Something to Stew About – Prunes!
Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on March 10, 2011 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Grandma’s recommendation “have some stewed prunes!” turns out be sound advice for constipation afterall, like so many of the simple health remedies used by our elders before the advent of pharmaceuticals.
According to results from a recent clinical trial, a daily dose of dried plums is more effective for constipation than the soluble fiber from psyllium (as used in drugstore fiber laxatives).
How much do you need? About 50 grams of prunes a day, or around 1/3 cup of dried (or stewed) prunes. This provides approximately 6 grams of dietary fiber.
But it’s not only the fiber in prunes that provides its renowned constipation-relieving effects. Prunes also contain a healthy dose of sorbitol, which is known to act as an “osmotic laxative” – it holds onto water, which also bulks up the stool and moves it along your intestinal tract more quickly and more easily.
In addition to fiber and sorbitol, other constituents called polyphenols – we’ve run into those in some herbs we’ve talked about, for their antioxidant benefit – also appear to add to the laxative benefit of prunes.
So get some prunes stewing, or enjoy a few dried ones each day – they’re delicious and nutritious, as the best things in Nature are!
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Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan