WHAT DOES IT MEAN? WHAT'S CAUSING IT? WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Are you prone to a problem with 'Constipation'?
How often should you poop? Ayurveda suggests that one bowel movement in the early morning followed by a possible second bowel movement later in the day is appropriate. Your stool should be more or less the shape and texture of a ripe banana, easy to pass, formed, and somewhat bulky. Less than one bowel movement a day, or if the quantity is very small count as constipation.
The importance of healthy elimination in Ayurveda is summarized by the phrase "You are as healthy as your colon." Poor bowel health results in fermentation of fecal matter, which irritates and ultimately degrades the lining of the intestines. Fermentation also creates toxins that are absorbed into the blood. Daily evacuation of stool prevents a cascade of potential health problems.
Constipation by ConstitutionIn Vata constipation, the stools are dry and hard. A bowel movement may consist of a group of small hard stools, likened to rabbit pellets, dry pieces, or lack of a bowel movement altogether. This dryness of the stool has several causes. It may be due to frequent urination that results in chronic dehydration. It may be due to toxins that disrupt the nervous system, causing asynchronous contractions. Similarly, stress and anxiety can disrupt peristalsis, causing constipation.
In hot Pitta constipation, the stools are smelly and sticky. It may come out in pieces and be difficult to clean. This is due to an excess of hot, oily foods your diet. Fried food and red meat in particular are culprits - they are hard to digest, therefore taking a long time, and create excess oil in your stool while heat dries out the water. What remains is sticky, somewhat dry, and difficult to pass. You may feel incomplete after visiting the bathroom.
Kapha constipation consists of large, infrequent bowel movements. This is due to a lack of mobility in the colon, resulting in sluggish bowels. When there is finally enough energy to stimulate peristalsis (the wave-like motion of your intestines which expels stool) the result is a large quantity. This slow metabolic rate may be associated with depression and hypothyroid.
Treatment by Type
Adding a pinch of salt to water can help a Vata person stay hydrated. Adding more oils and fiber in your diet can also help. Foods with sour taste can soften stools. Belly breath releases tension in abdomen. A short walk massages your intestine.
Vata type constipation is sometimes remedied by gentle, nourishing laxatives like milk with ghee or marshmallow tea, as well as calming herbs like ashwagandha and kava kava. Nourishing, sweet, oily foods like sweet potatoes with ghee, oatmeal, cooked apples and pears all encourage smooth elimination in Vata types.
Hot, sticky Pitta constipation requires cool, soothing herbs and foods to reduce inflammation and encourage hydration. A favorite Ayurvedic herb that fits the bill is amalaki, one component of the famous colon detoxifyer- triphala. Aloe vera juice or gel cools down your digestive tract while helping to hydrate your intestines. Drink plenty of coconut water, too.
Kapha constipation is caused by poor bowel tone, a complication of hypothyroid. Sluggish Kapha type constipation requires bitter greens, roughage and fiber in the diet to keep the bowels clean and moving. Taking mild laxatives, like triphala, gently scrape your colon clean and keep you regular.
Stimulant laxatives like senna and castor oil are a last resort, and not to be used without guidance of your health practitioner.
ARE YOU NEW TO AYURVEDA?Are you wondering what Ayurveda is and how to use it for 'Constipation' and health in general? LEARN MORE
REBALANCE YOUR BODY WITH DIET, LIFESTYLE & HERBS HAVING THESE QUALITIESEverything you eat has an effect on your body, which Ayurveda categorizes in a simple and easy way, using gunas. Gunas are qualities (like cold and hot) that describe the effect a food or herb has on your body. Cooling foods like cucumber, decrease metabolism. Heating foods like chili pepper, stimulate your body and increase metabolism. For 'Constipation', you should select foods with the following qualities (gunas). Individual results will vary, based on your body type and the root cause of your imbalance. For best results, get a one on one consultation.
QUALITIES THAT MAY CORRECT IMBALANCESRELATED TO CONSTIPATION
To learn more about the symbols above, click on them.
