Laxatives are substances that increase bowel movements and loosen stools. They are often used in the treatment and prevention of constipation. Depending on the type of laxative, the mechanism of how it works and the side effects may vary.
Examples of types of laxatives include bulk forming agents, lubricant agents, emollient agents, stimulant agents, hyperosmotic agents, and saline laxative agents.
While there are many laxatives in the form of medication available for the treatment and prevention of constipation, there are also many natural laxatives available that can be as effective as over-the-counter products. Natural laxatives also tend to have less side effects. Below are 10 of these natural laxatives.
Laxative #1: Prunes
Prunes are dried plums of any cultivar. Prunes are high in fiber, which may provide natural laxative effects for those who consume it. Prunes contain 2 grams of fiber for every 28 grams. They also contain sorbitol, which can also be attributed to the laxative effects for prunes. Sorbitol is poorly absorbed and functions as an osmotic agent by drawing water into the intestines. This helps to induce bowel movements and soften stools.
Studies have reported that prunes can be more effective in improving stool consistency and stool frequency when compared to other natural laxatives such as psyllium.