Natural Laxatives: the Good, the Bad, the Ayurvedic Perspective

Most of us know we should avoid synthetic laxatives, but herbal laxatives are often considered healthy and actually good for you. Unfortunately, the science begs to differ.

In This Article

Healthy Alternatives to Laxatives

Do you know how your elimination is doing?

A recent review of scientific literature looked at the state of modern digestion and elimination. Researchers found reports of sluggish elimination common, but inconsistent from country to country. Americans, in particular, seem unsure how to classify their bathroom habits, with survey results ranging from 2% to 27% of the population reporting problems with sluggish, slow, or incomplete elimination.1 One report found 26% of Americans have these issues, but do not seek medical help for them and depend on fiber and OTC fiber supplements to get by.17

It’s no wonder we visit the doctor an estimated 2.5 million times and spend an estimated $800 million dollars every year on laxatives.2 Laxatives have become commonplace.

Are Herbal Laxatives Good for You?

Most of us know we should avoid synthetic laxatives, but herbal laxatives are often considered healthy and actually good for you. Unfortunately, the science begs to differ.

A handful of longitudinal studies, with over 40,000 and 80,000 volunteers, respectively, reveal long-term laxative use is linked to great risk of serious intestinal health concerns.11,12 That said, other studies suggest long-term use of laxatives is well-tolerated, which makes this an important and confusing topic.15

For example, most folks think using magnesium as a laxative is 100% safe. In this article, we will drill into these misconceptions. According to Ayurveda, long-term laxative use of any kind is unacceptable and needs to be addressed.

Seemingly safe herbal laxatives, such as senna, can be effective, but, according to Ayurveda, only for short periods of time. They are habit-forming and trigger a bowel movement by irritating the intestinal wall.

Short-term irritation from stimulating laxatives can cause structural damage to the intestinal wall.14 Long-term irritation can lead to the need for more and more bowel-irritating laxative.13

How Often Should I Poop?

Many medical experts still suggest three bowel movements a week is normal.15

According to Ayurveda, this is a really bad idea. While the medical definition of normal elimination is considered to be at least three bowel movements a week,1Ayurveda encourages one to three bowel movements per day, based on your body type, including a complete elimination within the first hour of waking for all types.

The newest studies on the gastrointestinal system are showing correlation, if not causation, between irregular bowel movements and many serious health issues.3

Ayurveda maintains 85% of the body’s overall health depends on the digestive tract. It is the seat of the mind, emotions, physical health, and the ability to naturally detoxify.

Balance Gut Flora Rather than Taking Laxatives

Microbes, who make up 90% of all cells in the body, reside in what is referred to as our microbiomes, primarily in the large intestine, digestion system, lungs, urinary tract, and outer skin. The environment for these microbes must be precise to support optimal health.

Sluggish or loose stools are indicators the environment may be out of balance, and that a risk exists for proliferation of opportunistic microbes that can negatively impact healthy elimination.

Probiotic supplementation, which boosts beneficial gut bacteria, is used to support the frequency and consistency of stool. Probiotics are quickly gaining support in the larger medical community. In one recent study, Bifidobacterium lactis was particularly effective in supporting normal transit time, as well as healthy consistency and frequency of bowel movements.4

To address imbalances of the intestinal microbiome that manifest as slow, sluggish, or incomplete elimination, I suggest restoring a healthy intestinal environment with a decoction of slippery elm, marshmallow root, and licorice taken for a month. At LifeSpa, we call it Slippery Elm Prebiotic. This is taken in combination with a combination of colonizing probiotics, which means they adhere to the intestinal wall and increase proliferation of more diverse permanent beneficial bacteria by 40-60%.16 LifeSpa’s Gut Revival probiotic is rich with microbes that are healthy for the gut lining, but antagonistic to undesirable intestinal bacteria. I have been using this one-two punch to reset intestinal function for decades with great success.

We recommend "4 Steps to a Healthy Microbiome": https://lifespa.com/from-prebiotic-to-probiotic-4-steps-healthy-microbiome/

Enhance Bile Flow Rather than Take Laxatives

Healthy bowel function, which supports stability and proliferation of good gut bugs, depends on complete digestion of foods upstream in the stomach, pancreas, gallbladder, and small intestine.

