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Laxative, drug or food taken to promote bowel action and to treat constipation. Laxatives may act as irritants (cascara, senna, phenolphthalein, castor oil), softeners (mineral oil), or bulk agents (bran, methylcellulose, magnesium sulphate). Laxative abuse may cause gastrointestinal tract disorders, potassium deficiency, and lung disease.

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21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia - Lange, Dorothea to Lilac