Home Remedies for Constipation

| Modified: Jul 23, 2020
Add New Post Apple Cider Vinegar Remedy.

Constipation can be an acute or chronic problem. Natural remedies can often be useful for either type of constipation. It is crucial to relieve constipation and then figure out the root cause of constipation to prevent it.

Solving a chronic constipation problem will often solve other health issues and the general feeling of well being experienced when one's digestion is regular.

Natural Remedies for Constipation

Below are the top home treatments for constipation, according to Earth Clinic readers.

Magnesium

Magnesium is a necessary nutrient. Increasing your daily magnesium intake may solve your constipation problem, as well as other health conditions! There are many ways to improve your magnesium intake. You can read more about that on this page.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is one of our most versatile remedies, and it is just as useful for treating constipation. Apple cider vinegar helps reestablish a balanced pH in the body while supplementing essential nutrients like magnesium to restore regularity. Read feedback from Earth Clinic readers about ACV for constipation here.

Sea Salt Cleanse

Sea salt can be used to relieve constipation, usually within hours. This remedy requires only a high-quality salt, some pure water, and close proximity to the restroom.

What Causes Constipation?

There may be many contributing factors to constipation. You will need to evaluate your own situation and experiment with different solutions to figure out how to keep your system regular.

Dehydration

Inadequate water intake is a common cause of constipation. Your body needs plenty of pure water to work well. If you do not have enough water, hard, dry stools can result. You should be drinking plenty of water or herbal tea daily - about 1/2 your body weight, in ounces each day. Soda pop, energy drinks, and milk do not count towards this amount. Adding a small pinch of salt, a splash of lemon juice or a capful of apple cider vinegar will increase the health value of the water you drink.

Lack of Exercise

Lack of exercise can contribute to chronic constipation. Try taking the stairs instead of an elevator. Jump on a rebounder while watching television. Take a walk in the sunshine during your lunch break. Play frisbee with your children or neighbors.

Medication Side Effects

Check the side effects of your medications. Some medications, including pain medication, blood pressure medication, cold medications, and antidepressants, can cause constipation. Ask your doctor about alternatives to your current prescription if you think this may be contributing to your constipation problem.

Poor Positioning

Modern toilets do not put the body in the most favorable position for evacuation. A step stool for your feet when you are using the bathroom can help with this problem.

Stress

Stress can bring your digestive system to a halt. Travel, a change in diet, lack of sleep, and different water can contribute to a slow down of your digestive system. For this cause, magnesium may be the solution. It relaxes the body and the colon.

Poor Diet

Modern diets contribute significantly to the common problem of chronic constipation. Fast foods, processed foods, excessive dairy consumption can and do cause constipation in many people. Sometimes adding one or two specific foods to your diet can improve the situation significantly. Others will find that a significant overhaul of the diet is needed to correct constipation and companion health problems. Even the popular high protein/low carb diets that have helped many with chronic health problems have a side effect of constipation.

Constipation Relieving Foods

Try adding one or more of the following foods to your diet and see if it brings you relief:

  • raisins
  • prunes
  • watermelon
  • oat bran
  • seaweed
  • beets
  • cucumber
  • oatmeal
  • cabbage
  • legumes (chickpeas, pinto beans, black beans)

In general, fruits and vegetables are a help to constipation. Meats, processed foods, and dairy products, especially in large amounts, tend to be constipating.

As aforementioned, water is critical. Other helpful liquids for constipation are juices, including apple juice, apple cider, and prune juice. Even coffee in moderation can be beneficial for constipation.

Symptoms of Constipation

Constipation is usually defined as dry, hard, and infrequent bowel movements. Infrequent bowel movements are uncomfortable, but they can also cause secondary health problems, including hemorrhoids. Because regular bowel movements help eliminate toxins and waste, infrequent bowel movements mean that the toxins and waste are remaining in the body.

There are many home treatments to effectively relieve constipation. You likely have many of these home remedies in the kitchen right now.

See topics on the sidebar for an incredible number of natural constipation remedies and positive responses from our audience. These folk remedies can help address everything from constipation pain and tenderness in the abdomen to the toxic whole-health effects that can result from a case of severe constipation.


Acidophilus

Posted by Lydia (Miami, FL) on 12/06/2006
5 out of 5 stars

I have been constipated for the past thirteen years due to meds and my years of suffering from anorexia and especially bulimia. I only eat healthy food and I HAVE tried everthing and wasted a lot of money to help my situation between doctors' visits, medicines and supplements. Lately the thing that is proving to be helpful is acidophilus (in the millions), All brand fiber cereal (I find it delicious) and magnesium (750mg/day) I have accepted mine as a hopeless case; however, this may help somebody out there!


