Do you feel like you often deal with constipation or do you want to learn how to increase regularity? Healthy bowel movements are an essential part of health and can show us deeper imbalances in our body. For each individual, the regularity of bowel movements will be different and some might suffer from more constipation than others. Ayurveda suggests tip tips, lifestyle habits, and herbs that can help regulate your bowel movements!
Constipation is a condition where the stool becomes difficult to pass through the bowels or stops moving altogether for a period of time. It is usually accompanied by one of more of these qualities:
• Being unable to pass stool • Straining during a bowel movement • A feeling of being “blocked up” • A feeling that the bowel movement wasn’t complete • Stools being hard, dry, and small (pellet-like)
Irregularity in bowel movements and constipation is a vata condition expressing vata qualities of dry and hard. Constipation is often caused by insufficient fiber in the diet, lack of proper hydration, lack of daily exercise or movement, and excessive meat, just to name a few of the reasons. Constipation and irregular bowel movements can cause discomfort, pain, flatulence, bad breath, headaches, and could lead to absorption of toxins from the colon. Ayurveda believes that prevention is the best tactic when dealing with constipation and vata related disorders. We suggest following a vata-pacifying diet, increasing fiber intake, drinking more water, and doing regular exercise. Below is more details on how to prevent and deal with irregular bowel movements.
Follow a Vata-Pacifying Diet
According to Ayurveda, constipation happens when vata’s cold and dry qualities disturb the colon, inhibiting its proper functioning. The remedy is to add warmth, oil, and more hydration to the body, One of the best ways to prevent constipation, especially for predominately vata constitutions, is through a balancing diet.
Start with Hydration
Staying hydrated will help resort return normal bowel movements. Stay away from cold or iced drinks. Drink 5-8 glasses of water a day, in addition to tea and juices.
Snack on Plenty of Fruit Many types of fruit can help with constipation. Fruit is fibrous, hydrating, and generally vata pacifying. Especially helpful are bananas, peeled apples, soaked prunes, soaked raisins, peaches, and pineapple juice.
Eat More Fiber
Fiber will help to regulate bowel movements. Oatmeal, wheat bran, or oat bran, fresh fruit, and vegetables can be increased if dealing with constipation.
Take Milk and Ghee
Before bed, 1 or 2 teaspoons of ghee in a cup of hot milk is a gentle and effective way of relieving constipation.
At night, boil 1 tablespoon of flaxseed in a cup of water for 2-3 minutes. Drink the whole cup.
Increase the Quantity of Organic Oils
High quality oils help lubricated the tissues and allow for easier bowel movements. The best oils are ghee, sesame oil, and olive oil.
Get Regular Exercise
Regular exercise helps keep the bowel movements active. Half an hour of jogging, walking, swimming, or other exercise is recommended daily. Yoga asana are highly suggested as well, including Sun Salutations, Chest-Knee pose, and Leg Lifts.
Try Vata Pacifying Herbs
Triphala is one of the best Ayurvedic remedies for constipation. Triphala is made of three fruits that balances all three doshas and helps support healthy elimination. Many problems with constipation can be helped by taking ½ to1 teaspoon of triphala at night, Steep the herbs in a cup of hot water for 5 to 10 minutes and drink. As with all herbs and medications, it is best to consult an Ayurvedic Doctor and a health professional, if using other mediations.
Overall, remember to relax and not to get too wound up with the pain or frustration when dealing with constipation of irregular bowel movements. Try to sip warm water, eat more fiber, and continue your exercise routine.
Lad, Vasant. The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies. New York: Three Rivers Press, 1998. Print. 94-95, 155-157.
Pole, Sebastian. Ayurvedic Medicine: The Principles of Traditional Practice. London: Churchill Livingston, 2006. Print. 244-245
“Constipation, Age 12 and Older – Topic Overview.” Web MD. Web (iPhone Application). 26 May 2014.