Constipation Overview:

Constipation is defined as bowel frequency less than 3 times per week or the need to exert the body more than 25% of the time during defecation. 



  • Inadequate fiber intake
  • Inadequate fluid intake
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • High stress (causing inhibitory effect on autonomic innervation of the colon)
  • Drug intake
  • Poor liver function

Special Considerations:


  1. Reduce muscular tension
  2. Carminatives (best long term)
  3. Antispasmodic (best short term)
  4. Reduce stress
  5. NEVER use anthraquinones



  1. May use anthraquinones but only as last resort for short term use
  2. Ensure adequate fluid intake

Therapeutic Aims:

1. Improve Liver Function

  • Choleretics (Silybum marianum, Cynara scolymus)
  • Cholagogues (Silybum marianum, Cynara scolymus)

2. Increase Stool Bulk

  • Laxitives (Bulking)

3. Improve Intestinal Peristalsis

  • Antispasmodics (Zizyphus spinosa, Piper methysticum, Passiflora incarnata)

4. Lifestyle Changes

Depending on what the cause of the constipation was, some lifestyle changes can go a long way in long term maintenance and treatment.


Herbs For Constipation:

  • Fringe tree - choleretic/cholagogue
  • Silybum - choleretic, hepatic
  • Taraxicum - choleretic/cholagogue
  • Cynara - choleretic cholagogue
  • Matricaria - spasmolytic
  • cramp bark - spasmolytic
  • Bulking herbs
    • althaea
    • ulmus
    • plantago


Justin Cooke

The Sunlight Experiment

Updated: June 2018

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