How Do I Choose the Best Natural Laxatives?

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

The best natural laxatives are those that are both effective and safe for your body. Some natural laxatives that are generally considered both safe and effective include prunes and prune juice, pear juice, and canned pears. You may also experience relief from constipation by taking an herb called senna. For additional ideas about natural, safe laxatives, you can seek the advice of a doctor, especially one who specializes in naturopathic treatments.

Teas that contain senna may be beneficial as a laxative.
Teas that contain senna may be beneficial as a laxative.

One of the simplest natural remedies you can use for constipation involves consuming fruit or fruit juice. Many people choose to eat prunes or drink prune juice as a natural laxative. Prunes work because of a substance called sorbitol, which is a type of natural sugar. Your body cannot digest sorbitol and reacts by sending fluids to your intestines. The fluid helps to soften your stools and makes it easier for you to move your bowels. A laxative called dihydrophenylisatin is found in this fruit as well.

Prunes are effective natural laxatives.
Prunes are effective natural laxatives.

Pear juice is also is one of the best natural laxatives. Pear juice contains both fiber and a type of sugar that is referred to as fructose, two ingredients that can help you to successfully move your bowels. Since you may find pear juice tasty, this natural remedy may be more enjoyable than other types of laxatives. Likewise, it is gentle on the gastrointestinal system, and you are unlikely to suffer from side effects when you consume it. Additionally, you may find that eating canned pears also helps to encourage bowel movements.

Pear juice is considered a natural laxative.
Pear juice is considered a natural laxative.

If you are looking for a stimulant type of laxative, you may find that teas, pills, or liquids that have the active ingredient senna are particularly effective. Also called cassia, this herb has been used as a natural laxative for hundreds of years and is an ingredient in many commercial constipation treatments. This herbal remedy contains a substance called anthraquinone, which is an organic compound that helps the intestines contract, resulting in a bowel movement. In general, you can expect a bowel movement in the morning if you take senna at night.

Natural laxatives can help treat constipation.
Natural laxatives can help treat constipation.

Although senna is one of the most effective natural laxatives, it is not without risks. Although usually safe and mild, it can cause such side effects as cramping, discolored urine, nausea, joint pain, and light-colored stools. It also has potential to cause jaundice, itching, and numbness in muscle tissue. Additionally, you may risk becoming dependent on senna for having bowel movements if you take it for a prolonged period.

Oranges may help with constipation.
Oranges may help with constipation.
Carrots are high in fiber.
Carrots are high in fiber.
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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Discussion Comments


@ElbowTickle - I use orange juice *and* vitamin c. I don't like taking pills so I dissolve my all natural vitamin c pills in a half cup of hot water. Then I mix it with ice in the blender and add the orange juice. It makes a frothy drink.

I usually add 2000 mg of vitamin c, 1 cup of orange juice and a cup of ice. Blend the ice and vitamin c (in half cup hot water) first, then add orange juice. Sometimes I add a splash of almond milk to make it taste like a cream-sickle.


The safest and most natural laxative I've found is just a lot of fruit juice. It works great for natural colon cleanses. Orange in particular can cause a quick laxative effect, but I've used lemon and apple before too. It's just whatever has a ton of vitamin c in it.

If you don't want the calories that come with the orange juice, try taking around 6000 MG of vitamin c in a day. It's completely safe and will make your skin healthy. It only works if you take more than your body can absorb -- so take half of it one hour and half the next hour.


@tanner182 - I agree that it's good to clean out your body. I've tried some natural laxatives for my son and he won't take them. I've tried to get him to eat prunes and the chocolate laxatives -- but he doesn't like them. I know he likes fruit (he's little, what kid doesn't like fruit) so maybe I can get him to drink coconut juice.

I've wanted to use a natural laxative for weight loss, but all of the natural brands are far from natural. I think I'll try coconut too.

Thank you for sharing!


When ever I need a laxative, I just drink a bottle of natural coconut juice. The oils in it cause a laxative effect if you have enough of them at once. A lot of liquid laxatives from the store taste horrible – at least coconut won't make you gag.

I think that it's good to clean out your body occasionally and coconut has always worked for me. If you don't like the idea of drinking it plain, just hide it in a smoothie. Monthly, I add it to my morning strawberry, banana and apple smoothie. You can barely tell it's in there.


Senna leaf tea is by far the best natural laxative that you can take. Senna works quickly and the tea actually tastes pretty good. It is something I would drink normally if it wasn't for medicinal purposes.

The only real drawback of senna leaf tea that I can think of is that it can work a little too well. If you are sensitive to senna it can give you one heck of a stomach ache, not to mention some serious abdominal cramping. I must admit when I first started drinking senna leaf I had a few surprising and painful visits to the bathroom. But what can I say, it certainly worked.


When I was a kid I remember my mom used to coax me into drinking prune juice to help with my constipation. While prune juice is an amazing natural laxative, I just could never get past the taste.

Prune juice to me always had a very strong flavor that actually made me gag. I clearly remember wrestling with my mom over drinking it. I would dodge all I could but she made me drink it. Perhaps it was cheaper than over the counter medication? Who knows. Prune juice is a terrible drink and I would pretty much recommend anything over it.


@indigomoth - I think if you just take care to add natural laxatives to your diet gradually, that's the best course of action.

I just started adding chopped prunes to my oatmeal in the morning, and drinking a bit more fruit juice. You have to be careful about the fruit juice, though, as it's so bad for your teeth.

I think what really helped was making sure I had a good serving of green vegetables with each meal, actually. It was nice to no longer have to take supplements to stay regular. Natural laxative foods are all anyone really needs.


Remember that just because something is "natural" doesn't mean it can't do you some harm if you drink or eat too much of it.

I wouldn't go deliberately consuming too much of something in the hope that you will cure yourself of constipation, or you might end up going the other way. And that can be even more dangerous and unpleasant.

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