Is your elimination healthy? Proper elimination of waste is one of the key indicators of a healthy body according to the Ayurvedic understanding of wellness. Alandi student Sierra Brashear offers tips and home remedies for diarrhea and constipation.
A healthy stool is about the consistency of a ripe banana, and occurs at least once per day, ideally in the morning shortly after waking. Eliminating with less frequency or passing stool that is harder than a ripe banana indicates constipation, while eliminating more than three times per day or passing stool that is much softer than a ripe banana indicates diarrhea. If rather than a healthy stool you experience one of these imbalances, a simple Ayurvedic home remedy might help get you back on track.
Constipation is a result of dryness (vata) in the colon. When you experience stools that are harder than a ripe banana or do not occur daily, choose from the following remedies to see what gets you moving:
- Chew a handful of almonds with rosewater.
- Eat 6-8 very ripe apricots daily.
- Soak a handful of raisins in water overnight and eat in the morning.
- Eat a ripe banana in the evening before bed.
- Take a teaspoon of ghee in a glass of hot water each morning on an empty stomach and again at bedtime (especially useful in pregnancy)
- Take sesame oil. Take a teaspoon on day one, two teaspoons on day two and a tablespoon on day three. Continue taking a tablespoon of sesame oil a day until you have smooth and easy bowel movements. Do not take enough sesame oil to give you any loose bowel movements; keep it at the amount that gives a nice normal bowel movement. After about ten days, try stopping the oil and see if you continue to have good motions. If not, resume the oil.
In Sanskrit, diarrhea/diarrhoea is known as Atīsāra. Two of the primary causes of diarrhea are excess ama (toxins), which leads to excess downward flow of apana vayu, or by excess pitta (heat) in the body. When you experience loose stools or ones that are too high in frequency, pick and choose from the following remedies to see what calms your overactive digestive fire:
- Eat two unripe bananas.
- Eat one just-ripe pear (it should not be overripe or have brown spots) to help control symptoms.
- Finely grind a few sesame seeds. Mix with lukewarm water and honey, and drink.
- Boil 80 grams (3 oz) of tamarind pulp and seeds in 1 liter (1 quart) water for 10 minutes. Drink during the day until the symptoms disappear.
- Peel and stew two apples. Add a pinch of nutmeg, a pinch of saffron and 1 teaspoon of ghee, and eat.
- Mix 1 teaspoon of roasted and powdered mango seed in to yoghurt. Take twice daily.
- Drink takram made from 4 parts yogurt, 1 part water.
- To help in gut healing after an episode of diarrhea, well-steamed carrots with ghee are the first vegetable to eat. Carrots are an important prebiotic food to aid restoration of your microbiome.
This piece was written by a student of the Alandi Ayurveda Gurukula in Boulder, Colorado. Learn more about studying ayurvedaat our home school, or access your deep wellness with the support of our student practitioners in the Alandi Ayurveda Clinic.