Ayurvedic Treatments for Constipation
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Ayurvedic Treatments for Constipation

Ayurveda is a holistic approach to health and wellness that emphasizes balance between body, mind, and spirit. It’s one of the oldest and most respected medicinal traditions in the world. Today, it’s practiced widely, both in India where it originated and around the world.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health Trusted Source estimates that around 240,000 people use Ayurvedic medicine in the United States.

Ayurveda focuses on preventing disease, so its approach to treating constipation encompasses a whole range of healthy choices, rather than focusing solely on laxatives and immediate relief.

In addition to natural laxatives, an Ayurvedic diet, exercise, and massage are key elements of maintaining a healthy digestive system. Keep reading to learn more about Ayurvedic treatments for constipation.

An Ayurvedic view of constipation

AyurvedaTrusted Source describes three separate doshas, which are forms of energy at work in the body. While every person has all three doshas, one is generally dominant. The dominant dosha is expressed in a person’s body shape, characteristics, and health vulnerabilities.

Here’s a brief overview of the three doshas:

  • Vata: a type of energy associated with movement, space, and air
  • Pitta: a type of energy associated with metabolism, fire, and water
  • Kapha: a type of energy associated with body structure, earth, and water

Together, these doshas regulate your body functions. An imbalance between them results in illness, poor functioning, or disease.

Ayurvedic medicine explains constipation as an imbalance in the vata dosha, which centers in the colonTrusted Source.

Ayurvedic laxatives

Some Ayurveda practitioners say constipation is related to an excess of cold and dry elements in the body — remedied by adding warmth, hydration, and oils.

Some of the Ayurvedic laxatives described below can be made into warm, soothing teas or taken in tablet form with water. Some are available in liquid form, too.


One of the best known Ayurvedic laxatives is Triphala, a medicinal blend of dried fruits from the plants Emblica officinalis (Amalaki or the Indian gooseberry), Terminalia bellerica (Bibhitaki), and Terminalia chebula (Haritaki).

A small 2011 studyTrusted Source found that Triphala improved constipation symptoms for 79 percent of the study participants after 2 weeks of use — roughly 65 percent saw improvement the first week. None of the people in the study reported any unpleasant side effects from using Triphala.

In more recent animal and human studiesTrusted Source, Triphala has lowered blood sugar, boosted weight loss, and improved the gut biome by promoting growth of the beneficial microbes Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus. Research from 2021Trusted Source concluded that Triphala is an effective treatment for diabetes, constipation, and obesity.

You can buy Triphala in a powdered form, which is useful if you want to brew an Ayurvedic herbal laxative tea. Some people find the taste of the laxative tea bitter. If you do, add a teaspoon of honey after your tea has steeped. Lemon isn’t recommended.

You can also buy Triphala in tablet or liquid extract forms if you prefer.


Senna, an herb used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an over-the-counter laxative. Compounds in the herb (sennosides) stimulate the lining of the bowel, usually bringing constipation relief in 6 to 12 hours.

Senna is considered to be safe for adults and children when taken at the right dose and for less than 1 week Trusted Source. Longer periods of use aren’t recommended.

Some people may experience stomach cramps and diarrhea when taking senna. Children in diapers may develop blisters if their diapers aren’t changed often when they’re taking senna laxatives.

Senna isn’t recommended for children under 2 or people with these health conditions:

  • heart disease
  • electrolyte imbalance
  • dehydration
  • Crohn’s disease
  • an intestinal blockage
  • ulcerative colitis
  • stomach inflammation
  • appendicitis
  • hemorrhoids
  • anal prolapse

It’s also important to know that taking senna in combination with other herbal laxatives such as horsetail, licorice, aloe, buckthorn, and others could cause a big drop in your potassium levels.

When your body doesn’t have enough potassium, you can experience a range of symptoms, including fatigue, muscle cramps, and heart palpitations.


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