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What to Look for in an Intestinal Health Program PDF Print E-mail

In a colon corrective, look for a formula that contains all organic herbs such as: Cape Aloe, Senna, Cascara Sagrada, Barberry Rootbark, Ginger Root, African Bird Pepper (cayenne pepper), Fennel, and Terminalia chebula. (The Cape Aloe gives it strength, while the fennel makes it gentle.)

In a colon detoxifier, look for a formula that contains all organic herbs such as: Psyllium seeds and husks, Apple Pectin, Montmorillonite Clay, Activated Willow Charcoal, Pau d'arco, Slippery Elm Inner Bark, Marshmallow Root, and Fennel Seed. Each offers a unique benefit to the colon detox program as well as an overall effectiveness not available in a colonic. Since detoxification is the primary focus of this week's newsletter, let's look at the ingredients in this formula in a little more detail.

Psyllium seeds and husks are rich in soluble fiber and have long been used to ease constipation and digestive system upset. Studies show that in addition to increasing stool weight, supplements of psyllium seed husk produce stools that are slick and gelatinous.

Psyllium is unique in contrast with other viscous fibers that are fermented completely in the colon in that it is resistant to fermentation. Researchers observed that this gel provided lubrication that facilitated propulsion of colon contents and produced a stool that was bulkier and more moist than were stools resulting with use of comparable amounts of other bowel-regulating fiber sources. An unfermented gel component of psyllium seed husk promotes laxation as a lubricant in humans. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Sep;72(3):784-9. Marlett JA, Kajs TM, Fischer MH .

A number of studies suggest that psyllium may also be effective in lowering cholesterol, promoting weight loss (it makes you feel full), and aiding in the relief of numerous other conditions.

Psyllium decreased serum glucose and glycosylated haemoglobin significantly in diabetic outpatients. Ziai SA, Larijani B, Akhoondzadeh S, Fakhrzadeh H, Dastpak A, Bandarian F, Rezai A, Badi HN, Emami T. J Ethnopharmacol. 2005 Nov 14;102(2):202-7. Epub 2005 Sep 8 .

(Note: Psyllium can make tetracycline antibiotics less effective, so consult your doctor for guidance before using psyllium while on a regimen of antibiotics.)

Apple pectin may be used to remove unwanted metals and toxins, lower cholesterol and to help reduce the side effects of radiation therapy. In fact, it was used after Chernobyl to pull radioactive waste from victims. Apple pectin also helps to break down the build up of mucous and binds to various toxic metals -- mercury, lead etc. And Apple pectin is also another good source of fiber. It has the ability to form a gel that can bind water and toxins together, thus also bulking the stool and carrying the toxins out of the body.

Montmorillonite clay is medicinal powdered clay derived from deposits of weathered volcanic ash. It is one of the most effective natural intestinal detoxifying agents known, capable of absorbing up to 40 times its weight in faecal matter. It is also capable of absorbing a wide variety of toxins in the intestinal tract. Technically, the clay first adsorbs toxins (heavy metals, free radicals, pesticides), attracting them to its extensive surface area where they adhere like flies to sticky paper. Then it absorbs the toxins, taking them in the way a sponge mops up a kitchen counter mess.

According to the Canadian Journal of Microbiology (31 [1985], 50-53), montmorillonite can absorb pathogenic viruses, aflatoxin (a mould), and pesticides and herbicides including Paraquat and Roundup. The clay is eventually eliminated from the body with the toxins bound to its multiple surfaces.

Montmorillonite clay is so far the only mineral found to catalyze the synthesis of RNA polymers (with at least 10 nucleotides) from their individual units. In other words, montmorillonite clay may have played a fundamental role in the creation of life on earth. This just might be a point both creationists and evolutionists can agree on.

Activated willow charcoal does essentially the same thing in your intestinal tract that a charcoal block does in your water filter. It attracts and traps thousands of times its own weight in gases, toxins, food additives and other chemicals. As a side note, it can absorb over 3,000 known drug residues. Willow charcoal is preferred over charcoal from coconut shells.

