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Herbal Colon Cleansing

The Anatomy and Physiology of the Colon

When you consider the digestive tract is approximately 30 feet long and a lot has to happen to that salad (or donut) on its journey, it’s no wonder digestive difficulties are so common. (Maybe it has more to do with the donut than the salad!)

herbal colon cleansingAs a society, we are just beginning to understand how we need to improve our lifestyle in order to keep digestion going smoothly. We‘re learning ways of keeping our colons working better. Why? Because we’re also beginning to understand the consequences of neglecting our digestive systems, and how much that can impede overall health.

The whole idea behind eating is for us to get energy from the foods we consume. Then what isn’t used, whether liquid or solid, is turned to waste and eliminated appropriately. Along the way, food gets from our mouths to our anuses by a series of muscle contractions within the colon.

The colon, or large intestine as it is sometimes called, is 5 to 7 feet long. So, our colons are about the same height as either a jockey or a Masaii warrior. Anyway, the colon is a muscular tube connecting to the small intestine at one end and the rectum at the other. The sub-sections of the colon are the ascending (right side) colon, the transverse (sideways) colon, the descending (on the left) colon and the sigmoid colon. The sigmoid colon is connected to the rectum.

Don’t let this long muscular tube fool you. It has a special job to do and can’t just lie around all day. It’s responsible for processing waste so your body can get rid of it efficiently. At first, the waste entering the colon is mostly liquid, and then the stool becomes a solid form through water absorption. It’s all tucked into the sigmoid end of the colon, waiting for a bowel movement to occur. That’s when waste gets pushed into the rectum, which happens once or twice a day if you’re pretty regular, and then you go poop. That’s how it works!

The rectum is connected to the anus. It receives the stool from the colon, and gives the body a signal that it’s ready when you are, holding the stool until evacuation, Sir! The stool is either sent out active duty (doody?) or held in reserve with anal sphincters, depending upon your orders. But sometimes you need a little help giving the command to charge, and maybe you read something on a product label or the Internet about trying herbal colon cleansing. But is that really the best option?

Colon Cleansing

We now know that proper digestion involves us eating enough fiber so we don’t become constipated. Still, some of us still have to deal with constipation and/or diarrhea from time to time. Colon cleansing has become a widely talked about and applied method of keeping our digestive health in order. Here are some of the more popular methods of colon cleansing:

Colon hydrotherapy or colonic irrigation. This involves water being used to flush out the colon and remove unwanted waste. It can be quite expensive and involves an attendant to perform the irrigation. The embarrassment and invasiveness of this procedure make some people uncomfortable with this form of colon cleansing.

Herbal colon cleansing. These formulas contain herbs and many of them contain stimulant laxatives, which should be avoided because our bodies can become dependent on them. For something that is supposed to help with constipation, these harsh stimulant laxatives will eventually make the problem worse.

Oxygen-based cleansers. These are a safer method and seem to excel at colon cleansing by dissolving old fecal matter so your digestive system can move it out.

The Dangers of Herbal Colon Cleansing

Many herbal colon-cleansing kits contain anthraquinones. Anthraquinones work with the bacteria in our intestines to cause contractions for moving waste. As a precaution, pregnant women should never use these products. Nursing mothers should also avoid them since they could then be passed on to the child.

Some examples of herbal colon cleansing products with anthraquinones include Senna, Cascara sagrada and Rhubarb.

Why are these herbs potentially harmful?

  • There is a risk of becoming dependent on this type of laxative.
  • Cascara Sagrada can cause irregular heartbeat and should never be taken if a person is on medication to regulate their heartbeat.
  • Both Senna and Cascara Sagrada can cause severe cramps and discomfort.
  • Cascara Sagrada should not be taken for more than two weeks, yet many of the herbal colon cleansing products’ instructions direct you to use them for two months or longer.
  • Bacteria are needed to make our digestive tract function. Using these anthraquinone-type herbs strip away the good bacteria.
  • If these herbs are abused they can cause electrolyte imbalances and potassium loss. Electrolytes are important because our cells use them to create nerve impulses and for proper muscle function. The heart needs balanced potassium levels to work efficiently and electrolytes also contribute to this process.

One of the safest colon cleansing products, which also doesn’t destroy good bacteria and won’t cause dependency, is the oxygen based Oxy-Powder®. It’s good to know there is a colon-cleansing product that can promote colon health without causing unwanted side effects or risks. Try it and you’ll notice the difference!

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