I ended 2011 with a post on bloating and gut health and ringing in 2012 with one on curing constipation. Yes yes yes y’all, bowel health is imperative for beautiful skin, and this was emphasized when I saw a long-time client this week who formerly had majorly congested skin with a clear, glowing complexion (squeal!). She had only been eliminating twice a week and we had her taking some gentle laxative so she started to do so a minimum of once per day. Clarifying the G.I tract really helps clarify the skin. I know, It may sound unorthodox, but as a holistic esthetician, the frequency of bowel movements is usually one of my first inquiries for anyone I see with acne-prone or dehydrated skin – and according to Ayurveda, we should be doing so once to twice a day.
Its so important that we eliminate waste from our bodies so we don’t start pouring out toxins through our skin (which happens to be our largest organ of detoxification), causing clogged pores and blemishes. But its also essential for hydrated skin. When we are constipated, the dry stool sits in the intestines and absorbs the body’s precious water. Conversely, dehydration also leads to constipation as a dry system will make our wastes dry and difficult to move as well… oh how interconnected we are!
So, for my first real tip of the new year, I am outlining my fav bowel moving remedies. Remember, there are no universal cures and we should always tailor what we eat and take to our specific constitution – but here are a few I find have worked for many of my clients. See a natural health practitioner for more information on whats best for you!
Aloe Vera Juice – Aloe juice is a wonderful calming ingredient and also a gentle laxative. You can drink a quarter cup of this diluted in water everyday in short spurts for soothing detoxification. This is excellent for Pitta’s and those of us prone to inflammation, and I particularly like it because it is not dehydrating (like some fibre based laxatives are). Its also good for other cleansing such as that of the liver and blood.
Castor Oil – This is an intense laxative!..and its really hard to get down (gag!). See my post on my own castor oil experience. But its very effective and good for those of us who need immediate, powerful relief. This is only to be done a maximum of once per month in servings of 1-2 tablespoons. Castor oil cleanses are also effective for reducing excess Vata in our bodies and help lubricate our intestines.
Soaked Prunes – Tried and true, we all have heard about prunes as a bowel cleanser and there’s something about longstanding remedies. What I like about prunes is that its a simple fruit that is pretty easy for most of us to find and also safe to take. I would soak them in water so they are less dry, making them even better for dehydrated individuals.
Psyllium– Psyllium seed husks are a laxative that really helps to move and scrape waste off the intestinal walls. This laxative is best for someone who is kapha and has slow moving bowels, but is still very hydrated. We can take this by simply mixing a spoon in water (I’ve added a spoon of EFAs to it too….not the yummiest concoction), or by sprinkling it on oatmeal or other foods. Either way, this is an effective cleansing agent that helps through its high fibre content.