Cleansing - Traditions & Contemporary Cleanse Options Worldwide
By Ryan Harrison, MA, BCIH
Flip through any current magazine on health or surf the internet long enough and chances are you’ll find either an article or advertisement related to internal cleansing (also referred to as simply “cleanse” or “colon cleansing”) or detoxification (also called “detoxing,” “detoxifying,” and even “spring cleaning”). Our culture is starting to awaken—finally—to the real need for these health-supporting therapies. But internal cleansing and detoxification are hardly new practices.
Cleansing with Herbs
The practice of using herbs and other natural substances to help cleanse the body extends back thousands of years. Indeed, the root of all healing traditions may go back 3,500 years to the ancient Indian practice of Ayurveda, which relies upon an intimate knowledge of the earth, its naturally healing substances and elements, and of how to balance these forces with the human body.
Traditional Ayurvedic herbal tea
Other ancient cleansing traditions from around the world include the use of the digestive aids coriander and figs by the Egyptians, Native American sweat lodges, the use of common herbs such as beets and sage in Russia, and the Japanese use of purgative herbal teas such as Japanese geranium and mulberry to promote healthy digestion.
Today, you’re much more likely to find relatives of these traditions in small glass and plastic bottles, lining the shelves at your local health food store. We’ve also added knowledge to the field of cleansing, with some health enthusiasts promoting juice-only cleanses, or regimens that require consuming only certain foods and drinks over a period of time. Even fasting, which has its own long history of therapeutic use, can be considered a kind of cleansing.
Drink plenty of water during a detox.
Certainly, the most human-friendly approaches to a colon cleanse are those that still harmonize with nature while allowing you to continue to live your daily life. Strict, harsh cleanses should be avoided; not only may they require significant stress-inducing commitments to eat, drink, or fast a certain way or at specific times, but if they are too harsh or are used inappropriately, they may actually damage your body.
Fortunately, we have learned from our ancestors that internal cleansing doesn’t have to be unnecessarily unpleasant, uncomfortable, or unmanageable. Using a cleanse that relies on the gentle, natural colon-cleaning properties of dietary fiber is an excellent way to promote better health, reduce digestive complaints, help with your body’s natural detoxification system, and maintain a sense of well-being.
The Role of Fiber in Diet
Research has shown that a proper intake of fiber – between 20 to 40 mg/day – can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, and several different kinds of cancers.And because dietary fiber is all-natural, coming from the therapeutic plants and herbs that have been used for thousands of years around the world, you can feel safe knowing that they have a track record for both safety and efficacy, when used correctly.
When searching for a cleansing program, be sure that you settle for nothing less than a premium-grade, all-natural program that harnesses the power of vitamins, minerals and herbs to support your body’s innate cleansing abilities. The program should be manufactured under the current Good Manufacturing Practices guidelines (cGMP) and it should not be too short—aim for 30-90 days to ensure that you get an optimal cleansing experience.
Finally, you might consider protecting your interests by finding a cleanse that offers an unconditional money-back guarantee.
1 International Masters Publishers, Inc. (2004). Understanding world healing traditions. Enhancing Your Mind Body Spirit, 10(1).
2 Fiber. (2009). University of Maryland Medical Center. Retrieved February 8, 2011, from http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/fiber-000303.htm
3 Griffin, R. M. (n.d.). Fiber for heart, cholesterol, and digestive health. WebMD, Retrieved February 8, 2011, from http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/lifestyle-guide-11/supplement-guide-fiber