s more than just word. The colon will not be healthy if we are unable to clear our bowels, and the inability to do so is linked to many diseases, some of which can lead to death.

Symptoms of Constipation

As well as infrequent or irregular bowel movements, other symptoms of constipation include:

  • Trouble passing stool, often straining to go
  • Passing only part (having a sense that everything didn’t come out)
  • Hard stool
  • Small stool
  • Stomach ache and cramps
  • Feeling bloated
  • Swollen belly or belly pain
  • Feeling sick
  • Loss of appetite

Causes of Constipation

There are a number of possible reasons for constipation, including:

  • Not eating enough fibre, such as fruit, vegetables and whole grains
  • Lifestyle or routine changes, especially those affecting eating habits
  • Eating too much processed/dairy foods/other low fibre foods
  • Ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement
  • Side effects of certain medications such as narcotics, antidepressants, or iron pills
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Overuse of laxatives
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Low adrenal
  • Some conditions including hypothyroidism, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and colon cancer
  • Antacid medications containing aluminium or calcium
  • Pregnancy

In children, a poor diet, fears about using the toilet and toilet training problems can lead to constipation.

What to do if you’re constipated


Herbal medicines can be very effective at alleviating constipation. Below are some herbs generally used. These herbs can be used individually or in combination in the form of pills, capsules, teas and tonics.

  • Cape aloe
  • Cascara sagrada
  • Fennel seed
  • Rhubarb
  • Ginger root
  • Gentian
  • Mandrake root
  • Pao periera
  • Psyllium
  • Prodijiosa
  • Senna

For chronic constipation combine the following herbs to make a formula that will help to expel faecal matter as well as heal the gut:
Formula #1

  • Cascara Sagrada Bark
  • Pao Periera
  • Prodijiosa
  • Rhubarb

Formula #2

  • Cascara Sagrada Bark
  • Cape Aloe Leaf
  • Gentian Root
  • Slippery Elm Bark
  • Wild Yam Root
  • Fennel Seed
  • Ginger Root

Formula #3

  • Cape Aloe Leaf
  • Cascara Sagrada Bark
  • Fennel Seed
  • Senna

For moderate constipation use the following formula:

  • Cascara Sagrada Bark
  • Slippery Elm Bark
  • Gentian Root
  • Wild Yam Root
  • Plantain Leaf
  • Fennel Seed
  • White Oak Bark
  • Cape Aloe Leaf
  • Ginger Root

Note: Women in early stages of pregnancy should not use these formula.

Other things you can do:

  • Add more fibre rich foods to the diet, especially fruits and vegetables
  • Eat some prunes
  • Drink warm liquids in the morning
  • Increase fluid in take; drink more water during the day

Additional Resources

Arnold Ehret has done tremendous work in the field of health – today many people follow his mucusless diet recommendations to live a disease free life. I found the below book very informative on the issue of constipation and think you may also.

Arnold Ehret’s – The Definitive Cure For Chronic Constipation


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