Eliminating waste material through regular bowel movements is surpassed only by diet and nutrition on traditional Chinese medicine’s list of prerequisites for maintaining good health. While daily bowel movements are preferable, the frequency varies from person to person depending on dietary habits and lifestyle. A bowel movement every other day might be acceptable, but general consensus is that any length of time beyond two days without the elimination of waste matter is cause for concern. Chronic constipation often results from simple facts like inadequate fiber in the diet, inadequate fluid intake, and a lack of regular exercise. Other contributing factors are an excess of meat and dairy products in the diet (notably cheese), food allergies, and the side effects of certain medications. Care must be taken in using laxatives because of the tendency of the bowels to become inactive when laxatives are used regularly over an extended period of time. Bowel movements should occur naturally, without pain or discomforts, except where problems exist that are associated with bowel movements, such as: hemorrhoids, colitis, and anal fissures. Having regular bowel movements can benefit from attention given to good intestinal maintenance, which means: 1) a diet high in fiber, 2) taking herbal enemas once or twice annually, 3) have intestinal cleansings every 90-days, 4) drink plenty of water, and 5) become more active—regularly exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes daily. Intestinal maintenance plays such an important role in preventative health care that traditional Chinese medicine refers to the intestines as the “source of 10,001 diseases.” All of the below mentioned herbal formulas can be used to treat both acute and chronic constipation.
Acute (short-term) and long-term use is recommended.