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Herbs & Plants

Rhamnus purshiana (Cascara Sagrada)

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Bnical Name :Rhamnus cathartica
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Rosales
Family: Rhamnaceae
Genus: Rhamnus
Subgenus: Frangula

Synonyms : Cervispina cathartica (L.) Moench,  Frangula purshiana, Rhamnus purshianus

Common Name: Cascara Buckthorn, Cascara, Bearberry, and in the Chinook Jargon, Chittam or Chitticum; Common Buckthorn

Habitat: Cascara sagrada is native to  Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to N. Africa and W. Asia.  It grows in fen peat, scrub, hedges, ash and oak woods, on calcareous often dry soils.
Parts Used:Dried aged bark

Description:

Cascara sagrada is a small deciduous tree that grows from 15-20 feet in height. It has pubescent stems covered with reddish-brown bark and often gray lichen. The tree bears dark green elliptic to oblong-ovate leaves with prominent veins and toothed margins. The leaves are rounded at the base and have somewhat hairy undersides. Short-stemmed clusters of small, greenish-white flowers grow from the upper leaf axils; they eventually produce black, pea-sized drupes that are poisonous.

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The bark is brownish to silver-grey with light splotching. The leaves are deciduous, alternate, clustered near the ends of twigs; they are oval, 5–15 cm long and 2–5 cm broad with a 0.6–2 cm petiole, dark shiny green on top, fuzzy and paler green below. The flowers are tiny, 4–5 mm diameter, with five greenish yellow petals; the flowering season is brief, disappearing by early summer. The fruit is a berry 6–10 mm diameter, bright red at first, quickly maturing deep purple or black, and containing three seeds.

It grows in moist, acidic soils in the shady side of clearings or in the marginal forest understory, near the edges of mixed deciduous-coniferous forests. It typically grows as a second-generation tree after alders have colonized a barren plot of land.

Cultivation:
Succeeds in any reasonably good soil. Prefers a dry or moist calcareous soil in sun or light dappled shade. This species is hardy to at least -15°c. Plants regenerate well after cutting or burning but young plants are rather prone to frost damage when grown in an exposed position. Plants are resistant to cattle grazing but young plants can be damaged by rabbits. Plants have a very shallow root system. This species often bears the aecidospore stage of ‘crown rust’ of oats so it should not be grown near cereals. The species in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. A good bee plant and a main food plant for the brimstone butterfly. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Propagation :
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed will require 1 – 2 months stratification at 5°c and should be sown as early in the year as possible in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle, and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year’s growth, autumn in a frame. Layering in early spring.

Medicinal Uses:Constipation, Colon Disorders, Liver Problems, Poor Digestion, Colitis, Hemorrhoids, Skin Problems.
The dried, aged bark of this tree has been used continually for at least 1,000 years by both native and immigrant Americans as a laxative natural medicine, commercially called “Cascara Sagrada“, but old timers call it “chitticum bark”.

Cascara is a very effective laxative, containing hydroxymethyl anthraquinones that cause peristalsis of the large intestine, emodin and other rhamnoid glycosides. It has been used as such by many First Nations groups. For example, Cascara bark tea was drunk as a laxative by Nuxalk, Coast Salish, Nuu-chah-hulth, and Kwakwakawakw, and a decoction of the inner bark and water was used as a remedy for dysentery. The bark is often aged before use so it will be less likely to cause nausea. First introduced to Europe in 1877, about 3 million pounds of the bark is harvested annually for use in commercial laxatives.  Squaxin used a Cascara infusion to wash sores–sometimes people chewed the bark and then spit it on sores. The bark has also been used to treat heart strain, internal strains, and biliousness. Skagit people burn the bark and mix the charcoal with grease to rub on swellings, and also have employed the bark in a green dye for mountain goat wool. Makah eat the fresh berries in July and August. Internally used for chronic constipation, colitis, digestive complaints, hemorrhoids, liver problems, and jaundice.  It is a medium-strength laxative and somewhat weaker than Rhubarb root and Senna leaf.   Externally used to deter nail biting.

