Category: IBS

An Ayurvedic approach for constipation relief

Constipation: Ayurvedic perspective

In Ayurveda, Constipation is known as ‘Vibandh.’ It is a common condition which affects a person’s normal bowel movements. In this condition, the affected person experiences difficulty in passing stools and emptying the bowel. In severe cases, the person may be unable to pass stools altogether for some time.

Ayurvedic Treatment of Constipation

According to Ayurveda

  • According to Ayurveda, the occurrence of constipation is linked to poor eating and lifestyle habits. This discomforting condition develops due to a gradual build-up of undigested food in the stomach and occult stool in the large intestines. As a result, the body’s Vata dosha is impaired, leading to an obstruction in the digestive tract. When the digestive tract is obstructed, the body is unable to support a proper bowel movement. This leads to the problem of constipation.
  • Hence, as per Ayurveda, the reason behind constipation is the improper functioning of the colon because of the cold and dry qualities of Vata energy. The excess of Vata in the body causes disruption to apana vayu, the downward energy which supports elimination and stability. Due to Vata imbalance, apana vayu flows in an upward direction rather than its usual downward flow.

Symptoms of Constipation

  • Some of the symptoms of constipation are indigestion (dyspepsia), acid eructation (belching), nausea, flatulence, stomach ache, scanty faeces, pain at the anus during defecation, feeling of heaviness of the body, lower back pain, and lack of appetite.
  • Ayurvedic approach to constipation relief involves the use of time-tested home remedies, use of herbs/herbal formulations, as well as dietary and lifestyle changes, in order to increase the regularity of bowel movements.

constipation-symptoms

Constipation relief: Ayurvedic approach

  • Ayurvedic remedies for relieving constipation are chiefly aimed at countering the effects of excess Vata in the patients, and restoring normal bowel movements. For this, Ayurveda recommends the addition of oil, warmth and hydration to the body’s excretory system.

Some useful Ayurvedic remedies which can be beneficial in managing constipation are:

Eat Vata-pacifying foods

  • To address the root cause — that is, Vata imbalance — of constipation, it is important for patients to modify their diet pattern and include foods that pacify the Vata. Towards that end, the diet of a patient suffering from constipation should comprise of properly cooked vegetables, warm foods, and warm drinks. It is also important to avoid cold foods and drinks, salads, dried fruits, and almost all types of beans.

Drink plenty of hot fluids

  • One of the best remedies that can normalize bowel movements for patients affected by constipation is to increase the daily intake of warm or hot fluids. Since warm water or herbal teas can effectively offset the cold quality of Vata, they should be taken frequently during the day. However, it must be noted that warm fluids should ideally be taken either 20 minutes before meals or one hour after meals.

Add organic oils to the diet

  • Some beneficial dietary changes, like increasing the use of organic oils, can provide relief in constipation. Oils provide lubrication to the tissues, so that the stool comprises an appropriate amount of grease or fat. Although nearly all oils can be used to treat constipation, the most supportive oils for managing Vata excess include ghee, olive oil, and sesame oil.

Increase the intake of fruits

  • The consumption of certain fruits is also useful in tackling the problem of constipation in a natural way. Fruits are fibrous and hydrating, and can pacify the Vata. The fruits that are believed to be especially beneficial in constipation include ripe bananas, papayas, peeled apples, soaked prunes, peaches, and soaked raisins.

Drink fruit juices

  • The juice of fruits like prunes and pineapple is recommended for relieving constipation. These juices have the ability to move excess Vata in the colon. The juices can be diluted with water if needed, or can also be warmed slightly.

Take hot milk with ghee

  • Hot milk, with ghee added to it, can be taken at bedtime to relieve constipation naturally. For this remedy, one or two teaspoons of ghee should be added to a cup of boiled milk. The combination of hot milk and ghee can treat the problem of constipation in patients who have a Vata or Pitta constitution.

