Any time is a good time for digestive health
Brenda Watson, ND, CT
Cleansing eliminates the toxic effects of our diets as well as the poisons we absorb from the environment. During a cleansing program we clean our bodys muscles, organs, and fat tissue. But which cleansing program should you choose?
Cleansing eliminates the toxic effects of our diets as well as the poisons we absorb from the environment. During a cleansing program we clean our body’s muscles, organs, and fat tissue. But which cleansing program should you choose?
Although everyone is different, there are some basic guidelines, or steps, to cleansing. Many people believe that cleansing should only be performed during the spring. The thought is that fasting (water or juice fasts) in the winter is hard on the body, as the body requires fat to stay warm in the cold months. This philosophy does not apply to herbal cleansing. Anytime is a good time for a herbal cleanse.
It is always a good idea to eat a healthy diet, but while you cleanse you should limit the amount of processed foods, caffeine, and alcohol you consume, as these dietary changes will improve the results of your cleanse.
Step 1: Mild Cleanse
If cleansing is already a part of your yearly health regimen, you can skip to the advanced cleanse (Step 2).
If you have never cleansed before, it is important to start with a mild cleanse. Find an all-natural 15-day herbal cleanse, formulated specifically for the “first-time” or “sensitive” cleanser. It should stimulate the cleansing and detoxification process of the body’s seven channels of elimination: the liver, lungs, colon, kidneys, blood, skin, and lymphatic system.
If you start with a mild cleanse, there is less likelihood you will have a “cleansing reaction” such as headaches, mild nausea, and brain fog–symptoms that often occur with more advanced cleanses. These reactions can happen if your body detoxifies too quickly or if you are very toxic.
Step 2: Advanced Cleanse
For optimal health, it is important to have two to three proper bowel movements per day. If you are not having at least one bowel movement per day then, in a holistic sense, you are constipated. This thinking is much different from conventional medicine’s definition of constipation–three bowel movements per week or less. When one considers the increase in colon disease and other colon-related illnesses, we can see that the constipation problem is more widespread than current statistics show.
If you have chronic constipation, skip the mild cleanse and move straight to an advanced, full-body cleanse, with a strong focus on the colon. Your bowel should be moving regularly before moving onto cleansing other organs of the body (such as the liver). Regular bowel movements will ensure that the toxins released during the cleansing process are being removed from the body.
In order to achieve two to three bowel movements per day, the peristaltic action (muscular movement) of the bowel must be regular and the colon properly hydrated. Use a 30-day advanced cleansing program which does not include any purgative herbs, such as cascara sagrada (Rhamnus purshiana) or senna (Cassia sp.), but instead includes magnesium hydroxide, (which hydrates the colon by bringing water to the bowel), and peristaltic herbs such as aloe, rhubarb, and triphala (an Ayurvedic blend).
Step3: Candida or Parasite Cleanse
Most holistic practitioners use self tests which list symptoms often related to the overgrowth of parasites or candida (see bellow). If you have candida or parasites, you can perform a candida or parasite cleanse. This is recommended only if you are currently having regular bowel movements. If you are not, however, you should first perform an advanced cleanse as described in Step 2.
For candida, use a 15-day antifungal and antibacterial herbal cleanse. Find a formulation with a broad spectrum of antifungals in order to target the many different types of yeast organisms. Yeast is a pleomorphic organism, which means it can change form. Just as bacteria have been known to become antibiotic resistant, yeast can become antifungal resistant. By using more than one type of antifungal, yeast is less likely to adapt.
Also, ensure that the cleanse includes antibacterial herbs. An overgrowth of bad bacteria produces an environment in which candida can thrive. Removing bad bacteria allows good bacteria, such as acidophilus, to thrive and greatly reduces the chance of candida re-infestation. If your condition is severe or longstanding, you may need to perform this cleanse twice (30 days in total).
For parasites, use a cleanse that is antiparasitic, antimicrobial, and antifungal. The formulation should be taken daily for 15 days, then take a 5-day break before continuing with the cleanse for another 15 days. It is important to take a break in order to kill the parasites in all stages of development.
Step4: Liver Cleanse
The liver is one of the main organs of detoxification, and optimal liver function is vital in order to deal with the abundance of toxins that are filtered through it. If the liver is not healthy, these toxins can cause the liver to become sluggish, resulting in congestion or poor functioning. This can lead to many health problems such as toxicity, high cholesterol, poor digestion of foods, fatigue, blood sugar problems, hormone imbalance, headaches/migraines, allergies, sensitivities, and poor skin.
Use a liver cleanse that includes herbs that are hepatoprotective (herbs that protect the cells of the liver), chologogues (herbs that stimulate bile flow in the liver), and antioxidant. It is important to use a cleanse that not only detoxifies the liver, but also supports and enhances normal liver function. This cleanse will last for 30 days.
Step 5: Heavy Metal Cleanse
A heavy metal is defined as any metal five times heavier than water. Because of their density, they are hard to remove from the body’s tissue. Overmining and pollution in our environment have made exposure to heavy metals commonplace. They enter the body through our intake of air, food, and water. They are also found in many items we use on a regular basis such as aluminum foil, antiperspirant, lipstick, and pesticides.
Heavy metal cleanses remove these heavy metals from the body through a process known as chelation–from the Greek word “to claw.” When heavy metals are chelated, they are “clawed” from tissues and organs and removed from the body through its normal channels of elimination. The binding nature of chelation results in some vitamins and minerals being removed from the body as well; therefore, finding a heavy metal cleanse that includes a vitamin/mineral supplement is necessary to replace what is lost during the chelation process.
Not Just in the Spring
Remember, anytime is a good time to start a herbal cleanse. When following these cleansing steps, though, make sure to leave at least two weeks between the different cleanses, as this will give your body a break. I also recommend that you start any cleansing program at half strength for the first three days, as this will help you to ease into the program.
In the toxic world that we live in, cleansing is no longer an option, it’s a necessity. It is an essential tool for staying healthy, and these steps will lead you down the path toward digestive health.
Steps to Digestive Health
Not Sure if You have Candida?
Answer “yes” or “no” to the questions below:
If you answered “yes” to three or more questions, you may have candida.
Not Sure if You have Parasites?
Answer “yes” or “no” to the questions below:
If you answered “yes” to three or more questions, you may have parasites.