Cascara Sagrada means “sacred bark” in Spanish. The much more pertinent name chitticum means “shit come” in Chinook Jargon; chittam comes from the Chinook Jargon phrase chittam stick = “laxative tree” which is similarly from the English word “shit”.

The bark is harvested mostly from wild trees; over-harvesting in the middle 1900s eliminated mature trees near many settled areas. Once stripped from the tree, the bark is aged for about 1 year to make its effect milder. Fresh cut, dried bark causes vomiting and violent diarrhea.

Short term side effects of Cascara Sagrada herb:
A medline search did not reveal any significant short term cascara sagrada side effects as long as it is not used for more than a week or two at a time without a break. It is best to avoid cascara sagrada if you have a chronic intestinal condition such as ulcerative colitis, or diverticular disease.

Long term cascara sagrada side effects:
When cascara sagrada or other anthraquinone containing plants are used for prolonged periods, potentially serious side effects can occur. These cascara sagrada side effects may include cramping in the abdomen and loss of body fluids. Dark pigmentation in the colon can occur and this is called melanosis coli.

Cascara Sagrada Research Update:
Colon cleansing regimens. A clinical study in 1200 patients.
Gastrointest Radiol. 1982;7(4):383-9
The purgative effect of bisacodyl, anthraquinone glycosides ( Cascara sagrada ), and sodium picosulfate, alone or in combination with a saline purge and a tap water enema, was studied in 1200 patients. The cleansing effect was scored with regard to retained fecal residue evident on double-contrast studies of the colon. The combination of a contact laxative and a saline purge produced good cleansing effect in 52%-80% of the patients. With an additional tap water enema given 1 hour before the colon examination, however, 96% of the colons were clean. The taste and the effects of the cleansing systems were tolerated favorably by more than 90% of the patients. However, 17% reported restriction in work capacity on the day of bowel cleansing.

Other Uses:
Dye; Hedge; Hedge; Wood.

A green dye is obtained from the immature fruit. Mixed with gum arabic and limewater, it makes a green pigment used in watercolour painting. Yellow, orange and brownish dyes can also be obtained. The colours are rich but fugitive. A yellow dye is obtained from the bark. It has been used to colour paper and maps. Often grown as an informal hedge, it is also amenable to trimming. Wood – hard, handsome with a marble-like grain. Used for small turnery.

Known Hazards: The fruit is purgative but not seriously poisonous. Other parts of the plant may also be poisonous. Adverse effects: Diarrhoea, weakness. Urine may turn dark yellow or red which is harmless. Possible body potassium loss if used for more than 10 consecutive days

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhamnus_purshiana
http://www.raysahelian.com/cascarasagrada.html
http://www.springboard4health.com/notebook/herbs_cascara_sagrada.html

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rhamnus+cathartica

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Ailmemts & Remedies

Fistula

Definition:
In medicine, a fistula (pl. fistulas or fistulae) is an abnormal connection or passageway between two epithelium-lined organs or vessels that normally do not connect.Fistulas can develop in various parts of the body. The following list is sorted by the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems.

The intestinal tract (or bowel) ends with the rectum. The last part of the rectum is a section about 1 1/2 inches long, known as the anal canal. It ends with the anus — the opening to the outside of the body. There are several common problems, including hemorrhoids, that can occur in the area from the rectum to the anus. While almost everyone has heard of hemorrhoids, the other conditions are not so well known.

Anal Fissure
An anal fissure is a small tear or cut which lines the anus that can cause extreme pain and are normally associated with bleeding. Some anal fissures, however, may not bleed and are known as dry fissures.Anal fissures occur in the tissue that lines anal canal, called anoderm, which contains a large amount of sensory nerves. This is the reason for the extreme pain associated with rectal fissures.

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Duodeno Biliary Fistula

Anorectal fistulas:

Fissures are normally cause by constipation and pressure in the area. However, it is also common to get an anal fissure from diarrhea, inflammation in the area and childbirth.Fissures can cause itching, pain and severe bleeding but are easily treatable.

