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Herbal remedy for yuletide blues

By Chukwuma Muanya, Assistant Editor
28 December 2017   |   4:19 am
Top on the list of natural remedies that have been scientifically validated to move your bowels are: Cassia alata (Senna alata), Aloe vera, drinking enough water, regular exercise, eat more fibre and local vegetables, drink more caffeinated coffee, among others.

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Top on the list of natural remedies that have been scientifically validated to move your bowels are: Cassia alata (Senna alata), Aloe vera, drinking enough water, regular exercise, eat more fibre and local vegetables, drink more caffeinated coffee, among others.

Commonly called bush candle, Cassia alata/Senna alata, which belongs to the plant family fabaceae/ leguminosae is an ornamental shrub.It is called Asunrun Oyinbo in Yoruba and Ogalu in Ibo. It is locally used in Nigeria in the treatment of several infections, which include ringworm, parasitic skin disease. Senna alata is also credited for treatment of haemorrhoids (pile), constipation, inguinal hernia, intestinal parasite, blennorrhagia, syphilis and diabetics. Blennorrhagia is an excess of such discharge, often specifically referring to that seen in gonorrhea.

A randomized controlled trial of Cassia alata for constipation published in journal PubMed concluded that Cassia alata leaves are effective as a laxative and no study done so far has shown toxicity as a result of consuming Cassia alata leaves. The plant has been found to contain anthraquinones, presumed to be the active ingredient causing the laxative effect.

Being dehydrated regularly can make you become constipated. To prevent this, it’s important to drink enough water and stay hydrated.Some studies have found sparkling water to be more effective than tap water at relieving constipation. This includes people with chronic idiopathic constipation or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Research on aloe vera juice benefits for IBS is mixed. One study shows positive results for people with IBS who experienced constipation, pain, and flatulence. However, no placebo was used to compare these effects. A study on rats shows benefits as well, but it did not involve human subjects.Studies on the effect of exercise on constipation have shown mixed results. In fact, many studies have shown that exercise does not affect the frequency of bowel movements.

However, a recent randomized controlled study on constipated people with IBS found some interesting results. It found that exercise significantly reduced symptoms.Other studies have also found similar results for this group of people. While many studies have found that exercise does not affect the number of times people go to the bathroom, it seems to reduce some symptoms of constipation.

People who are constipated are often told to increase their fibre intake. This is because increasing fibre intake is thought to increase the bulk and consistency of bowel movements, making them easier to pass.In fact, one recent review found that 77 per cent of people with chronic constipation benefited from supplementing with fibre.

Other studies have found that while dietary fibre can increase the frequency of bowel movements, it doesn’t help with other symptoms of constipation. These include stool consistency, pain, bloating and gas.Nigerian researchers have recommended regular consumption of special diet made predominantly with slightly cooked vegetables as effective treatment for piles.

The researchers from the Department of Plant Science and Applied Zoology, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, have identified 143 local plants useful in the treatment of piles.The results of the study published recently in Nigeria Scholars Research Library Annals of Biological Research showed that special diet that was recommended apart from the herbal recipes are vegetables, which should be slightly cooked. They include green spinach, Amaranthus viridis (Amaranth, Tete in Yoruba, akwukwo nri in Ibo), Celosia spp (Lagos spinach, Soko in Yoruba), and waterleaf (Talinum triangulare). The use of Occimum gratissimum (scent leaf, Nchuanwu in Ibo, Effirin in Yoruba) as species in some soup is also very effective in the treatment of piles.

The herbal recipes or plants include among others Senna alata (Asunrun oyinbo in Yoruba, Ogalu in Ibo), Gongronena latifolium (Utazi in Ibo and Arokeke in Yoruba), Axonopus compressus (carpet grass), Anogeiessus leiocarpus (chew-stick, atara in Ibo, ayin in Yoruba and farin gamji in Hausa), Pteleopsis suberosa (wuyan giíwaá in Hausa), Tetrapleura tetraptera (Osakirisa or Oshosho in Ibo, Aidan in Yoruba), Khaya senegalensis (mahogany) and Allium spp (garlic, onion, shallots).

Also, drinking coffee, especially caffeinated coffee movel the bowels. For some people, coffee can increase the urge to go to the bathroom. This is because coffee stimulates the muscles in your digestive system. In fact, one study found that caffeinated coffee could stimulate your gut in the same way that a meal can. This effect is 60 per cent stronger than drinking water and 23 per cent stronger than drinking decaffeinated coffee.

Coffee may also contain small amounts of soluble fibres that help prevent constipation by improving the balance of your gut bacteria.Bloating is a feeling of fullness that is caused by the buildup of gas in your stomach and intestines. You may experience abdominal pain that varies from a dull to sharp and intense in conjunction with bloating.

Bloating is most often caused by improper digestion and poor food choices. Additional behaviors that can cause bloating include overloading your stomach, drinking carbonated beverages, eating spicy or fried foods, and eating too quickly.According to EarthClinic, there are a number of different natural treatment options you can try, but three of the best are activated charcoal, apple cider vinegar, and peppermint tea.

Natural Cures for Bloating and Fluid Retention by EarthClinic noted: “Activated charcoal helps neutralize and absorb the acids in your stomach. Doing so, the charcoal reduces the amount of gas being created and already present in your stomach to offer you relief. It also eliminates toxins and other parasitic organisms that may be causing issues. To get relief, try taking one capsule of activated charcoal by mouth when you are feeling bloated.

“Apple cider vinegar is really just fermented apples. When you add this fermented liquid into your stomach, it helps regulate your digestive processes and relieves painful gas and bloating. To use this treatment, drink a tablespoon of ACV in water or tea prior to eating.

“Peppermint tea possesses important relaxant and antispasmodic properties. These properties help relieve bloating and promote effective digestive. The tea also helps to soothe your digestive system. To use this remedy, simply prepare a cup of peppermint tea (either by steeping dried organic leaves or using a pre-bagged tea) and drink it approximately 30 minutes prior to eating to prevent bloating or when you experience bloating to help calm your stomach.”

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