Elim 1 combines the Ayurvedic bowel-toning herbs traditionally found in triphala with slippery elm bark, licorice root and a small amount of psyllium to support healthy movement of the bowels. Elim 1 works to soften and lubricate the mucous membranes of an imbalanced intestinal tract while simultaneously strengthening the bowel muscles to effectively support waste moving out of the system.*
Long-term use of laxatives can desensitize the bowel, making it unresponsive. In contrast to laxatives, Elim I takes a multi-pronged approach to supporting healthy bowel movements, rather than relying solely on a stimulant effect.*
Suggested Use: Take 2-4 caps in AM and PM on an empty stomach, or as directed by your health care professional.
Bottle Contains: 90 vegetarian capsules, 500 mg each
Ingredients: Organic Phyllanthus emblica (Amla Fruit), Organic Terminalia bellerica (Belleric Myrobalan Fruit), Organic Terminalia chebula (Chebulic Myrobalan Fruit), Organic Ulmus rubra (Slippery Elm Bark), Organic Glycyrrhiza glabra (Licorice Root), Organic Plantago ovata (Psyllium Seed Husks)
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Does not contain: Yeast, gluten, corn, soy, milk, fish, animal products, binders, fillers, preservatives or artificial coloring.
Kosher Certified: No animal derivatives
According to the classic Ayurvedic definition, dry, sluggish, slow-moving bowels occur when elimination does not take place naturally, first thing in the morning, within the first hour of getting out of bed.
The stool should be regular, fully-formed, and complete without the use of dietary supplements. Upon flushing, the stool should break apart. One to three bowel movements each day (depending on the body type) is considered normal.
To learn more about evaluating your stool – see my article, “The Perfect Poop.”
Diet can also be a leading factor in intermittent constipation. First and foremost, lack of proper water consumption. Many Americans drink soft drinks, juices, and other beverages, which may quench the thirst, but do not properly nourish and lubricate the intestinal tract. Without enough water in the diet, ama, or toxins, will accumulate in the colon, creating a toxicity that can be absorbed into the blood via the enteric cycle. This lack of water can also allow toxins to dry out and constipate the colon. This dryness encourages toxins to adhere to the intestinal wall, leading to further constipation and malabsorption.
The low-fiber American diet is typically very mucus-forming and difficult to digest; both of these factors can slow down elimination. Stimulants such as tea and coffee may encourage peristalsis and move your bowels, presenting the illusion of better elimination–when, in fact, they progressively dry out the digestive tract, leaving the colon unable to properly eliminate. Veggies and beans pack the most bowel-regulating fiber in the diet and should be absolute staples.
Eating seasonally naturally balances the mucous membranes of the intestinal tract and supports healthy elimination and microbiology year-round. Warm, higher-fat winter foods lubricate the gut during the dry, cold winter. Dry and astringent spring foods antidote the tendency for excess mucus production during the spring, and the cooling fruits and veggies of summer keep the intestinal skin from overheating during the summer.
Exercise is one of the simplest cures for lack of bowel movement. 80% of Americans do not exercise regularly. (1) This sedentary lifestyle can be a primary factor in the etiology of sluggish bowels. From the Ayurvedic perspective, exercise is primarily an activity to pump life force, or prana, into every cell of the body. Deep nasal breathing during a brisk walk will provide the desired benefits and will soothe the nervous system while energizing the body. (2-4)
Be Aware of Laxatives
There are four basic types of laxatives: (5)
1. Bulking Agents
Food such as bran, or products such as Citrucel, Metamucil, Fibercon and plants like psyllium, chia, and flax can ease occasional constipation by absorbing more fluid in the intestines. This makes the stool bigger, which gives you the urge to pass the stool.
Risks: Bulking agents attract water and regular use can pull excess water off the intestinal wall. Over time, this can dehydrate the bowel and cause more chronic elimination concerns. In addition, most bulking agents expand greatly inside the intestines and, if used excessively, they can potentially distend the intestines, reducing their ability to contract and move fecal matter to the toilet. This can eventually result in a chronically sluggish, overly distended and dehydrated bowel.
2. Stool Softeners
Products such as Colace lubricate and soften the stool in the intestine, making it easier to pass. Stool softeners do not often cause problems but they don’t work as well if you don’t drink enough water during the day.
