Constipation is super uncomfortable, especially when it is ongoing. Today we talk about how to naturally relieve constipation and how specific herbs and botanicals can help support natural motility in a way that helps to solve vs. mask the problem.
We define constipation as having less than 1-2 daily bowel movements. Yes, that may seem like a surprise, but having daily bowel movements is a sign of good health, and ideally, we like our clients to have 1-2 daily bowel movements. This ensures that our body is naturally detoxing and eliminating.
When we are not eliminating on a daily basis, our kidneys, liver, and lymphatic system have to work in overdrive to compensate, not to mention hormones and toxins are reabsorbed if not eliminated.
Did you know that we should be eliminating over two pounds of toxins daily to keep up with the toxic burden of today’s world?
What could be the root cause of chronic or acute constipation?
This could potentially be due to:
Low thyroid and adrenal fatigue
Lack of exercise or daily movement
Dehydration and diet low in fiber
Side effects from medications
Over supplementation of calcium or iron
Underlining candida/fungal overgrowth or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).
It is important to get to the root cause of why someone may be struggling with constipation or irregularity. However, finding relief when having a flare up of constipation is essential.
Our favorite quick-relief remedies:
Hydration and fiber-rich foods can be very beneficial in relieving constipation. We recommend drinking at least 34 oz of water for every 50 lbs of body weight every day. A simple glass of warm water and lemon in the morning can have profound effects on our digestion and motility. The bitter taste in lemons helps activate important enzyme which help flush the body of toxins.
Ginger tea can be equally as powerful, as it is known to increase our hydrochloric acid, relieving uncomfortable gas and bloating. While we all know the benefits of fiber for our hormones, digestion, and elimination, we often do not meet the dietary recommendations of 25-40 grams a day. Dietary fiber is the plant material, which is left undigested after passing through the digestive system. There are two main sources of fiber, insoluble and soluble fiber.
Soluble fiber is the kind which dissolves in water and becomes a gel-like substance, allowing it to bind with toxins and help stabilize our blood sugar. Sources of soluble fiber include fruits, legumes such as beans and peas and chia seeds (which absorb up to 10 times their weight in water!). Check out the recipe below to make a delicious chia seed pudding.
Insoluble fiber is the opposite, as it does not dissolve in water. It has a laxative effect and can help feed healthy bacteria in your colon. Sources of insoluble fiber include brown rice, fruit (with the skin on), millet, and many different vegetables such as cauliflower and brussels sprouts.
To learn more about fiber, check out our blog all about fiber and how it can change your life.
Magnesium can be a great option when struggling with constipation, as it relaxes the nervous system and promotes motility. The great thing about magnesium is that the results are often very quick. We recommend the citrate form of magnesium during times of constipation and slowly increase the dosage (typically between 600-800 mg) until results are achieved (you will know when you have taken too much!). We like CALM, which is a powdered form that allows you to customize your dose.
Triphala is comprised of three antioxidant-rich fruits: Amalaki, Bibhitaki, and Haritaki. Triphala is an ayurvedic herb, which naturally supports regularity and has a gentle cleansing effect on the intestinal lining. Triphala is one of our most favorite herbs when cleaning the digestive system and anyone who is struggling with slow bowels. It is safe, gentle, and highly effective because it moistens and nourishes the lining of the intestines vs. scrapes them as laxatives can do. Over time, it helps to heal and restore.
Smooth Move Tea taken before bed can be used when things are not moving, despite trying other methods. Smooth Move Tea is made up of herbs that have natural laxative effects. We do not recommend drinking this tea on a regular basis, as it should only be used for a period of 1-3 days during acute constipation.
Neurotransmitter Support can be a game-changer for those who have slow motility as a result of emotional and physical trauma, environmental toxins, long time suffering from SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) and the use of certain medications. There is such a strong connection between our gut and brain via the vagus nerve. By supporting with amino acid therapy, we can re-engage and recalibrate the brain to promote motility and gut health once again. Our favorite neurological supplements to achieve this reconnection are CALM and Neurosyn.
Morning Routine for Regularity: Creating a morning and evening ritual or routine can really have profound effects on your stress levels as well as regularity.
In the morning, coffee enemas can be helpful when dealing with bowel impaction; they also stimulate the liver and colon for the release of toxins. Consider adding a Squatty Potty to your toilet, studies show that optimal position and hip flexion provides less struggle and strain, resulting in optimal elimination.
A morning walk before breakfast can promote regularity, walking and movement are very important for our lymphatic system.
Try one of the morning elixir recipes below; these are full of ingredients which can help promote regularity and bowel movement.
Free Flow Morning Elixir Cocktails:
Free Flow Aloe Elixir:
1 teaspoon lemon
1 inch grated ginger
2 tablespoons aloe vera
2 drops stevia
Blend and serve.
Free Flow Coffee Elixir:
1 teaspoon ghee
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1.5 teaspoons raw cacao
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of cayenne
1 cup organic coffee
Blend and serve
Vanilla Chia-Seed Pudding:
Chia seeds are a wonderful fiber-rich seed, they feed good gut bacteria and promote bowel movement. Add pink salt for trace minerals, collagen to help heal the gut lining, and cinnamon to balance your blood sugar, and this is a gut health breakfast of champions.
3 tablespoons chia seeds
1.5 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or ½ teaspoon real vanilla bean
3 pitted dates
1 teaspoon Ceylon cinnamon (great for your blood sugar!)
Pinch of Himalayan pink salt
1 scoop collagen (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend one full minute to create a uniform consistency. Transfer to a sealed glass container and allow to chill in refrigerator overnight. Serves 1.
This is a list of our go-to constipation relief, let us know if any of these tips work for you! Remember, having 1-2 bowel movements daily is the gold standard, if you’re not regular, we highly recommend finding out why so you can address the root cause and be done with annoying constipation!