So how have you all been going with the idea of detoxing? Have you planned or better still, started one?  It’s a good thing to do, I just did a mini fast – great. As we said in the previous article, detoxing allows your body to clear out the results of past ‘indiscretions’. Detoxing gives your system the opportunity to rest in order to help ‘clear out the stuck bits’. In our first article “Why Detox” we did not discuss any strategies to help your detox and move the ‘stuck bits’.

So now that we opened up the discussion of detoxing, we might as well develop it a bit further. There are a number of methods that can enhance a detox and or be used as stand alone strategies to maintain digestive health on a regular basis – we are referring to colon cleansing.  There are two main ways to colon cleanse: using herbal medicines or supplements or the more ‘physical’ method of colon hydrotherapy.  Before we discuss either method I want to start with a reminder – food is medicine.  Eat well and you will successfully avoid the majority of lifestyle related health problems.  And it is never too late, in fact a change of diet will often help heal chronic health problems.

There are a variety of adjunct therapies that can assist with detoxing and in my opinion the method that gives the most immediate results is colon hydrotherapy or irrigation.  I will mention the other methods for your reference.  One more thing, my assumption is that quite a few readers will be dealing with constipation or stools that are difficult to evacuate/pass.  Chronic diarrhea is an indicator of a range of problems too including parasites or highly impacted feces.  Pay as much attention to loose stools as constipation.

Did you know current research is finally supporting what natural healers have known ‘forever‘? Gut function and digestive health play a fundamental role in all kinds of health problems from autism to arthritis to colon cancer, rectal cancer to auto immune diseases and allergies.  It pays to pay your gut and colon some attention.

I have used colon hydrotherapy a number of times and while it was a challenging thing to do it was great. I was brought up with the idea that defecation or ‘number 2’s’ is right up there on the list of PRIVATE things to do. So the idea of having a complete stranger insert a hose up your bottom, flush you out with water (sometimes water and herbs) and then comment on the result was a big deal for me… call me old fashioned. And it was amazing. Colon cleansing is a process not an event. Like I said, gut and elimination are central to our health. A picture is worth a thousand words, so I found these videos for you. I was actually looking for a naturopath talking about the principles and I found, to my shock, people filming their colon irrigation… so a big thanks to them – I think… Anyway this first video is quite good because it takes you though the process.

It is Australian, so if you are not up for that accent you may prefer to watch these videos. These videos are from the US and in my opinion not so easy to watch as they are short segments – anyway choose which works for you. The point being – colon hydrotherapy is a health promoting thing to do and you will feel better in a very short period of time. To augment a colon cleanse consider: specific yoga poses & twists (great for constipation and releasing toxins), abdominal massage (get advice from a massage therapist – great for babies and children. Use warm oil and massage regularly), acupressure reflexology and/or acupuncture.

OK now for the supplement oriented colon cleansing options. Apart from diet, the main one is herbs. Herbs come in a variety of forms and each culture has its own herbal remedy lore; Ayurveda, traditional Chinese medicine, traditional western herbal medicine and indigenous traditions depending on where you are. Being a homoeopath, I love homoeopathy and use it all the time, though homoeopathy is used to treat specific health problems e.g. constipation, rather than to detox as such.  And with gut issues I always supplement with herbs and I make sure herbs are a part of every day life in food, tea etc. Their herbal tinctures you get made up from a herbalist as much more potent than dried herbs in capsules. That said, don’t despair if you can’t get to a herbalist or homoeopath or naturopath – you still have options. There are huge numbers of colon cleansing supplements on the market that are easy to use. I will discuss two such products below and I need to say up front I have not used these products but I do know a little something about herbs. I will discuss a couple of products I found online that you might consider and tell you what (as a practitioner) I think about them. You could just as easily go to the health food store and buy some there. The best thing about these two products (I honestly don’t think there’s that much between them – particularly if you do what I suggest below) is they are both offering a free trials – which you will not get from the health food store.

