This is possibly the most common ailment of modern man. More important than that, the toxic wastes that accumulate in a constipated system are responsible for a countless number of conditions which are not generally related to digestion or elimination. For this reason, the eliminatory diet (and in acute cases, the fast) is provided as the first measure in most natural therapy no matter where the specific ailment, swelling or infection may appear to be located.
The human body is much like an engine, requiring constant fueling and clearance of the fuel ash. Food is the fuel of the human machine. When the proper fuel is fed into the furnace (stomach), the machine (heart, blood, lungs and organs) operates efficiently. When poor fuel is fed into the furnace, it will not supply the machinery with needed energy. The fuel is not consumed and remains half-burned within the furnace grate (colon). This half-burned fuel cannot be naturally eliminated and the painful result is called constipation. The related results, the sapping of bodily energy, may lead to the infection of any area of the body through the toxic matter that this waste throws into the blood stream.
Laxatives, oils, so-called liver pills, all of these are worthless in treating constipation. Constipation is not a disease of the colon or bowels, but rather of the digestive system. The root of constipation can be found in your refrigerator and on your stove, not in your body. Laxatives attempt to stimulate the peristaltic action (muscles which perform elimination) and induce bowel movements. Instead, they cause the peristalsis to become dependent upon such stimuli and what you then have is a crutch, not a cure. Furthermore, laxatives which are based upon high roughage content, without providing other mineral and vitamin value will eventually cause grave damage to the stomach and bowels. Many ulcers and ruined digestive systems can be directly traced to heavy consumption of bran. Bran is but one part of the entire wheat stalks. In its natural form, whole grains of wheat will stimulate the eliminatory system without irritating it. The remainder of the wheat product helps to protect us against the bran, which, taken alone, will eventually destroy your digestive and eliminatory system. Avoid bran preparations and similar concentrations of roughage.
The herb pills have proved successful in the initial treatment of every case of constipation on record. If your Health Food Shop does not carry herb pills, you might try concocting your own natural laxative.
The following simple recipe will be found to stimulate most common conditions of sluggishness.
Nature’s Own Fruit Stimulant
- 1 lb. dried prunes
- 1 lb. dry figs
- 1/4 lb. dried unsulphured apricots
- 2 quarts of water
- 3 lemons, 2 tablespoons of honey
The fruit should not be cooked. It is never necessary to cook dried fruit and such cooking will destroy much of the food value. Simply soak the prunes, figs and apricots in a solution of water and honey into which the lemons have been squeezed and sliced. Allow the fruit to steep overnight. The syrup produced by these fruits is delicious and should be drunk frequently through the day. A heaped-up plate of Nature’s Own Fruit Stimulant each morning will serve to quicken the laggardly pace of your eliminatory system.The increase in chronic constipation has made its symptoms of nausea, dizziness, fatigue, gaseousness, headaches, and cramps widely known. The growing number of white-collar workers and professionals seem to be the central target of constipation. It is obvious that sedentary occupations contribute to systemic sluggishness.
Therefore, increased physical activity is primary in combating chronic constipation. Walking, swimming and bowling are three perfect sports in overcoming sluggishness. Callisthenics, with particular emphasis on knee bending and other toe-touching exercises, are equally effective. Healing should never be an uncomfortable or annoying process. The most successful form of physical activity is that which not only attacks the point of infection, but also brings pleasure and satisfaction. Here again the value of tending mind and body at one and the same time is obvious and appreciable.
Both acute and chronic constipation can only be ended through wise food habits and constant attention to bowel movements. The constipation sufferer cannot hope to attain regularity without providing a programme of regularity for his eliminatory system. Once the cleansing and maintenance of a healthy digestive system have begun, you must provide a definite hour of the day for evacuation, and you must keep that appointment as regularly as you keep your office hours or your radio listening habits. Morning hours, following the two large meals of the preceding day, are best. But morning, noon and night, consistency is demanded. You must not fool your system, for in the end it is yourself who is being tricked.
The idea that all men and women must maintain the same eliminatory habits is a mistaken approach to natural therapy. Nature goes to great lengths to preserve individuality. In a pail of snow, containing billions of snowflakes, no two snowflakes appear alike under the microscope. No two eliminatory systems are exactly alike. Where one person may require two and possibly three bowel movements a day, another will find need of no more than one each day. Individuality, not conformity, is the law of nature.
Neither acute nor chronic constipation can be completely alleviated without first cleansing the system. Though the source of suggishness is in your diet, the waste matter accumulated through improper nutrition cannot be eliminated merely by adopting sane eating habits. If a pipeline, meant to carry water, is suddenly flooded with oil, you will not clean that pipe merely by sending water through it once more. The pipe must be scoured out with an oil-solvent at the same time as the intake of oil is halted and replaced with water. In the same way, chronic constipation can only be ended by three simultaneous procedures.
- Cleansing the intestines through internal baths (enemas).
- Restoring the digestive system to health through first an eliminatory diet and then a balanced food programme.
- Incorporating nature’s agents, air and natural baths particularly, in your daily life.
K. R. was a woman of fifty-two who had suffered from chronic constipation for eight years. She complained of headaches, dizziness, loss of appetite, intermittent cramps and general fatigue. She was underweight (though this is not common to chronic constipation) and sallow-skinned, with deep lines of fatigue etched upon her face. The discomfort she had known all those years made sleeping difficult and threatened to create an acute condition of insomnia.In addition to the eliminatory diet and daily air-baths, warm (8o°) natural baths were prescribed, accompanied by abdominal massages. Increased physical activity, sleeping-out and a one-a-day enema administered at nine in the morning, were also included in her treatment. The enema was warm (72°) and no more than ten ounces (a large water glass). Since K. R.’s condition was chronic, it was necessary to administer a larger enema than is usually demanded and to begin each bowel movement with these internal baths. In less serious cases a smaller bath (about 4 to 6 ounces, or half a water glass) was generally prescribed to follow bowel movements and serve to increase the effectiveness of the movement. K. R.’s condition, however, demanded that each movement be induced through an enema which she retained for ten to fifteen minutes simply by lying upon her stomach for that period of time. These small enemas are called retentive enemas. However, a major internal bath (1 pint) was given the first day. This major enema is not retained and the lying-down process is unnecessary here.
In three days, it was no longer necessary to induce bowel movements and the internal bath was only used following the evacuation to help to cleanse any remaining waste from the intestines. However, noticeable improvement occurred in less than that time. By the second day, K. R.’s appetite increased under the ministrations of the beautiful surroundings of the hills, daily air and natural baths and a wholesome eliminatory diet which was expanded each day to accommodate her thriving appetite. Her natural baths were taken in the evening and an abdominal pack was donned following the bath and prior to retiring. A pitcher of water was placed at her bed to help her to increase liquid intake. Beyond these, the only remaining therapy was the full knee bending exercise to be performed prior to the internal bath each morning.
K. R. left the sanatorium two weeks after she had entered. It may interest you to know that among the prescriptions for future treatment given her upon leaving was the cryptic note, “Sack your domestic worker.” K. R.’s condition grew largely from her sedentary life. The daily exertion of light housework, stooping, dusting, sweeping, etc., was not a part of her life. It is to be doubted whether K. R.’s domestic worker suffered from constipation. And I can tell you that having returned to a life of rational eating, employment of nature’s agents and daily exercise, K. R. is no longer a member of the chronic constipation club. In nine years now she has had but half a dozen brief spells of acute sluggishness, most of those within the first year. A small enema and one week of eliminatory dieting were all that was needed to end those.