Not all body and colon cleanse programs are created equal.
We recently covered the hype behind the “colon cleansing tea” marketing push. We talked about the fact that those teas, containing senna and other similar herbs, are just laxatives in disguise.
A real body and colon cleanse means stimulating all major elimination organs to rid themselves of accumulated waste. It does not mean purging. It does not work in a day or two. It is a more gentle, and much more thorough way to bring your gastrointestinal tract back into balance.
Our elders knew this. Today, we clinical herbalists and naturopaths are bringing this back into mainstream practice, because it does provide relief.
In this article, we propose a simple regimen to accomplish a body and colon cleanse. There is no magic behind it, no fancy exotic herbs, no powder containing 25 obscure constituents, but something tested throughout the ages.
Your first question may be: will this approach help me eliminate constipation? Is this a constipation remedy?
Directly, no. Indirectly, absolutely. It addresses the foundations of digestion and the well-being of your gastrointestinal tract. It ensures the machine is running smoothly.
One of its effect, as we will see, is gently laxative, but it is also beneficial for the liver (remember its key role in digestion), the kidneys, and other elimination organs.
Here is the strategy to adopt:
Our elders set aside specific times of the year to do body cleanse and colon cleanse. They sensed that with the change of seasons, the body needed to get rid of waste product in order to start the new season in optimum condition.
The typical cleansing time was at the beginning of spring. Winter food was generally not fresh, fruits and vegetables were rare (except for the seasonal ones such as cabbages, turnips, etc). Preserves, grains and cured meats constituted a large part of meals, thereby creating accumulation of waste products such as uric acid.
When spring came, everybody had to be in top shape. Growers needed to plow and sow, masons picked up their tools. The cleansing period was meant to eliminate the waste before increasing activity again.
Today, due to stress, pollution, an overconsumption of drugs, and malnutrition, we are no longer aware of this seasonal phenomenon.
Most of the people I see in my naturopathic clinic benefit from a cleansing period, whether they are constipated or not. And if you have had gastrointestinal problems for a while, you will benefit too.
If you have not done this in the last 6 months and you have been constipated, you should do this now. After this first cleanse, repeat every 4 to 6 months depending on results as part of your constipation prevention strategy.
All elimination organs need to participate in the body and colon cleanse, namely the liver, the kidneys, the colon, the pore of the skin through better circulation and increased perspiration, the lungs through increased activity.
If you have had gastrointestinal problems for a while and you have not done this type of cleansing yet, I encourage you to do so.
Here is a summary of what I usually recommend, over the course of 2 weeks.
I am not going to ask you to fast. Most of the people I see in my naturopathic clinic are working, have kids and otherwise active lives. Fasting does not fit into their lifestyles.
So here is a simpler yet effective plan:
Breakfast: one apple with a cup of green tea.
Lunch: steamed fish with olive oil and lemon, with steamed cauliflower with olive oil, curcuma and crushed fresh garlic.
Dinner: home made vegetable soup with crushed fresh garlic, apple sauce.
Any bitters will be a welcome addition. My favorite bitter salad is composed of dandelion leaves, with olive oil, vinegar, and fresh garlic.
You need to walk or bike every day. You don’t need to push your heart into overdrive necessarily, but you need to get your lungs to work and to work up a good sweat. A one-hour walk at a rapid pace is the type of exercise we are looking for here.
After showering, vigorously rub your skin with a towel, all over your body. This will stimulate the pores of your skin, one of your elimination organs. Of course, if you have access to a sauna, even better!
Turn off the TV, grab a good book, read for a while under a dim light, and go to bed before 10pm. Sleep at least 8 hours a night if you can. Catch-up on any accumulated lack of sleep.
There are many herbs that can be used for their cleansing effects. Each region of the world has its traditions. We are going to stick to a simple approach, with a few herbs.
When it comes to brands, I have been using the Herb Pharm and Rose Mountain Herbs products in my naturopathic clinic for years. They are both very reputable companies making high-quality products.
Nettles extract prepared from fresh plant material (stimulate elimination of waste, diuretic). I like tinctures made from the fresh leaves, roots and seeds (Herb Pharm's "Nettle Blend" follows that approach).
Dandelion extract prepared from fresh roots (cools down an inflamed liver, helps the liver eliminate waste)
Put 30 drops of nettles and 30 drops of dandelion in a bit of cold water and drink twice a day.
Those experienced in the use of medicinal plants may say that herbs in this body and colon cleanse mix have different energies and “personalities”. I agree. In my herbal clinic, I will adjust this formula based on the individual’s constitution.
But without knowing you and your history, I cannot tailor this treatment specifically to you. I’d rather make sure all of the important cleansing properties of plants are called into one simple and affordable blend.
Optimization of this mix can only be done in the context of a herbal consultation, which is not possible here. But let me assure you that if your body needs a cleanse, this mix will work.
In this article, we discussed the fact that a body and colon cleanse is something our elders did once or twice a year. With the stress of modern life, it should be done at least twice a year.
If you have suffered from constipation or other gastrointestinal upset on a regular basis, you should integrate this body cleanse into your yearly routine.
You should also integrate this body cleanse and colon cleanse regimen as part of your baseline strategy for constipation prevention. It should be done on a regular basis, 2 to 4 times a year.
All plants mentioned in this article are gentle and safe. But as usual, if you are suffering from a serious medical condition, or if you are taking medication, check with a herb expert to ensure there are no possible interactions with drugs.