After I told my Listen To Your Colon readers about adding magnesium citrate to an Absorb Plus or whey protein shake to buffer it, I received a number of emails from readers who tried it and confirmed that it worked well for them to reduce the pain and spasming that magnesium citrate can cause. As one person wrote:

“Taking my magnesium at night in a smoothie like you suggested helped head off the extreme nausea & cramping I had been experiencing.”

So that’s great news and since then, I’ve been experimenting with two more substances to alleviate constipation: magnesium oxide powder and Triphala powder.


Triphala is an Ayurvedic herbal remedy derived from three different fruits (amalaki, bibhitaki and haritaki) that helps to correct constipation. It cleanses and tonifies the gastro-intestinal tract, promotes detoxification of the whole body and improves digestion and assimilation. Triphala also helps to reduce high blood pressure and hypertension and improves blood circulation.

The great thing about Triphala is it is not considered a laxative. It is viewed as more of a bowel cleanser and tonifier and hence it is safe for long-term or ongoing use. It tastes quite bitter, so whilst Absorb Plus masks it really well, just mixing it in juice makes it very hard to get down! Hence you may want to take it in capsules, if you can swallow pills.

I experimented with the powdered organic Triphala. 1 tsp added to my Absorb Plus shake was definitely noticeable, but still tolerable. At that dose, I felt some pain in my lower abdomen – but it felt more like a muscle pain than an intestinal pain. At 1/4 tsp, the Absorb Plus masks it quite well and the bitter taste is only mildly detectable. I still experienced a bowel clearing effect at the 1/4 tsp dose, but no pain or discomfort. A reader whose girlfriend has very slow bowels said she uses 2 tsp per day, whilst he could not tolerate more than 1 tsp per day.

So I suggest you start with 1/4 tspĀ  (1-2 capsules) and gradually increase from there to find your tolerance level. I REALLY like the idea of using Triphala for constipation as it is not just producing a bowel movement, but addressing the long-term dysfunction that often underlies constipati