New research points to the regulation and production of adequate bile from the liver as a key component in healthy, normal elimination.5

After digestion, leftover toxins in the large intestine are re-absorbed back into the bile, which ends up in the liver. Over time, the liver can become congested and production of bile will slow down. This can lead to congestion of the gallbladder and poor bile flow into the intestines. Bile is the ultimate upstream regulator of the stool’s consistency, frequency, and intestinal transit time.5

Maintaining healthy production of bile is key to regular elimination. Herbs and foods that boost bile flow are called cholagogues and can be easily found.

Bile-Boosting Foods aka Cholagogues

Download my free Safe Liver Cleansing eBook

Eat Fiber Rather than Take Laxatives

Fiber-rich foods, such as fruits, green veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds (like chia and flax) are key to healthy and regular bowel movements. Fiber scrubs the gut of excess mucus and toxins, attaches to toxin-carrying bile, and escorts it to the toilet, providing food for good microbes that proliferate in the intestines. The goal is to reach 50 grams of fiber each day.

We recommend "Eat the Right Fiber": https://lifespa.com/eat-the-right-fiber/

What Type of Laxative is Worst?

There are four basic types of laxatives:6

1. Bulking agents

Bran and other bulking agent products, such as Citrucel, Metamucil, and Fibercon, are typically psyllium-based and can ease occasional constipation by absorbing more fluid into the intestines. This makes the stool bigger, which gives you the urge to pass the stool. These are safe in the short term and with minimal dosing.

Risks: Bulking agents attract water, so regular use can pull excess water off the intestinal wall. Over time, this can dehydrate the bowel and cause more chronic elimination concerns. In addition, most bulking agents expand greatly inside the intestines and, if used excessively, can potentially distend the intestines, reducing their ability to contract and move fecal matter to the toilet. This can eventually result in a chronically sluggish, overly distended, and dehydrated bowel. Many complain of stomach cramps, abdominal bloating, and gas from psyllium products.17

2. Stool softeners

Products such as Colace and Ducolax Stool Softener lubricate and soften stool in the intestine, making it easier to pass. Stool softeners are effective, but overly aggressive and they don’t work as well if you don’t drink enough water.

Risks: The side effects from stool softeners can include dizziness, weakness, gas, bloat, mild diarrhea, rectal irritation, sweating, sore throat, nausea, and skin rashes associated with dehydration. Stool softeners are potentially habit-forming and are not considered safe to use for more than one week without a doctor’s supervision.7

3. Osmotic laxatives

Products such as Fleet Phospho-Soda, magnesium, milk of magnesia, Miralax, and non-absorbable sugars, such as lactulose or sorbitol, hold fluids in the intestine and draw fluids into the intestine from other tissue and blood vessels. This extra fluid makes stool softer and easier to pass. Drink plenty of water if you use this type of laxative.

Risks: Once again, the mechanism for somatic laxatives is pulling water off the stool. Long-term use can dehydrate the bowel, making it more challenging for natural regular elimination, leading to dependency.8

Is Magnesium Citrate Safe?

For most people, there are minimal side effects from taking magnesium citrate as a natural laxative. However, side effects like mild diarrhea and stomach discomfort are common with more serious side effects, like fainting, stomach pain, blood in stool, dizziness, sweating, weakness, respiratory allergies, low blood pressure, low calcium, and mood concerns, also reported.19

I consider magnesium a safe short-term solution for slow, sluggish, or incomplete elimination. While most folks do not experience the above side effects, studies do show that long-term use of seemingly harmless magnesium supplements can include malabsorption of key minerals, electrolyte disturbances, and kidney strain.8

In the same way magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt) pulls toxins and extra fluid from your joints, magnesium can pull excess water from the intestinal wall and dehydrate the gut while also pulling excess minerals off the intestinal wall, over time demineralizing you. This can happen insidiously with long-term use.

4. Stimulant laxatives

Products such as Correctol, Dulcolax bisacodyl Ex-Lax, Feen-a-Mint, and Senokot speed up how fast a stool moves through the intestines by irritating the intestinal lining. Regular use of stimulant laxatives is not recommended, as it can compromise absorption of vitamin D through the intestinal wall.

Herbal stimulant laxatives include Cascara sagrada, senna, Aloe latex, frangula, and prunes. Herbal laxatives that stimulate or irritate the bowel employ a constituent called anthranoids, which induce gut motility, stimulating a decrease in transit time. They also reduce fluid absorption and increase secretion in the colon, with the end result of softer stools.