Most people have experienced a tear or fissure at the corner of the mouth that can occur in cold weather or when yawning. Similarly, an anal fissure is a small tear in the lining of the anus, frequently caused by constipation. A hard, dry bowel movement results in a break in the tissue. However, fissures can also occur with severe bouts of diarrhea or inflammation. This results in the anus becoming dry and irritated, causing it to tear. Injury to the anal area during childbirth and abuse of laxatives may be other causes.

A fissure can be quite painful during and immediately following bowel movements. This is because the anus and anal canal are ringed with muscles to control the passage of stool and to keep the anus tightly closed at other times. When those muscles expand, it stretches the fissure open. There may also be bleeding or itching with an anal fissure.

Diagnosis
A simple visual examination of the anus and surrounding tissue usually reveals the fissure. It is quite tender when examined by the physician. Fissures are most often located in the middle posterior (back) section of the anus.

Treatment
More than half of all fissures heal either by themselves or with non-surgical treatment. Stool softeners can help reduce pain during bowel movements. Antibiotics may be used for a short time. Special medicated creams may also be used, especially if the fissure has become ulcerated or infected. It is important to keep the anus and area between the buttocks clean and dry. After bathing, the patient should gently pat dry with a soft towel. Applying talcum powder is frequently recommended. Sitz baths may help relieve discomfort and promote healing. A sitz bath is soaking the anal area in plain warm — not hot — water for 15-20 minutes several times a day.

If the fissure is not responding to treatment, the physician re-examines the patient. There are conditions, such as muscle spasm or scarring, that could interfere with the healing process. Fissures that do not heal can be corrected with surgery. It is a minor operation that is usually done on an outpatient basis. The surgeon removes the fissure and any underlying scar tissue. Cutting a small portion of the anal muscle prevents spasm. This helps the area to heal and rarely interferes with the control of bowel movements. Complete healing takes place in a few weeks. However, the pain often disappears after a few days.

Over 90% of the patients who need surgery for fissures have no further problems. Patients can help avoid the return of fissures by drinking at least eight glasses of water a day, and maintaining adequate fiber in the diet. This prevents constipation, which is the cause of most fissures.

Anal Abscess and Fistula

An abscess is a localized pocket of pus caused by infection from bacteria. It can occur in any part of the body. When bacteria seep into the underlying tissues in the anal canal, an abscess may develop. Certain conditions, such as Crohn’s disease (chronic inflammatory bowel disease), can increase the risk of abscess in and around the anal canal. Patients with conditions that reduce the body’s immunity, such as cancer or AIDS, are also more likely to develop anal abscesses.

An abscess causes tenderness, swelling, and pain. These symptoms clear when the abscess is drained. The patient may also complain of fever, chills, and general weakness or fatigue.

A fistula is a tiny channel or tract that develops in the presence of inflammation and infection. It may or may not be associated with an abscess, but like abscesses, certain illnesses such as Crohn’s disease can cause fistulas to develop. The channel usually runs from the rectum to an opening in the skin around the anus. However, sometimes the fistula opening develops elsewhere. For example, in women with Crohn’s disease or obstetric injuries, the fistula could open into the vagina or bladder.

Since fistulas are infected channels, there is usually some drainage. Often a draining fistula is not painful, but it can irritate the skin around it. An abscess and fistula often occur together. If the opening of the fistula seals over before the fistula is cured, an abscess may develop behind it.

Diagnosis
Diagnosis of an abscess is usually made on examination of the area. If it is near the anus, there is always pain, and often redness and swelling. The physician will look for an opening in the skin (a sign that a fistula has developed), and try to determine the depth and direction of the channel or tract of the fistula. However, signs of fistula and abscess may not be present on the skin’s surface around the anus. In this case, the physician uses an instrument called an anoscope to see inside the anal canal and lower rectum.

Whenever the physician finds an abscess, and especially a fistula, further tests are needed to be sure Crohn’s disease is not present. Blood tests, x-rays, and a colonoscopy (a lighted, flexible scope exam of the bowel or colon) are often required.

