Article by Angela Haldane
Q. I have an ongoing battle with constipation. How can I manage this with natural remedies?
A. To naturally stimulate digestive enzyme secretion and bile flow, consume sour foods like lemon squeezed in water on rising, and balsamic vinegar on vegetable sticks while preparing dinner. These digestive secretions stimulate wave-like contractions in the bowel and facilitate breakdown of food particles. Sour foods were traditionally part of our diet, but Western diets now mainly comprises sweet and salty foods only.
Fibre from wholegrains, fruits and vegetables helps. Ground linseed, sunflower seed and almond (LSA), slippery elm powder or psyllium hulls are also beneficial. Serve with yoghurt and stewed apple. Drink plenty of water every day.
Exercise is another useful tool . Yoga, especially squatting, can help, as can massaging your abdomen in a clockwise direction.
Should the lifestyle measures not be sufficient, you can visit a registered medical herbalist such as Natural Ange Ltd or visit www.nzamh.org.nz to find one in your area.
Some people suffer constipation as a result of a masked food allergy (see more information on this website in the 'About' section on the allergy test).
Others hold tension in their gut – lemon balm or chamomile can help with such cases. Otherwise, herbs such as senna to stimulate peristalsis can be effective, but should not be used long term. Try the herbal Digestive Relief on this website as a tonic – it relaxes the digestion tract and promotes secretion of digestive enzymes.