Risks: Stimulant laxatives change the tone and feeling in the large intestine and can easily and quickly create chemical dependency. Large doses can result in cramping and watery stools. Additionally, studies are inconclusive as to their overall efficacy.8

As bowel irritants, long-term use can irritate and inflame the intestinal wall. Controversy exists as to whether this causes severe or lasting harm to the gut, but Ayurveda clearly says to be kind and gentle to the intestinal skin.8

Healthy Alternatives to Laxatives

The first step in supporting healthy elimination is to tone the bowel muscles and lubricate the intestinal villi and gut wall. Triphala is a classic Ayurvedic formula that consists of three fruits, which safely and effectively treat occasional constipation:9

  • Haritaki tones the muscular gut wall.
  • Amalaki supports health of intestinal skin and villi.
  • Bibhitaki boosts removal of mucus and toxins from the gut wall.

Triphala is not a harmful, bowel-irritating laxative like senna, cascara sagrada, and others, which can be habit-forming. Clinically, I find it useful as a bowel sweep for short-term eliminative support when traveling, during times of stress, and to help reset lower digestive function.

For Dry Stools + Intestines

For elimination issues where stress causes intestinal dryness, a combination of triphala, licorice, slippery elm, and psyllium in a LifeSpa formula called Elim I can be a very effective non-habit forming bowel toning and lubrication agent.10

Slippery elm and licorice are soluble fibers, which help form a viscous layer between the intestinal wall and potential irritants. When the gut gets stressed and dry, it must be shielded and lubricated naturally and gently. These slimy fibers, in combination with triphala, support resetting healthy bowel function and are easy to quickly wean off of once elimination is balanced. Learn more about LifeSpa’s Elim 1 formula.

To activate the other herbs, an old Ayurvdic technique is to add a very small amount of psyllium to a formula that needs water to be activated. The small amount of psyllium in Elim I attracts just enough water to the other herbs to activate and allow them to effectively lubricate the intestinal mucosa and gut.

I am not a big fan of psyllium as a bulking agent for regulating stool. It sucks water off the gut wall and dehydrates the bowel, potentially turning sluggish bowels into a chronic concern. But a very small, non-bulking dose of psyllium used to attract water works brilliantly.

Laxative Conclusions

Four major factors must be addressed when supporting healthy bowel function.

  1. The liver makes bile and bile regulates how well you move your bowels. If you have issues eating hard-to-digest fats, like greasy fried foods, then you may not be providing enough bile for healthy digestion and elimination.
  2. Next is the environment of the gut—the intestinal skin. As mentioned above, it is key to restore the health of the intestinal lining and repopulate the gut with beneficial bacteria, while ridding undesirable bacteria.
  3. Finally, elimination is based on the food we eat. Processed and refined foods are a disaster for your intestinal environment and beneficial bacteria, who regulate gut immunity (70% of overall immunity).
  4. Finally, elimination it is about fiber, which feeds the microbiome. Modern humans eat 1/4 the fiber of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. To poo like a pro, we can all eat much better.

How is your elimination? How are you taking care of it?

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3206560/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4425030/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25099542
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4481438/
  6. http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/tc/laxatives-topic-overview
  7. https://www.drugs.com/dulcolax-stool-softener.html
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3348737/
  9. http://www.bioline.org.br/abstract?id=pt06008
  10. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3480757/
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15341986
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10853634
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9020301
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12702977
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4234355/
  16. https://lifespa.com/the-results-are-in-on-our-probiotic-study/
  17. https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD009656/full
  18. https://www.healthline.com/health/digestive-health/magnesium-for-citrate-constipation#side-effects

32 thoughts on “Natural Laxatives: the Good, the Bad, the Ayurvedic Perspective”

  1. I have recently been diagnosed with IBS, and possibly SIBO (waiting for the breath test to arrive in the mail). I have been taking herbal laxatives for years (and eating a very clean, organic diet of mostly veggies, nuts, lean proteins). I am trying to get off the herbal laxatives, and was excited to find Triphala, but then on my FODMAP diet it says no dried fruits, would this be a good thing to take, or should I avoid it in your opinion? Thanks so much! Mary

    Reply
    • Hi Mary,
      These tree fruits are much different than the fruits considered on the FODMAP diet. These are anything but sweet fruits. They should be fine. You can read much about IBS and how stress impacts digestion on my article archives.
      Be well,
      John

      Reply
  2. I have taken stimulant herbal laxatives for 40 years– had a colonoscopy and my colon was very dark in color but no polyps–went off herbal stimulants and replaced with triphala … Been about 2 1/2 months but am now experiencing random nausea daily…is this normal?

