Most of us would choose a natural effective remedy over an artificial one, and taking a stool softener is no exception. With herb-based stool softeners, you can keep your colon regular while not exposing it to unnecessary chemical additives. Herbal-based stool softeners often come in an over-the-counter pill that combines the best herbs for softening stools.
Prized for its omega-3 acids, flaxseed is recommended by doctors and herbalists for its ability to ease your colon's problems without being harsh on your system. Flaxseed works by attracting the water in your bowel and breaking up hard stools, allowing them easier passage. Drink plenty of water when taking flaxseed, and be sure to purchase flaxseed that has been ground in order to obtain the best benefits. Unground seeds will pass through your colon without much effect and won't allow for absorption of their omega-3 acids. Flaxseed muffins made from flaxseed meal -- available from several distributors -- will help soften your stool considerably and keep you regular. Drink plenty of water when taking flaxseed.
Although you could obtain the benefits of Psyllium seeds through a commercial product such as Metamucil, it is also available in ground form. This can be stirred into water and drunk as a daily supplement to your diet to help advance your colon's health. Psyllium seed is also known as plantago and has the highest level of soluble fibre known in the plant kingdom -- eight times that of oat bran and other dietary supplements. Psyllium is known to lower cholesterol absorption and normalise dietary blood sugar levels along with soothing the bowel tissue. It can be purchased at any chemist or sundry goods store.
Much like flaxseed and psyllium, fenugreek is considered a "bulk" herb, meaning it must be taken as part of your diet and not as a supplement, like a vitamin. Unlike flaxseed and psyllium, fenugreek can be taken with much less of a dosage. Taking 1 teaspoon of fenugreek before bedtime can help soften your stool considerably. They take a bit more preparation than other bulk herbs, as fenugreek seeds are quite bitter and must be boiled before being ingested to rid them of their unpleasant taste. Fenugreek should not be taken during pregnancy as it has a reputation for stimulating labour. It is a great supplement for new mothers experiencing difficulty with their bowel movements due to complications in labour as it also increases lactation.
If you would like to soften your stool along with cleansing your bowel, consider taking rhubarb root which has a myriad of health benefits. Rhubarb root acts as an astringent tonic treatment for the bowels and helps with chronic constipation and even gallbladder complaints. Rhubarb root is known to helps with diarrhoea, haemorrhoids, along with softening the stool to make bowel movements easier. Used externally, rhubarb root is also good to have on hand for burns. It is available at most health food stores and should not be used by pregnant women, as its purgative qualities may prove a bit too strong for their systems. Rhubarb root is readily available at health food stores and online.