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Cleansing: Why and How
By Steven Horne, RH (AHG) & Kimberly Balas, ND


Every day our body manufactures waste in the process of metabolism. We also ingest substances through food, water and air that are potentially harmful for our system. Fortunately, the body has the capacity to rid itself of metabolic waste and chemical irritants through various eliminative systems.

Although medical science tends to discredit the idea of cleansing, natural healers have long stressed the importance of maintaining good elimination for better health. After all, it makes sense that the body will be healthier if waste and toxins are eliminated quickly. In fact, just about any system or machine needs some kind of regular cleaning to run properly.

Plumbers know that pipes can get clogged and need to be cleaned. Auto mechanics realize that oil and other fluids need to be regularly changed to keep engines running smoothly. Even electronic equipment needs to be cleaned periodically to keep dust from damaging circuits. It makes sense that this is also true for our bodies.

Most of us strive to keep the outside of the body clean, but few pay much attention to keeping clean on the inside. Most people who have done some internal cleansing, however, have noted numerous improvements in their general health.

Cleansing is about two things. One is minimizing your exposure to toxins in the first place and the other is using herbs, supplements, hydrotherapy, fasting or other natural means to improve the function of eliminative organs.
Since cleansing is the process of getting rid of what is no longer useful, doing a cleanse simply involves supporting the body's natural detoxification systems to eliminate metabolic waste and environmental toxins more efficiently. Generally, this means using herbs that have been found historically or scientifically to improve liver and kidney function, bind toxins, increase lymphatic flow, open the sweat glands and encourage elimination from the bowels. It may also involve destroying harmful organisms (yeast, bacteria or parasites);

Here are the basic elements of a good cleanse.

Water
The most important tool for cleansing is water. Most people do not drink enough water. Experts suggest we should drink about 1/2 ounce of water per pound of body weight each day. On a cleanse, one might need a little more. Since the quality of water is also important, drink the purest water you can find.

Fiber
The second most important tool for cleansing is fiber. Dietary fiber binds toxins in the intestinal tract and bulks the stool to promote normal and healthy elimination. Americans do not get enough fiber in their diet, so a fiber supplement like Psyllium Hulls Combination or evrybody's Fiber is important for maintaining normal elimi nation.

Detoxifring Herbs
The third tool needed for a good cleanse is a blend of herbs that support the liver, kidneys, colon and lymphatics.
The liver utilizes enzyme systems that neutralize toxins and prepare them to be flushed through the kidneys or colon (via the gallbladder). Water and fiber then carry these toxins away.

Many good herbal formulas for supporting this process are available. A few good examples are All Cell Detox, Chinese Liver Balance and Enviro-Detox.

Herbal Laxatives
For people with extremely sluggish elimination, an herbal laxative may also be helpful. LBS II is a popular choice.
However, herbal laxatives should not be used long-term because people tend to become dependent on them. For long-term problems with sluggish elimination, consider using Gentle Move.

Diet
Traditionally, a cleanse has involved fasting or at least partially fasting. In fact, fasting for 24 hours consuming only water one day per month is a good practice for general health.

A modified form of fasting is called a juice fast, where a person consumes nothing but fresh, raw vegetable and/or fruit juices for three days. A popular version of this is the master cleanse, promoted by Stanley Burroughs, where a person drinks natural lemonade made with fresh lemons and sweetened with real, grade B maple syrup.

However, since most cleansing programs last two weeks or more, it is better to adopt a semi-fasting state during the cleanse. Simply avoid all refined and processed foods during the cleanse and eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. This aids the cleansing process by not burdening the body with more cooked, processed foods and chemical additives.

The nice thing about making this a time to clean up your diet is that cleaning out the body tends to reduce your craving for junk food. So, by the time you have finished the cleansing program it will be easier to maintain a healthy eating program.

Depending on your specific needs, herbal and nutritional formulas that help destroy yeast, parasites or bacteria may also be used as part of a cleanse. Formulas are available to assist the body in ridding itself pf more specific toxins such as heavy metals.

Other Help
Cleansing can also be aided by various forms of hydrotherapy. For instance, enemas and colonics can be helpful as long as they are not overdone. Generally speaklng, enemas and colonics should not be done more than once or twice per week and never for a period longer than a few months without taking a break. Sweat baths, steam baths or saunas are also useful as they encourage detoxification through the skln. It may be done more frequently. Foot soaks or foot spa baths are also helpful in the detoxification process.
Again, once or twice a week for a limited period of time is more than enough.

Remember that cleansing takes the good out with the bad, so you should alternate cleansing with a program of rebuilding and good nutrition. When it comes to cleansing more is not better.

Nature's Sunshine has several prepackaged cleansing programs. These programs meet a wide variety of needs. Here are some of the options to choose from.

Candida Clear is a program that helps get rid of yeast and fungal infections, but it can also be helpful for Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO).

CleanStart
Wild Berry or CleanStart Apple/Cinnamon are NSP's most popular cleansing programs. It contains a fiber packet as well as supplements to cleanse the colon. It is based on a cleansing program called Ivy's Recipe by NSP National Manager Ivy Bridge.

Dieter's Cleanse
is a cleanse that was designed to use at the start of a weight loss program. Howewer, it can also be used as a general cleansing program even if you are not trying to lose weight. It not only contains herbs to clean out the colon and liver, it also contains supplements to balance glandular function and metabolism.

Para-Cleanse is a parasite cleansing program, which is also helpful for SIBO.

Tiao He Cleanse is particularly good for the liver and one of the best all-around cleanses.

The therapy Cleansing Programs helps deal with Toxic Overload, one of the root causes of disease.


Below is a list of suggested products. Those in bold are key products for the health issue explained on this page.
For details and ordering simply copy a product's name in the search box above or click on the bold name.



Herbal Formulas: All Cell Detox, Nature's Three, Psyllium Hulls Combination, Enviro-Detox, LB Extract, LB-X, LBS II, Liver Balance, LOCLO and Senna Combination

Packs: Candida Clear, CleanStart Wild Berry or CleanStart Apple/Cinnamon, Tiao He Cleanse, Dieter's Cleanse and Para-Cleanse

Nutraceuticals: Gentle Move and Everybody's Fiber