    Reply
    • Dark bowels and dark bile can indicate vata imbalance. Do you experience gas, gurgling/bowel noises? Retention of stool or diarrhea frequently? Large meals tire you out, or frequent eating/small meals preferred? Herbal laxatives often stimulate bile flow, which under the circumstances can appear as dark, almost the color of dark-roast coffee beans. If this is the case, your bowels may be afflicted with vata, which causes sluggishness/constipation or hastiness of bowel evacuation. Traditional triphala can be prepared in many different ways to suit a person, though today most of it is formulated 1:1:1 ratio, including amalaki seeds, which sometimes upset vata-imbalanced persons.

      “Hard” and “dry” bowels can be softened and moisturized by using fat. Maybe consider JD’s ghee cleanse. If ghee isn’t your preferred fat, you can also use a high-quality sesame oil. During this time, intake larger amounts of (soft) fiber, like the stuff found in psyllium husks, squash, barley, slippery elm, etc. When bowel movements are a medium-light brown color, or yellowish-brown, that could be considered a sign of progress. Darkened bowels can take a while to clean, but it’s worth it in the end to improve intestinal absorption of nutrients and prevent related metabolic diseases.

      Hope this helps! All just my opinion, of course.

      Reply
      • Oh, one more thing: assuming the above information applies to you, it’s no wonder there’s nausea. Vata-imbalanced bowels result in “vata moving upward,” which rises to the head and causes dizziness and nausea, especially with eyes closed. Nausea in this case is being caused by the effect of hardened/dry, irritated bowels on the enteric (intestinal) nervous system. In addition, the stomach and its functions are often affected as a direct result, meaning the gastric nervous system is also involved. Both can produce nausea. In an acute situation, a person may feel like throwing up, which rids the bowels and stomach of whatever’s causing the irritation (thus vata moving “upwards”), but if urges to vomit are suppressed, and harmful actions to over-stimulate bile flow are continued, a chronic situation can manifest. If you’re still needing a laxative to keep regular, consider higher fat, slippery fibers (marshmallow, slippery elm, barley, flaxseed), boiled water, tea made of peppermint and other non-bitter aromatics, etc.

        …okay, now I’m done!

        Reply
  3. Hello, my 2 year old has had very bad constipation and hard, almost tar-like stools that have a very sharp smell. Even while he was predominately nursing! We have tried to give him soaked flax seeds, acidophilus every day, and it’s gotten a little better. But I often have to give him glycerin to help his stools eliminate. Could this supplement work for a 2 year old? Or do you have any suggestions? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hi Mahi. Thanks for the comment. It is recommended not to take any herbs during pregnancy, in ayurveda the fact of being pregnant is seen as medicine for the body. If you are experiences difficulty eliminating try sipping hot water all through out the day. Using lemon water in the mornings may help as well. Incorporating good healthy oils like ghee and coconut with meals can help lubricate the interior skin.

      Reply
  4. Hi John. Thank you for these informational newsletters and videos! I have a question about what to order.
    I have had trouble with constipation my entire life. I eat a ton of greens and fruits, take Vitamin D3, drink a little Kombucha daily, sporadically take probiotics, and drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. I ordered and took Triphala for a month and did see some improvement. I’ve been out of it for several months and am ready to order once again. I see in the above article that I should possibly also order some slippery elm, licorice, and psyllium combination to get me back on track. Suggestions to get my gut healed and working properly from the inside out?

    Reply
  5. Hi, John. Thank you for this information. What would be the proportions of licorice, Triphala, psyillium, and slippery elm for what you suggest for dry intestines?

    Reply
  6. Hi everyone ,I started drinking tripala powder for the first time,I drank 3 glasses over a period of 2 days and now I’m having a problem passing out stools ,my lower abdomen is also a bit painful ,is this a side effect or should I stop drinking it!

    Reply
  7. I have a 18 year old daughter with an intellectual disability and diagnosed when she was young on the autism spectrum, fully verbal , just young minded with lifetime bowel issues. Started off holding and still does if her mega colon is too full, she just can’t push and eliminate unless I give her 4 exlax, Western Dr. No answers except, tried allot of things, now wanting to try Gaia Triphala healthy digestion with a good probiotic and a magnesium ionic fiz (just purchased all from a health food store) do you think I’m on the right track?

    Reply
  8. Hi Dr.
    I have very sluggish bowels. My transit time is 5+ days even when taking a probiotic, drinking up to 4L of water, taking magnesium and even when adding a tsp of psyllium. Can triphala be helpful in this case and can I take it daily/long term? Thank you so much for help. I appreciate all your amazing videos!