Treatment for Anal Abscess
An abscess must be surgically opened to promote drainage and relieve pressure. This is often done in the physician’s office under local anesthesia. However, patients with a large or deep abscess, or those who have other conditions, such as diabetes, may be admitted to the hospital for the procedure.

Antibiotics cannot take the place of draining an abscess. Antibiotics are carried by the bloodstream but do not reach the pus within the abscess. However, they are usually prescribed along with surgical drainage, especially if the patient has other serious diseases, such as diabetes or those associated with reduced immunity.

Treatment for Anal Fistula
Treatment of anal fistula often varies, depending on whether Crohn’s disease is present. Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammation of the bowel, including the small and large intestine. As noted, the physician will often do tests to see if this disease is present. If it is, then prolonged treatment with a variety of medications, including antibiotics, is usually undertaken. Often these medications will cure the infection and heal the fistula.

If Crohn’s disease is not present, it still may be worthwhile to try a course of antibiotics. If these do not work, surgery is usually very effective. The surgeon opens the fistula channel so that healing occurs from the inside out. Most of the time, fistula surgery is done on an outpatient basis or with a short hospital stay. Following surgery, there may be mild to moderate discomfort for a few days, but patients usually have a short recovery period.

Summary

Bleeding, pain, or drainage from the anus can occur with several illnesses, so a physician should always be consulted. Often the diagnosis is anal fissure, abscess, or fistula. These are problems that are usually easy to diagnose and correct. A variety of treatments, including surgery, are available to correct these conditions. Working together with the physician usually assures a good outcome.

Click to see Ayurvedic medication for Fistula…..………….(1)…...(2)

Homeopathic medication for Fistula.…………………(1).(2).…..(3)

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fistula
http://www.gicare.com/pated/ecdgs38.htm
http://www.amoils.com/anal-fissures.html?gclid=CIrF-J37wJQCFQS7sgodkFJSTg

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Herbs & Plants

Cascara Sagrada (Rhamnus purshiana)

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Botanical Name: Rhamnus purshiana
Family: Rhamnaceae
Genus: Rhamnus
Subgenus:Frangula
Species: R. purshiana
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Habitat: Sides and bottoms of canyons from the
Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, extending north into British America.It is a species of buckthorn native to western North America from southern British Columbia south to central California, and inland to western Montana.

Other Names: Cascara sagrada, sacred bark, Purshiana bark, persian bark, chittem bark, California buchthorn, cascara, bearberry-tree, bearwood.Rhamnus purshiana (Cascara Buckthorn, Cascara, Bearberry, and in the Chinook Jargon, Chittam or Chitticum; syn. Frangula purshiana, Rhamnus purshianus)

Parts Used: The bark collected during the summer. The collecting season opens about the end of May and closes before the rainy season sets in, as bark collected after exposure to wet weather is difficult to cure properly. The strips of bark after removal from the trees are dried in such a way that the inner surface is not exposed to the sunlight, in order to retain its yellow color. Cascara bark must be aged at least one year before it is used.

Description: It is the largest species of buckthorn, occasionally growing up to 15 m tall, though more commonly a large shrub or small tree 5-10 m tall, with a trunk 20-50 cm in diameter. The bark is brownish to silver-grey with light splotching. The leaves are deciduous, alternate, clustered near the ends of twigs; they are oval, 5-15 cm long and 2-5 cm broad with a 0.6-2 cm petiole, dark shiny green on top, fuzzy and paler green below.The rather thin leaves are somewhat hairy on the lower surface and rather prominently veined. The small, insignificant greenish flowers are produced in clusters and are followed by black, 3-seeded berries of a somewhat insipid taste. The bark has a somewhat aromatic odor and an extremely bitter taste The flowers are tiny, 4-5 mm diameter, with five greenish yellow petals; the flowering season is brief, disappearing by early summer. The fruit is a berry 6-10 mm diameter, bright red at first, quickly maturing deep purple or black, and containing three seeds.

click to see the pictures.…...(1).…(2)……..…(3)..……..(4)..…….….(5).….………….

