If you’re struggling with constipation, it’s important to make sure that you’ve got the basics covered first:
Are you drinking enough fluids throughout the day?
Are you getting enough fiber through your diet via fresh fruits, vegetables, and/or whole grains?
Are you moving during the day or living a pretty sedentary lifestyle?
If you are drinking enough, eating a healthy diet, and getting some movement in each day and are STILL struggling, there is hope!
First, you need adequate stomach acid and bile to move things through your body. Second, if you’re not getting enough fiber, there are some options to help add more. And third, herbal syrups and tinctures can come to the rescue if needed!
Digestive bitter herbs are my favorite, and I especially like the ones in spritz bottles from Herbalist & Alchemist. All you have to do is put a couple sprays in your mouth before meals, and this will signal your body to start producing saliva, stomach acid, digestive enzymes, and bile – ALL necessary components of healthy digestion. Sometimes this is all it takes to fix people’s digestion, but often if things are severe, it can take more.
Dandelion Root Tea
Dandelion root tea is specific for helping to improve bile flow. You can make this by simmering 1-2 tbsp of the root in a cup of water for 20-30 minutes, and then strain and drink. You can also make it like a tea by just steeping the root in water for 20-30 minutes, covered, and then strain and drink…but this isn’t quite as strong/beneficial (still better than nothing though!). Dandelion root also contains some potassium, which most people are deficient in, so that’s an added bonus.
Castor Oil & Castor Oil Packs
Castor oil is also great for many people to improve bile flow. You can either just rub a small amount over your liver or make castor oil packs, which involves getting a piece of flannel or cotton fabric (or even an old shirt) and saturating it with castor oil and then placing that over your liver. With castor oil, it’s important to find cold-pressed, hexane-free castor oil like this one. And if you’re normally sensitive to detoxing or starting new things, you’ll want to start slow with this one. Castor oil doesn’t just help with constipation, it helps with detoxing in general, and it can be quite powerful. As an added bonus, it helps with sleep for most people, so most women prefer to use castor oil before bed because it makes them sleepy.
Second, if you find that you’re truly not getting enough fiber in your diet, you can try psyllium husk powder and/or ground flax seeds. One tablespoon of either up to three times per day just might do the trick for you. It’s important to make sure you drink enough liquids though so that you don’t worsen your constipation.
I always recommend starting slow, especially with dandelion root and castor oil because going too fast can overwhelm your liver and actually worsen constipation.
But if you do go slow and try all of the above, and you’re STILL struggling, then you might want to try dandelion and yellow dock syrup, which is often recommended in pregnancy when this issue tends to rear its ugly head.
Yellow Dock/Dandelion Root Syrup Recipe for Constipation:
- Simmer 14 g each of dandelion and yellow dock in 4 cups of water until it reduces to 2 cups
- Stir in ½ cup of blackstrap molasses (which is also rich in iron and has some potassium in it)
- Store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks
- Take 1-2 tbsp up to twice per day
For Occasional Use
If you only occasionally struggle to go, Bioray offers a product that is excellent also but is not meant for long-term daily use.
Nutrient deficiencies or imbalances can also play a role, so if none of these ideas work, it may be a good idea to explore your personal mineral levels more through a hair tissue mineral analysis.