As a wellness educator, I believe in starting almost every client that comes to me with a class on how and why to do the internal cleansing. It is such an essential and powerful healing tool to kick off most healing programs. Since so few people know much about it, I knew that internal cleansing was the topic I wanted to address here.
I first learned about internal cleansing at the School of Natural Healing where I was trained extensively on the subject. Health pioneers like Dr. Christopher, founder of The School of Natural Healing, and others like Dr. Bernard Jensen taught that nearly 90% of disease in the body is a result of constipation, and that cleansing the colon and keeping it open was the first step to healing and good health
In addition to this, recent research shows that over time our bodies collect and become burdened by the following toxins:
- Synthetic chemicals
- Industrial wastes
- Heavy metals from our food and other sources
Science has found toxic chemicals in everything from our food, makeup, bath and body products, household cleaning products, to our air and water. A troubling study done in 2004 found 287 chemicals (many of which are toxic) in umbilical cord blood of newborns .
As more people become aware of the fact that our bodies are being bombarded by toxins, interest in helping our bodies deal with toxins has grown. Consequently, there are a thriving number of products entering the market that promise to cleanse the body.
The Right Way to Cleanse
To understand cleansing, we must first understand how the body’s own built-in cleansing system works. This system consists of our elimination channels including the lungs, skin (through pores), kidneys, and colon4. Let’s look a little more closely at a couple of these channels in order to grasp how this works.
The colon is like a wastebasket in our home. In a well-running body (home) everything that is put in the wastebasket is carried out of the house (the body).
Unfortunately, the average American diet has created generations of people that struggle with serious constipation, i.e.., their wastebaskets are not being emptied. Even individuals that eliminate* regularly often times can have fecal matter impacted onto their colon walls and are shocked by what comes out during an colon cleanse!
What often happens with constipation is undigested food putrefies in the colon, created by products that absorb through the intestinal tract and deposit in joints and tissues of the body5.
Let’s take a brief look at what happens to the liver and blood when one becomes constipated. One of the liver’s jobs is to filter the blood of toxins which are then taken out via the colon.
Health authorities explain that when we become constipated, the liver (which empties into the colon and is partially responsible for keeping the blood in good health), is putting toxins into a colon that is not carrying them out of the body. The result is toxin build up and recirculation, putting a growing burden on the liver and kidneys6.
Although the blood is not counted as part of the eliminative channels, it’s job in battling toxins is too fascinating not to mention. In the Merk Manual (a trusted medical references used by doctors worldwide) it explains that the blood is designed to neutralize everything from parasites, viruses and bacteria to cancer cells! This is a big deal, yet so many of us do not have blood that is doing this for us.
Since the kidneys filter blood too, we can see how as the blood becomes burdened more work is put on the kidneys and how eventually toxins just build and circulate.
Considering this information, it’s much easier to be motivated to cleanse!
How to Cleanse
As a master herbalist, I’m an advocate of herbal and food based cleansing. I like to think of herbs as super powerful vegetables, supplying our bodies with the nourishment they are lacking.
Before I outline my favorite internal cleanse let’s first take a quick look at enzymes and how they support the detox process. The easiest way to understand enzymes is to view them as protein molecules carrying energy.
Enzymes are used in pretty much every process in the body to give energy. Our body makes them, but that takes work and as we age our body creates less of them.
This is where raw foods come into play. Cooking food destroys enzymes, but raw foods contain live enzymes which are why they are so easy to digest and recommended in natural healing programs. The concept taught is that raw foods not only nourish the body, they also greatly assist the digestive process which conserves energy for healing and supplies the body with more enzymes needed.
Although enzymes are beneficial in every cleansing regime, they are especially critical and needed in higher doses if you are cleansing and have not opted to do a raw food diet during the process. It is believed that by supplementing the body with enzymes during a cleanse we can reduce* cleansing time as well as stress on the body, making our cleanse more efficient .
The following is a gentle yet powerful method I like to use and have seen wonderful, life changing results with. This cleanse is an adaptation of Dr. Christopher’s Extended Herbal Cleanse and the duration is 4 weeks.
This may seem like a long time, but it’s important to slowly eliminate* the toxins to help decrease* cleansing reactions. You can spread each step into two weeks if you would like take things even slower.
*See disclaimer following article.
# Week 1, Colon & Kidneys
To begin a cleanse, start with a trio combination consisting of a good herbal colon cleansing formula that contains casgara segrada, enzymes, pectin, and fibers such as psyllium and flax.
It can take a while for the colon to begin working efficiently if it has not been. You must drink a lot of water to help the body eliminate* effectively.
A word of caution when it comes to laxatives…
Whereas there are many colons cleanses on the market, it’s important to choose one that is not simply a laxative. A simple laxative (such as senna or magnesium, for example) generally only cleans the colon to an extent, and is not likely to get impacted matter off the colon walls.
For the kidneys, some favorite formulas contain uva-ursi, parsley, dandelion, juniper1 and marshmallow. Marshmallow is a tasty herb that can bind and eliminate* toxins and it can be used through the cleanse as a tasty tea.
Both of these steps are recommended the entire duration of the cleanse.
# Week 2, Parasite Cleanse
This is a step not included in Dr. Christopher’s herbal cleanse, however I’ve personally found it to be important as most people have parasites. Also, since some parasites can be in the liver it is recommended and makes more sense to me to do this prior to the liver cleanse . Most parasite cleanses take around 21 days and I like to find ones that have cumin and/or black walnut.
# Week 3, Liver
Herbs traditionally used for the liver are called hepatics, and a few include barberry, dandelion, Oregon grape, milk thistle and yellow dock. Please note, some people like to do liver cleansing in conjunction with parasite cleansing .
# Week 4, Blood and Continued Liver
After being on the liver support herbs for a week, it is recommended to continue the liver support herbs another week plus add herbs to support the circulatory system. According to Penny C. Royal in the book Herbally Yours, blood purifying herbs include red clover, burdock root, dandelion root, yellow dock.
This finalizes our cleanse! To get the most out of a cleanse there are just a few suggestions I have. Please don’t let the following suggestions keep you from getting started!
- Since the skin and lungs are part of the eliminative organs deep breathing exercise and dry brushing are a good idea during a cleanse.
- It’s important to take ionic minerals and whole food vitamins all the time, especially during cleansing!
- Fresh squeezed lemon juice is wonderful during a cleanse
- It’s a good idea to eat organic or pesticide-free foods while on the cleanse.
- Raw and cooked vegetables, sprouted grains and seeds, are wonderful to feast on during a cleanse
- It’s a good idea to only eat whole grains and skip the sugar while cleansing in order to make things easier on your body
If you must break the last three rules, be sure to support your digestion and take extra enzymes with your meals!
At the School of Natural Healing, we were taught that good health is created by continually cleansing the body and nourishing it with the foods it needs. We believe by routinely doing these two things the body will be supported, and better able to job it was designed to do.
*There are a few conditions/individuals that should approach cleansing with caution. It is suggested that you consult with your doctor or naturopath to discuss whether cleansing is right for you.
** If you use cascara sagrada do not use it alone, it must be in a combination with other herbs.
Information, accounts, and statements made in this article are for educational purposes only, and are not intended to treat* or diagnose disease nor is the information intended to prescribe. The information is not intended to replace medical advice. If you have a severe condition or emergency consult with your doctor.
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In-Post Image: Shutterstock.com & Betterhealthorganization.com
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