Herbal Health Treatment of Constipation

Most people report that they have a bowel movement daily and that it is easy to go to the toilet without any pain or discomfort.

Constipation sufferers do not have regular bowel movements and may find it difficult and uncomfortable to go to the toilet. This may be due to poor diet or a sluggish bowel

Two areas to look at closely are diet and the amount of water intake.

Your diet needs to be a balanced one with of fruit, vegetables and high fibre cereals.

An example of a day’s menu may be:-


Porridge with some fruit

Or Muesli

Or Weetabix/Shredded wheat/bran cereal

Seeds/nuts/oat bran are good to sprinkle on cereal to provide extra roughage.

Glass of water


Sandwich, preferably with wholegrain bread

Or baked potato

Or salad


Glass of water


Meat, two vegetables and some source of carbohydrate such as potato or pasta or rice.

Brown rice has more fibre than white

Glass of water

At some point in the day you need to drink another three glasses of water

You will notice that there is no tea and coffee included in this diet. That is because tea and coffee contain tannins and caffeine which slow the digestive process in the bowel down and may cause a sluggish digestion.

Rooibos and herbal teas do not contain tannin and caffeine so are acceptable substitutes.

Gut flora contribute to the digestive process so eat some live yogurt two or three times a week, especially if you have had to have antibiotics or steroids.

If you are fairly sedentary, start doing some form of exercise even if it is walking. This will stimulate circulation around the body and help all body systems to function better.

I love reading the ancient herbals like Culpepper, because most of the remedies seemed to be to “PURGE THE GUT” or to treat “SCROPHULOUS SORES”

I guess the people in those days had very poor diets lacking in both fibre and Vitamin C

There are many herbs which help to improve digestive function:-

All bitter herbs stimulate the liver and digestive enzymes to ensure the food is properly broken down and the waste eliminated.

Dandelion root improves digestion by stimulating the liver

Burdock root more gentle on the digestive system but a good cleanser

Yellow dock root this is strong and will really clear everything out as well as being a good nutritive herb

Barberry a good liver stimulant for a sluggish liver quite strong though and should be used in small amounts.

These may be taken in tincture form as “simples” in other words on their own, or as capsules. If you buy them over the counter follow the instructions on the bottle or packet. Don’t take all of them together you will be sat on the loo for a long long time and they may give you cramps. Also do not take any of them if you are pregnant as anything that stimulates the gut may also stimulate the uterus.

There are many ready made over the counter preparations, but make sure they are licensed products so that you know they have been tried and tested.

Psyllium or Ispaghula seeds are a tiny little seed which act as a gentle bulk laxative in the bowel, they help to retain fluid in the bowel and so soften the stool.

A teaspoon of the seeds are soaked in a glass of water overnight and then drunk the following morning. They go slightly gloopy due to the mucilage they contain, but this helps retain fluid in the bowel and bulk the stool out.

You can buy them in health food shops.

If you need more help and would like to visit me in the Clinic please click here or on the Clinic tab at the top of the page.

Linda Bostock

Medical Herbalist/Herbal Health Information