It grows in moist, acidic soils in the shady side of clearings or in the marginal forest understory, near the edges of mixed deciduous-coniferous forests. It typically grows as a second-generation tree after alders have colonized a barren plot of land.

History: Cascara sagrada is a natural laxative made from the reddish-brown bark of a tree (Rhamnus purshiana) native to the Pacific Northwest. It was used by various Native American tribes, who also passed their “sacred bark” on to Spanish explorers (cascara sagrada means sacred bark in Spanish).
Other European settlers were also quick to adopt this traditional remedy for constipation and other discomforts. But it was not formally used in western medicine until 1877, when the pharmaceutical producer Eli Lilly & Company introduced “Elixir Purgans,” a popular product containing cascara as well as several other laxative herbs.

Today, numerous over-the-counter laxatives feature cascara sagrada as a key ingredient. Because it’s so mild, the herb is frequently combined with stronger laxatives, such as aloe vera latex. To work properly, the bark must be carefully prepared–cured for at least one year or heated and dried to speed up the aging process. Aging is essential because the fresh bark is very irritating to the gastrointestinal system, causing vomiting and intestinal spasms.

Constituents: Cascara bark is high in hydroxyanthraquinone glycosides called cascarosides. Resins, tannins, and lipids make up the bulk of the other bark ingredients. Cascarosides have a cathartic action, inducing the large intestine to increase its muscular contraction (peristalsis), resulting in bowel movement.

The basis of Cascara’s laxative effect is the presence of a mixture of anthraquinones, either free (aloe-emodin) or as sugar derivatives (glycosides). The free anthraquinones remain in the intestines and cause catharsis by irritating the intestinal wall. Those anthraquinones present in the plant as sugar derivatives are largely absorbed from the intestine, circulate through the blood stream, and eventually stimulate the nerve center in the lower part of the intestine, which causes a laxative effect.

Medicinal Properties:
Purgative, bitter tonic.

Main Uses: Cascara Sagrada is a mild laxative, acting principally on the large intestine. It is considered suitable for delicate and elderly persons, and may with advantage be given in chronic constipation, being generally administered in the form of the fluid extract.
It acts also as a stomachic tonic and bitter, in small doses, promoting gastric digestion and appetite.

Treat hemorrhoids and anal fissures -. Combined with conventional measures to soften the stool (plenty of dietary fiber, water, and exercise), occasional use of cascara sagrada preparations may prevent the pressure and pain associated with hemorrhoids and anal fissures (cracks in the skin near the anus). In fact, by speeding up bowel movements, hemorrhoids are also less likely to develop.

The dried, aged bark of this tree has been used continually for at least 1,000 years by both native and immigrant Americans as a laxative natural medicine, commercially called “Cascara Sagrada”, but old timers call it “chitticum bark”.

Cascara Sagrada means “sacred bark” in Spanish. The much more pertinent name chitticum means “shit come” in Chinook Jargon; chittam comes from the Chinook Jargon phrase chittam stick = “laxative tree” which is similarly from the English word “shit”.

The bark is harvested mostly from wild trees; over-harvesting in the middle 1900s eliminated mature trees near many settled areas. Once stripped from the tree, the bark is aged for about 1 year to make its effect milder. Fresh cut, dried bark causes vomiting and violent diarrhea.

Preparation & Dosages:
Cold Infusion: 2 to 6 ounces.
Tincture: [1:5, 50% alcohol], 1 to 2 teaspoons.
Fluid Extract: [1:1, 50% alcohol] 1/2 to 1 teaspoon.
Liquid extract: 1 teaspoon three times a day or 1 or 2 teaspoons at bedtime; or 1 or 2 capsules of dried bark at bedtime.

CAUTIONS:
Because long-term use of any laxative can make your body lose critical fluids and salts (especially potassium) and lead to chronic diarrhea or weakness, limit your use of cascara sagrada to one or two weeks. Habitual use of cascara sagrada can cause dependence on laxatives.

