Difficult defecation; infrequent defecation with passage of unduly hard and dry fecal material; sluggish action of the bowels.
It is virtually impossible to state how frequently the bowels should move in order to be classed as "normal". The range of variation in healthy individuals can vary from 2 to 3 bowel movements per day to 2 per week.
Predisposing: no regular bowel movements from childhood; worry, anxiety, fear, sedentary life. Direct: failure to establish definite and regular times for bowel movements; improper diet; intestinal obstruction; tumors; excessive use of laxatives; weakness of intestinal musculature (atony) or excessive tonicity (spasticity); use of certain drugs; presence of anal lesions. It is a concomitant in some types of insanity.
Sometimes something as simple as not drinking enough fluids may cause constipation.
Constipation results when waste material moves too slowly through the large bowel. Many ailments arise from constipation including: hemorrhoids, gas, insomnia, headaches, bad breath, sour stomach, varicose veins, obesity, indigestion, diverticulitis, appendicitis, hernia, and bowel cancer.
In most cases, constipation arises from insufficient fiber and fluids in the diet. Also, it may be a side effect of some drugs such as iron tablets, pain killers, and antidepressants. Constipation sometimes occurs during pregnancy.
Some symptoms include: coated tongue, foul breath, backache, headache, mental dullness, depression, insomnia, loss of appetite, and various pains.
For Chronic Constipation:
Take 1 heaping tsp. of crushed flaxseed 3 times per day (without soaking it ahead of time), with plenty of water (at least 1 pint (1/2 L)).
Pour 8 oz. (1/4 L) of boiling water over 1 heaping tsp. of senna leaves, senna seedpods, or alder buckthorn bark, let steep for 5-10 minutes, and strain. Drink 1 cup of tea in the evening before going to bed.
The next morning (it takes 6-10 hours to have any effect), a bowel movement will take place. Usually the stool is soft and pasty. If it is watery, cut the dose in half the next time your bowels are constipated.
Herbal Medicine Formulas and Recipes
Aloe Vera juice, 1/2 cup in the morning and at night, has a healing and cleansing effect and aids in forming soft stools.
Acidophilus, 1 tsp. twice per day, allows survival and rapid passage of "good" bacteria through the stomach into the small intestine.
Apple pectin, 500 mg. per day, is a source of fiber that aids in correcting constipation.
Multidigestive enzymes, 2 tablets after meals (Avoid products that contain hydrochloric acid (HCL) if you suffer from ulcers.
Multivitamin and mineral complex, taken as directed on the label (constipation leads to malabsorption, resulting in vitamin and mineral deficiency).
Vitamin B complex with extra B12, 50 mg. before meals, aids in proper digestion of fats, carbohydrates, and protein.
Vitamin D, 400 mg. per day, possibly aids in preventing colon cancer.
Calcium, 1,500 mg. per day.
Magnesium, 750 mg. per day.
Vitamin E, 400 IU before meals, aids in healing of the colon.
- Alder buckthorn
- Aloe vera
- Ash, white
- Bayberry bark
- Bird's tongue
- Buck bean
- Buckthorn bark
- Butternut bark
- Cabbage rose
- Calamus root
- Cascara sagrada
- Castor bean
- Centaury, European
- Clover, red, wild
- Coffee-tree, Kentucky
- Daisy, wild
- Dyer's broom
- Elm, slippery
- Fennel, seed
- Flag, blue
- Fringe tree
- Grape, Oregon, wild
- Hedge bindweed
- Holly, sea
- Hyssop, hedge
- Indigo, wild
- Jalap, wild
- Jasmine, wild
- Kidney vetch
- Mustard, white
- Oak, white
- Orange, bitter
- Peach tree
- Persimmon calyx
- Poke weed, root
- Plum, common
- Pride of China
- Raspberry, red, leaves
- Rhubarb root
- St. Benedict thistle
- Scotch broom
- Sedge, red
- Sesame seeds
- Shepherd's purse
- Snakeroot, Seneca
- Solomon's seal
- Sunflower, seed
- Toadflax, yellow
- Water dock
- Witch Hazel
- Yam, wild
Plenty of fresh vegetables, fruits, and an abundance of water (about a quart of water per day). Attempt to establish regular bowel, exercise, and eating habits.
Raisins, dates, figs, and many other dried fruits are used to regulate bowels.
Exercise is important. Physical activity speeds movement of waste through the intestines and reduces the time that potential cancer-causing waste is in contact with tissues.
Linseed oil helps soften stools. Take 2 to 3 tbsp. per day.
Eat plenty of fresh fruits, raw green leafy vegetables, and brown rice every day. Do not eat dairy products, white flour, or sugar. It is important to drink extra amounts of water when adding fiber to the diet.
Continued laxative use will clean out the intestinal bacteria and cause chronic constipation. Heavy laxative users need to take Megadophilus, Maxidophilus, or acidophilus to replace "good" bacteria.
If constipation is persistent, see the doctor. Foul-smelling stools and a burning feeling in the anus may be signs of acidosis.
A continuous change in frequency of bowel movements may be a sign of serious intestinal or colonic disease. A change in bowel habits should be discussed with a doctor.