A reader writes:
It’s impossible to perform a Google or Yahoo search using the word “colon”, and not get flooded with hits advertising “proprietary” herbal blends guaranteed to cleanse the colon. Is this really necessary? As the ordinary person reads through any of these sites, he is led to believe that most all of us have 10 to 40 lb. of compacted debris in our colons. The “scare literature” continues asserting that vitamins and other minerals are being lost because they never reach the colon wall on account of this blockage which has become background.
Would you please put this into proper perspective?
I would be happy to. The effects of these colon cleansers are not what they seem. This has been discussed by the American Council on Science and Health:
Naturally, the body empties its waste once it has absorbed the required food and calories it needs for energy through the small intestine. But by taking any form of laxative on a daily basis, individuals will cause their body to lose needed nutrients and fluids and also fall out of a natural rhythm. Continued use of products for “internal cleansing” can lead to bloating, cramping, dehydration, and disturbances and imbalances in electrolytes.
It is also written that these herbal remedies may not be as safe as they appear:
. . . herbal supplements are not so innocuous Â— they may indeed interfere with the prescription medications you are taking, and you should be aware of these potential interactions. Many consumers wrongfully believe that labels stating “all natural” mean that the products inside are “all safe” and don’t need to be used with caution. On the contrary, one should be very careful because herbal supplements are not regulated by the government and do not need to be proven safe before they are marketed. You can never be sure about what you’re ingesting, its potency, its safety, and how it’s going to interact with other drug therapies; thus, they should be used with caution.
Colonic irrigation, which also can be expensive, has considerable potential for harm. The process can be very uncomfortable, since the presence of the tube can induce severe cramps and pain. If the equipment is not adequately sterilized between treatments, disease germs from one person’s large intestine can be transmitted to others. Several outbreaks of serious infections have been reported, including one in which contaminated equipment caused amebiasis in 36 people, 6 of whom died following bowel perforation. Cases of heart failure (from excessive fluid absorption into the bloodstream) and electrolyte imbalance have also been reported. Yet no license or training is required to operate a colonic-irrigation device. In 1985, a California judge ruled that colonic irrigation is an invasive medical procedure that may not be performed by chiropractors and the California Health Department’s Infectious Disease Branch stated: “The practice of colonic irrigation by chiropractors, physical therapists, or physicians should cease. Colonic irrigation can do no good, only harm.” The National Council Against Health Fraud agrees.
Bottom line – don’t be fooled by the “scare literature”. The parasites to watch out for are the ones after your money.