Do you have stomach cramps when you take herbal laxative based cleansing or detox formulas?

Laxatives force the colon to contract.

Here are some herbs that may help reduce the pain because they relax the smooth muscles of the digestive tract:

  • peppermint
  • ginger
  • cinnamon
  • chamomile
  • fennel

The pace at which contents move through the intestines can vary from person to person, so consider adjusting the dose of the formulas where needed for your body tolerance.

Herbal laxatives can be helpful for short-term cleansing programs, but should be avoided in long-term daily use, as it can lead to dependency.

Sometimes cleansing products or programs include fiber. Increasing fiber rapidly can sometimes produce gas. The herbs mentioned also help to reduce gas.  Be sure to increase water intake with increased fiber intake.  

Adequate fiber intake is supportive of intestinal and cardiovascular health, as well as balancing blood sugar levels. You can increase your daily fiber intake with a plant-predominant diet (fresh veggies and fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, needs).

Daily exercise can promote increased bowel transit and thus reduce constipation.  Drinking enough water helps to soften the stool so that it can exit with more ease.  Reducing stress, avoiding food sensitivities, and getting enough sleep may also reduce constipation.  

While herbal laxatives are not ideal for long-term regular use, certain herbs and vegetables that taste bitter can be used daily to enhance digestion and bowel regularity, particularly when consumed before a meal.

  • Food examples: dandelion leaves, endive, radicchio
  • Herb examples: Gentian root, Dandelion root, Angelica archangelica

Without being on a cleanse, if you are only having a bowel movement every 2+ days, this is not normal.  Healthy bowel flow is important for regularly removing toxins from our system.  Our body is designed to remove toxins every day.  A cleanse just heightens that process temporarily.  If your bowel transit is slow, please seek professional help to improve your bowel regularity and consider implementing the lifestyle adjustments mentioned in this article.