I think conventional wisdom pertaining to using herbal remedies applies to herbs for constipation.
First and foremost, natural herbs do carry risks. An encyclopedia on herbs observes: " The unpleasant fact of the matter is that some herbs are downright dangerous. [Regrettably] some people don't give any herb-dangerous or benign-the appropriate respect."
Among the risks are:
1. Side effects. If you have cardiac problems, high blood pressure , blood-sugar disorders - be cautious that some herbs can change heart rate, blood pressure and glucose levels.
2. Dangerous mix with medicinal drugs. Herbs can magnify or reduce a drug's effect, cause the drug to be eliminated from the body faster than usual, or increase the risk of side effects.
In the realm of Chinese herbal medicines herbs for constipation are termed as downwards draining herbs are noted for their poisonous properties. The recommended usage is that these herbs should be taken for a short period and the dosage should be controlled carefully. When the severe symptoms of constipation have disappeared, these should be stopped immediately. Prolonged use worsens the constipation. Some examples of common poisonous Chinese herbs are: pokeberry root, croton fruit, caper spurge, and Chinese rhubarb.*
"Virtually every report in recent yars about harmful effects of herbs has stemmed from cases in which people didn't follow directions...Dosage recommendations on reliable products are safe and even conservative. Don't second-guess them unless you have good advice from a trained herbalist." - Dr. Logan Chamberlain, author of a book on herbal supplements. The point is, follow instructions when you use herbs.
"Even for serious health conditions, moderate amounts are the way to go, mega-doses are not. Much better results can be obtained by giving yourself more time and gentler treatment. It takes time to rebuild health." - Herbalist Linda Page. I hope this advice sink into the brains of the people who think they can snap their fingers and get a quick constipation relief.
Especially when you choose poisonous herbs with strong effects, ignorance is never an excuse.
*Herbal-splash.com suggests Yellow Dock before trying Chinese Rhubarb