Acupressure

Posted by Mary Beth (Pittsburgh) on 02/06/2017
5 out of 5 stars

Constipation (and probably diarrhea too) better with acupressure

Large Intestine

The poster originally used "sedation" of the large intestine to reduce constipation, but "tonifying" may help with the opposite problem, diarrhea.

Tonifying:

On the right side, press lightly (a nickel's weight worth) on the outer side of the elbow crease (i.e., the thumb side) AND if manageable, also press a "body hand width" at a spot below the kneecap bone.

A body-hand-width for the person-who-posted means about one inch, measuring from the middle of the edge of the palm of the hand to an opposite spot on the non-palm side.

Press these two spots at the same time for one minute.

Then on the left, press on the same points for another minute.

Then do the second set of points:

On the right side, press a point in the hollow side of the thumb side of the wrist crease on the non-palm side of the hand. (This point is between the hand and the lower arm bone.)

At the SAME TIME, press in at the depression that is on the little finger side of the hand, moving up the side of the hand, over a little bump of the wrist bone. I found this spot by starting at the part of the lower arm bone near the hand, then moving upward toward the little finger, by sliding upward, over that bump in the wrist bone. I used two fingers, to make sure I had the right spot. Hold these for thirty seconds.

Do the same again on the left side.

I only had to do this two times on my bladder meridian, to stop being incontinent. It has not been completely foolproof, as my disease has progressed, but mostly it has freed me from the potty substantially.

Sedation:

It is important that I also tell you how to sedate your large intestine. This practice was very useful to relieve my constipation.

Also, if you over-tonify, your meridian/muscle can get too tight, so I had better tell you how to loosen it.

To sedate, on the right side, you'll want to press a point on the right hand -- and, if you are flexible enough, ideally you can also, at the same time, press the other point on your right foot. I can JUST do this: but if it is difficult, do one point at a time, starting with the points on the right, then do the same points on the left.

It really does not matter if you do the right points first, and then the left. But you are supposed to do all the right hand points, at one time, then all the left hand points at one time.

Use your left hand to press a point that seems to be close to the knuckle of your pointing finger, at the bottom of the finger, and on the side of the finger that is closest to the thumb. AT THE SAME TIME, use your right index finger (since it is still NOT doing anything) to press on the point on the side of your foot, just a smidgen down the foot from where the toe meets the foot. Hold this at a "nickel's weight" for one minute.

Then do the left side the same way.

The second set of points is the same as the points for tonifying, copied and pasted from above:

On the right side, press a point in the hollow side of the thumb side of the wrist crease on the non-palm side of the hand. (This point is between the hand and the lower arm bone.)

At the SAME TIME, press in at the depression that is on the little finger side of the hand, moving up the side of the hand, over a little bump of the wrist bone. I found this spot by starting at the part of the lower arm bone near the hand, then moving upward toward the little finger, by sliding upward, over that bump in the wrist bone. I used two fingers, to make sure I had the right spot. Hold these for thirty seconds.

Do the same again on the left side.

This remedy worked for the poster in two days later -- and she has been "loose" ever since!

The poster used the pictures and descriptions from "Touch for Health" by John and Matthew Thie -- and "Energy Medicine" by Donna Eden.


Posted by Susan (Atlanta, Georgia, USA) on 11/27/2008
5 out of 5 stars

For constipation, I use an acupressure point in the arm. The point is found when you bend the arm - for example, place your right hand on your left shoulder. At the bend of the elbow, use your left hand to locate the acupressure point about halfway between the crease of the bend and the bone. Massage that point for about 15 seconds, then switch to the other arm. Back and forth. I also do this while standing. Usually works within 10 to 15 minutes at most. Also, I have cut out wheat and all gluten grains. I did not think I had a gluten problem but found out that I have that sensitivity.

Replied by Lee
Durban, South Africa
03/12/2013

Hi! Could you please explain a bit more clearly where this acupressure point on the arm is?

Replied by Stan
Las Vegas, Nv
10/04/2013

I found the accupressure spot you're looking for. When you put your right hand on your left shoulder, use your left hand and there's a hollow spot just above your right elbow. You'll know when you've found it because there's a sharp pain if you do have a constipation problem.

Replied by Cheri
South West Tx
02/13/2016
5 out of 5 stars

a million thanks to you for the explanation on where to do the accupressure. people - IT WORKS.

I have a family member w/chronic constipation due to medication and most times things are working as I give flax seed, good yogurt, steel cut oatmeal, etc etc BUT sometimes the elimination is delayed I guess you'd say.

WELL, simply doing this right/left, twice had the results. What a relief to know this and not have to resort to other attempts with the milk of magnesium etc.


Replied by Boomer
Edmonton, Ab
11/03/2009

Make sure if you rub your stomache that you do it in a clockwise motion. Rubbing counter clockwise can result in increased constipation and can cause problems with your intestines.

Posted by Donna (Aspen, CO)
5 out of 5 stars

Every morning, before you get out of bed -- rub your tummy with your fist, not too hard, gently, but make an impression, only for about 10 seconds. It may take two mornings of rubbing, but you'll never be constipated again.

Apple Cider Vinegar + Vitamin C

Posted by Nita (Mineola, Tx) on 03/04/2020
5 out of 5 stars

For Constipation:

2 Tbs of Bragg apple cider vinegar, packet of Emergent C, half glass of water, every morning for years now.


Baking Soda, Borax

Posted by Andrea C (Cardiff, Wales) on 05/15/2011
5 out of 5 stars

I eat a good diet, of organic produce drink distilled water. no amount of laxatives did n e thing for the constipation caused by my meds cept' made me feel toxic! yesterday i started the bicarb/lemon juice [alkalizing tonic] as sir ted suggested. this morning i got up at 4am as i couldn't sleep drank a half pint of distilled water from a litre wth 1/8 teaspoon bicarb the same amount of of borax dechahydratate mixed together in the same litre. hoorah! talk about colonic irrigation!!! 2 hours later i was queen of the porcerlain throne!!! amazing! the gas waste all came away rapidly with no pain to my hemorrhoids or agonising anal fissures! hope this helps someone else love ANDREA C X X X


Bentonite Clay

Posted by Vladimir (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) on 12/31/2007
5 out of 5 stars

Hi. I started taking Bentonite Clay after reading about it on the internet and especially on http://www.eytonsearth.org/ I don't know whether it is because of it or because of the other supplements I take but I am less constipated and sleep better. I also believe it contains many minerals and they're natural (not processed). I am taking a table spoon of a very dense Bentonite Clay and water solution every night before going to bed. I would recommend it. It would be also interesting to hear other people's experiences with Bentonite Clay.

Replied by Joyce
Glasgow, Scotland
03/29/2008
1 out of 5 stars

Warning

I digested Psyllium and Bentonite clay for a colon cleanse. This was to ruin my whole life and caused immediate gastritis and triggered rosacea/rhinophyma. The onset of syptoms were abrum, immediate and extremely severe. I now have blepharitis and meibominaitis as a result. I was very stupid and digesting this product has ruined my whole life. DO NOT TAKE THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Replied by Ken
Cendtnnial, Co.
05/22/2008
5 out of 5 stars

I used the Psyllium and Bentonite shakes With Paragone at the same time for colon cleanse for 3 mo. It was quite amazing. Although You must take Vitamins and Liquid minerals with it because it sucks everything out. Bentonite absorbs 90x it's weight in toxins. 2Tbs of Psy. and 1 Tbs of Bent. in 12oz. of water at bed time. No other medication or Vitamins within 2 hrs. before or after, since they won't be absorbed with the shake. Also you must take Acidophilus to replace the healthy bacteria in youe colon or you may have major problems. Neem oil may help the Rosacea.

Replied by Clare
Uk
06/30/2011

I've started taking B&P shakes and think its making me a little constipated. Not badly but as its drawing out toxins, I don't want anything stuck there, if you know what I mean!

Joyce, I'd be interested to know how much you took. Everyone, I'd be interested to know just how much you should take, there's so many different 'recipes' around.

Also, did the bentonite actually CURE yr constipation? I've read it can cause it, what can you take to best alievate it? I've read on here about other constipation cures and started ACV just now so hopefully by tomorrow.... :)

Replied by Nursecaitlin
Boston, Massachusetts Usa
10/23/2012
0 out of 5 stars

I've worked with dialysis patients for years and bentonite clay has come up many times. It destroys your kidneys over a few years. The clay sticks to the inside of your nephrons. As the kidney disease advances (slowly) the nephrologist will ask you to allow them to perform a kidney biopsy, it is at this time that it is discovered that clay, acual clay, is stuck inside the millions of tiny nephrons in each kidney. Although you may see positive results, kidney disease, and evenually dialysis, is the end result.


Brazil Nuts

Posted by Ninegps (Atlanta, Ga.) on 02/02/2018
5 out of 5 stars

I have suffered from constipation for many many years throughout much of my 40s fore sure. I am stunned that Earth Clinic does not have Brazil Nuts as the number one remedy for constipation. I have tried apple cider vinegar I use magnesium on a regular basis and they do not work for me. I have a very clean diet I eat lots of fruit and vegetables and high fiber every day. I do not, however, drink as much water as I should. One day I was watching a physician show on a major television networks and one of the doctors said that we must have a balanced amount of selenium in our diet. Who knew? He mentioned Brazil nuts. I immediately went to Whole Foods and grabbed a bag. They work but you must be careful about how many you consume. They can be toxic. I only eat 3 a day.


Caffeine

Posted by Lee (Durban, South Africa) on 03/12/2013
5 out of 5 stars

I find that caffeine works best for my constipation. It's not the healthiest option, so I'm looking for some as effective, but healthier.


Castor Oil

Posted by Jay (Orlando, Florida) on 08/01/2013
5 out of 5 stars

For constipation, I finally found relief by taking a spoon full of cold-pressed castor oil in the mornings along with my cup of tea. I now only need to take the oil about once a week or less.

I started with a strong cleanse (4 tablespoons) initially using the castor oil and gradually reduced the amount over time. Warning stay close to your commode!!!!!

The oil I use is 100% certified organic cold pressed Castor oil.

Replied by Mari
Florida
12/08/2016

1-how long you were on 4tbsp?

2-did you do 4tbsp daily in the morning?

3-how did you manage the taste? how you were able to swallow it?

Thank you.

Replied by Faeqa
Amman, Jordan
12/08/2016
62 posts
5 out of 5 stars

I put two drops of castor oil in the navel hole 2 times a day it is wonderful for constipation and I don't have to manage the taste.


Posted by TAN KOON PENG (SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE) on 06/20/2008
5 out of 5 stars

One teaspoon of Errand oil (oil of ricinis communis) is very helpful in relieving from the constipated condition.

EC: Errand oil is another name for castor oil in Marathi.


Castoria, Syrup of Figs

Posted by Brooke (Montgomery, Tx, USA) on 12/05/2010
5 out of 5 stars

One day Castoria the next day syrup of figs. From a few drops taken all day long, to a half tsp taken once a day. It all depends on your body and how constipated you are.


Causes

Posted by Sasha (Savanna-la-mar, Westmoreland) on 08/29/2012

Hello, I have been suffering from constipation for quite some time and I am also very underweight. However lately I found out I had Celiac Disease. My small intestine is damaged from years of ingesting gluten and I just found out. The happy thing though is the fact that I now know the cause of my illness. I am going to see an herbalist to help with healing my intestine. Forget about the regular doctors. They are only trained to sell medications and do surgeries, eventually also being a sales rep for the funeral homes.

Replied by John
Boston, Ma
09/03/2012

Sasha, You have the right approach. You will want to take a good pro-biotic. Look for one with a broad spectrum of strains (8 or more)and active cultures in the Billions (15B or more). You may have to adjust it up or down according to bowel tolerance.

The cheaper ones are under 5 billion and have fewer strains.

You should also look in to a good pre-biotic which is food for the good bacteria to thrive. Some common ones include FOS and inulin. You can also get pre-biotics from eating onions, leaks, garlic, and bananas.

An herbalist may also give you some herbs to soothe the digestive tract like marshmallow tea and anti-inflammatories like ginger tea.

It will be a good idea to take digestive bitters 15-30 minutes before eating. These are herbs that help stimulate the digestive juices to make sure you are digesting well. Another alternative is to take digestive enzymes and Betaine (HCL) if you need it.

Replied by Jennifer
Napa Valley
05/27/2018

Caffeine causes chronic constipation. If you really want to stop this cycle, ween yourself off caffeine asap (takes about 8 days slowly tapering off and then switching to decaf for a week or so before quitting). I was an avid coffee drinker that swore I would never give it up but I promise there is a rainbow at the end of the dark coffee withdrawal tunnel and you will be more regular than you have ever been in your life. Caffeine and coffee (yes, even if it's “just one cup in the morning”) has a detrimental effect on your entire health, nutrition absorbtion, cortisol level, weight loss efforts(if you want to lose 10 pounds without even trying, quit all caffeine for 2 months and it just falls off)

Forget any “health expert” that tells you caffeine is ok, it's slowly destroying your health, do some research on “quit caffeine” and listen to people who have quit after many years of thinking it was harmless or that they could not think they would survive without it.

when is the last time you slept 8 hours straight without waking up once? That starts at about day 6. Happy sleeping, happy health!


Celery

Posted by Don (Michigan, USA) on 12/23/2019
5 out of 5 stars

This Holiday Season you may become “irregular“ from festive meals. Don't waste money on harsh chemicals like Miralax which is pretty much antifreeze. First thing in the morning on a empty stomach juice, blend or eat 2-3 ribs of celery with a large glass of water and in no time you will be your regular self.


Chia Seeds

Posted by Deb (Lebanon, Oregon) on 12/04/2014

Having grown up with chronic constipation (a small amount once a month) I have been trying to remedy it for the past 20 years (I'm now 57). I've tried all the recommendations. A number of years ago I discovered powdered magnesium and I kept increasing the amount until I had results. Two tablespoons would keep me regular. Concerned about taking this much I kept searching but always would default back. Then I found chia seeds. I soak a tablespoon over night and put it in a 3 fruit smoothie for my breakfast every morning. It has been working for a year now with daily regularity (sometimes twice a day).



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