Some Ayurvedic natural treatments like ginger or lemon water may offer some relief for constipation, but they are not a full-proof solution. Talk to your doctor if your constipation persists.

Share on Pinterest
Mayur Kakade/Getty Images

Constipation is a common condition that can cause extreme discomfort. When your bowels won’t move waste out of your intestines, the pressure can be intense — and the desire for relief can make you feel pretty desperate.

For centuries, people from all over the world have relied on Ayurvedic remedies to relieve constipation without causing additional pain. In fact, clinical studies are starting to catch up to what the Indian culture has understood for generations about traditional herbal ingredients and other Indian cures for constipation.

From what we know so far, some Indian remedies are more effective for treating constipation than others. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular Indian remedies for instant constipation relief, including what the science says and how you can try them at home.

A 2018 research review showed that ginger has a long and established history as a digestive aid. Ginger decreases the pressure on your lower intestines, which may help you have a bowel movement when you’re constipated.

A 2015 research review of clinical trials showed that people who took 100 milligrams (mg) of ginger extract had increased movement in their bowels when compared to a control group who took a placebo. What’s more, ginger may also help you manage other symptoms that often come along with constipation, such as nausea, cramping, and bloating.

Ginger is generally considered safe for children as well as people who are pregnant or nursing. In fact, ginger is even recommended for people who experience nausea and constipation during pregnancy.

How to use it

To use ginger for constipation, you can slice raw ginger root into pieces and chew it slowly. If the taste doesn’t agree with you, try brewing some ginger tea or simply steeping ginger in hot water.

Triphala is an herbal remedy that combines Indian gooseberry, black myrobalan, and belleric myrobalan. In addition to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, Triphala works as a mild laxative. Triphala can even be taken orally in small doses to help promote weight loss and prevent digestive cancers.

A 2017 research review showed that there’s a significant body of clinical research to back the use of Triphala to alleviate occasional constipation. However, children and people who are pregnant or breastfeeding are advised to avoid taking Triphala.

How to use it

You don’t typically need to do anything to prepare Triphala at home. You can purchase the herbal mixture in the form of a liquid, powder, or pill.

Ghee, also known as clarified butter, is popular in Indian cooking as well as home remedies. There are some people who swear by adding ghee to warm milk or warm water and drinking it before bedtime to relieve symptoms of constipation.

There isn’t a lot of research to back using cow ghee and milk to treat constipation. Dairy products tend to worsen intestinal blockages and symptoms of gastrointestinal distress, such as cramps. The evidence we have for using ghee in milk for constipation is mostly anecdotal.

How to use it

If you don’t have a sensitivity to dairy, it may be worth a try dissolving a tablespoon of ghee in a small cup of warm milk before bedtime. If you really need something to work quickly, you might be better off trying something else first.

Senna tea is an herbal blend made of flowers from plants in the legume family. Senna plants are grown all over the world, but a particular type of senna is cultivated in India for its health properties.

Senna leaves contain compounds called sennosides, which can irritate your digestive tract just enough to stimulate a bowel movement.

Senna isn’t recommended if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or if you are currently taking blood thinners or steroid medications. Senna should only be used for occasional constipation relief, as using it too much can cause damage to your digestive tract.

How to use it

Senna can be purchased in tea bags, or you can purchase the leaves to brew up using a tea ball.

Lemon (and other citrus fruits) contain high doses of vitamin C, as well as water-soluble fiber. Citrus can also sometimes stimulate your colon. That’s probably why some people use warm lemon water as a way to get things moving when constipation becomes a problem.

One 2021 study with mice showed that lemon peel powder helps relieve colitis.

The good news is that this remedy is safe for pretty much any child who is old enough to drink diluted lemon juice, as well as for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

How to use it

To try this remedy, simply squeeze some fresh lemon juice into water that’s warm to the touch and sip it slowly, preferably in the morning. In addition, try to stay hydrated with regular water throughout the day to try to relieve your constipation.

There are plenty of other home remedies that you can try for constipation. You can combine these remedies with traditional Ayurvedic ones, or you can opt to take it slow until you find something that works for you. Here are a few suggestions:

There are home remedies from Ayurervedic medicine that really do work for constipation. But there is no one-size-fits-all, “instant” home remedy for symptoms of constipation and digestive upset.

Natural remedies can work wonders, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t approach them with the same carefulness and considerations that you would use for any other type of medicine.

Speak with a healthcare professional if constipation is something that you’re dealing with on a frequent basis.