Is plum juice a laxative?

Plums are a type of stone fruit that come in different colors like red, purple, green, and yellow. They have a sweet yet tart flavor and are packed with nutrients. Plum juice is made by pressing or blending plums, often with their skins and pits. It provides many of the benefits of eating whole plums in liquid form.

Some people claim that drinking plum juice has a laxative effect and can help relieve constipation. This article will explore whether there’s any truth to this claim.

What causes the laxative effect of prunes and prune juice?

Prunes are dried plums. They’re well known for their ability to relieve constipation. In fact, they’re commonly recommended by doctors as a natural remedy. The laxative effect comes from:

  • Sorbitol – a natural sugar alcohol found in high amounts in prunes. It has a laxative effect by drawing water into the intestines.
  • Fiber – prunes are high in fiber, which adds bulk to stool and promotes regularity.
  • Phenolic compounds – antioxidants found in prunes that stimulate contractions in the intestines.

Since prune juice is made from prunes, it contains many of the same constipation-relieving components. Several studies have confirmed the laxative effect of prune juice.

Does plum juice also have laxative properties?

Fresh plums and dried prunes come from the same plant species. But does plum juice offer the same benefits for constipation as prune juice?

There hasn’t been much research specifically on the laxative effects of plum juice. But some components that give prunes their laxative effect are also found in plums:

  • Sorbitol: Plums have a lower concentration of sorbitol than prunes. But sorbitol is still present, around one gram per plum.
  • Fiber: A 100g serving of plums contains around 1.4g of fiber. Prunes contain 7g per 100g.
  • Phenolic compounds: Plums also contain phenolic compounds like prunes, although likely in lower concentrations.

So while plums and plum juice have less dramatic effects than prunes and prune juice, they may still offer mild laxative effects.

Potential laxative components in plum juice

Here is a more detailed look at the main components in plum juice that can help relieve constipation:


  • Sugar alcohol found naturally in stone fruits like plums and prunes
  • Poorly absorbed by the body, allowing it to draw water into the intestines
  • Doses of 20-50g per day have a laxative effect
  • Around 1g per plum, more concentrated in prunes


  • Plums contain both soluble and insoluble fiber
  • Soluble fiber absorbs water, forming a gel-like consistency
  • Insoluble fiber adds bulk and moves through the intestines undigested
  • Fiber promotes regularity by increasing stool size and speeding up transit time

Phenolic compounds

  • Antioxidants found in plums, especially chlorogenic and neochlorogenic acid
  • Stimulate contractions along the intestines
  • Improve movement of stool through the colon

Other potential laxative nutrients in plum juice

In addition to the main components that give prunes their laxative effect, plum juice contains other nutrients that can help get things moving:


  • Plums contain around 5mg magnesium per 100g
  • Magnesium relaxes intestinal muscles, allowing for smoother bowel movements
  • Magnesium also attracts water into the intestines


  • Plums provide around 157mg potassium per 100g
  • Like magnesium, potassium helps relax intestinal muscles
  • It also stimulates nerves in the intestines to coordinate muscle contractions

Vitamin C

  • Plums contain around 9.5mg vitamin C per 100g
  • Vitamin C helps make stool softer by drawing water into the colon

While these nutrients are not laxatives per se, they support regular bowel function.

Other plum juice benefits

In addition to potential mild laxative effects, drinking plum juice offers many other health benefits:

  • Antioxidants – Plums are rich in antioxidants like polyphenols, carotenoids, and vitamin C.
  • Hydration – Plum juice provides fluid intake, important for preventing constipation.
  • Bone health – The potassium and vitamin K in plums promotes bone density.
  • Heart health – Plum polyphenols improve blood flow and reduce blood pressure.
  • Anemia – The iron in plums increases oxygen-carrying red blood cells.

Is plum juice safe?

For most people, drinking plum juice is safe and healthy in moderation. However, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • The sorbitol in plums can cause gas, bloating, and diarrhea if consumed in excess.
  • The high potassium content means plum juice interacts with certain medications like ACE inhibitors and potassium-sparing diuretics.
  • The natural sugars in plum juice means it’s high in carbohydrates. People with diabetes should be mindful of portion sizes.
  • Very rarely, some people may be allergic to plums.

Overall, plum juice is considered very safe. But as with any food, moderation is key.

How much plum juice for a laxative effect?

There are no official guidelines on how much plum juice to drink for constipation relief. But general advice includes:

  • 8 oz (250 ml) plum juice per day
  • Eat 2-3 plums per day along with the juice
  • Consume plum juice first thing in the morning on an empty stomach
  • Combine with other sources of sorbitol like apples, apricots, and pears

It may take a couple days of consistent consumption to have an effect. Drink plenty of water too to aid the laxative properties.

How long does plum juice take to work?

The timing can vary based on factors like:

  • Your individual digestive system
  • How severe your constipation is
  • How much plum juice you drink
  • Whether you combine it with plums or other sorbitol-containing foods

Some people notice a laxative effect within a few hours. But it may take 12-24 hours to fully work. Consistency is key – keep drinking plum juice daily alongside a high fiber diet and hydration.

Plum juice vs prune juice

Plum juice Prune juice
Sorbitol content Around 1g per plum Higher sorbitol content
Fiber content 1.4g per 100g plums 7g per 100g prunes
Phenolic content Contains phenolic compounds Higher phenolic content
Laxative strength Mild laxative effect Stronger laxative effect
Taste Sweet, mild flavor Intense, tangy flavor

Both plum juice and prune juice can help relieve constipation thanks to their sorbitol, fiber, and phenolic content. But prune juice is considered more potent.

Plum juice recipes

Here are some tasty ways to enjoy plum juice’s benefits:

Plum Juice Smoothie

  • 1 cup plum juice
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Blend all ingredients together until smooth.

Sparkling Plum Juice Spritzer

  • 2 parts plum juice
  • 1 part sparkling water
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Mix together and enjoy over ice.

Plum Juice Popsicles

  • 1 cup plum juice
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Pour into popsicle molds and freeze overnight.


Plum juice contains sorbitol, fiber, magnesium, and other beneficial components that can help stimulate bowel movements and relieve constipation. The laxative effect is milder compared to prune juice. But drinking plum juice on a regular basis may help support healthy digestion.

Enjoy plum juice alongside eating whole plums, staying hydrated, and getting plenty of exercise. And speak to your doctor if constipation persists despite lifestyle and dietary changes.

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