Constipation is often considered the result of low roughage in food. In some individuals, less waste is produced after digestion. This can be increased by consuming sufficient roughage. To counter this issue, consumption of green leafy vegetables is advised by many. However, according to Ayurveda, these vegetables are not Vata-friendly and should not be eaten very frequently. Ayurveda’s solution to constipation is edible gourds such as bottle gourd, snake gourd, ridge gourd, etc.
As mentioned earlier, constipation is more often a result of improper digestion of food. The process of defecation is governed by a Vata called ‘apana‘. When this apana Vata is obstructed, the sensation of passing of stools is not generated in the intestines due to incomplete digestion.This leads to a feeling of heaviness and restlessness. That is our body’s way of telling us that the food that we had on the previous day is not yet fully digested. In this case, the best way to aid our digestive fires and apana is with some simple measures. The first thing is to avoid eating heavy foods. When you are hungry, take semi-solid, easy-to-digest foods such as vegetable soups. Taking hot water with lemon juice helps relieve the obstruction of apana Vata. For more troublesome symptoms, a mixture of equal amounts of ginger, black pepper, and long pepper powders can be taken with rock salt. This mixture increases the digestive fires and also corrects the Vata movements.
The method of combating constipation also varies from patient to patient, depending upon whether they are thin or obese.
Fighting Constipation If You Are Overweight Or Obese
No exercise, an excess intake of sweet, fats, meat, etc. cause accumulation of the fat tissues, bringing about a laxity in the areas where it is present. This laxity extends to the intestines. Even if stools are oily because of the laxity, intestines cannot throw them out. People suffering from this disorder should put a complete, immediate stop on the consumption of sweets and oily foods. Grains such as pearl millet and finger millet should be added regularly to their diet. Lentils, split green gram, and soups are beneficial when taken without ghee. Intake of foods that are pungent or bitter should be increased. It is good to eat plenty of green vegetables, particularly when they are boiled. It is also advised to drink warm water rather than cold, whenever thirsty.
Here are some simple ways of fighting constipation:
- Take ½ to 1 teaspoonful of haritaki powder daily with hot water.
- Those with flatulence should take haritaki along with a pinch of rock salt.
- Triphala powder may also be used in the same way.
Combat Constipation If You Are Thin
There are two types:
- Some people hate fatty foods very much. Eventually, these people develop dryness in their intestines. They lack the necessary oiliness which is provided by fatty food. They are advised to increase this fat intake by taking 2-3 teaspoons of ghee mixed with a pinch of rock salt before meals.
- Some individuals consume sufficient fat in their diet. However, because of low digestive fires, they are unable to digest it. The oil and fat go through the intestines and reach the end just the way they were. In this case, stool is oily, heavy and smelly, and sinks in the water. On the other hand, this fat is unable to reach the tissues that need it. This may cause such individuals to strain and put more pressure to evacuate the bowel, which in turn, again aggravates the Vata. If ignored, this kind of constipation can later lead to serious diseases such as chronic problems of the large and small intestines, and rheumatoid arthritis.
People suffering from this disorder should first try to increase their digestive fires, albeit a difficult task. One needs to first fast for a couple of days until the accumulated toxins are digested completely. This may sometimes take even four to five days. Until that time, even water should be taken only if you are thirsty, and it should be hot. This time allows the digestive fires to consume the accumulated toxins, thereby causing bowel movements even if you are not taking any food. To make it easier, you can take some haritaki or triphala with hot water. After the completion of your fast, you should start with a soupy rice preparation. Later, increase the diet with split green gram and boiled vegetables. Checking each time whether the previous meal is digested, very gradually resume a regular diet. To boost your digestive fires, take half a cup of water with a pinch of black pepper powder before meals. This will help digest the fat in the food and a little part of this fat will even reach the tissues. These tissues will gradually get nourished properly and the channels that are closed will open up. Gradually, the intestines will become strong enough to get rid of waste material, relieving constipation completely.
DISCLAIMER: Nothing in this document may be viewed as the diagnosis or treatment of any medical disease whatsoever. The contents of this document are the opinions of the author based on his learning and experience. This document is meant only for educational purposes. The Ayurveda Experience is not liable or responsible for the suggestions made herein.
Please consult your primary care physician before implementing any change in your diet or lifestyle.