Body Cleansing

By Dr. Loretta Lanphier, ND, CN, HHP, CH

The importance of cleansing the body and ridding it of toxins and impacted fecal matter cannot be overstated. Deciding to do a total body cleanse is hands down one of the best decisions any one can make regarding their health. There are many things one can do to improve their health, but if we don’t first clean house and make it possible for the body to live and function in a fruitful environment, we cannot reap the benefits from otherwise good choices. Consuming quality food, drinking pure water, and using supplements that build us up are all fine and necessary ideas. But if our digestive systems and other internal organs are all fouled up with the junk that’s been accumulating over time, we are not in a position to receive the benefits from these proactive steps. Not only does a dirty, clogged up body keep us from receiving the nutrients and healing properties that we seek, but this unsavory condition is actually making us sicker from all the toxins that are collecting in our organs. Remember the old saying: “It’s a good idea, but not a great idea?” Well, I think that applies here. Taking care of ourselves by watching what we do and don’t put into our bodies is a good idea, but in order for it to be a great idea, we must first prepare our vessels.

One only need enter the term “body cleanse” into an internet search engine to see that there is an enormous amount of information out there regarding this subject. I agree that sorting it all out can seem a bit overwhelming, so let’s see if we can take a look at some of the basics and come up with a good plan of action.

What is Meant by a Full Body Cleanse?

A full body cleanse is a program that addresses the detoxification of the digestive tract, the liver, the gallbladder, and the kidneys, as well as ridding the body of parasites and heavy metals. These are the organs of the body that are responsible for absorbing nutrients and eliminating waste products. This “in with the good and out with the bad” process is the backbone of life. Our health and welfare all rides on this. If this “engine” is running well, we will prosper. If it is not, then the system breaks down and nothing we do seems to help.

There are various products and regimens available to achieve cleansing, and we will cover that later in this article. However, let me give you one word of caution: There is no “silver bullet” that can accomplish cleansing in one fell swoop. In other words, beware of anyone who tries to sell you a product that “does it all in one quick and easy step.” All of our bodies systems are different, and they all need different approaches when it comes to cleansing.

Where Do I Begin?

An excellent question, and as a wise man (my father) once said: “At the beginning.” And the beginning, when it comes to body cleansing, is the colon. If we don’t get it right with the colon, the value of anything else we do will be greatly diminished.

Our modern diets wreak havoc with our colons. Instead of the whole, natural foods and pure water that we were created to consume, many of us load up low-fiber, nutrient-poor, micro waved, high fat stuff that passes for food these days. Our colons are simply not up to the task of properly managing a steady diet of this, and constipation becomes the norm. What happens is that instead of absorbing nutrients and quickly passing the waste products out of the body, as the colon is designed to do, this junk food gets trapped in the colon and begins to putrefy. As this happens over time, more and more toxic material accumulates and not only poisons the colon, but also the surrounding organs. Our modern diets devoid of fiber short circuit the body’s normal response, which is 2-3 bowel movements daily. Many folks today don’t even have that many in a week!

So, now that we have established the importance of intestinal cleansing, how do we do it? There are several very good ways to cleanse the colon and digestive tract:

  • One of my favorite types of colon and digestive tract cleansers are oxygen-based colon cleansers. Oxygen in the colon? Why would I need that? Believe it or not, oxygen is one of the most important substances to good digestion and elimination. Digestion is basically “burning” of food, and this happens much more efficiently when the colon is supplemented with additional oxygen. This leads to regular, consistent bowel movements. But, there are other benefits to oxygenating the colon too. The impacted fecal matter that has accumulated is loosened and expelled in an oxygen-rich environment. The new food that enters the colon is more fully digested, and therefore one feels fuller after eating and you will find that you will feel a need to eat less and less often. This helps to stabilize your weight, and does not encourage overeating. All in all, sufficient oxygen in the colon is excellent for your overall health.
  • Psyllium husks are an excellent choice for a natural colon cleanse. They tend to swell and become gel-like when exposed to water. This makes for a bulkier and softer stool that has a faster transit time through the colon. Use of psyllium can also reduce the risks of developing pockets in the intestines that can trap undigested food and become infected. This condition is called diverticulitis.
  • Herbal cleanses are a compilation of herbs that are meant to gently and slowly cleanse the digestive tract of toxins. Beware of any herbal products that bill themselves as fast acting. These often include harsh herbs that act as stimulants and laxatives, which may produce diarrhea, cause dehydration, and deplete the body of necessary minerals. Some laxatives are even habit-forming, in the sense that the body becomes dependent on them to have normal bowel movements.  Look for a product that is gentle and consistent. A quality product will often contain such herbs as psyllium, milk thistle, licorice, alfalfa, kelp, wild oats, and guar gum (found in many beans).
  • There are many quality colon cleanses that are composed of bentonite clay. Bentonite is actually volcanic ash. It has been used for centuries as both an internal and external cleanser. The Egyptians even used it to preserve their mummies. As an internal cleanser, it has the ability to remove heavy metals, drugs, and other toxins from the body. It is even said to help rid the body of radiation picked up from x-rays, computers, and other sources.
  • Colonics is a term that describes a digestive system cleansing process whereby the colon is washed with water (sometimes with herbal ingredients added) via a tube inserted in the rectum. It is sort of like an enema on steroids. This is a somewhat controversial cleanse for the colon, even in alternative medicine circles. Some folks swear by it, others are cautious and skeptical of its benefits. As with most healthcare decisions, educate yourself, and make your own informed decision.

