July 31st, 2010
by Herb Lady · Filed Under: Detox
Get a naturopath or herbalist onto the topic of the importance of a healthy bowel and you could quite easily be there all day…. Suffice to say, if your lower bowel (colon) is all clogged up, it isn’t good for your health. In the simplest terms, your digestive tract is one long tube. The top half (stomach and small intestine) allow you to absorb nutrients from your food. The lower part (the large intestine or colon) reabsorbs water from the undigested mass of food left, ahead of you eliminating the waste products. Food is supposed to pass through our body in eight hours, with a bowel movement after each meal being a sign of ideal bowel health. Even if you “go” every day, you might be excreting a meal from several days (or weeks) ago. A sign that this may be the case for you is if your tummy gets quite bloated after you eat.
A good way to find out your “transit time” – how long food takes to pass through your digestive tract – is to do this: Eat a meal containing corn. Note the time and date of this meal. Don’t eat any more corn until the corn you ate reappears at the other end. Count up how long since you ate it. This is your transit time. Eight hours is excellent. If your transit time is more than this your bowel could do with cleanse at least once a year. Anything over 24 hours is worriesome and you need to take action to get it back on track. A long transit time leaves waste products in your bowel too long, and can lead to toxins being reabsorbed into your bloodstream – with your liver, kidneys, lymphatic system and skin left with the job of getting rid of them.
If your colon is not emptying properly, eventually this will affect the small intestine too. Low grade nausea and indigestion can be a symptom of this. Imagine a long narrow pipe. What happens if the bottom end gets clogged up? Does the top end start backing up too? If your small intestine, where you absorb nutrients, begins to clog up, no matter how much organic food or how many supplements you take, very little of the goodness they contain can be taken up by your body. This can lead to tiredness and lethagy.
In days past we used to eat a lot more wholegrain foods, which moved through our bowel better. We also were in the habit of regular fasting, something quite out of fashion these days, which is a shame because fasting gives your bowel a rest from digesting food, and gives it an opportunity to clean itself out. Fasting also allows the rest of your body to cleanse itself. It takes a lot of energy to digest food, and while you are fasting this energy can be used for cleansing and healing. Simple practices like fasting and cleansing are extremely powerful and we all need to be doing them more often.
Autopsies have shown that the average adult in western society has 6kg of undigested meat in their colon. Meat that is not grown organically often contains quite a bit of synthetic oestrogen. It goes without saying that this has the potential to disrupt your hormones if it sits in your body for any length of time. I call oestrogen dominance “the root of all (hormonal) evil”. Irregular, painful, heavy and absent periods can often be traced back to this single cause. As can a lot of fibrocystic breast lumps, prementrual breast tenderness, PCOS, fibroids, endometriosis, early puberty, bad menopause and infertility. Much of my clinical practice involves reversing oestrogen dominance. A good bowel cleanse is always part of the solution.
A top of the line cleanse involves some fasting. Believe me when I say, its not as hard as you think it will be (and well worth the effort). Most of my clients have reported glowing skin, improved vitality, a tendency to eat less (and more nutritious) food, reduced cellulite, and ongoing weight loss after doing this program.
My favourite bowel cleanse is ‘The Colon Cleansing Kit’ which contains Digestive Stimulator herbal capsules (to get your bowel moving three times a day), Toxin Absorber (to remove mucoid plaque build-up and old hardened faeces from the bowel wall), detailed instructions, a FAQ booklet, and a calender telling you exactly what to do each day. This makes it really easy follow, even if you have never done anything like this before.