Creating Waves of Awareness
Vision of A Physician | CONSTIPATION, NOT A DISEASE
Dr. M. A. Usmani
In old books and in old therapies of the sub-continent, constipation has been branded as the mother of all diseases.This piece of insight had been proven to be quite superfluous and quaint. In my long practice of nearly 40 years, I’ve never treated constipation as an independent or a separate disease; and consider all laxative nostrums as positively injurious and devastating for health.
Constipation is either functional or pathological. Almost 90% of cases of constipation are functional; and 10% pathologic. Among these 10 cases, almost nine may be the cases for surgical intervention. I’m in this article dealing with the first class of cases, i.e. functional. In this category, I never consider constipation as a disease in its own right. Constipation, for me, is life-style;change the life-style, the constipation will automatically go.
When a patient comes to me for constipation, I ask him for other complaints. If he is reluctant to tell or say that he has no other complaint, I then ask him general questions as to how he lives and what he does in his life, his profession and his liabilities. His habits and living style are taken special notice of.
I’ve seen that 99% of cases are ‘cured’ without any medication whatsoever. In 1% of cases, in which I feel like giving some medicinal help are people who are really suffering from some sort of difficulty of bowels, functional or pathologic: either inertia or faulty peristalsis, or hemorrhoids, fissures or dryness and constriction. Such anomalies are usually curable by homeopathy, and are dealt with accordingly.
If I find that the patient, who has come for the constipation, has many other things to tell, then I take the proper case, and the constipation becomes one symptom among so many. And the prescription that I decide for the whole case, I usually find, is seldom based on constipation. The indicated remedy, however, improves all aspects of the case, including constipation.
For constipation, in a well-taken case, I usually enquire about the foods and edibles that do not agree with the patient; either cause allergic reaction or induce diarrhea, or loosen the bowels and cause frequent defecations. This knowledge is the golden key to unlock the case of chronic constipation. This allergen, you may call it, is sure to help this case, alleviating age-old disability. The most often allergen that I find in such cases is, milk. That is, these cases find that milk does not agree with them, causing indigestion or diarrhea. Now this piece of information is the secret of the solution. By giving ‘a hair of the dog that bites’, we instruct the patient to start taking milk daily, with breakfast or on retiring at night. He must start with half a cup of warm to hot milk, and judge the reaction. If no reaction, start increasing his dose by three to four spoons at a time; and when he starts having rather soft stools, he must keep the dose at that. And after few days the bowels may start getting very loose, start reducing the milk dose, by two to three spoons per day. In this way he will reach the optimum dose, where he will have daily one to two easy stools. This strategy will provide him ‘cure’ from his malady, with nutrition— a nutrition rich cure, you may call it; (for he has started taking milk which he had not tasted for many years).
As milk does not agree to a lot of people after infancy, especially during the advanced years, it is a great source for ‘curing’ constipation. Even for people who do not have indigestion from milk, it can still be a source for their salvation. In such cases a glass of warm milk, with a tablespoon of virginolive oil, will allay the difficulty magically. Olive oil itself is a mild laxative. But if this prescription of milk with olive oil does not help, a tablespoon of honey should also be added. Honey is also laxative.
Let’s come to other items of food that can be so employed. Vegetables and fruits are another source of help. Most vegetables, excepting potatoes, are laxative, more of less. The more leafy and soft pulpy they are, the more ‘laxatively’ they act. They should better be cooked or steamed; and served with olive oil, garlic and ginger seasoning. Leafy and pulpy vegetables should be selected for this purpose; such as spinach and lettuce, pumpkin, white gourd, sweet, bitter and round cucumbers, and many, many others, according to regions, habitat and countries. Most vegetables are flatulent in nature; lavish seasoning with ginger, garlic and asafetida, cumin and cinnamon should therefore be resorted to.
In addition to vegetables, a physician should also take full advantage of fruits, fresh and dried. As a rule, the more intensely sweet a fruit is, without the admixture of sour, the more laxative it is; and also the more pulpy, the more purgative it would be. So figs, fresh and dried, melon, water melon, ripe mangoes, ripe papaya, ripe, rather over-ripe, apricots (250 grams, at a time), raisins and so many others, can be relished and used as medicines.
One rule must be brought home, that is, warm things act as laxative, and cold as astringent. So much so that such an innocuous agent as water, in the state of warm or hot water, can act as an efficient aperient. Drinking two to three glasses of warm water, on rising in the morning, can help move bowels. Or a single glass of hotwater with a tablespoon of honey can equally suffice as well.
The vision of a physician should encircle the natural environ around him, and his knowledge should engulf and be enriched by the vision and knowledge of other systems of medicines and therapeutics. What is wise and factual in one system is wisdom and knowledge for all.
So the motto for a seasoned physician is:
Where foods can solve the problem, medicine should not be used.
Copyright 2011/All rights reserved © Dr Usmani
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