The word laxative refers to therapeutic agents - including natural substances such as herbs, oils, or essences, or conventional pharmaceutical drugs, that promote and increase the frequency of evacuation of the bowels.
Other words that are also used to refer to the same properties of therapeutic agents include cathartic and purgative.
Examples of commonly used conventional medical laxatives include:
- castor oil,
- bisacodyl, and
The definitions in this section are of words used to refer to the actions (effects) of both pharmaceutical drugs and natural remedies. For information about specific oils, herbs, and remedies that might have properties including some of the actions mentioned in this section, see other parts of this website. For example, the pages about Aromatherapy Essential Oils, Bach Flower Remedies, Herbalism, Homeopathic Remedies, Homeopathy and Massage Carrier Oils.