So as I said I have not used Ultimate Colon Cleanse but it looks solid enough. It has the basic ingredients you would expect to see in a colon cleansing supplement: psyllium, slippery elm, senna chlorophyll, chamomile and licorice root. Although it has Licorice – which is great for the liver, I suggest paying our hard working liver a bit more attention.  So if you trial Ultimate Colon Cleanse I suggest you add a few of the following herbs to your diet ( I am specifically chose herbs you can find and use easily).  For example, Cayenne Pepper helps you shed waste through sweat and it acts a blood purifier. Cayenne raises your metabolic rate too. Dandelion is fantastic and held in high regard as a detoxer.  Dandelion stimulates the flow of bile from the urea tract and helps clean the blood. It supports liver function and can help reduce eczema.  You can take Dandelion as an ‘alternative’ to coffee. Many say Dandelion tastes like coffee and they would be WRONG; Dandelion tastes like dandelion and it is OK as a hot drink.  Buy Dandelikon from the health food store as a root (roast has more flavour) and bring it to the boil on the stove with water.  Add a variety of other herbs to help with the flavour and your gut.

Fennel, mostly commonly used as tea acts as a natural laxative and relieve flatulence and colic.   It helps to maintain stasis and tone of the colon.  Put it in curry pastes, make tea put it on bread – but do use fennel – it’s mildly licorice flavour will enhance both savoury and sweet dishes.  It tastes great while it sterilises the gastrointestinal tract.  No wonder Indians use these herbs daily.  Remember? Food is medicine.   And remember to include Green Tea as green tea is a potent detoxifier and is great for colon cleansing.  It is rich in vitamin C and catechins that make up about a quarter of green tea leaves.  The cathechins combine with other molecules to detoxify the system.  Green tea contains polyphenols with anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Current research shows it’s great to turbo charge your metabolism too.  Make your own private tea blend of green tea and fennel or green tea and ginger.  Use leaf and mix your favourite herbs.  Tastes great and is good for you.  Makes a lovely personalised gift too 🙂

And now two of my all time favourites Garlic and Ginger. Garlic kills bacteria in the bloodstream and cleans the intestines.  Eat garlic raw or add it last to cooking as overcooking kills the antibacterial effects. Ginger is a GREAT digestive tonic that strengthens the digestive tract.  Drink a bit of grated ginger with a drop of lemon juice and honey in warm water before dinner.  Ginger softens and revitalises the muscles and glands and helps release toxins through sweating. It is also fabulous for period pain, morning sickness (ironically) and motion sickness.  When your tummy feels bad – think of Ginger.  Finally, use parsley liberally: tabbouleh, in salads, in juices – just use it.  Parsley is one of the highest sources of chlorophyll, which acts like iron to oxidise the blood and it neutralises the smell of garlic!   It cleanses the kidneys, liver, urinary tract and is effective for upset stomachs as it stimulating digestive enzymes.  Parsley is excellent for the colon as it encourages the peristaltic wave in the intestines.

So as not to appear biased I will briefly discuss another colon cleansing supplement Natra Clean.  Although this product is marketed as being the same Ultimate Colon Cleanse its featured active ingredients are Green Tea and Probiotics (we will explore probiotics in the relatively near future).  If you need basic information on probiotics then have a look at the site as it provides some.  Though from my experience you need way more probiotics than you will get in a product like this to heal a damaged gut, and, every bit helps. No, I am not hedging my bets I am just saying that healing is different to supplementing.  Natra Clean seems to focus more on fat burning/weight loss and it uses probiotics as a marketing angle. Because the pages does not show the entire ingredients list it is hard to know how else the two products differ.  The featured ingredients indicate Natra Clean functions more as a weight loss aid compared to Colon Revitalize so it really is a matter of your personal goals.  And, if permanent healthy weight loss is your goal you can’t go past good food, exercise breathing well and water.

OK there you have it, a quick look at how to get more out of your detox with colon cleansing. I have presented a range of options to suit different needs. In closing, all of this talk about detoxing and cleansing is about on thing: healing a sick gut. Everyone will benefit from paying more attention to their digestive tract. Some people require more intervention than others. Guaranteed though, in this day and age, in the US in particular, more folks than ever before need help to heal their gut. Healing a sick gut requires patience, focus, dedication and expertise. You do not heal a sick gut using product like Natra Clean or Ultimate Colon Cleanse. These kinds of supplements may help if your habitual diet is not too bad and you are looking for a bit of a lift.  If you feel like you are in OK shape then these kinds of products may be just what you need to get you on your way. If however you feel like there is, or there might be, a bit more going on then seek the help of a qualified practitioner. And remember screening – intestinal problems left unchecked can have dire consequences like colon and rectal cancer. With early detection, colon and rectal cancer can be cured.

We understand that gut problems may be embarrassing and so we close with Katie Couric:

“please don’t die of embarrassment”