Constipation is one of the most common health problems these days. According to a latest survey, about 22 percent Indians suffer from constipation in today's time. As per Ayurveda, this condition occurs when vata's cold and dry qualities disturb the colon, inhibiting its proper functioning. A day without complete bowel movement can be very unsettling and sometimes painful. Our modern lifestyle is such that it has given a rise to this problem. Some of the most common causes are junk food consumption, alcohol drinking, smoking and over-eating. Most people affected by this problem feel bloated and uneasy with the inability to pass stool easily. Ayurveda recommends certain remedies to relieve constipation and help make the bowel movement smooth and uninterrupted. However, it does not take away the fact that you should eat balanced diet and exercise regularly to keep the bowel movement going.What Is Constipation And How Does It Affect The Human Body?
According to the book 'The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies' by Dr. Vasant Lad, "constipation is a vata condition that expresses vata qualities like dryness and hardness. It is caused by insufficient fibre in the diet, inadequate water intake, lack of exercise, heavy meat eating and numerous other factors."
Constipation may increase the chances of distension and discomfort, flatulence and pain, and headache and bad breath; in fact, it may also lead to absorption of toxin from the colon. It is best to keep vata in balance. According to the book 'Home Doctor, Natural Healing with Herbs, Condiments and Spices' by Dr. P.S. Phadke, constipation may also cause pimples, acne, acidity, ulcers in the mouth, disturbed sleep and heartburn, and in some cases, it may cause depression.
Causes Of Constipation
Constipation is often caused by not paying attention to the call of nature in time. A sedentary lifestyle, irregular eating habits, an incorrect diet, a disturbed and worried mind, and drinking too much tea or coffee add up to an already sluggish digestion, further causing chronic constipation.
Here are the remedies that Ayurveda suggests in order to cure constipation:
1. Follow A Vata Dosha Pacifying Diet
One of the best ways to prevent constipation is to follow vata balancing diet. Stay away from cold foods and drinks, dried fruit, salads and most beans. Favour warm foods, warm drinks and well-cooked vegetables.
2. Triphala Is Your Go-To Remedy
One of the most trusted and most effective remedies is Terminalia chebula or triphala, which is a fruit that helps cure constipation. You can have triphala tea or take one-fourth of a teaspoon of it, half teaspoon of coriander seeds and one fourth teaspoon of cardamom seeds. Grind them and have twice a day. Triphala has glycoside that has laxative properties. Cardamom and coriander seeds help relieve flatulence and indigestion.
3. Milk And Ghee
According to the book, 'The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies,' "taking one or two teaspoons of ghee in a cup of hot milk at bedtime is an effective and gentle means of relieving constipation. This is especially good for vata and pitta constitutions."
4. Pulp Of Bael Fruit
Eating a half cup of bael fruit pulp and a teaspoon of jaggery every day in the evening before dinner may also help relieve constipation. You can also have bael sherbet along with tamarind water and jaggery added in it.
5. Liquorice Root
Take a teaspoon of powdered liquorice root. Add a teaspoon of jaggery and drink it with a cup of warm water. Liquorice or mulethi is known to promote your bowel activity. However, it is advised you consult an ayurvedic expert before taking it regularly.
6. Roasted Fennel
A teaspoon of roasted fennel taken at bedtime with a glass of warm water may act as a mild laxative. The volatile oils found in fennel seeds can help kick start digestion by promoting the production of gastric enzymes.
Anjeer, or figs, soaked in warm water also helps treat constipation, especially in kids. Figs are highly recommended due to the presence of high fibre content. You can eat figs every day in order to keep your digestion going.
8. China Grass
China grass, or agar-agar, is a dried seaweed, which is when cut into bits and cooked in milk, becomes a gelatinous substance.
Here are some important suggestions the book has in order to avoid constipation in the future:
- Drink more than four to five glasses of water in the morning. In fact, you can drink herbal teas like green tea, chamomile tea that can help boost your digestion.
- Have a fibre-rich diet every day.
- Engage in at least 30 minutes of exercise that helps kick-start your digestion.
- Eat lots of seasonal fruits and vegetables to add up to the bulk.
Keep these points in mind and bid goodbye to constipation. Also, before consuming any of the foods mentioned above, we suggest you consult your Ayurveda expert first.