The 411 on Colon Cleanses
Are Colon Cleanses Healthy For Relieving an Impacted Colon and Removing Colon Parasites?
Are colon cleanses healthy? Let’s explore their history. Colon cleanses have been around for centuries, under the premise that waste not excreted out of the body can recirculate and increase our toxic load, thus causing a variety of health issues. The Ancient Egyptians believed toxins forming in the intestines eventually moved to the circulatory system. The Ancient Greeks were aware of toxins as well, which partially influenced the creation of the four humors of Hippocratic medicine around 400 B.C. In the 1800’s, Nobel Prize winner Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov, the “father of natural immunity” became a staunch supporter of colon cleansing. He believed these toxins were harmful and could shorten a person’s lifespan.
There are many types of colon cleanses.
Today, colon cleansing (also known as colon therapy or colonic) has become a common practice in alternative health communities. They are often used for a variety of reasons, such as removing colon parasites, fecal material, gas, alleviating fecal impaction (impacted colon) and mucus. But are colon cleanses healthy? Let’s take a closer look.
*Keep in mind colon cleanses are a detox support and should not be considered a form of detoxification.
The most popular types of colon cleanses include the following:
- Colon hydrotherapy. Often used by the medical community to prepare for colonoscopies, colon hydrotherapy entails the use of tubes to inject large amounts of water directly into the rectum. Herbs or coffee are often added to the water in an attempt to cleanse the colon.
- Oral colon cleanses. Dietary supplements, laxatives, and herbs can be taken orally to cleanse the colon.
- Enema. Similar to colon hydrotherapy which is administered by trained medical professionals, enemas can be taken by individuals in the comforts of their home. Items needed for enemas can be purchased at local drugstores. Coffee, herbs, and essential oils such as lemon, oranges, grapefruit, and tangerines are popular enema ingredients.
Colon Cleanses to Remove Colon Parasites
A healthy colon is essential to good health. Unfortunately, the colon can be a breeding ground for many dangerous toxins and other harmful invaders, including parasites. Many adults are unaware they have parasites in their colon as they may exhibit few symptoms. There are many different kinds of parasites that can affect us, including pinworms, hookworms, tapeworms, flukes, amoebas, and protozoa to name a few.
Surprisingly, parasites can enter the body in many different ways, including the following:
- Water supply
- Spoiled food
- Eating rare (undercooked) meat
- Daycare centers
- Contaminated food
- Sexual contact
- Pets licking your face
- Walking barefoot on grass or in a lake
Precautions Against Parasites:
Are colon cleanses healthy and effective against parasites? I try to always wash my raw produce in water before eating, but to be honest I am not always perfect at this task. I know the best defense toward not ingesting any parasites is to wash raw food thoroughly in filtered water containing either hydrogen peroxide or apple cider vinegar. Scrubbing the food with a brush is key as well.
Even the most pristine raw foodies have to be concerned about parasites. I have heard many educators claim that if your body is pure enough that it is not a concern, but that’s not true: I personally know of three purist 100% raw foodies who have had problems with parasites!
What Are The Dangers Of Colonics?
While many tout the benefits of colon cleanses, there are a few potential side effects that people should be aware of:
- Tear in the rectum
- Infection (poorly cleaned materials)
- Electrolyte depletion
Others believe the excessive use of colon cleansers causes the body to become reliant on them, impeding its natural ability to remove waste. While research is still ongoing, the key here is to use colon cleansers sparingly. As with everything, moderation is key.
Natural Colon Cleansing Tips
Keeping the colon healthy is essential. While many are in favor of colon cleansers, the general consensus is to avoid excessive use of these health aids as they might cause more harm than good. For example, if a person has difficult bowel movements, they may be tempted to take laxatives or other drugs to help them go to the bathroom. Over time, this could lead to fecal impaction, which occurs when large stools get stuck in the colon.
To avoid this potentially dangerous health issue, try these natural colon cleansing tips:
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water daily, but other liquids such as tea or broth are great options as well.
- Try fasting. Fasting gives the body an opportunity to heal itself naturally, which also includes cleaning out the digestive system. Avoid soda and alcohol while fasting and focus on drinking filtered water. Start out with an intermittent fast (12-16 hours) and work up to longer fasts of 48 – 72 hours for best results.
- Avoid processed, high sodium foods. Other foods to avoid include the overconsumption of highly processed meats and foods high in sugar.
Are colon cleanses healthy for relieving an impacted colon and removing colon parasites?
First and foremost it’s important to keep your colon healthy by eating a healthy diet, exercising, fasting, and staying hydrated. However, colon cleanses can be a good decision for many people when done safely and with a trained practitioner. It’s important to educate yourself about the possible dangers, rather than blindly attempting a colon cleanse.
Ezepchuk YV & Kovbo DV(2016). Novel laureae Ilya I. Metchnikoff (1845-1916). Life story and scientific heritage. Ukr Biochem J. ;88(6):98-109. doi: 10.15407/ubj88.06.098.