Pau d'arco (Tabebuia heptophylla) comes from the rain forests of Brazil and other areas of South America. Pau d'arco works well in the formula because of its proven ability to help control Candida. This amazing herb also nourishes the body's defense system and helps protect against pathogenic organisms. It has been used for centuries to improve immune function, detoxify, and reduce pain throughout the body -- especially in the joints. Research has shown that it contains a natural antibacterial agent, has a healing effect on the entire body, cleanses the blood, and kills viruses. Pau d'arco has been used as a treatment for AIDS, allergies, all infections and inflammations, anemia, asthma, arthritis, arteriosclerosis, as a blood builder, bronchitis, all types of cancer, colitis, cystitis, smoker's cough, diabetes, eczema, fistulas, gastritis, gonorrhea, hemorrhages, hernias, Hodgkin's disease, liver disease, leukemia, lupus, multiple sclerosis, osteomyelitis, Parkinson's disease, polyps, prostatitis, psoriasis, rheumatism, skin cancer, skin sores, spleen infections, snake bites, ulcers, varicose veins, warts, and plain old wounds.

The great demulcent and emollient properties of Marshmallow (root) make it useful in treating inflammation and irritation of the alimentary canal, and of the urinary and respiratory organs. Marshmallow's mucilage content helps soothe inflamed tissues -- not only in the intestinal tract, but also in the lungs making it beneficial in cases of bronchitis and asthma. The active biochemicals in Marshmallow are large carbohydrate (sugar) molecules, which make up the mucilage. This smooth, slippery substance can soothe and protect irritated mucous membranes. Marshmallow has been known to relieve indigestion, kidney problems, urinary tract infections, and even external skin wounds such as boils and abscesses.

Slippery elm bark works with the body to draw out impurities and toxins, assisting with the healing of all body parts. And slippery elm's coating action soothes the irritated tissues of the intestines, colon, urinary tract, and stomach ulcers. The primary chemical constituents of slippery elm are mucilage (galactose), starch, tannins, calcium, vanadium, and zinc.

Licorice root stimulates the production of digestive fluids and bile, soothes ulcers, helps reduce intestinal inflammation, and supports the healthy function of the kidneys, liver and bladder. Its action in soothing ulcers is unique. Rather than inhibit the release of acid, licorice stimulates the normal defense mechanisms that prevent ulcer formation. Specifically, licorice improves both the quality and quantity of the protective substances that line the intestinal tract; increases the life span of the intestinal cell; and improves blood supply to the intestinal lining.

Fennel is a carminative herb that helps reduce colic, gas, indigestion, intestinal disorders, assimilation, nausea, and flatulence. It also can help break up kidney stones and uric acid in the tissues and is therefore used in treating gout. Fennel (seed) will help clear mucous and phlegm from the lungs and it will also help rid the intestinal tract of mucus. Its tissue cleansing properties also have a cleansing effect on the gall bladder and liver. Fennel is very effective for cancer patients after radiation and chemotherapy. Fennel will help improve digestion and quiet hiccups. This herb will effectively reduce or eliminate intestinal and stomach gas.

And yes -- fiber is an important factor in our diet, yet the average person has a fiber intake of less than 10 grams a day. For optimum health and to prevent certain forms of cancer (colon or breast) and aid in the prevention of heart disease, you need between 25-30 grams of fiber a day!

Flax (stabilized, ground) is one of the highest sources of fiber known. It is also extremely high in beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3's lower high blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels by as much as 25% and 65%. Omega-3's decrease the probability of a blood clot blocking an artery. They also lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and lower insulin requirements in diabetics. And flax is high in lignans, some of nature's most powerful anti-tumor bio-chemicals. The fiber in flax (along with the flax lignans) works as a perfect complement to the fiber found in psyllium seed husks.


Regular Maintenance

In the end, colonics offer a quick cleanse and promote a sense of well being, but I still prefer a long-term multi-faceted approach that addresses the big picture.

I recommend a summer and winter liver and blood cleaning and an autumn and spring intestinal cleansing combined with a heavy metal detox. Alternating these treatment programs promotes optimal wellness and vitality, plus offsets disease and signs of aging.