    Reply
    • 5+days, my god….
      please try this: one liter of water (1000 ml) and add one teaspoon of sea salt and drink this within 5-10 minutes… It should give you a bowl flush after one hour and could make you empty your bowels over 2+ hours … better be home when you do. If one teaspoon does not work, try 1.5 – 2 teaspoon….

      Reply
  9. Hello, came across your website while searching for vitamins to help eliminate toxins. Due to a chronic pain condition I have been on pain medication for several years therefore causing constant constipation. I know it’s bad but I take dulcolax stool softeners daily and the laxative every 3 days just so I can go to the bathroom. My body has become so dependent on that and I don’t believe I could go on my own without this combination. In the interim I believe this has caused nutrients to not be absorbed properly and I feel as if I have a build up of toxins which is causing some health issues. Ive had problems with the skin, hair, and possibly even more problems that may be due to a build up of toxins and poor nutrient absorption. I was wondering if you could help with a way to stop the madness by suggesting what vitamins would help with this. The vitamin you have listed was suggested on another website as something to take to sort out constipation. I wonder is it too late since my bowels have basically become dependent on the laxative. Any information would be helpful and very much appreciated. Thank you!!

    Reply
  10. Triphala might be better in capsules, but I got mine in a raw bulk powder form. Now I’m wondering how to best take it. Should I mix it in hot/warm water and let it sit for a while, or would that destroy the raw quality of it? I haven’t taken it for long yet, but mixed in cold water it makes the mouth dry up on it’s way.

    Reply
  11. If I feel constipated for several days, I just do a water/salt flush…. 1000 ml of water + 1 teaspoon (or more if that does not give the effect) and drink this in 5 – 10 minutes… one hour later, you start to empty your bowels for about 2 hours… works every time… would not want to suffer 3+ days without a toilet visit

    Reply
  12. I have a family member in her early 90s, who is chronically constipated and sometimes gets into a crisis situation. I am hesitant to suggest the water/salt flush for these situations, as she has severe osteoporosis. Would pink Tibetan salt be OK or should we be careful?

    Reply
    • The salt water trick can be hard on older people, though if they don’t have blood pressure or vessel integrity issues, it may still be alright. However, with low bone mass, I would personally recommend against using salt as a remedy. Depending on her unique constitution, a high quality cold/first pressed (extra virgin) olive oil at meal times could be a good thing to try. High quality olive oil typically has a peppery and/or bitter taste to it, is noticeably green-tinted in color, has a shorter best-by / use-by date, possibly even a statement of origin on the package (to help ensure it hasn’t been mixed with lower quality or old olive oils – the specific source country isn’t always important other than giving that clue). For people with sensitive stomachs, the olive oil can be warmed or even cooked, if only gently and for a short time during preparation. It can be used on salads, poured into soups, cooked beans or grains, or drizzled onto bread. However, for chronic constipation in the elderly, drinking it straight is going to produce the quickest results. Those willing to drink it straight can try 1/4 cup for a couple days with dinner, and increase up to a comfortable amount gradually after that – say, 1/2-3/4 cup, until constipation begins to subside. Hydrating and moving the bowels in this way takes time, but it’s usually more gentle for the elderly, and helps to address any cardiovascular/venous issues or body dryness on the side. It also doesn’t carry the risk of harming bones like salt water does.

      Constitutions for the elderly (only my experience here):
      -For those who tend to be crabby, angry, impatient – especially having a ruddy constitution or problems with blood clotting/bleeding, olive oil can be a toughy. To remedy olive oil’s warming nature here, try using it concurrently with fresh greens and vegetables cooked gently, especially collards, kale, bok choy, cabbage, cilantro (shinier leaves help more for cilantro, and thicker/more rubbery leaves help more for collards, whereas kale is best more tender and supple in this case). There are also many gentle, cooling food items and medicines worth trying along with olive oil.
      -For robust types who are showing more “kapha” tendencies, olive oil is fine alone, but starting low and slow in dosage to allow their bodies to get used to it.
      -For those of mostly a dry, depleted, vata nature, olive oil alone can be used, and often suits them fine in larger quantities.

      Olive oil can also be used as a moisturizer for the hands, or in massage (for most constitutions). Especially useful massage areas for the elderly are the hands and feet; and a lot of benefit can be derived from doing this once or twice a day, as it calms the nervous system and reflexively remedies a lot of problems – though it won’t generally have a pronounced effect on constipation.

