Chronic constipation is very common and products to relieve it are commonly prescribed or purchased. It is largely a hidden problem until bowel disorders present themselves. A healthy gut is the foundation stone of natural healing. There is general agreement that the bowels should empty at least once a day in order to move waste out of the system and prevent auto-toxicity. Fewer than 3 bowel motions a week would be considered problematic. The frequency of bowel movements is important but so is the structure and appearance of the stool which should be quite bulky, easy to pass and semi-formed. A factor that is frequently underestimated is the overall tone of the muscle layer of the colon or large bowel. A weak muscle has no “push”, whether that muscle is embedded in the arm or in the gut. This is resolved with dietary changes and natural healing programmes designed to improve muscle tone.
Common factors that contribute to chronic constipation are dehydration, low fibre diets, lack of exercise, overall muscle weakness and degeneration that may accompany illness and age. Many drugs cause constipation including opiates such as morphine and painkillers such as codeine phosphate, plus antibiotics that may severely disrupt healthy colonies of gut flora that help to keep the bowels functioning.
A healthy colon is not only efficient at moving waste out of the body but it also performs activities that enhance your overall immunity as well as vitamin production. If waste remains embedded in the gut then disease follows. You may find it beneficial to work with trained practitioners to create a bowel that is both strong and functional. Practitioners in natural healing and herbal medicine can be found at The Association of Master Herbalists or The College of Naturopathic Medicine.
Foods & herbs for the home
- Water is the best lubricant; 1-2 litres a day is essential.
- Your gut health is also improved with foods that are high in water as well as natural fibre. This includes all fruits, many vegetables and salad crops.
- High fibre foods that are especially good at providing “grip” for the bowel wall include Organic Linseeds and many other nuts and seeds. Ideally all of these should be pre-soaked and you should chew them well.
- Organic Psyllium Husks are highly effective at adding bulk to bowel contents, making stools easier to pass.
- Changing a diet takes time and other factors may need to be managed as you make the transition from a low fibre diet to high fibre. Green leafy vegetables, broccoli and cauliflower are very important foods but not everyone can tolerate large amounts. There is considerable fibre in Superfood Plus as well as high levels of easily absorbable vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. This is particularly important for the frail and elderly who are restricted in activity and who are inclined toward weaker digestion.
- Many foods have a tendency to stimulate your body to produce mucus and this will slow down gut activity. The worst offenders are dairy products, eggs, cheese, white bread and white flour products as well as potato starch and other refined thickening agents.
- Whole grains and oats produce the correct environments for gut bacteria to thrive, as do beneficial flora-rich foods such as sauerkraut.
- Encourage gut bacteria by taking high-quality (non-dairy) probiotics. Eating figs and prunes can also help.
- Soups are an easy way to introduce more fibre and water into the diet. Using grains such as Organic Pot Barley instead of wheat is gentler on the gut – wheat can act as an irritant and produce sticky mucus. Adding plenty of onions, garlic, black pepper and raw chillies will be helpful due to their action on gut movement.
- Ask us for a sample of IntestAble Capsules.
- A strong and healthy colon is a cornerstone of natural healing. Experts such as Dr. John Christopher and Dr. Richard Schulze have pioneered herbs and treatments to correct chronic bowel disorders and restore bowel tone. You can purchase our recommended books or download them for free including Dr Schulze’s "5-Day Bowel Detox" and "Detoxification Vol. 2" which explains auto-toxicity and its long term effect on health and vitality.
- Bowel detox or colon cleansing programmes are promoted by natural healers. The products in our Bowel Detox Kit will support this.
- Short term relief of constipation can be assisted with a formula developed initially by Dr Richard Schulze – our version is called Chamomile & Cascara Capsules and you can ask us to send you a free sample.
- Longer term support for a weaker colon is achieved with a herbal formula developed by Dr John Christopher. Our version is Barberry Capsules – these herbs have a gentle action and are designed to tone the muscle wall of the bowel. Please ask us for a sample.
- Abdominal massage can be very helpful. It is especially effective for people who are unable to move freely and exercise. Food-based oils such as Peach Kernel Massage Oil will form a nutritious base that feeds the skin. The addition of stimulating essential oils can also help. Black Pepper Essential Oil has a particular affinity with the bowel and combines well with Ginger Essential Oil which is warming and anti-spasmodic. Add 2 drops of each to 20ml of base oil.
Additional help is available by phoning the free product advice line at Herbs Hands Healing between the hours of 9.00am to 1.00pm. Tel: 01379 608201.
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Learn more about Dr. Richard Schulze’s Superfood Plus and why we believe this is such a wonderful food by following this link on our website, where extensive information is available. Also please visit our Superfood Plus facebook page for articles and current news.
To learn more about natural healing for this and other ailments, visit Dr Schulze's blog.
If you would like to see videos of Jill Davies showing you plants growing in their natural settings and discussing their medicinal attributes then visit us on facebook. You can also explore additional herbs and their traditional uses by linking to Herbs Info & Photo Gallery and Herb Profiles. Useful additional information can also be found at the Herbs Hands Healing information pages on Detox & Cleansing and Natural Healing.