The Ayurvedic Approach to Constipation During a Cleanse

triphala with warm water

Triphala, with warm water before bed, helps the colon function properly.


For many of us—especially those of us with a fair amount of vata in our prakriti or vikriti (take our Ayurvedic Profile™ quiz to determine your prakriti and vikriti)—a mild case of constipation is relatively common during a cleanse, particularly if it involves eating only kitchari for a number of days. However, proper elimination is as important as ever during a cleanse because it's the body's natural mechanism for detoxification. A supportive cleanse will clear excess vata, pitta, kapha, ama, and toxins out via the channels of elimination (the urine, feces, and sweat). We want to keep those channels open and flowing throughout a cleanse so that the body can clear these accumulations and achieve greater health.

Balancing Constipation During a Cleanse

Navigating constipation during a cleanse can be a bit delicate. We want to get the bowels moving again without having to throw in the towel on the entire cleanse. If you are working with a practitioner, it is always best to seek personalized support for these kinds of challenges. If not, these gentle measures may help to support regularity without forcing you to drastically alter the structure of your cleanse.

  • Drink plenty of warm, hydrating fluids (like warm water and rehydration tea), away from meals.
  • Increase the quantity of ghee (or other high-quality oils) in your diet; you can garnish everything with a little extra ghee.
  • If you are eating cooked vegetables, eat more of them.
  • Consider drinking a cup of mung broth before bed.
    • Start with 1 part whole mung beans and 8 parts water. Cook them in much the same way as you would kitchari—adding ghee, spices, carrots, etc. When the beans are cooked, strain the soup and drink only the broth.
  • Be sure to take Triphala about a half an hour before bed to support the proper functioning of the colon.
    • Take 2 Triphala tablets with a glass of warm water, or if you prefer a powder, steep ½-1 teaspoon Triphala powder in a cup of freshly boiled water for 10 minutes. Cool and drink.
  • If you have tried all of these measures and still feel constipated, consider adding some soaked prunes, soaked raisins, a ripe banana, or prune juice to your diet first thing in the morning, at least 30 minutes before any other food.

For most people, adopting some or all of these measures will encourage the return of regular bowel movements. If this is not the case for you, or if your constipation is unusual in its intensity or duration, it is also important that you consult with your health care provider. Even if you do find relief, you may find it helpful to continue some or all of the above recommendations throughout the remainder of your cleanse.


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