[Article updated on 19/09/2023]
A natural laxative is an excellent ally and a suitable asset to overcome constipation. It is not always necessary to resort to medications sold in pharmacies to relieve constipation marked by difficulty passing stools. Indeed, there are plants or natural remedies with laxative properties which are also effective and sometimes without side effects. These natural processes, characterized by great effectiveness, are therefore excellent for quickly treating constipation.
Before reading on
I’m not an expert in this field, but I am passionate about nutrition and health.
The articles you’ll find on my site are the result of in-depth research that I’d like to share with you. However, I would like to stress that I am not a health professional and that my advice should in no way replace that of a qualified physician. I’m here to guide you, but it’s important that you consult a professional for specific questions or medical concerns. Your well-being is important. So be sure to consult the appropriate experts and take the best possible care of yourself.
What is a natural laxative?
Likely to cause a lot of pain and discomfort, constipation can be defined as difficulty defecating or difficulty passing stools regularly. When there are less than 3 bowel movements per week, and this for several weeks, doctors speak of constipation. It occurs when the muscles that push stools into the colon do not function properly. This dysfunction leads to irregular bowel movements that make stools hard, dry and difficult to pass.
A natural laxative is a natural remedy that accelerates intestinal transit and also softens stools. Natural laxatives are made from plants that have laxative effects. These are foods, herbs, plants, oils or plant extracts that activate peristalsis. Thus, they stimulate the functioning of your intestines and your colon.
This is why natural laxatives are used to combat constipation in order to facilitate the evacuation of stools. They can be used to cleanse the intestine or as part of detoxification. Some use natural laxatives to cleanse the digestive system or as part of a weight loss diet (see our article on the dangers of using laxatives to lose weight). For our part, if the objective is weight loss, we recommend the use of products adapted to this objective such as PhenQ (see my opinion on PhenQ).
When they are gentle and natural, they do not have side effects and do not harm your health.
Are natural laxatives effective?
Natural laxatives are effective in eliminating constipation. They allow intestinal function to be safely normalized. They allow you to regain optimal digestive comfort. They act differently.
Some are stimulants, that is to say, they act by stimulating the lining of the intestine and promoting the contraction of the muscles of the digestive system in order to push stools through the colon. But prolonged use of these stimulating natural laxatives can weaken the body’s natural ability to easily evacuate stools, thus generating a dependence on these laxatives.
Others are natural lubricating laxatives; they act by preventing the drying of stools, making them slide easily through the intestine. Generally, this mode of action is deployed by oils which are used to combat constipation.
There are also natural laxatives characterized by mucilaginous effects or ballast effects which promote an increase in the volume of stools while softening them, thus facilitating the progression of feces in the colon.
Natural laxatives are as effective as laxatives sold in pharmacies. Better yet, they may be without side effects or even without cost.
What foods are characterized by laxative properties?
There are foods that improve digestive function. This is why, to combat constipation, it is important to make changes to your diet.
Indeed, certain foods are likely to cause constipation. Others, on the other hand, are characterized by natural laxative properties which help prevent or stop constipation.
So, when you are unable to have a bowel movement at least three times in a week, you can try to change your diet by including foods characterized by laxative effects which can facilitate the evacuation of stools, in particular, foods rich in dietary fiber. Many foods characterized by an excellent natural fiber content act as natural laxatives. These fibers which are not digested in the small intestine or insoluble fibers increase the weight of stools by making them bulky and moist, facilitating their progression through the large intestine and their evacuation from the body.
Generally speaking, fruits and vegetables (fresh, dried) are sources of dietary fiber. Better still, they also provide the body with vitamins and mineral salts. This nutritional contribution facilitates the evacuation of stools. Apart from fruits and vegetables, there are other foods which have a positive effect on intestinal transit and which prove effective against constipation. These include, among others, whole grains and probiotic foods.
Fruits are very useful foods in cases of constipation, with beneficial effects on intestinal transit. Some of them, rich in fiber, are excellent natural laxatives, notably kiwi, guava, melon, pineapple, raspberries, passion fruit, when fresh. Dried fruits also contain a lot of fiber, in this case, dried apricots, raisins, dried dates, dried bananas.
The introduction of vegetables into the diet allows you to regain normal transit. Vegetables for constipation are those with excellent fiber content. Spinach, fennel, celery, green beans, chervil and beets are vegetables rich in fiber.
Whole grains also contain fiber with laxative effects which stimulate intestinal transit and increase the volume of stools by filling them with water throughout their intestinal journey. They also contain vitamins, amino acids, trace elements, minerals. Whole grains rich in fiber are, breads with whole grains, pasta whole wheat, wheat bran, whole rice, oat bran cereals.
THE probiotics are microorganisms that help maintain a balance between the different types of bacteria in the intestine. They are generally referred to as “good bacteria”. They help fight bad bacteria and are effective in the presence of transit disorders. They allow you to have a frequent and comfortable transit, while improving muscular contractions in the stomach in order to make the evacuation of stools easier. In doing so, they improve your transit, improve the frequency of bowel movements and help reduce the constipation that affects you. It is found in dairy products, particularly yogurts which contain certain probiotic strains such as bifidobacteria and lactobacillus. Sauerkraut is also an excellent plant-based source of probiotics.
Natural oil-based laxatives
Certain oils, acting as natural laxatives, can help you overcome temporary constipation. They help to lubricate the intestinal walls and the colon to allow easy evacuation of stools. They also cleanse and soften the mucous membranes, while activating intestinal transit.
Olive oil is an excellent natural laxative. Effective, it relieves constipation and can be used to prevent the occurrence of this digestive disorder. It improves the functioning of the colon by stimulating the digestive system. Forming a protective layer around the wall of the colon, olive oil facilitates the movement of the intestines. To benefit from the beneficial effects of this oil, you can use a teaspoon. If you don’t like the taste of this oil, you can add a teaspoon of lemon juice. You can absorb this oil in the morning before eating, until the constipation disappears.
Castor oil is well suited to combat constipation. She helps :
- to lubricate the walls of the colon,
- to stimulate the walls of the colon,
- to regulate intestinal movements,
- to soften stools.
Also, castor oil helps combat intestinal irregularity and prevent one of the causes of constipation, in this case, the absorption of fluid from the intestine. This effectiveness will allow you to have moister stools.
To combat the most stubborn constipation, you should use a tablespoon of castor oil every day for a week. This oil is not suitable for prolonged use. Beyond a week, this use may cause colon dysfunction.
What are immediate-acting natural laxatives?
There are natural laxatives, characterized by safety in use, which allow intestinal transit to be normalized qualitatively and quickly. They are indicated for those who are unable to have a bowel movement. The immediate effect they have, allows you to quickly relieve constipation problems.
Characterized by laxative properties, dried figs can quickly relieve constipation. Rich in fiber, with a high magnesium content, they are very effective against this digestive disorder. They facilitate intestinal transit, increase the volume of water in the digestive tract and also act on the smooth muscles of the digestive tract. They also help stimulate intestinal motility. All these actions make dried figs, in particular, effective and facilitate the digestive process with the immediate result of evacuation of stools in subjects affected by constipation. They allow the colon to be quickly emptied.
Prunes are characterized by excellent laxative power. They contain sorbitol, a sugar characterized by a laxative effect which helps naturally relieve constipation. The virtues of this sugar help stimulate the colon and reduce stool transit time. Prunes also contain dihydroxyphenylisatin which facilitates the contraction of the muscles of the intestinal walls and contributes to regular evacuation of stools.
Also, prunes contain a large amount of fiber and water which help to soften stools, making them more bulky, facilitating passage through the colon and friction on the walls of the colon.
With the effects of these different constituents, prunes act quickly within a few hours after consuming 4 or 6 during the day. To relieve constipation, it is possible to use prune juice, two glasses per day.
Psyllium, also called ispaghul or Indian plantain, is a plant particularly rich in fiber. Its richness in fiber is exceptional, which allows it to restore the normal functioning of the colon (in the event of failure). It improves peristalsis, regulates the frequency and quality of stools. It is characterized by a laxative effect which helps prevent and combat constipation. It helps the stools retain more water, thus increasing their volume and hydration to facilitate the transit and expulsion of fecal matter.
As part of the treatment of constipation, you can use psyllium in the form of seeds, flakes or powder to be diluted in a glass of water. So, in the evening, you can put 1 or 2 tablespoons of psyllium seeds in a glass of water; mix everything and drink immediately. Drinking with water optimizes the action of the seeds. Indeed, upon contact with water, this laxative, characterized by a ballast effect, swells and forms a gel in the intestines, increases the weight of stools, hydrates them and facilitates their natural evacuation. Psyllium constitutes a real lubricant which mechanically facilitates transit. this plant is an effective natural laxative with almost immediate action.
What herbal teas have a laxative effect?
Laxative herbal teas are preparations that help regulate digestive and intestinal mechanisms. Characterized by laxative properties, they help relieve constipation by stimulating intestinal transit. Laxative herbal teas, also called laxative infusions, are based on plants infused for several minutes in simmering water.
Licorice herbal tea
Licorice root is well known for its laxative properties. To do this, it is used to effectively combat constipation. To make a licorice-based herbal tea, simply crush the root of this plant and leave it in a cup of boiling water for around fifteen minutes. After filtering this herbal tea, you can drink it when it is cold, twice a day, adding fresh fruit juice as desired.
Ginger is also appreciated for its laxative effects. Effective, it promotes digestion, facilitates intestinal transit, while normalizing the digestive process. It is beneficial for subjects affected by constipation and can be used in the form of a herbal tea. To do this, the ginger root is finely cut, before putting it in a cup of boiling water, leaving it to infuse for around ten minutes. You can combine this herbal tea with a little lemon juice.
Very powerful natural laxatives
Some natural laxatives are extremely powerful and cause the intestines to contract with remarkable efficiency, allowing stools to be automatically evacuated. They work by irritating the nerves in the wall of the colon, thus promoting the stimulation of bowel movement to relieve constipation. These stimulating laxatives are indicated in the presence of severe constipation. They act on the wall of the colon, causing the muscles to contract, and are only recommended for short-term use.
However, these laxatives should not be used for a long time or inappropriately, otherwise they may cause irritation to the lining of the intestine or damage the muscles in the abdominal area. Also, they can cause an addiction or dependence effect. The advice of a health professional or a specialist in herbal medicine may be necessary before using these laxatives. It is better not to take these extremely powerful laxatives without medical advice, because they are still aggressive for the intestines.
The aloe vera
Aloe vera is a powerful natural laxative characterized by an action on the wall of the colon which causes muscle contraction. Thus, it provides an immediate response when used as part of the treatment of sluggish transit or intestinal motility disorder. Using aloe vera in the form of juice or gel to treat constipation can cause painful cramps. Also, “the aloin (present in the small prickles of the leaf) has a powerful laxative effect which can be very aggressive and therefore more irritating than beneficial.”
Senna or cassia
Senna or cassia is distinguished by a very powerful laxative effect. The dried leaves or fruits can be used to combat constipation. They are effective in preventing this digestive disorder. A few hours after taking senna, the effects are characterized by an irritating action on the large intestine, resulting in:
- stimulation of peristalsis,
- an improvement in stool volume,
- loose stools.
Senna effectively facilitates transit. However, it should not be used without a doctor’s advice or for a long time.
What are homemade laxatives?
Homemade laxatives are preparations made from plants, plant extracts or natural substances that help relieve constipation. They can be made up of several plants. Thus, you can effectively combat constipation by using homemade laxatives which do not cause any harm to your health. They can safely and properly replace pharmaceutical specialties that contain chemical ingredients that may cause side effects.
Tomato, an effective homemade laxative
Tomato is useful for improving digestion to combat constipation. It is characterized by an excellent water content which allows it to increase the volume of stools, to cleanse the intestines, while promoting the elimination of feces. It contains pectin which promotes digestion. It can be used as a homemade laxative in several forms to help the intestine function normally. So, tomato juice or tomato seeds can be used to relieve constipation. Also, you can mix the tomato puree with a spoon of olive oil.
Flaxseeds have laxative properties that help cure constipation. They contain fiber and facilitate the elimination of stools by hydrating them. They help soften the stools and prevent them from hardening.
Flaxseeds can be used as homemade laxatives. To do this, it is recommended to take a preparation made from 1 teaspoon of ground flax seeds in water, milk or fruit juice up to two or three times a day to relieve constipation. .
Honey also has laxative properties which are effective against constipation. It constitutes a natural solution which helps combat fermentation in the stomach and improve intestinal transit. So, you can regularly consume honey on an empty stomach in the morning until the constipation disappears, by diluting a tablespoon in a glass of lukewarm water.
How to use water as a natural laxative?
Drink enough water
It is recommended to drink enough, at least 1.5 to 2 liters of water per day. This daily intake helps avoid constipation and contributes to softening of stools, thus promoting their natural evacuation.
Indeed, due to lack of water, feces become hard, lumpy, and sometimes painful. It is therefore important to drink more water to combat constipation.
Drink hot water
Drinking hot water is particularly effective against constipation. Indeed, hot water improves digestion and relieves constipation. It helps hydrate dry, hard stools and facilitate their passage through the large intestine, while contributing to the breakdown of food to facilitate their movement through the digestive tract. Also, it dilutes solid residues and makes them easy to dispose of. To treat constipation, you can use several glasses of hot, well-chilled water in the morning when you wake up before lunch.
Drink water rich in magnesium
Waters rich in magnesium are characterized by a laxative effect and are well indicated in cases of constipation. They increase peristalsis and improve intestinal transit. This is why, “in case of constipation, you must actually drink water rich in magnesium…” according to Doctor Jean-Michel Borys.