Constipation (Ãnáha)
Signs of a Healthy Colon: No tongue coating, easy
passing of stool immediately upon waking in the
morning. Stools should float (not sink), two to three
stools daily.
Signs of an Unhealthy Colon: The back third of
the tongue is coated, stools sink, one or no stools
passed daily.
Causes: Eating foods that are difficult to digest
and/or are Váyu-increasing; developing as a result of
fever or infection, sleeping too much, suppressing
the urge to defecate. Other causes include a hectic
lifestyle, sexual intercourse in the morning (weakens
the downward flow of air/Apána Váyu), coffee or tea
in the morning (is drying), and a lack of exercise.
Mental causes include excess emotions (e.g., worry,
fear, anxiety, anger, impatience, nervousness.)
Váyu: Dry colon, gas (with or without pain),
abdominal distention, brownish coating on the back
of the tongue, bad breath, anxiety, headache (because
air is pushed upward instead of down and out with
the stool), urge to urinate but difficulty passing urine.
Pitta: Usually constipation occurs at the end of
fevers because toxins collect in the small intestine
and colon. Other causes include eating foods that are
too greasy, fried, salty, spicy, pungent, and hot (i.e.,
Pitta-increasing items). Symptoms include anger,
irritability, thirst, sweating, body odor, burning
sensation, reddish tongue with yellow coating; bad
breath, flushed complexion, headache, and violent
dreams. The liver is usually in need of detoxification
as well.
Kapha: Causes include sleeping too long, day naps,
lack of exercise, and Kapha-increasing foods. Excess
mucus develops and clogs the system, causing
heaviness, lethargy, fatigue, mucus in the stool, a pale,
fat tongue with white or mucus coating, abdominal
bloating, dull pain, edema.
General: The best herb for the colon is triphalá,
which draws toxins from the colon and promotes
toning, rejuvenation, and the passage of stool. It is
taken in the morning and evening (1/2 to 1 tsp. with 4
times as much water). Triphalá is a gentle and mild
laxative made from three fruits, ámalakí, bibhítakí,
and harítakí. To achieve a stronger effect, ginger is
added to the mixture and harítakí is doubled in
quantity. When passing stool, squatting is a more
natural position for bowel movements.
Váyu: Váyu-reducing foods, liquids, and life-style
are required. Ingesting ghee and sesame oil will
moisten the colon, as will dairy and small quantities
of oily foods like almonds and sesame tahini. Boiled
milk with ghee and cinnamon are good to take before
bed. Digestive herbs include ginger, cardamom, and
fennel. Triphalá is excellent, but castor oil (2 tsp. in a
cup of boiled water before bed) is stronger and may
be required if triphalá is not effective. Castor oil doses
need to be adjusted (more or less) according to
individual needs. Herbs to boost digestion are also
required; they include rock salt, hi´g, lavaò bháskar
chúròa. ͤhabgol (2 tsp.) taken in 1 cup of warm water
before bed also relieves constipation. Dry foods (e.g.,
cabbage family, chips, beans) increase gas and
constipation. Non-oily and oily enemas are also useful
Pitta: Pitta-reducing food, liquids, and life-style
are required. Triphalá, aloe vera, and fennel cleanse
the colon, small intestine, and liver (1/2 tsp. before
bed). Warm milk and ghee before bed is beneficial.
A rhubarb and fennel purgative is useful when
constipation is not resolved by the therapies just
mentioned. Before taking the rhubarb purgative, oil
abhyañga and sweating therapies are required to move
toxins in the body back to the small intestine where
they first originated.
Kapha: Kapha-reducing foods, liquids, and
lifestyle are required. Fasting, exercise, mental
stimulation, and less sleep help heal this condition.
Sweets, dairy, yeast products, salt, fried and fermented
foods aggravate this disorder. Triphalá, aloe, and
rhubarb are useful as a laxative and purgative. Hot

spices are also needed to reduce fat, mucus, and toxins
in the body (e.g., dry ginger, black pepper, pippalí,
t^ikatu). One or 2 tsp. of herbs in a cup of hot water
before sleep reverses this disorder. A non-oily enema
with the above herbs cleanses the colon.

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