Liver and Gallbladder Cleanses

The cleansing of the liver and gallbladder is the next recommended step after the colon has been taken care of. How important is it for these organs to be cleansed? Well, the liver is the main filter of the body. It can become clogged up after years of toxins (alcohol, drugs, food preservatives, heavy metals, chemical pollutants, etc.) flow through it. Liver stones can form causing further problems. The liver and the gallbladder work closely together. The liver produces a substance called bile that is used by the body to aid digestion. Excess bile is stored in the gallbladder until it is needed for digestion. The gallbladder can also develop stones that decrease its efficiency and impede the flow of bile. An unhealthy, clogged up liver and gallbladder can lead to all kinds of unwanted complications because toxins will back up and overflow into other organs within the body.

The best solution that I know of to cleanse the liver and gallbladder is a remedy that includes apple juice, epsom salts, heavy whipping cream, berries, and extra virgin olive oil (how’s that for a combination?) I won’t go into all the specifics, (the regimen is quite detailed) but this concoction is a proven method for cleaning up the liver and gallbladder and ridding them of stones. Basically, the ingredients are ingested in the order listed above, and the patient is able to rid himself of most of the stones, and other debris that has accumulated in these organs, by having a bowel movement in the morning.

Kidney Cleanses

The kidneys are also critical to our good health. They perform a multitude of important functions including:

  • Regulating the balance of fluids in the body
  • Helping to maintain the acid/alkaline balance in the blood
  • Removing wastes from the body
  • Helping to stabilize blood pressure
  • Helping with the production of red blood cells

The kidneys need a lot of fluids (water is best) in order to function properly. If you are in the habit of drinking 8-10 glasses a day of pure, clean water, chances are you are cleansing your kidneys on a daily basis. However, if you do not drink enough water, as many of us don’t, a juice fast is one recommendation. Another option for cleansing the kidneys is a melon fast, usually with watermelon. Eating nothing but watermelon (about 3 or 4 good sized melons, preferably organic) for an entire day has helped many folks to dissolve and eliminate kidney stones.

Heavy Metal Cleanses

Heavy metals are absorbed into our bodies through the air, the water, and the food we eat. Our bodies need some heavy metals in trace concentrations such as cobalt, copper, manganese and zinc, but often these accumulate in concentrations that are abnormally high and can become toxic. Some heavy metals migrate into our bodies that have no useful purpose at all, such as: mercury (often from dental fillings), cadmium, and lead. Some of the above mentioned cleanses for the colon and liver/gallbladder will help to eliminate some heavy metals, but there are products available that specifically seek these out and target them:

Chlorella is an amazing natural product that is very effective for cleansing the body of heavy metals. Chlorella is a blue-green algae that is considered a “super food.”  It is a wonderful supplement that has many other benefits besides heavy metal cleansing, such as: regulating blood sugar, rebuilding nerve tissue, and increasing brain function and mental capacity.

Oral and IV Chelation is the administration of supplements that bind themselves to heavy metals in the body, and make it easier for them to be expelled. Chelation has been around for many years. It first was used after the World War I to rid soldiers of exposure to toxic chemicals used as weapons. In more recent times, it has become popular in alternative medicine circles as an antidote to heavy metal poisoning from such sources as mercury in dental fillings, and ethyl-mercury in some vaccines. A substance called EDTA is often used as the chelation agent. It can be used as an oral supplement, or injected intravenously. Chelation has also shown some promise of benefiting cardiac patients.

Medicardium is an alternate form of EDTA that also acts as a chelation agent to remove toxic heavy metals in the body. It usually comes in the form of a suppository.

Parasite Cleansing

One final area of cleansing that should be discussed is that of parasites. We humans carry many different types of parasites in our bodies, and they can contribute greatly to issues with our overall health. They feed on food and other substances in our bodies, and excrete their waste products inside us too. It is estimated that there may be as many as 3000 different types of parasites that can invade our bodies. Many are very small, even single-celled. But there have been cases of tapeworms found in people that were over 30 feet long! Raw or undercooked meat (especially pork) are common sources of parasites. Some parasites will make us sick. Others are silent lurkers that may be robbing us of energy and nutrients, but manifest no obvious symptoms. Either way, we do not want them trespassing in our bodies.

There are herbal products that specifically target these parasites, and stimulate them to leave the body, usually through the bowels. I recommend, as part of a complete body-cleansing regimen, that you use a parasite cleanse. Find a high quality one that uses organic herbs and ingredients.

I hope this has helped you to understand the crucial importance of cleansing the body, as well as some of the options available. Remember that it all begins with a thorough digestive system cleanse. That lays the foundation for successful cleansing in other parts of the body.

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