Avoid foods that can cause constipation

  • Certain foods are known to cause or aggravate constipation, and should, therefore, be avoided by patients affected by the condition. The foods to be avoided in constipation are: refined foods such as white flour, white rice, bread, pizza, and pasta etc.
  • Moreover, ice creams and other colds foods, and high -protein food items like cheese, soybeans, and red meat should also be avoided. Furthermore, it is advised that the bran should not be removed from the flour because the bran is insoluble fiber. It has the ability to clear the obstructions in the intestines and alleviate constipation.

Other useful herbs for relieving constipation are

Use Triphala herb

  • The use of Triphala is one of the most powerful natural remedies for pacifying Vata and managing constipation. Triphala is a potent Ayurvedic formula prepared from a combination of three widely-known herbs — Amla (Emblica officinalis), Bibhitaki (Terminalia bellirica), and Haritaki (Terminalia chebula). Triphala can balance the body’s Vata, Pitta and Kapha doshas, and is especially beneficial for the colon. Triphala can support healthy elimination when taken in the form of powder or tablets at night, preferably 30 minutes before sleep.

Herbal Remedy for Constipation

Use Psyllium husk

  • Psyllium husk acts as a bulking agent in the colon and supports the elimination process. It can ensure the regularity of bowel movements because it is a natural source of soluble as well as insoluble fiber. For treating constipation, Psyllium husks should be soaked in warm milk or warm water. The intake of the husks should be followed by sufficient hydration.

Practice Yoga

  • Constipation can also be relieved with the help Yoga, particularly an inverted posture like viparita karani (the posture in which legs are placed up against the wall). This posture can put Vata back in the balance because of the reverse the flow of prana in the body. Hence, this posture awakens the lower part of the stomach and promotes a regular functioning of the ‘stuck’ organs in the pelvis.

Final Word:

  • The Ayurvedic approach for treating constipation involves the above-mentioned natural remedies which can rectify the Vata imbalance and normalize the stool movement. However, people suffering from chronic, recurring, or intense constipation should use  Ayurvedic remedies under the guidance of a renowned Ayurveda practitioner.

Benefits of Terminalia Arjuna in Treating Ulcerative Colitis

Overview

Ulcerative Colitis is the inflammation and ulceration in the colon and rectum. This problems begins in the rectum and spreads to the entire colon. We can say it is the combination of ulceration and inflammation which leads to discomfort and results to frequent emptying of the colon. Ulcerative Colitis is caused because of the unusual and abnormal response of our immune system. People of any age group can be diagnosed with it.

ulcerative colitis treatment in ayurveda

What are the causes which lead to inflammation of the colon that results to Ulcerative Colitis?

  • Autoimmune factors
  • Food allergies
  • Collagen disorders
  • Genetic factors
  • Infection

When one is suffering from Ulcerative Colitis what are the sign and symptoms seen?

  • Irregular bowel movements
  • Undigested food particles in stool
  • Diarrhea
  • Diarrhea with blood
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Unexplained fatigue
  • Unpleasant body odor
  • Weight loss
  • Distended abdomen
  • Poor appetite
  • On and off rectal pain
  • Burning sensation-chest and throat
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Low-grade fever
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Skin lesions
  • Sounds from the abdomen

The symptoms and causes of ulcerative colitis lead to complications which really needs attention and to be managed.

  • Severe bleeding
  • A hole in the colon (perforated colon)
  • Severe dehydration
  • Liver disease (rare)
  • Bone loss (osteoporosis)
  • Inflammation of your skin, joints, and eyes
  • An increased risk of colon cancer
  • A rapidly swelling colon (toxic megacolon)
  • Increased risk of blood clots in veins

According to Ayurveda

  • According to Ayurveda ulcerative colitis is Pittaj Grahani. Ayurveda says it is a complication due to vitiated Pitta Dosha, with the involvement of Vata. With consumption of foods that are Pitta-aggravating and the lifestyle followed damages rakta dhatu (blood tissue) and mamsa dhatu (muscle tissue), which results to the formation of ama that gets deposited in the intestines.
  • Due to it, the Vata Dosha is also aggravated and it blocks the Pitta and Kapha channels, resulting in inflammation, mucus accumulation, and edema. Ulcerative Colitis when treated by Ayurveda, involves removing the ama and restoring the healthy digestion.
  • Our nature is full of herbs and there are many herbs which help in managing and controlling the causes and symptoms of ulcerative colitis. But today we will discuss Arjun ( Terminal arjuna) the herb which has the potency to balance all the three doshas- Vata, Kapha, and Pitta. Arjun is loaded with properties which makes it useful and beneficial in Ulcerative colitis.

