Now more than ever, leaving your home for a visit to the doctor is a daunting prospect. So, if you find yourself experiencing issues when it comes to your bodily functions, you might be eager to find a solution in the comfort of your own home. One issue people have trouble diagnosing is when their colons are not clean or healthy. Without the ability or confidence to seek professional medical aid with your colonic needs, a home remedy might seem like the way to go. However, it is important to note that colon cleansing as treatment comes with several risks and should not be conducted without first consulting your primary physician.
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What is the Colon?
The first thing you are probably wondering about is what the colon is and what role it plays in your body. The simple answer is that the colon facilitates a significant portion of the digestion process. There are four parts of the colon: ascending, transverse, descending, and sigmoid.
When we eat, our food is chewed into smaller pieces in the mouth before traveling down the esophagus in the swallowing process and ends up in the stomach. Once in the stomach, food is digested by being broken down into a liquid and continuing into our intestine. Our gallbladder, pancreas, and liver continue the breakdown process in our intestine, and we absorb the nutrients from the food. After this digestive step, the food moves into our colons to break down whatever is left into waste material.
This is where things can get complex. If too much waste builds up in our bodies, it can pollute our colons and flood the essential organ with harmful toxins. These toxins, if left unattended, may run the risk of poisoning us and causing long-term damage. Fortunately, it is easy to detect the symptoms of this waste buildup and an overtaxed colon. These symptoms include fatigue, bloating, irritated skin, and weight gain. An unhealthy colon can even lead to more serious conditions like depression and colon cancer.
What is Colon Cleansing?
As the name implies, a colon cleanse is the act of purging your colon of waste materials using liquid and, on occasion, specialized injection equipment. The fact that liquids are the primary agent used in colon cleansing led to its alternate name of colonic irrigation. You are using the liquid treatment to flush your large intestine of the alleged toxins building up in it to prevent poisoning and optimize your digestive process.
The treatment itself dates to ancient Greece, becoming popular in the United States sometime in the early 20th Century. That said, it is important to note that the theories behind colonic irrigation are no longer supported by medical professionals, causing the practice to all but vanish for decades. Now, in the 21st Century, it is once again on the rise.
While the most basic and common variations of cleanses use water, other ingredients can be added for alleged additional benefits. There are dozens of recipes for do-it-yourself (DIY) colon cleanse formulas from countless people across the Internet and magazine alike. This article will only be focusing on five of them for ease of information.
The first DIY colon cleansing formula comes from the website of Dr. Axe, a website based on health and beauty habits that offer recipes for healthier living. Dr. Axe’s formula is designed for issues like chronic constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and leaky gut. The recipe itself was created by Kyra Oliver.
The ingredients for Oliver’s cleanse are as follows:
- ½ cup 100% pure organic apple juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon ginger juice
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ cup warm purified water
The directions for brewing the cleanse formula are to place 3.5 ounces of purified water in a pan, warm it without boiling, and then pour the water into a glass. After which, you stir in the apple juice, ginger juice, and lemon juice. You then drink the formula first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, again preceding a light lunch, and once more mid-afternoon.
Oliver also recommends that the light lunch you eat following the second dose consists of steamed vegetables and baked salmon. You should also ensure that you drink between six and eight glasses of water throughout the day.
The second recipe comes from another health site called Cleanse Joy. The Cleanse Joy recipe aims to reduce bloating, increasing energy, clearing complexion, and alleviating issues like constipation and digestive blockages. Dr. Edward Group developed this recipe as part of his ongoing research.
Dr. Group’s recipe is as follows:
- ½ lemon
- 1 teaspoon raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
- 16 ounces distilled or spring water
- 4 capsules of Oxygen Colon Cleanse (oxy-powder)
To brew this cleanse formula, you need to shake the apple cider vinegar bottle, mixing the cloudy half with the liquid. Mix the teaspoon of vinegar into the sixteen ounces of water. Then, squeeze the lemon and add the juice to the mixture. Then you drink the mixture right before going to bed alongside four capsules of the oxy-powder on an empty stomach.
The next cleanse recipe comes from yet again from Dr. Axe’s website. This recipe also comes from Kyra Oliver and functions more as a flush formula, designed to purge the toxins with a more straightforward recipe. What differentiates this flush treatment from the previously cited cleanse is that it forces a bowel movement to literally flush the toxins from the alleged waste buildup from your body. Obviously, you will want to be prepared for this and keep close to a bathroom after taking the cleanse recipe.
The ingredients for Oliver’s second recipe are:
- 2 teaspoons of sea salt
- 1 glass jar with a lid
- 1 liter of hot filtered water
- 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice or 1 cup of lemon water
To make this specific detox remedy, all you need to do is heat the water without letting it boil and then add the other ingredients into the jar. Then shake the jar until the salt is fully dissolved and down the mixture (preferably in less than five minutes). Then you lie on your side, massage your stomach on each side while holding the formula in for at least thirty minutes. After you have reached the thirty-minute mark or cannot hold it anymore, proceed to the restroom to finish the process.
