When you’re feeling backed up, you’ll want to find the fastest method to stop suffering; however, you might not want to resort to medications just yet. These home remedies for constipation can provide immediate relief for you, and they’re probably already in your cupboards!
Constipation is infrequent bowel movements that are hard to pass. It is typically type 1 or 2 poop that is dry and hard.
What is the fastest way to relieve constipation? Since the causes of constipation vary, one solution may work while another does not. These home remedies can help you move things along within a few hours:
Castor oil, produced from castor beans, has a long history of use throughout the world. It’s been used in food, skin and hair care, machinery, and medication.
As far as 1550 BC, it has been noted as a herbal medicine in the ancient Egyptian text, Ebers Papyrus. This papyrus is filled with herbal knowledge used in that time and castor oil plant was one of those natural medicines. The root of the plant was used to cure headaches, while the oil could be used for skin rashes, hair growth, and as a laxative.
In one study, 60% of the participants had a good bowel cleansing from taking 60 ml of castor oil. However, this high dosage can also cause adverse effects such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal fullness, fainting, and insomnia.
Apple Cider Relief
Apple cider vinegar is a popular product made from fermenting apple juice. Though there is no clinical evidence, it is used among many as a home remedy for a variety of health conditions.
Many people, including myself, have successfully used it to have bowel movements. It may have succeeded due to containing pectin, which increases viscosity (water) and the volume of stool. It also has malic acid and acetic acid, two organic compounds that also aid in digestion.
It’s recommended to drink one to two tablespoons per day as your symptoms continue. It is also very important to dilute with water; apple cider vinegar is acidic and can damage your teeth’s enamel.
The apple cider vinegar with the most benefits is that which contains the mother (see here).
Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, recommended garlic for a variety of health issues in ancient Greece. Among those, it was used as a cleansing or purgative agent.
Garlic contains fructans, a soluble dietary fiber, which helps to increase stool weight and bowel movements. Other foods high in fructans include wheat, onions, watermelon, some beans, and pistachios.
One thing to note is that over-consumption of garlic can lead to undesirable effects. It can cause bad breath, stomach ache, diarrhea, and interfere with some medications.
Lack of fluids and increased stress are common causes of constipation. For this reason, herbal tea is a great natural remedy to try to ease this condition.
A warm cup of tea is known for its calming and stress-reducing effects. Certain teas, like peppermint and ginger tea, are also said to have a laxative effect by relaxing the muscles and improving digestion.
Acting as a bulk-forming laxative, avocado is high in dietary fiber, containing 6.7g per serving (100g). It also contains magnesium, which helps draw liquid into the stool, making it easier to pass.
Enjoy eating avocado on some toast, or as a side with your meals.
Senna tea, made from the Senna Alexandria plant, is well known for being able to induce bowel movements.
As a stimulant laxative, its extracted senna glycosides work to induce contractions in the colon which allows the poop to move through.
The recommended dosage of senna is 17.2 mg with a max of 34.4 mg per day.
One of the major causes of constipation is dehydration. When there isn’t enough water in the body, the colon pulls it out of your stool, leaving it dry and hard to pass.
The daily amount of water you should have is usually 91 ounces per day for women and 120 ounces for men; however, the exact amount can vary by person. The water in the foods that you eat also count towards this amount.
So keep chugging away!
If you have some blackstrap molasses in your cabinet, it’s a good home remedy for constipation. A 2019 study showed it as having successful results treating pediatric functional constipation.
Just taking 2 tablespoons before bed can have you on your way to your next bowel movement. This is due to that amount having about 24% of the daily recommended magnesium (draws water into stool).
While molasses has a lot of nutrients, it is not recommended for long term use. It is still sugar and has a lot of calories.
If you don’t already have molasses, you can find it here.
There are two different types of dietary fiber, soluble and insoluble, and they both can be used to treat constipation. They are also both needed as a daily part of your diet for a healthy digestive system.
Soluble fibers take on a gel-like consistency with water. It is good for those suffering from both constipation (by softening the stool) and diarrhea (by adding firmness).
Insoluble fiber does not react with water. It works by adding bulk to the stool, allowing it to pass through the body faster.
|Soluble Fibers||Insoluble Fibers|
Vegetables (Broccoli, carrots, etc.)
Fruits (Figs, plums, berries, ripe bananas, etc.)
Vegetables (Green beans, cauliflower, zucchini, etc.)
Fruits (Unripe bananas, tomato and kiwi skins, etc.)
Other than being downright delicious, tamarind has been used to treat stomach disorders, liver and gallbladder problems, intestinal worms, and constipation.
This pod-like fruit tree is said to have been mentioned in the Indian Brahma Samhita Scriptures between 1200 and 200 BC. It is used as a part of traditional medicine in many tropical countries where it grows. Almost every part of the tree can be used for different purposes.
Tamarind is rich in minerals such as potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. The magnesium it contains makes it useful in treating constipation.
Other than adding liquids to soften your stool, lemon water is a good way to ease constipation.
Like other citrus fruits, it is rich in pectins (a soluble fiber that is mostly contained in the peel of the fruits). They also have sorbitol, fructose, and fiber; all of which help with constipation as well.
Raw honey can also be added to the lemon water. Honey is a mild, natural laxative that helps to relieve constipation.
If possible, it is better to use fresh lemons.
Dried plums, also known as prunes, are a popular method for treating constipation.
Prunes have a laxative effect on the body due to being high in dietary fiber and also having sorbitol and magnesium.
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that have many health benefits by improving the gut flora (microorganisms in the digestive system).
These good bacteria have been shown to improve both stool consistency and frequency in children.
Diatomaceous earth, or D.E., is a fine powder made from the fossilized remains of diatoms (algae). It is used in a variety of products from explosives to filtration, and even for pest control.
Among other health benefits, diatomaceous earth supports healthy digestion and cleanses the digestive tract. It is primarily made of silica, but also has trace minerals such as magnesium.
Be sure that you use a food grade Diatomaceous Earth. It should also be taken with caution, D.E. is able to absorb some medications. Consult your doctor before using.
If all else fails, exercise can help you to bring about a bowel movement. Sedentary habits have been linked to causing constipation, with increased physical activity reversing it.
Exercise helps to pass stool by creating contractions in your muscles that allow it to pass quicker. If your constipation is due to stress, relaxing exercises like yoga would also be beneficial.
Incorporate regular exercise in your daily routine to avoid constipation and support a healthy digestive system.
Constipation is an uncomfortable problem to have, but there are many different solutions to try.
If you’ve attempted all of these home remedies for constipation and did not get immediate relief, it might be time to try medication or consult a doctor. Frequent constipation may be a sign of a more serious medical issue.