A List Of the 19 Best Natural Laxatives is presented here. Laxatives are commonly called stool softeners.
Laxatives work by either increasing the bulk or the water content of the stools, increasing the gut motility, or enhancing the passage of stools.
There are different types of laxatives that are used in daily life for digestive problems. Some of the important laxatives are as follows:
- Bulk-forming laxatives.
- Osmotic-type laxatives.
- Stimulant laxatives.
- Saline laxatives.
- Stool softener laxatives.
- Lubricant laxatives.
Bulk-forming laxatives make the stools bulky in appearance by absorbing the water from the surrounding into the fecal matter or by passing through the gut undigested.
Stool softeners are laxatives that make the stools softer than usual by increasing the amount of water absorption into them so that they can pass through easily.
Lubricant laxative surfaces the stools to keep them soft. Osmotic laxative improves the frequency of bowel motion by retaining more water.
Stimulant laxatives work by stimulating the muscles in the gut which causes the contraction of muscles. Saline withdraws water into the intestine to stimulate bowel movement.
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A List Of Best Natural Laxatives
Laxatives are substances that accelerate bowel movement and ease the process of defecation. They are particularly used in case of constipation or when a bowel movement is sluggish.
Different types which are mentioned above have different modes of action and are given in different stages of bowel movement disorder.
Natural laxatives are beneficial for health because they have few side effects. They are inexpensive as well in contrast to other medicinal laxatives.
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A list of the best natural laxatives which are common and valuable are as follows:
They are eatable plants and have the characteristics of increased bowel movement. They include lentils, beans, peanuts, etc. legumes are full of fiber which can relieve the symptoms of constipation and can normalize the regularity of bowel movements.
They are also effective in inflammatory diseases by reducing the inflammation of the intestines as they have anti-inflammatory properties in them.
They increase the body’s butyric acid concentration which can act as a natural laxative by increasing the movements of the GIT tract.
180 grams of lentils have almost 14.2 grams of fiber. Similarly, 180 grams of chickpeas have 13.7 grams of natural fiber.
2. Chia seeds:
They too are high in fiber. Fiber is one of the most valuable elements in case of relieving constipation. It goes undigested through the tract and makes the stools bulky.
It also increases the frequency of the defecation process. They have both soluble as well a s insoluble fibers but insoluble are more than soluble.
Only 7-15% are soluble while the rest are insoluble. Softening of stools for its easy passage is done by soluble fiber which forms the gel-like substance. 28.4 grams of chia seeds have 9.8 grams of fiber.
It is one of the oldest crops in the world, also known as linseed. It is rich in multiple nutrients which are fruitful in a state of constipation as well as diarrhea.
It contains both soluble and insoluble fiber, which together increase the bulk of feces and make it soft as well.
100 grams of flaxseeds give 27.3 grams of natural dietary fiber. It is also believed that it is more efficacious than lactulose when given to patients with constipation.
It is also advantageous in lowering cholesterol and low-density lipoproteins, thus reducing heart disorders.
1-2 tablespoons are recommended for constipation patients. Omega-3 fatty acids cause diarrhea, so it can be of purpose in case of constipation. These fatty acids are also present in flaxseeds.
Like other natural laxatives, berries also contain fibers and that too are of two types. Soluble fibers form the gel-like substance by absorption of water, resulting in soft stools.
Insoluble fibers are different from soluble because they do not absorb water but it passes through the gut undigested, resulting in increased bulk of stools.
However, it comes under the category of laxatives but has less potent activity. It is estimated that 100 grams of strawberries normally contain 1.8 grams of fiber.
Similarly, 150 grams of blue and blackberries contain 3.6 and 8 grams of fibers respectively. Half a cup of raspberries gives 4 grams of fiber.
5. Leafy green vegetables:
Leafy green vegetables are considered one of the best natural laxatives for relieving constipation. These vegetables include almost all green color veggies like broccoli, kale, cabbage, spinach, etc.
They are rich in nutrients, minerals, and vitamins. Magnesium, which is the main constituent in natural laxatives is rich in such vegetables.
Magnesium actually takes the water and sends it into the intestines to pass the stools easily.
It is a milk product, rich in bacteria that increases lactose digestion in the gut. It increases bowel movement which is important if someone is having a problem with constipation.
It has bacteria which is beneficial for the body in both immune and digestive functions. The frequency of stools and the consistency of stools along with intestinal transit are improved by using kefir.
7. Olive oil:
Olive oil has so many benefits in which alleviation of constipation is one of them. Because it is an oil, it contains fats in it which help to increase the movement of the bowel and keep the stools in water to pass through the gut easily.
It can be added to the meal or it is safe to drink. It is also beneficial in weight management, mood alleviation, and control of blood sugar.
Drinking it during the fasting condition is fruitful for gastritis and for other inflammatory conditions.
8. Castor oil:
As it is obtained from castor beans, castor oil contains ricinoleic acid which caused the muscles of the intestines to contract, resulting in pushing out the stools.
Therefore, it is also known as a stimulant laxative. It is taken orally. It works rapidly within two to six hours and should be avoided before going to bed.
Because it is very effective in its activity, it should not be used for a longer duration and the dose of it should not be high.
Toxicity and long-term use can result in diarrhea as well. It is advised to take when the stomach is empty.