      Sesame oil can also be used, but I’ve yet to find a suitable quality at grocery stores. I skip the sesame, because it’s too difficult to find a good one that hasn’t secretly had its beneficial characteristics stripped away during processing. High quality olive oil is fairly easy to find in a larger city, and can be found online easily too.

      Avoiding constipating foods and figuring out what’s causing the constipation can be tough with the elderly… especially when it comes to eliminating food items! But this is an obvious step to avoiding the problem. Sometimes it’s easier just to have them eat/take a new thing than to change their existing habits. unsulfured/unpreserved prunes (not juice), olive oil, flaxseed tea, and ConcenTrace mineral drops (very low dose of 1-3 drops for a while, never exceeding 5 drops at a time) have worked for elderly from my experience, as well as thick barely tea (‘mugicha’) and sometimes oat groat/bran tea – both of which can and probably should be salted a little, and have the added benefit of generally being good for older peoples’ bones, blood vessels, skin, hair, and nerves. Sauteed onion, onion tea (boiled for a while), and onion added to barley and oats can also help some, if they like onion.

      Hope this helps! There’s lots of ideas, but those are a few I can recommend trying. You can freely combine them, and they all work in different ways.

      Hope that helps!

      Reply
      • One last thing: just wanted to give an extra nudge to the barley/oats for elderly with osteoporosis and constipation, gently salted, with or without oil added. Thinner, wetter consistency is the key (so, not barley flour or thick oatmeal), the fiber is helpful but isn’t entirely necessary and can be strained away. Both must have the bran/outer layer intact, so oat groats, oat bran, unhulled barley (pearled won’t work nearly as well) are best. Oats will be more calming to the nerves, but may cause gas in some. Barley will usually be better for constipation, and a better constipation remedy, but some are sensitive to it.

        Reply
  13. I used to enjoy watching the videos and then reading the article, but it seems youtube did their usual thing and removed positive videos! time to move to real.video!
    Now back to the main topic. I used to go to the toilet just in the morning for the main thing:)
    after having sulfur, i go sometimes even 3 times! research it somewhere except google, like swisscows…

    Reply
    • have been taking senna powder for 1.5 year.. 3/4 spoon at bedtime now after stopping i m facing constipation
      how to get rid of it? should i come off senna gradually or cold turkey.. or should i start taking psyllium husk?
      how can i restart my bowel movement without taking senna..

      Reply
  14. have been taking senna powder for 1.5 year.. 3/4 spoon at bedtime now after stopping i m facing constipation
    how to get rid of it? should i come off senna gradually or cold turkey.. or should i start taking psyllium husk?
    how can i restart my bowel movement without taking senna..

    Reply
  15. Maybe some people’s bodies are not producing enough bile (bile acids) in the first place, and this could possibly result in slow transit time. This may be associated with deficiency in certain amino acids or perhaps vitamins. You have to read up on Bile Acid deficiency. Could be malabsorption, too. The body is a complicated thing, is it not. I’m not pretending to understand it all. Thank you.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18788050

    https://mthfrsupport.com.au/2017/07/taurine-role-bile-synthesis/

    Reply
  16. I could never get my elderly mom to eat salads or drink water. She ate junk food and drank coffee. So, she used to get major constipation. I used to tell her, “Mom, you have to eat veggies and drink hot water so you can take a moist s***.” And she would just look at me and pour another cup of coffee. So, even the caffeine stopped stimulating her bowel enough to get the job done.

    ***Admin edit for language***

    Reply
  17. Question:
    I take triphala every night before bed – and have done so for the past 2 years.
    In reference to “Are herbal laxatives good for you?” – Is that an issue to my gut health?

    I feel great and have no issues with digestion or elimination.

    Many thanks
    Long-time fan – Linda

    Reply
    • Hi Linda,

      Many people take triphala on a long-term basis, but I have seen Dr. John recommend not to take herbs like this long-term. He is all about “get on, get better, then get off” the herbs. Taking an herb like that, while it is an overall gentle and beneficial herb, can create dependency for elimination if taken too long.

      It may be worthwhile to try taking a break from it when you feel ready to do so so you can evaluate your digestive and eliminative health without the triphala. Dr. John has lots of articles on elimination and digestion so you can read through those before weaning off your triphala so you know what to expect and look out for.

      Start by downloading his free eBook on digestive troubleshooting so you can be prepared should symptoms arise during your weaning off process:
      digestive.lifespa.com

      Best,
      LifeSpa Staff

      Reply

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