Fact Files

The following fact files present more in-depth information about Nu-Lax.

Nu-Lax is used to assist in the treatment of constipation and should be taken once a day upon retiring.

If Nu-Lax is too firm, warm slightly and knead until pliable. Store below 30°C. Refrigerate after opening.

Dosage

Recommended dose for adults is 10g once daily.

Recommended dose for children is 5g, half the adult dose. Do not administer to children under the age of 12 years.

Constipation is defined as no bowel movements for three days (for adults). This is a fairly extreme definition, and depending on your usual pattern, you may not have to wait three days to decide you are constipated. Any change from your normal routine should be noted.

Causes

There can be a number of causes of constipation, some more serious than others. Most often, constipation is temporary. If you experience persistent constipation, you should consult your health care professional.

Digestion

As food moves through your body (in the alimentary canal), it is gradually digested, and the valuable nutrients are extracted into your bloodstream. Most of the absorption of nutrients occurs in the small bowel, or small intestine. The small bowel receives the food after it is dissolved and mixed with stomach juices in the stomach.

By the time the food moves from the small bowel into the large bowel, it is mostly digested. This remaining undigested food – or faecal matter – moves slowly through the large bowel until cleared. Typically, three or four ‘mass-movements’ of faecal matter occur each day, triggering the urge to defecate.

While the faecal matter stays in the large bowel, water is gradually absorbed, making it harder and drier. Constipation occurs when the faecal matter becomes very hard and difficult to move, due to slow progression through the bowel or infrequent clearing.

This means the causes of constipation can be traced back to inadequate consumption of water, lack of dietary fibre (as found in fruit), or slow or impaired movement of the bowel.

Diseases and Medications

A number of diseases can cause impaired movement in the bowel, such as irritable bowel syndrome, colorectal cancer, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, and depression. For this reason, any persistent constipation should be checked by a health care professional to determine the underlying causes.

Many medications for common ailments can also cause constipation.

Some examples are painkillers like morphine and codeine, iron or calcium supplements, antihistamines, diuretics, antidepressants and blood-pressure controllers (antihypertensives).

If you do not get enough regular exercise, you can become constipated. Women can also become constipated during pregnancy, and need to take special care with any treatments they take during pregnancy.

Treatments

Most treatments for constipation aim to address the causes of constipation, rather than just the symptom. As noted above, constipation should only ever be short term. For short-term relief, a gentle, natural laxative like Nu-Lax is appropriate. If constipation persists, or you experience abdominal pain or cramping, or you notice bleeding in your faeces, you should contact a doctor.

Usually the best treatments for long term constipation start by ruling out any of the serious causes listed above, and may involve adjusting any medications or combinations of medications, to reduce the disruption to normal bowel routine.

Once any serious causes have been ruled out, the best places to make changes are diet and lifestyle. Improving your diet is examined in detail in the Healthy Diet Fact File.

Senna (Cassia Augustifolia, also known as Tinnevelly Senna or Senna Alexandrina) is a small semi-desert shrub that is cultivated in Africa, India and southern China. A description of the medicinal properties was first recorded by Arabian physicians in the ninth century.
Today, senna is well known around the world and listed in the national pharmacopeias of countries like China, England, France, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, and the United States. Senna is still mainly used as a natural, gentle laxative.

Preparations

Senna leaves and senna pods can be prepared in a variety of ways for medicinal use. Studies have shown that the leaves contain more of the active ingredients, the sennosides, than the pods. Senna is often prepared as an ingredient in teas, or mixed with fruit, as it is in Nu-Lax.
The recommended therapeutic dose of dried leaf is approximately 0.6g – 2.0g per day. A single (10g) dose of Nu-Lax contains just 0.8g (8%) as the smallest dose that is effective is best.

Chemistry

The active ingredients in senna are a group of substances known as the sennosides (A, B, C, and D). These substances are part of a larger group of chemicals known as the anthraquinones, all of which have a similar chemical structure.

During digestion, the sennosides in the senna leaf acts on the walls of the bowel, causing:

  • increased rate of movement, and
  • increased levels of secretions.

The increased rate of movement means there is less time for water to be absorbed from the faeces. This combines with the increased level of secretions to ensure that the faeces stay soft and bowel movement is not impeded.

Usage

As a gentle yet effective laxative, senna is the natural alternative for short-term constipation. Longer term (more than two weeks) constipation can indicate more severe underlying problems, which may be aggravated by any laxative use.

Senna becomes active as it is digested, meaning that the laxative action follows around eight hours after the dose. For this reason, it is recommended that you take the whole daily dose before bed, ensuring a satisfactory bowel movement in the morning after you awake. This is perhaps the most convenient method of using Nu-Lax Fruit Laxative.

Constipation should always be short lived. Often, a change in diet can be the key to relieving constipation over the long term.

Constipation is caused by slow, or altered patterns of movement in the bowel. One intuitive way of speeding up a sluggish bowel is to eat more of the right foods — and the best foods to increase are high-fibre foods such as fruit.
In this section you can browse our list of high-fibre foods and tips for improving your diet.

High-Fibre Foods

Most people’s diets are lacking in fresh fruit and vegetables. Often, cooking vegetables and fruit can destroy or reduce the effectiveness of the nutrients they contain. Try to make a place for fresh salads and fruit in your diet.
When choosing foods, look for those with lots of dietary fibre. Dietary fibre moves through the bowel largely undigested, forming the necessary ‘bulk’ to keep food moving smoothly and regularly.

Some examples of high-fibre foods are:

Fruits: apples, pears, bananas, dried apricots
Vegetables: carrots, asparagus, broccoli, potato
Legumes: lentils, peas, soy (tofu)
Cereals: bran, brown rice, wholemeal bread

During Digestion

After the food is digested and the valuable nutrients absorbed in the small bowel, the remaining faecal matter moves into the large bowel, where the body extracts mainly water and a few remaining nutrients. The longer the faecal matter stays in the large bowel, the drier it gets.

To avoid having faecal matter dry out:

– eat more high-fibre foods
– drink around 6-8 glasses of water a day
– avoid coffee and alcohol, as these make you lose water
– avoid resisting the urge to go to the toilet.

As with most conditions, the best advice is: Listen to your body – It knows you best!

The Nu-Lax Difference

In keeping with a high fibre diet, Nu-Lax contains pure dried fruits with ground senna leaf. The extra fibre helps to form bulk, and the senna leaf increases the production of lubricant in the walls of the gut, making smoother, easier movement. The senna leaf also increases the movement of the muscles in the walls of the gut, further increasing movement. It is this two-fold action of increased lubrication, as well as increased movement, that makes senna so effective, yet so gentle. To find out more about senna, read our Secret of Senna Fact File.