Signs of a Healthy Colon: No tongue coating, easy passing of stool immediately upon waking in the morning. Stools should float (not sink), two to three stools daily.
Signs of an Unhealthy Colon: The back third of the tongue is coated, stools sink, one or no stools assed daily.
Causes: Eating foods that are difficult to digest and/or are Váyu-increasing; developing as a result of ever or infection, sleeping too much, suppressing the urge to defecate. Other causes include a hectic ifestyle, sexual intercourse in the morning (weakens the downward flow of air/Apána Váyu), coffee or tea in the morning (is drying), and a lack of exercise. Mental causes include excess emotions (e.g., worry, fear, anxiety, anger, impatience, nervousness.)
Váyu: Dry colon, gas (with or without pain), abdominal distention, brownish coating on the back of the tongue, bad breath, anxiety, headache (because air is pushed upward instead of down and out with the stool), urge to urinate but difficulty passing urine.
Pitta: Usually constipation occurs at the end of fevers because toxins collect in the small intestine and colon. Other causes include eating foods that are too greasy, fried, salty, spicy, pungent, and hot (i.e., Pitta-increasing items). Symptoms include anger,
irritability, thirst, sweating, body odor, burning sensation, reddish tongue with yellow coating; bad breath, flushed complexion, headache, and violent dreams. The liver is usually in need of detoxification as well.
Kapha: Causes include sleeping too long, day naps, lack of exercise, and Kapha-increasing foods. Excess mucus develops and clogs the system, causing
heaviness, lethargy, fatigue, mucus in the stool, a pale, fat tongue with white or mucus coating, abdominal bloating, dull pain, edema.
General: The best herb for the colon is triphala, which draws toxins from the colon and promotes toning, rejuvenation, and the passage of stool. It is taken in the morning and evening (1/2 to 1 tsp. with 4 times as much water). Triphala Choorna is a gentle and mild
laxative made from three fruits, amalaki (AMLA), bibhítaki(BAHERA), and harítaki(HARAR) and is best useful in constipation known worldwide. To achieve a stronger effect, ginger is added to the mixture and harítaki is doubled in quantity. When passing stool, squatting is a more natural position for bowel movements.
Váyu: Váyu-reducing foods, liquids, and life-style are required. Ingesting ghee and sesame oil will moisten the colon, as will dairy and small quantities of oily foods like almonds and sesame tahini. Boiled milk with ghee and cinnamon are good to take before
bed. Digestive herbs include ginger, cardamom, and fennel. Triphala is excellent, but castor oil (2 tsp. in a cup of boiled water before bed) is stronger and may be required if triphala is not effective. Castor oil doses need to be adjusted (more or less) according to
individual needs. Herbs to boost digestion are also required; they include rock salt, hing, lavan bhaskar churna. Isabgol (2 tsp.) taken in 1 cup of warm water before bed also relieves constipation. Dry foods (e.g., cabbage family, chips, beans) increase gas and
constipation. Non-oily and oily enemas are also useful.
Pitta: Pitta-reducing food, liquids, and life-style are required. Triphalá, Aloe vera Juice , and fennel cleanse the colon, small intestine, and liver (1/2 tsp. before bed). Warm milk and ghee before bed is beneficial. A rhubarb and fennel purgative is useful when constipation is not resolved by the therapies just mentioned. Before taking the rhubarb purgative, oil abhyanga and sweating therapies are required to move toxins in the body back to the small intestine where they first originated.
Kapha: Kapha-reducing foods, liquids, and lifestyle are required. Fasting, exercise, mental
stimulation, and less sleep help heal this condition. Sweets, dairy, yeast products, salt, fried and fermented foods aggravate this disorder. Triphala, aloe, andspices are also needed to reduce fat, mucus, and toxins in the body (e.g., dry ginger, black pepper, pippalí, trikatu). One or 2 tsp. of herbs in a cup of hot water before sleep reverses this disorder. A non-oily enema with the above herbs cleanses the colon. In ayurveda Divya choorna is best useful in constipation.
By Bruce Kelvin
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