Constipation, Fennel, Digestion, Fiber
Digestion, Plants and Herbs
“By far, the most important contribution made by plants to the health of the human digestive system is in the quality of the foods we eat . . . The body requires more than 40 nutrients for energy, growth, and tissue maintenance . . . many of them are found in medicinal herbs and in plants eaten as grains, vegetables, or fruits . . . ”
Quote from pg. 258-259 of: Hoffman, D. (2003). Medical Herbalism. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.
"Used within such a broad context, herbal medicine offers specific remedies for particular pathological syndromes as well as tonics and normalizers that can help prevent problems from manifesting in the first place . . . Of all herbal traditions, that of using herbs to aid digestion has remained the most prominent in the memory of modern Europe . . . Herbs maintain their foothold in official pharmacopeias as major therapeutic agents, in the form of digestive bitters, carminatives, and laxatives of varying strengths . . . “
From pg. 258 of: Hoffman, D. (2003). Medical Herbalism. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.
“ . . . A high-fiber diet reduces the risks of various gastrointestinal problems and promotes cardiovascular health . . . Dietary fiber is largely composed of the cellulose-like components of plant cell walls. It’s composition varies from plant to plant, but it always comprises a complex of nutrients . . . Both soluble and insoluble fiber helps make stools soft and easy to pass. Fiber also prevents constipation . . . "
From pg. 259-260 of: Hoffman, D. (2003). Medical Herbalism. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.
"Constipation can be defined as difficult or infrequent passage of feces. It must be seen as a symptom, not a disease state in its own right . . . The most common cause of constipation in Western cultures is lack of dietary fiber . . . There are many herbs that can help alleviate the discomfort of constipation . . . "
From pg. 263 of: Hoffman, D. (2003). Medical Herbalism. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press
"Laxatives promote defecation, relieving constipation . . . Normal size, frequency, and consistency of fecal output are difficult to quantify and are subject both to personal variation and to sociological patterning, of which makers of laxatives take full advantage . . . increased hardness of feces and reduced colonic motility, frequency, and bulk to do occur , mainly due to dehydration of material that remains too long in the colon before expulsion . . . Laxatives . . . cause retention of fluid . . . reduce net absorption of water and salt . . . [and] . . . increase intestinal motility . . . "
From pg. 264 of: Hoffman, D. (2003). Medical Herbalism. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.
Constipation in Young Populations
"Indications for the treatment of constipation in bottlefed babies and young children include . . . painful passage of stools . . . Inability to pass stools . . . [and] infrequent bowel movement occuring less often than once in four days for young children . . . "
From pg. 476 of: Hoffman, D. (2003). Medical Herbalism. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.
"Fennel is an excellent stomach and intestinal remedy that relieves flatulence and colic while stimulating digestion and appetite . . . Fennel may increase milk flow in nursing mothers. Used externally, the essential oil eases muscular and rheumatic pains. Fennel infusion may be used as a compress to treat conjunctivitis and blepharitis . . . "
From pg. 551 of: Hoffman, D. (2003). Medical Herbalism. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.