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Constipation is one of those things that really shouldn’t be annoying as it is. After all, it’s preferable to the opposite effect, if you get what we mean! But there’s just something about feeling ‘blocked up’ that is SO frustrating and distracting. The fact that it’s normally accompanied with bloating and cramps definitely doesn’t help. Plus, unlike feeling under the weather due to a headache or cold, it’s usually not something you want to announce to the people around you.
The other thing about constipation is that the over-the-counter treatment can seem kind of scary, as you don’t want to take a laxative and be stuck on the loo for the next 5 hours—or worse, not make it to the bathroom at all. Thankfully, there are a few natural cures that provide gentle and effective relief from constipation. Read on for 6 natural remedies for constipation to keep on hand for the next time you can’t go.
Ginger is one of those natural remedies that seem to be used to treat everything, and constipation is no exception. When the constipation is caused by irritation in the bowel or indigestion, a cup of ginger tea can help ease the abdominal discomfort.
Like ginger, peppermint can be enjoyed in tea form to help ease some of the discomfort caused by constipation. However, when applied topically, peppermint essential oil also contains antispasmodic properties, which can relax the muscles in the digestive tract and loosen the bowels. Try adding 2 drops of peppermint essential oil with 1 teaspoon of warmed carrier oil, like coconut or grapeseed oil and rubbing it on the belly.
Psyllium husk is one of the most effective remedies for constipation, as it’s a fantastic source of soluble fibre and helps soften the stool. They’re what Metamucil is made of—but if you want to avoid all the other ingredients and sugar in the packaged version, you can also mix a spoon of it into a glass of water and take it on its own.
Senna is the main ingredient in most commercial herbal laxatives, as it contains compounds called glycosides that have a laxative effect. However, you can also have it in tea form. While it’s very effective for treating constipation, it’s a good idea to use it sparingly as it can also cause diarrhoea, cramps or gut irritation.
Next time you’re feeling blocked up, try swallowing a teaspoon of olive oil. The fats in the oil can help smooth the insides of bowel, which can soften the stool and get things moving again.
No, it’s not a myth—prunes and prune juice really do make you go. Its laxative effect is due a combination of the high fibre content (3 grams in a serving of four to five dried plums), and the sugar alcohol sorbitol.