Drink at least two litres of water daily. Start your day with a cup of warm water with a slice of lemon in it – before you have anything else to eat or drink. Start each meal with salad or fruit, and eat lots of foods which are high in fibre (roughage) and vitamin C. Include fresh fruits such as oranges, watermelon, chikoo and grapes, and dried fruits such as prunes, figs (anjeer) and apricots. Eat plenty of vegetables, such as cauliflower, gourds such as lauki, cabbage, and spinach. Lentils and pulses (daal) and wholegrain cereals and bread, are all good too.

There is some evidence that psyllium or ispagula husks (isabgol), may ease constipation, particularly if you have irritable bowel syndrome. The seeds contain a substance called mucilage which absorbs fluid, helping to bulk up the stool. If you choose this remedy, you need to drink at least eight glasses of water daily to keep the stool moving along the gut. Do not use this remedy if you are taking heart medication.

Linseeds (flax seeds) may be used instead of isabgol. However, again, you should drink at least one large glass of water for each dessertspoonful of linseeds.