The Ayurvedic medicinal property of Arjuna which tells its qualities are-

  • Rasa (Taste) – Kashaya (Astringent)
  • Guna (Qualities) – Rooksha (Dryness), Laghu (Lightness)
  • Vipaka – Katu- Undergoes pungent taste conversion after digestion
  • Veerya – Sheeta – cold potency

The properties and the qualities of Arjun which makes it helpful in Ulcerative Colitis are-

  • Anti-inflammatory— The use of Arjuna help in reducing the inflammation in the colon which is the cause of ulcerative colitis.
  • Antioxidant– Helps in repairing the damages made to the body by the ulcers and inflammation.
  • Wound healing- Arjuna helps in healing the ulcers which are formed in the colon
  • Antacid- helps in controlling acidity and gastritis.
  • Antiulcerogenic– As per the property it gives a soothing effect to the ulcerative patients and helps in healing the ulcers as well.
  • Mucolytic– This property of Arjuna helps in controlling and treating the formation and excretion of mucus through stool.
  • Astringent– This property of Arjuna helps in controlling and managing the blood loss in the ulcerative Antitoxin– Arjun helps in removing the accumulation of toxins in the form of Ama.
  • Antihemorrhagic– Helps to control the excessive bleeding in the ulcerative patients.

Health Benefits of Arjuna

  • As Arjun is cooling, strengthening, soothing, and nutritive by nature which makes it helpful and useful in pacifying the aggravated Pitta Dosha. It also helps in gastritis and severe burning. The use of Arjuna increases the metabolism, production of enzymes which are required and are helpful in digestion, restores and refreshes the functioning of the liver.
  • Arjuna tree has calcium, copper, magnesium, and zinc which are inbuilt in it which gives it the properties of healing wounds Hence it stop the bleeding, heal the ulcers in the digestive tract, control diarrhea, improve hemoglobin levels in the blood, remove toxins from the body, reduce inflammation, and make the body strong.

Along with ulcerative colitis it is also useful in many other health issues and they are-

  • Coronary artery disease.
  • Heart failure.
  • Hypercholesterolemia.
  • Hemorrhages.
  • Edema due to heart disease.
  • Asthma.
  • Leucorrhea.
  • Obesity.

Heartburn

  • Due to the formation of Ama the digestive fire is affected which disturbs the digestive system causing heartburn. Intake of Arjuna will remove the Ama and ease the heartburn problem.

Gastritis

  • Due to poor digestion the food is undigested which leads to the formation of gas Arjuna helps in it.

Peptic ulcers

  • The use of Arjuna in it will control the bleeding, heal ulcers and remove the toxins.

Wounds & Skin Ulcers

  • Terminalia arjuna is used for treating wounds and skin ulcers. The use of the herb kills microbes, especially several strains of bacteria, and promotes wound healing.

Dysentery

  • Terminalia arjuna is very helpful in treating dysentery when given in combination. This herb reduces bleeding in stools, the frequency of defecation, and eradicates the infection.

Atherosclerosis

  • Terminalia arjuna herb has anti-atherogenic and hypolipidemic properties which makes it useful in reducing low-grade inflammation of the blood vessels and the antihyperlipidemic action of the herb lowers down the serum concentration of total cholesterol. It also reduces the atherogenic index.

Hemorrhages & Bleeding Disorders

  • Presence of astringents substances in Arjuna Bark has anti-hemorrhagic property, which helps to reduce the bleeding. Arjuna herb is commonly used in Ayurveda for treating bleeding disorders with a combination of other herbs.