Healthful or Harmful? The Jury Is Still Out, Here Are Some Updates
There is a lot of noise on the internet right now about colon cleansing. Some of the methods, called "natural" by the promoters, are enemas, laxatives, herbal teas, enzymes, powders, anti-parasite chemicals and acai berries.
The idea that our colon needs cleansing dates back to the ancient Greeks. In the modern world, colon cleansing came back into vogue in the 1920s.
Quite simply put, colon cleansing involves cleaning out the large intestine of all the detritus left there by our poor dietary regimen.
There are two approaches to colon cleansing in today's world; buying "natural" products or having a practitioner perform a colon irrigation (think of a high pressure garden hose... you get the idea).
The latter method now employs an elaborate machine that flushes as much as twenty gallons of chemically treated water through your large intestine via your external connector. What fun! Most treatments involve a double-flush.
Natural cleansing can use herbal teas or some of the other aforementioned diuretics.
But, what every happened to the practice of fasting? If you have a buildup in your large intestine, why not stop putting anything else in there until it naturally cleans itself?
Abstaining from foods for a day or two, ingesting only water and cleansing liquids like herbal tea, will promote a really natural cleansing of the colon.
One popular and medically acceptable cleansing fast is referred to as the "lemonade cleanse."
This fast involves food abstinence for up to two weeks. The only nourishment comes from a "lemonade" made from water, lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper.
The lemon juice cleanses and shrinks the stomach and intestines, the maple syrup provides some natural energy and cayenne pepper (like all chilies) is a natural blood cleanser.
The cleansing is accelerated by the drinking of a quart of warm, salted water every morning.
Within twenty minutes of chug-a-lugging the warm salt water, you feel a rumbling in your stomach and soon an eruption of this laxative occurs. By the third day what you are passing is clear water, so your colon is very clean.
The medical profession seems to have mixed feeling about the need for colon cleansing. It seems that there has been very little research into the effectiveness or need for cleaning out your large intestine.
One school of thought follows the ancient belief in the theory of autointoxication. This holds that our large intestines hold a lot of undigested meat and other comestibles that cause a mucus build-up in the colon.
The theory is that this debris produces toxins that enter our bloodstream.
On the other side of the coin are those who believe that a proper diet of protein, good carbohydrates and lots of fiber will naturally cleanse our colons.
With the lack of scientific studies, you have to decide for yourself if colon cleansing is for you.
Proponents say that a good cleansing will improve your mental outlook, increase energy, improve your immune system, promote weight loss and reduce the risk of colon cancer.
Opponents say that the colon doesn't need help because our natural bacteria in the colon detoxifies waste, the liver neutralizes toxins, mucus membranes prevent unwanted substances from entering the bloodstream.
Also, the colon sheds old cells every three days, taking any toxins with them.
Weight loss has nothing to do with the colon because most calories are absorbed before reaching the large intestine.
Remember, "natural" doesn't mean safe. There is no regulatory body controlling what is in colon cleansing products nor does every state require that practitioners be licensed.
There can also be some negative side effects to colon cleansing.
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