Risks: The side effects of stool softeners can include sore throat, nausea, and skin rashes associated with dehydration. Stool softeners are also potentially habit-forming and are not considered safe to use for more than 1 week without a doctor’s supervision. (6)
3. Osmotic Laxatives
Products such as Fleet Phospho-Soda, Magnesium, Milk of Magnesia, or Miralax and non-absorbable sugars, such as lactulose or sorbitol, hold fluids in the intestine and draw fluids into the intestine from other tissue and blood vessels. This extra fluid in the intestines makes the stool softer and easier to pass. Drink plenty of water if you use this type of laxative.
Risks: Once again, the mechanism for somatic laxatives is to pull water off the stool. Long-term use can dehydrate the bowel making it more challenging for natural regular elimination, leading to dependency. Side effects can include malabsorption of key minerals, electrolyte disturbances, and kidney strain. (7)
4. Stimulant Laxatives
Products such as Correctol, Dulcolax, Ex-Lax, Feen-a-Mint, or Senokot speed up how fast a stool moves through the intestines by stimulating the lining of the intestines. Regular use of stimulant laxatives is not recommended as it can compromise the absorption of vitamin D through the intestinal wall.Herbal stimulant laxatives include Cascara sagrada, Senna, Aloe latex, Frangula, and prunes.
Herbal laxatives that stimulate or irritate the bowel employ a constituent called Anthranoids that induce gut motility, stimulating a decrease in transit time. They also reduce fluid absorption and increase secretion in the colon, with the “end result” of softer stools.
Risks: Stimulant laxatives change the tone and feeling in the large intestine and can easily and quickly create a chemical dependency. Large doses can result in cramping and watery stools. Additionally, studies are inconclusive as to their overall efficacy. (7)
As bowel irritants, long-term use can irritate and inflame the intestinal wall. Controversy exists as to whether this causes severe or lasting harm to the gut, but Ayurveda clearly says to be kind and gentle to the intestinal skin. (7)
Healthy Alternatives to Laxatives
Elim 1 includes triphala, which is a combination of three Ayurvedic fruits: amalaki, bibhitaki, and haritaki.The first step in supporting healthy elimination is to tone the bowel muscles and lubricate the intestinal villi and gut wall. Triphala (also spelled trifala) is a classic Ayurvedic formula that consists of three fruits which safely and effectively treat occasional constipation: (8)
- Haritaki tones the muscular wall of the gut.
- Amalaki supports the health of the intestinal skin and villi.
- Bibhitaki boosts the removal of mucus and toxins from the wall of the gut.
- Slippery elm bark and licorice are soluble fibers, which support the reset of healthy bowel function and are easy to quickly wean off once elimination is balanced.
- Psyllium, in this small amount, attracts just enough water to the other herbs to activate them and allow them to effectively lubricate the intestinal mucosa and gut.
Triphala is not a harmful, bowel-irritating laxative like senna, cascara sagrada and others which can also be habit-forming. Clinically, I find it useful as a bowel sweep for short-term eliminative support when traveling and during times of stress, and to help reset the lower digestive function.
For Dry Stools and Intestines
In cases of intestinal dryness, this combination of triphala, licorice, slippery elm, and psyllium can be a very effective and non-habit forming lubricant. (9)
The slippery elm and licorice are soluble fibers that help to form a viscous layer between the intestinal wall and potential irritants. When the gut gets dry, it must be shielded and lubricated. These slimy fibers, in combination with the triphala blend, support the reset of healthy bowel function and are easy to quickly wean off once elimination is balanced.
To activate the other herbs in Elim 1, you need to bring water to the intestines as quickly as possible after digesting them. A small amount of psyllium attracts just enough water to the other herbs to activate them and allow them to effectively lubricate the intestinal mucosa and gut.
As I mentioned before, I am not a big fan of psyllium as a bulking agent for regulating the stool. It sucks water off of the gut wall and dehydrates the bowel, potentially turning sluggish bowels into a chronic concern. However, a very small, non-bulking dose of psyllium used to attract water works brilliantly.
Important Note: When constipation lingers for three weeks or more, get a check-up just to make sure a medical condition isn’t causing the problem. Also see your doctor if:
- You’ve never been constipated before now
- You have stomach pain
- You’ve noticed blood in your stools
- You’re losing weight without trying
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