For short-term remedy for constipation, it can be used. It is taken from the plant, Senna Alexandrina. It has many chemicals in it, known as sennosides.
It works by accelerating the motions of the gut so it is also a stimulant laxative. It also increases the content of water in the colon to help in the progression of stool.
It starts working in 6-12 hours. It is preferred in infrequent constipation in children and adults.
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Apples are full of natural fiber which helps patients with constipation. They have plenty of water as well which speeds up digestion and thus prevents constipation.
The skin of an apple should not be peeled off because it contains insoluble fiber in it which is a source of increased bulky stools.
Soluble fiber is present in the form of pectin in it, which can absorb water and normalize fecal matter.
Pectin can also act as a prebiotic substance by providing valuable bacteria, which improves the health of the gut.
Eating apples in the morning is more beneficial to health than eating afterward. Almost 3 grams of fiber are there in 125 grams of apple.
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11. Oat bran:
It is obtained from oat grains. It contains both soluble as well as insoluble fibers which are useful in increasing the bulk of stools and softening stools.
For this reason, it is a better choice as a natural laxative for patients with constipation. Approximately 7-8 grams of oat bran for some days can make you stop taking other laxatives on daily basis. 100 grams of oat bran contains almost 15.5 grams of fiber.
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It has a compound known as sennoside A. Though it contains dietary fibers which are valuable in relieving the condition of constipation, it also contains tannin in it which has anti-diarrheal properties.
So it is recommended for the short-term only. The compound sennoside A increases the absorption of water, resulting in the relaxation of bowel motions and making the stools soft.
51 grams of rhubarb contain about 1 gram of fiber. These are mostly insoluble fibers that are effective in constipation by making the stools heavy.
It also contains a compound known as anthocyanins, effective in inflammatory diseases to reduce inflammation.
It is a fruit rich in both soluble and insoluble fibers. Due to this reason, kiwifruit is very effective in chronic constipation.
180 grams of kiwifruit contains 5.4 grams of dietary fiber. It raises the frequency of bowel activity and makes the stools softer and heavier.
It is also useful in cases of bloating where gas is trapped in the gut. It also induces the sleep cycle, so it is good to take before bed as well.
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It is a stimulant type of natural laxative. It has a compound, caffeine which is a potent stimulator of muscles in the gut, resulting in a more rapid urge to defecate than usual.
Though it is not recommended due to its dehydrating properties. To use it as a laxative, drink maximum water as much as you can to avoid its dehydrating effects. It can also cause quick and effective digestion as well.
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Along with fibers, they contain sorbitol which has a laxative effect. Stool consistency and frequency are improved by using this. It is one of the most used laxatives.
Almost 7.7 grams of fibers are present in 248 grams of it. It works within a day and is more effective than psyllium fiber. Softening of stools is its property due to sorbitol in it.
It is a good source of relieving the symptoms of constipation. They have an enzyme ficin, which has proteolytic actions on some of the proteins so it can be valuable in case of constipation.
It is believed that fig paste is used to relieve the symptoms by making the stools heavy and decreasing the transit time of the intestine.
50 grams of raw fig usually contain 1.5 grams of dietary fiber while 80 grams of dried fig contain 7.9 grams of fiber. It is also beneficial for stomach disorders as well.
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17. Magnesium citrate:
Magnesium citrate is considered a natural laxative because it increases the water content in the intestinal tract, resulting in easy and increased bowel movement.
Medical practitioners use it to clean up the colon during a medical procedure. Typically it relaxes the muscles in the gut to draw water into it. It works within an hour.
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Widely used laxative, psyllium helps to swell the fecal matter. Due to this, the intestinal muscles contract resulting in speedy and bulky excretion of stools.
It must be taken with excess fluid otherwise, it can cause intestinal obstruction like IBS. It is obtained from a plant, Plantago Ovata having a natural laxative effect in it.
It is thought that 5 grams of psyllium per day are normally enough for patients with constipation and the time taken by it to show the results is around 2-3 days.
19. Citrus fruits:
Normally all citrus fruits have fiber that is good for patients with constipation. They are also rich in pectin which speeds up the transit time of the colon.
They have naringenin which has an effect on the colon by increasing the secretion of fluid in it, resulting in the softening of stools.
Although using natural laxatives may be best to treat constipation and irregular bowel habits, it is essential to make changes to your dietary routine and start regular exercises.
Dietary changes may include adding fruits and vegetables with the highest amount of fiber to your dietary habits and minimizing the intake of fatty foods and foods that can cause constipation.
A list of fruits that have the highest mount of fiber and may be among the best natural laxatives are tabulated here:
Fruits with the highest amount of Fiber (>5 gm per 100 gm)
|Raw Purple Passion Fruit||10.4 g|
|Raw Avocados||6.7 g|
|Medjool Dates||6.7 g|
|Raw Raspberries||6.5 g|
|Raw Guava||5.4 g|
A list of vegetables with the highest amount of fiber that are among the best natural laxatives is tabulated here:
Vegetables with the highest amount of Fiber (>4 gm per 100 gm)
|Green peas||5.7 g|
|Lotus root||4.9 g|
|Broad beans||4.2 g|
|Chicory greens||4.0 g|
|Collard greens||4.0 g|