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Those with digestive issues often not only experience abdominal discomfort and difficulty using the bathroom, but also fatigue, trouble sleeping, and poor skin. These symptoms occur because poor digestion often means that toxins are remaining in the body longer and affecting the way most of the body’s systems function. Some doctors prescribe chemical laxatives, but patients sometimes find these solutions are too harsh. Changing up one’s diet is often an effective and gentle way to aid digestion. Homemade laxative options range from dried fruit and herbal teas to certain types of grains and even a few dairy products.
Dried fruits often make an effective homemade laxative. Raisins, prunes, figs, dates, and currants are all full of fiber that helps move food through the digestive tract, and typically softens stool to make it easier to pass. Adding a small handful of these fruits to pancakes, waffles, or a bagel covered in cream cheese could help these carb-filled breakfasts digest faster. Those that like sweet salads can toss some dried fruit with greens and dressing. Other examples include adding figs and dates to an Asian-style vegetable side dish, or making a honey-raisin sauce for use on ham. People may also simply eat one or a combination of these fruits after meals.
Teas are another popular kind of homemade laxative. Many herbs have some kind of laxative effect, especially those that are aromatic and strongly flavored. People who like the taste of black licorice might enjoy hyssop, licorice, or anise tea. Others may find dandelion root tea more palatable. Elder flowers and chamomile make a gentle, floral-tasting laxative tea that pairs very well with honey.
Those choosing to use tea as a homemade laxative should typically add a spoonful of one of the above dried herbs to a mug of hot water. The tea should steep for about eight minutes and may be sweetened with honey or sugar after it is strained. Herbal laxative teas should not be taken more than twice a day, unless the patient is otherwise directed by a doctor. Licorice is especially effective and may be taken just once a day until the patient can judge how it affects him or her.
Oatmeal, flaxseed, and psyllium seed husks can also be used in homemade laxative mixtures. Any of these grains may be eaten with cereal or as part of a parfait. Oatmeal and flaxseed may be combined, but psyllium seed husks should typically be eaten without any other natural laxatives. Some people might enjoy mixing oatmeal with probiotic yogurt to further aid digestion. Yogurt, kefir milk, and other fermented milk products are their own category of natural laxatives. The good bacteria in these products boosts digestion and breaks down food more quickly in the intestines.