Some people develop crampy gastrointestinal discomforts with cascara sagrada; lower your dose if this happens and stop taking it altogether if the uncomfortable sensation persists.

Don’t use cascara sagrada continuously for more than two weeks.

See your doctor if constipation lasts for more than one week.

Never ingest fresh cascara bark, which is extremely irritating and can cause severe vomiting. The bark must be stored for a year or more and be specially treated before it’s safe to use. Instead, stick with standardized commercial cascara products (capsules, tablets, powders).

Avoid cascara sagrada if you have an inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, or if your doctor has diagnosed an intestinal obstruction of any kind.

Unless your doctor recommends it, don’t take cascara sagrada if you are pregnant or breast-feeding; its effects on the fetus and infant are unclear.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.indianspringherbs.com/Cascara_sagrada.htm
http://www.indianspringherbs.com/Cascara_sagrada.htm

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Ailmemts & Remedies

Constipation

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At the very least, constipation is uncomfortable, and sometimes it can be downright painful. Plenty of fiber, fluids, and exercise can help keep bowel movements regular. And for the times you need some gentle assistance, natural supplements might be the best solution…………...CLICK & SEE

Symptoms
Infrequent bowel movements and hard stool.

When to Call Your Doctor
If you notice an abrupt change in bowel habits.

What It Is
Bowel habits can vary widely from person to person, but most doctors would agree that anyone who passes hard stools less than three times a week is constipated. In addition, if you frequently have to strain to defecate, you also may benefit from therapies aimed at relieving constipation.

What Causes It
In the majority of cases, constipation occurs because of a lack of fiber and fluids in the diet. Other contributing factors include insufficient exercise or prolonged inactivity; severe depression; and medical disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, high blood calcium levels, a sluggish thyroid, or colon cancer. Overuse of laxatives or some antacids can impair bowel activity, and certain medications (including drugs for high blood pressure, antidepressants, and narcotic pain relievers) can also cause constipation.

How Supplements Can Help
Any abrupt change in a person’s usual frequency of bowel movements may be a sign of a more serious underlying disorder, such as cancer or a bowel obstruction, and requires medical evaluation. However, for occasional irregularity, various natural supplements may help. Benefits should be felt in a day or two. If needed, most of these supplements can be taken on a long-term basis.

What Else You Can Do
Eat foods high in fiber, including raw fruits and vegetables, whole grains, bran, and dried beans. Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water or juice a day.
If you’re constipated, it’s very important to drink plenty of fluids — but not all drinks are created equal. Alcohol and caffeinated beverages actually cause fluid loss, making constipation worse. On the other hand, water, vegetable and fruit juices, and clear soups are excellent fluid replenishers. A hot liquid in the morning may help trigger the reflex that gets the bowels moving.

Supplement Recommendations
Vitamin C
Magnesium
Psyllium
Prune
Dandelion Root
Cascara

Vitamin C
Dosage: 1,000 mg 3 times a day.
Comments: The dose can be increased by 1,000 mg a day (up to a total of 5,000 mg a day) until bowel movements become regular.

Magnesium
Dosage: 400 to 800 mg a day as needed.
Comments: Take with food; reduce dose if diarrhea develops.

Psyllium
Dosage: 1-3 tbsp. powder dissolved in water or juice a day.
Comments: Or take 1-3 tbsp. ground flaxseeds or 2 tsp. ground fenugreek seeds. Drink 8 glasses of water a day for these to work.

One can try Metamucil which is a very good supplement for constipation.

.
Prune
Dosage: Drink 1/2 cup juice or eat 3 or 4 prunes each morning.
Comments: Can be used on a daily basis.

Dandelion Root
Dosage: 1 cup tea 3 times a day.
Comments: Use 1 tsp. dried root per cup of hot water.

Cascara
Dosage: 100 mg at bedtime.
Comments: Look for a preparation that is standardized to contain 25% hydroxyanthracene derivatives.

Eating Wood apple or beal fruit may be very useful for any kind of constipation.

Source:Your Guide to Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs