What is Constipation?

Causes of Constipation (Hetu):

1. Dietary factors

Eating at irregular times

Consuming fatty or spicy food

Decreased fibre content in regular meals

Eating too cold or rough foods

Drinking lots of tea, coffee or other caffeine drinks

Not having sufficient amounts of water in a day

2. Environmental and behavioural factors

Suppression of the urges

Improper way of sexual intercourse

Excessive consumption of alcohol and tobacco-related products

Regular night-outs or sleeping very late in the nights

Ageing

Psychological anger or depression

Feelings of guilt and fear

3. Other factors

Gastrointestinal diseases, such as irritable bowel syndrome

Neurological diseases, such as multiple sclerosis

Endocrinal disorders, such as hypothyroidism, diabetes mellitus

Pregnancy

Obesity

Prolonged use of drugs such as opiates, calcium and iron supplements

Symptoms of Constipation (Rupa):

The symptoms of constipation according to the Ayurvedic perspective include the following:

Ayurvedic therapy for Constipation:

The main aim of treatment is to reduce the aggravated vata dosha and its symptoms such as hard stools and slow bowel movements.

Many herbal remedies are available for treating constipation. Most of these herbs increase the peristaltic movements of the intestine. Peristalsis refers to the wave like contractions of the bowel muscles which are responsible for propelling the food forwards. These may include the following herbs:

Trivrit (Indian Jalap or Turpeth)

It has a potent laxative activity and causes a dose-dependent increase in intestinal motility, hence promoting bowel movements and preventing constipation.

Amla (Indian gooseberry)

In addition to many health beneficial components, Amla also contains a high amount of fiber, which promotes regular bowel movements.

Haritaki

Haritaki is known for its Anulomana properties, which means promoting evacuation of bowels. It helps in proper absorption of water and other liquids in undigested material, and also stimulates the enteric nervous system to promote intestinal motility.

Nilini (True indigo)

The root and stem of this medicinal plant have laxative properties, hence promoting bowel movements and preventing constipation.

Vacha (Sweet flag)

Vacha is a highly valued medicinal plant. In addition to the other beneficial effects, the alkaloids also have laxative properties that help promote regular bowel movements.

Kampillaka (Shendri)

The phytochemicals in the roots and fruits of this medicinal plant possess strong laxative actions, hence its use may promote and regularize bowel movements.

Saptala (Oregano)

The herb and the essential oil of Oregano has a long medicinal history, they are also used as laxatives to promote bowel movements, due to their cathartic effects.

Udakiryaka (Teripod)

These large prickly shrubs have numerous medicinal benefits; one of them is their laxative effect that helps promote bowel movement and prevent constipation.

Ayurveda, in addition to herbs and medications, focuses a lot on changing one’s daily lifestyle which brings a positive change in his/her physical and mental health and also keep problems like constipation at bay.

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