Our next recipe comes from The Blender Girl, a food lifestyle blog written by a woman named Tess. Unlike the other recipes, she recommends a smoothie made from fruits and vegetables to facilitate the cleansing of the colon. In natural bodily processes, fiber helps move things along through the colon, and water helps facilitate. Thus, a smoothie made from high-fiber vegetables is an excellent way to facilitate bowel movements.
The ingredients for Tess’ smoothie are as follows:
- 6 cups baby spinach
- 3 cored green apples
- 2 handfuls flat-leaf parsley (optional)
The instructions for Tess’s smoothie are extremely simple. All you need to do is run all the ingredients through a juicer, then drink a cup of the juice once every four hours.
Our final cleanse recipe comes from a post made by Cleanse Joy once again. This recipe is meant not to cleanse the body artificially but to facilitate your natural bodily processes. The liver, colon, kidneys, and most of the digestive system are already quite good at removing toxins from your body. A cleanse like this one simply facilitates this process naturally.
Cleanse Joy’s tea recipe goes like this:
- ½ lemon
- 2 inches ginger root
- 1 tablespoon raw local honey or stevia
- 1 cup spring water
You first peel the ginger root and cut thin slices from it before boiling it in water for five minutes. Then you reduce the heat, cover the ginger to simmer for five to ten minutes before straining the resulting tea into your cup. Squeeze the lemon to get the juice into the tea before adding the honey or stevia.
Like other cleanse recipes, this one is ideally consumed on an empty stomach and first thing in the morning.
The Risks of Colon Cleansing
With so many colon cleanse formulas readily available, you are probably eager to get started on the one you feel will alleviate your symptoms. However, there is one caveat to colon cleanses that you are most likely unaware of. They come with risks. While a cleanse is standard procedure before a colonoscopy, the use of these cleanses for every little issue you may feel has inherent side effects that may leave you worse off than you were before you started. Such side effects include:
- Dehydration: The most common issue associated with colon cleanses and excessive bowel movements is the dehydration you suffer as a result. You lose weight whenever waste matter leaves your body, but the process also takes a portion of your fluids with it. If you are consistently using cleanses as a treatment for colonic issues, you will constantly be losing water and dehydrating your body, which in turn can lead to kidney failure.
- Electrolyte Imbalance: There is a substance in your body called electrolytes that carry electrical signals across your cells. The constant shift of fluids and matter from colon cleanses inherently risks upsetting the balance of these electrolytes in your system. If your electrolytes are not appropriately maintained, you could lose consciousness and damage your kidneys.
- Bacterial Imbalance: There are bacteria everywhere in the world, even on what we eat and drink. Our bodies can fight off most bacterial infections on their own, and healthy bacteria in our bodies help fight off infection. Colon cleanses purge these healthy bacteria while inviting foreign bacteria in. As a result, excessive cleanses can lead to infection.
- Bowel Perforation: Most cleanses involve inducing bowel movements to facilitate the process. If you are using cleanses too frequently, you strain the muscles used in these movements and can tear them. These tears are medical emergencies as, if left untreated, they can be fatal.
If you want to use cleanse recipes to try and improve the state of your colon, that is all well and good. To do so in moderation is ideal. Before you look to a cleanse to treat your symptoms, be sure to consult your doctor first and ensure that it is safe and healthy for you to do so. When you begin a cleanse, be sure to drink plenty of water before and after the cleanse to combat dehydration.
These cleansers may seem like the ideal method for treating your colonic issues without directly seeking a doctor’s aid. However, there are other tools at your disposal to ensure a healthy colon without resorting to cleanses that may incur additional health issues if not performed correctly or in moderation.
- High-Fiber Diet: If you are suffering from colonic issues, consider introducing more foods rich in fiber to your diet. Fiber serves as a natural clearing agent, and consuming between twenty-five to thirty-five grams daily is recommended by virtually every medical professional or nutritionist.
- Drink Water: A recurring theme in most colonic treatments, drinking enough water not only prevents dehydration but also serves to promote a healthy colon. Water naturally purges the toxins that allegedly build up in your colon without proper care, and therefore will serve to prevent the issue before it manifests if you simply drink enough every day.
- Supplement: If irrigation cleansing is not for you, you might consider using pharmaceutical supplements to deal with the issue. Like cleanses, supplements carry their own risk and undergo extensive testing before being released for public consumption. There are plenty of excellent supplements to choose from that should be more than sufficient for tending to your colonic detox.
With these alternatives in mind, it is important to note that a healthy lifestyle tends to prevent numerous such issues from happening in the first place. So, if you have issues with your colon, be sure to examine your dietary and drinking habits to ensure you are not promoting the issues yourself.
While the cleanses available to us are plentiful and have a substantial following, they are not a one-stop-shop for clearing chronic issues. These treatments, supplements, and tips may do wonders for you in the short-term and help you enjoy some immediate relief. However, you need to remember that these issues have a cause. Using the short-term treatments may instead lead to more problems rather than a permanent solution. Your colon may be suffering now, but a shift in diet and being more vigilant in making sure you drink enough water each day will help you stem the tide of the issue. So, please use these cleanses if you need the relief, but remember to do so in moderation and with the approval of your primary physician.