Cleansing for Colon Health
by Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS
The state your colon’s health is one of the greatest indicators of your overall health. The GI tract helps to cleanse toxins from your blood, intestines, and lymph systems with the assistance of your kidneys, lungs and skin. Quite simply, you can’t be vital and healthy without a properly functioning colon. Bernard Jensen—an alternation health expert who revolutionized our ideas about bowel health and the author of Dr. Jensen’s Guide to Better Bowel Care—said it best.
“Every tissue in the body is fed by the bloodstream, which is supplied by the bowel. When the bowel is dirty, the blood is dirty, and so are the organs and tissues. It is the bowel that must be cared for ﬁrst. Sickness and disease respond more effectively and faster to treatment when bowel irrigation is done ﬁrst.”
To ensure that your gut is functioning at maximum efﬁciency, do consider some measures to cleanse it regularly.
It’s not uncommon for the health of the gastrointestinal tract to be compromised by inﬂammation and irritants. Inﬂammatory reactions lead to increased permeability and malabsorption, which automatically posts a welcome sign for leaky gut and its ensuring allergies and challenges. And because many parasites can become embedded in the intestinal wall, no type of natural cleansing or otherwise can effectively reach them until the mucus and encrusted matter lying over them are softened. So, the ﬁrst step in ridding the body of one of the more immunosuppressive causes of colon dysfunction is to detox the gastrointestinal tract naturally.
The intestinal cleansing process can be accomplished through the use of one or more of the following natural substances: rice bran ﬁber, alfalfa leaves, butternut root bark, fennel seed, licorice root, Irish moss, anise seed, peppermint leaves, cranberry, psyllium seed husk ﬁber, ﬂaxseed ﬁber, apple or citrus pectin, and buckthorn bark. These substances act like a broom and sweep debris out of the digestive tract.
(Do note that this cleanse would not be appropriate for the more exotic blood- and tissue-invasive parasites, which cause malaria, trichomoniasis, toxoplasmosis, schistosomiasis, ﬁlariasis, elephantiasis, and leishmaniasis.)
Without equal, psyllium seed husk ﬁber, ﬂaxseed ﬁber, and bran ﬁber are gentle and effective bulking agents in the removal of accumulated wastes. Their extremely high water-absorbing capacity lubricates old fecal matter dried on the colon wall for a softer, more normal evacuation. And their tremendous swelling capacity lets them absorb toxins and waste materials stored in the body. Bulking agents must be taken with adequate amounts of water, so be sure to check the directions on the product label.
It’s not unusual, once you begin the cleansing process, for the body to pass strings of mucus and even worms from the colon. That’s why the highly beneﬁcial detoxifying ﬁber found in citrus pectin as well as naturally effective herbs is so important in absorbing toxins from the system. These herbs include cranberry powder (known for its anti-yeast properties); butternut root bark (one of the best and safest laxatives); fennel seed (to soothe the digestion and help against ﬂatulence and heartburn); licorice root (a mild laxative/detoxiﬁer to help heal the irritated mucous membranes of the intestinal tract); and peppermint leaves (to help relieve gas pain and aid digestion).
And since we don’t always eat the right foods, the third essential to attaining an effective cleansing system is to add a blend of enzymes to help promote the absorption and proper assimilation of nutrients, which is necessary to strengthen our resistance.
A Cleansing Flush
Colonic irrigation and home enemas can be a helpful adjunct in cleansing the colon. Colonic irrigation (sometimes called a high enema) is a procedure whereby a lukewarm water solution is irrigated into the entire length of the large intestine. The procedure, which dislodges and removes toxins over the entire length of the intestine, takes about 45 minutes and is usually performed in a professional ofﬁce. Sanitary procedures and ingredients, such as ﬁltered water and disposable specula, are essential.
Some experts also believe that colonics, through the gentle internal massage of the water pressure, help to reestablish the original shape of the colon. Bulges and pockets, where wastes and other critters have been “hiding” and fermenting or putrefying, are re-formed back into their healthy shape. In addition, colonics ﬁrm up the colon’s muscles, stimulating their peristaltic action that squeezes and excretes waste material. In that way, they boost regular bowel movements and put a stop to both constipation and diarrhea.
For those who prefer the do-it-yourself method, home enemas can be effective. Remember, however, that enemas reach only the lower 12½ inches of the 5½ foot colon, whereas colonic irrigation cleanses the entire length of the colon, up to the ileocecal valve.
Numerous home remedies can be added to enemas to make them more effective. Garlic’s well-documented anti-parasitic properties make garlic juice enemas a beneﬁcial treatment in cases of pinworms in children and adults. Garlic’s active component, allicin, seems to be the substance that has the anti-parasitic properties.
Many herbal healers recommend an enema of two mashed garlic cloves boiled in six ounces of milk and given for three consecutive nights to kill pinworms in children. Garlic enemas are also good because they support the normal acidity of the colon. Vinegar enemas (two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to one quart of water) are also helpful as general detoxiﬁers. Blackstrap molasses enemas (one tablespoon to a quart of water) will actually pull encrusted fecal matter and some parasites off the intestinal wall. Organic wheat grass juice has been used at health clinics and at home for enemas. The late Dr. Ann Wigmore, the pioneer of wheat grass juice in the United States, used wheat grass juice for implants and enemas. Coffee enemas, used in detoxiﬁcation programs made famous by Dr. Nicholas Gonzales, are helpful in cleansing the liver, but can cause tissue weakness with prolonged use.
A word of caution when taking enemas: Use only properly ﬁltered water, or purchase distilled water and further sterilize it by heating to a rolling boil for at least 10 minutes. Sterilize the tubing and enema bag by soaking them in a cleansing bath (half a teaspoon of colloidal silver or hydrogen peroxide combined with a gallon of water). Rinse thoroughly with puriﬁed water.
We can all agree that cleansing your colon is one powerful method to heal your digestive system and repair any damage, but restore your body’s vitality from your head to your toes.
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS is an award-winning author and highly respected health pioneer who has spent her career continually breaking ground in traditional and holistic health. Her over 30 published books include New York Times bestsellers The Fat Flush Plan and Before the Change. A Columbia University graduate, Gittleman has been recognized as one of the top ten nutritionists in the country by Self magazine and has received the American Medical Writers Association award for excellence.