Constipation is something which all of us have faced at some point in our lives. It is a common disturbance of the digestive tract. When you suffer from this kind of hindrance, bowels do not move regularly. Even when they move, they are not completely emptied.
Keeping the colon flowing freely is an essential goal for optimal health in the world of Ayurveda. Ayurvedic medicine for constipation can provide some relief from the same. Many ayurvedic doctors state that 80% of all diseases can be prevented through a healthy and clear colon.
Ayurvedic view of constipation:
Ayurveda describes three separate doshas, which are forms of energy at work in the body. While every person has all the three doshas, one is generally dominant. The three types of doshas are:
- Vata dosha: The word vata means to move or blow like the wind. Vata manages all the movement in the mind and body. It controls blood flow, evacuation of wastes, breathing and the movement of thoughts across the brain.
Since Pitta and Kapha doshas cannot move without Vata, it is the pioneer of the three Ayurvedic Body Types.
- Pitta dosha: Pitta translates roughly as fire. It is the heat energy in the body, which is invisible. It manifests itself into your metabolism. Pitta is involved whenever food is broken down in the stomach and intestine, the enzymes are formed or hormones are released into the bloodstream.
- Kapha dosha: Kapha is essentially composed out of earth and water components. Kapha provides structure and robustness to all things. Kapha additionally hydrates all cells and frameworks, lubricates the joints, saturates the skin, maintains immunity and safe guards’ tissues.
Together these doshas regulate your body functions. An imbalance between them results in illness, poor functioning or disease.
What are the common causes of constipation?
As the colon is the home of the Vata dosha and constipation possess the qualities of hard, dry, rough and constricted. So, high vata is the main overall cause of the same.
- Vata provoking diet
- Poor dietary habits
- Vata provoking lifestyle
- Regular intake of improper food combinations
- Intake of intolerable or allergenic foods
- Leftovers or stale food
- Excessive fear and worry
- Lack of consistent daily routine
- Irregular meal schedule
- Irregular or improper sleep routine
- Lack of sleep or insomnia
- High stress
- Suppression of natural urges
- Obstruction due to toxins or congestion in the colon
- Imbalance of gut flora
Now let us have a look at some symptoms of constipation.
Symptoms of constipation:
- Coated tongue and foul breath
- Dark circles under the eye
- Ulcer in the mouth
- Fullness in the abdomen
- Pain in the lumber region
- Heart burning
After having a brief view of the symptoms of this painful problem, now we can discuss about some ayurvedic ways of relieving ourselves.
- Follow a strict Vata pacifying diet:
When you are having problems excreting your metabolic wastes, it is time to change your diet. Eating Vata pacifying foods can help in such circumstances as they can maintain the health of the GI tract.
Sometimes people wonder, that inspite of having healthy food why do they have constipation. Little do they know that these healthy foods may be Vata-provoking (e.g., salads, raw juices, raw veggies, dried fruits etc.). No matter what you eat, you have to alter your diet plan and make it according to Vata.
How to naturally cure chronic constipation? Here are some main guidelines to follow.
- Have simple and easy to digest meals such as soup, khichadi, dal, basmati rice, white quinoa, steamed veggies, broths, stews, crock-pot meals etc.
- Favour warm, mushy and well spiced foods.
- Avoid cold, raw, rough, dry foods and drinks.
- Limit heavy, hard to digest foods such as meat, dairy and most beans (mung beans and red lentils are recommended however).
- Maintain your eating time everyday.
- Follow proper food combinations.
- Follow a Vata balancing lifestyle:
As irregular bowel movements are associated with Vata imbalances, it is important to change your lifestyle in accordance to Vata reduction. Constipation is not the only after effect of imbalanced Vata. The other effects are anxiety, sleep issues and a restless mind.
How to get rid of constipation Ayurveda? Here are some Vata-reducing essentials that you can incorporate in your daily lifestyle.
- Follow a healthy Vata specific schedule (i.e., asleep by 9 to 10 pm, awake by 6-7 pm)
- Follow a fairly consistent daily routine.
- Perform an oil massage with Vata oil before bed 1-3 nights each week.
- Take a warm ginger bath 1-3 nights a week.
- Perform gentle or restorative yoga 1-3 times a week.
- Practice deep belly breathing, 3 times daily for 5-10 minutes per session.
- Drink hot water:
Warm or hot water has never harmed anyone. You should have warm water first thing in the morning when you wake up. You should also drink hot water between meals as it aids in bowel movement.
One should have atleast 8-10 cups of hot or warm water everyday. Warm water acts to flush out the GI tract, open up the vital channels, remove obstruction and aid in healthy elimination.
- Papaya smoothie can also help:
Ayurveda recommends to avoid cold and raw food when suffering from constipation. This particular smoothie is made with warm water, warming spices and contains specific ingredients that help promote elimination.
Papaya provides powerful digestive enzymes and is very effective for treating constipation even in severe cases.
Papaya smoothie recipe for hindrance:
- ½ of a medium papaya
- ½ cup of warm water
- Thin slice of fresh ginger
- 1/8 tsp of a cardamom
- ¼ tsp of cinnamon
- 1 tsp of flax or coconut oil
- 1 tsp of honey
Directions: blend all these ingredients together on high speed for 2-3 minutes. This smoothie should be taken first thing each morning after your regular amount of hot water recommended above. No food should be eaten for atleast 1 hour after.
- Take 1 teaspoon of soaked chia seeds every morning:
Chia seeds when taken properly can aid in elimination of wastes from your intestines. Be careful when taking chia seeds as they can cause dehydration.
Taking small amounts of soaked chia seeds each morning is great for your daily soluble fibre intake which is known to form a gel-like substance in the GI tract, lubricating the intestinal walls and aiding in healthy elimination.
- Take Haritaki, ghee and honey in warm milk before bed:
Haritaki or harad is one of the three herbs in Triphala. It is taken particularly to treat Vata and constipation. It has several other benefits, but we will not discuss about them here.
Heat milk and add 1 tsp of ghee along with haritaki herb powder. Drink this mixture in the night before going to bed. The following morning you will have a healthy elimination.
Haritaki can be a useful ayurvedic remedy for constipation.
- Take 1tsp of Triphala churna every night before going to bed:
Triphala churna is the classical heal all formula in Ayurveda. Its nature is tri-doshic, thus can be taken by any body type.
Triphala churna as we all know is a combination of three herbs. All these three herbs have mild laxative properties. Therefore, this churna can be taken for a healthy elimination without creating dependency.
It should be taken in warm water before going to bed every night.
- Take a spoonful of Vata Honey infusion before each meal:
Vata honey infusion is a digestive aid that is formulated specially for Vata digestive issues including gas, bloating and constipation. If you take this ayurvedic remedy before each meal it will increase your Agni or digestive fire.
This leads to proper assimilation of food, which further results in healthy and daily excretion.
- Take Triphala churna in Vata Honey every night:
Those suffering from chronic constipation can mix these two ingredients for a better result. Vata Honey and Triphala churna when mixed together enhance the Vata reducing and laxative promoting qualities of the herb.
This in turn creates balance in the GI tract. Vata honey being sweet reduces the bitterness of Triphala churna as well.
Constipation comes in different forms and has variable causes, but it always involves high Vata in the colon. Treatment of just the symptoms will not help. Balancing the three doshas of the body is also important. By maintaining Vata balance in the colon with these herbal remedies you can improve your overall health. That then leads to healthy elimination without strain, pain or frustration.