FAVOR HERBS WITH THESE MEDICINAL PROPERTIESIngredient and herbs each have unique effects on the various organs of your body. Herbalists study these effects and categorize them, so it is easy to identify which foods and herbs are most helpful for your unique body type. Click on the medicinal properties below to learn more about them, and to figure out which recipes, ingredients and products will be a good match for you. Individual results will vary depending upon the root cause of your imbalance. The following medicinal properties are useful for a general case of 'Constipation'. You must independently verify whether these medicinal properties address the root causes of your case of Constipation.
Cleanse and Detox:
DETOXICANTAn herb that eliminates or metabolizes toxins from the body.
GENERAL-LAXATIVEPromotes a bowel movement. General laxative is an umbrella term that refers to several different types of laxatives...
High Fiber Laxative,
HIGH-FIBER-LAXATIVEA class of laxative that adds bulk and water to stools. The size of a stool stimulates peristalsis and the stool passes more easily through the colon. It is important to drink plenty of water when using high fiber laxatives, as they can be dehydrating.
STOOL-SOFTENERAn herb that softens stool that is hard and difficult to pass. They are the safest and most gentle type of laxative. Some foods are even stool softeners, such as warm milk with ghee.
DIET TO BALANCE 'CONSTIPATION'
DO YOU WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR UNIQUE BODY?
What aggravates it? What heals it? Then get your Personal Ayurvedic Body Book! This book, written by founder and director of Joyful Belly, John Immel, is individually formatted for your unique body and will help you confidently choose food that restores your healthy glow to get you feeling like your best self. Just $19.99!
EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES FOR CONSTIPATIONBrowse these educational resources for 'Constipation'.
SPECIALITY FORMULAS, AYURVEDIC HERBS, & NATURAL PRODUCTS FOR CONSTIPATIONWe've specially chosen these products because of their potential for healing imbalances associated with 'Constipation'. Choose a product from this list that also matches your imbalanced doshas and qualities, to ensure a good fit. Please review these products to determine which are right for you. Before making any changes to your health and wellness routine, please check with your medical doctor.
Other Related Herbs & ProductsTriphala,   Shatavari,   Chyavanprash Nutritive Jam (9.4oz),   Haritaki
REMOVE THE CAUSES OF YOUR IMBALANCEWith Constipation, one or more of the following doshas and qualities may be aggravated. If you have an imbalance of one of these doshas or qualities, Ayurveda recommends avoiding foods and lifestyle habits that aggravate that quality and/or dosha. These imbalanced doshas and qualities will need to be brought back into balance before this condition can be healed. Click on the quality to learn what foods and lifestyle habits should be avoided. If you have a systemic imbalance of one of these doshas or qualities, Ayurveda would generally recommend avoiding foods and lifestyle habits with that quality.
CONSTIPATION USUALLY MEANS THESE
|GUNA||DO YOU HAVE THIS IMBALANCE?|
Status UnknownTake these quizzes to find out if you have an imbalance of 'Toxic' guna
Status UnknownTake these quizzes to find out if you have an imbalance of 'Heavy' guna
Status UnknownTake these quizzes to find out if you have an imbalance of 'Dry' guna
Status UnknownTake these quizzes to find out if you have an imbalance of 'Cold' guna
Status UnknownTake these quizzes to find out if you have an imbalance of 'Astringent' taste
To learn more about the symbols above, click on them.
On Joyful Belly, we've created an extensive categorization of food so you can easily match food to your imbalances (gunas). By eating an optimal diet that balances your gunas, your whole body is strengthened and the conditions that created the disorder are removed. Once the root causes of the disease are removed, the disease lessens in strength or disappears altogether. Additional remedies - such as herbs and lifestyle practices - focused on the specific disorder, can greatly enhance your healing.
About the AuthorJohn Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda. His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful. His online course Balance Your Ayurvedic Diet in a Week provides tools for gracefully healing with Ayurveda to thousands. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda , which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition. John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.
John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.
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