Laxatives are compounds that support bowel regularity. Many of these ingredients are derived from plants that have a long history of use in health traditions.
What are Laxatives?
The health of our digestive system affects our daily lives and serves as a key sign of general wellness. Unfortunately, research shows that approximately 65 million Americans have digestive problems. Notable among them is constipation, a situation that develops when bowel movements become uncomfortable and/or infrequent.
Laxatives assist with the waste elimination process, helping to uphold normal and regular bowel movements.**
Laxative nutrients often come from botanical sources and have long been used in traditional health practices. They usually take effect by adding bulk to waste, allowing it to move more readily through the digestive system, and/or softening stool for easier passage through the intestines. In addition to easing constipation, these supplements aid with cleansing the intestinal tract, especially the colon.**
Many over-the-counter products with these effects include synthetic ingredients. For those looking to relieve digestive issues naturally, botanical supplements may be preferred. These natural varieties may also offer plant-based nutrients that can be difficult to obtain through diet. The most well-known kinds of natural laxatives include:
- Fiber: Dietary fiber is an important component of overall health and helps to optimize the entire digestive process, including comfortable bowel movements. Studies have indicated that many people lack sufficient fiber in their diets. Soluble fiber absorbs water, slowing digestion and promoting a "full" feeling, while insoluble fiber travels through the body mostly unchanged. Prominent sources of soluble fiber are psyllium husks, oat bran and apple pectin.**
- Prune: Plums in a dried form, prunes have been utilized as a natural way of promoting regular and relaxed elimination. With an abundance of plant phenols as well as fiber of both the soluble and insoluble varieties, prune supplements are ideal for those that don't like the sweet flavor and sticky texture of the fruit.**
- Senna: These tropical plant leaves have long been used by many cultures to encourage bowel wellness. Featuring natural phenols called anthraquinones, senna is frequently paired with prune for a combined digestion-supportive effect. For those seeking regularity, senna is a particularly popular herbal supplement.**
- Cascara Sagrada: Another botanical historically called upon in health traditions, cascara sagrada is also abundant in anthraquinones. Cascara bark extract is specifically renowned for its purgative effect and ability to aid in cleansing the colon.**
- Fennel Seed: A relative of the carrot, the fennel plant produces seeds that have been long been used in various wellness practices for digestive health.**
- Licorice Root: The licorice plant, particularly its roots, has been incorporated into Chinese health traditions for generations to support ideal digestion and aid the body in cleansing.**
- Docusate Sodium: A common stool-softening supplement, docusate sodium is a form of salt. As with similar nutrients, the compound increases the amount of water that waste material takes on in the bowels, helping along its elimination from the body.**
- OxyTone: This branded ingredient features an activated blend of oxygen, magnesium and vitamin C to make up a proprietary digestive-wellness formula. The supplement is linked to comfortable bowel movements and colon health.**
- Castor Oil: Extracted from the seed of its namesake plant, castor oil has been used a folk aid for digestive function since ancient times. Research has shown that its considerable content of the omega-9 fatty acid known as ricinoleic acid eases the passage of waste material through the intestines for relaxed elimination.**
Laxatives are widely available as capsules, softgels, powders and teas. Cascara and senna are two of the most prevalent herbal varieties. These products should always complement a healthy diet that features ample amounts of fiber, lean protein, fruits and vegetables. It is crucial to take fiber-based supplements with a minimum of eight ounces of water.**
Laxative Product Directions for Use
Confer with your health professional prior to taking these products or beginning any routine supplementation. While there is no set dosage, many supplements are offered in the range of 250 to 1,000 mg.**