Ayurvedic treatment for constipation

Constipation in Ayurveda

A normal bowel movement is being able to pass normal stools in the morning without resorting to laxatives or stimulants like coffee or nicotine.

A normal stool is soft, non-sticky, and has a ripe banana consistency.

Constipation is a common but challenging health concern characterized by reduced stool frequency or increased difficulty in evacuation. It is a nagging problem in the modern world.

Many people don’t realize they have constipation. Going regularly but not feeling satisfied is also a part of constipation, and so is spending a lot of time in the toilet to get the desired results.

Different body types have unique bowel habits.

Stool habits according to body type:


Wind elements dominate this body type and has light and dry qualities.
This constitution is more prone to being constipated. A balanced Vata person will feel satisfied after going once a day.
Imbalanced Vata will have irregular bowel habits ranging from regular to irregular, hard to soft.


Hot qualities dominate Pitta.
A balanced Pitta person will have the heat under control, leading to soft but solid stools. The person could have to go more than once, and the tendency is very regular.

When Pitta goes out of whack, however, stools turn softer, and frequency increases. It’s the body trying to release extra heat through the medium of stools. The stool will also have a strong odor caused by the burning tendency of the extra heat.


Kapha has heavy, soft, oily qualities.
Balanced Kapha personality tends to have large, soft, well-formed stools. The habit is regular.
Imbalanced Kapha will lead to a sticky mucusy stool due to increased oily quality.


According to Ayurveda, constipation can be caused by excess Vata, Pitta, or Kapha. Vata type is the most common.

Vata constipation

It can be compared to normal transit constipation in modern science, where there is a normal movement of stool in the colon, but still, there is a feeling of constipation. It is characterized by bloating, pain, and hard stool.
This kind of constipation is caused by foods and habits which increase dryness in the body. These are:
• Eating raw, bitter, cold foods like salads and green leafy vegetables: Interestingly, it’s a common notion that fiber-rich raw foods help in bowel movements. While these foods help move the bowels, they don’t treat the root cause of Vata constipation, which is dryness. Dryness is, in fact, increased by raw, bitter, fiber-rich foods.
• Suppressing the urge to pass stools: This is known as ‘Veg Dharana’ in Ayurveda. This suppression could be due to reasons such as no access to a clean toilet at the time of urge or feeling embarrassed or inconvenient to go. This holding of the urge creates a retrograde upward energy known as ‘Udavarta’ in Ayurveda. If we develop it into a habit, it can cause migraines, mental and emotional issues, piles apart from constipation.
• Lack of exercise and continuous sitting also causes udavarta as mentioned above.

Dryness is removed by oiling the system. This is achieved by adding oils like ghee to the diet or taking oil basti (enema). Sometimes, a combination of ghee and castor oil is used. Nuts and seeds are also good.
Hydration in Ayurveda is achieved predominantly by oils and fats, unlike modern science, where drinking loads of water in a day is held important.

Pitta constipation

It is characterized by heat. Excessive heat results in drying up of the stools, resulting in constipation.
This constipation worsens when eating hot, spicy food and fried stuff.

The treatment would be bitter, sweet, and astringent foods. Whole grains, leafy vegetables, etc.
Herbs like aloe vera and licorice are good choices.


It can also cause constipation by slowing down the movements in the intestine, especially by clogging the colon with mucus. Also known as slow transit constipation, this kind of constipation requires eating fiber and raw foods. Raw foods are rich in bitter taste, so they speed up the movement of stools in the colon. Bitter is anti-Kapha or anti-mucus.
Herbs like Triphala are also very helpful in this case.

Sometimes, constipation is very serious, and there is no bowel movement for days.
Colectomy, or the surgical removal of a part or whole colon (large intestine), is often advised in such cases. Such complicated cases require Panchakarma procedures. We have successfully treated such cases with the help of Panchakarma, especially basti treatments and self-prepared medicinal ghee. Many patients have been able to avoid surgeries.

Various kinds of laxatives are generally used to treat constipation. Most of these generally leave the intestine dry and must be taken repeatedly to get desired bowel movements, resulting in habit formation. They also irritate the flora of the intestine.

A more comprehensive approach would include:
• Understanding the body type
• Eating and exercising according to the body type
• Right herbs
• Panchakarma therapies

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