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Essential Detoxification

by Jon Barron

Detoxing is no longer practiced by only the healthy few. With today's increase in toxins, more patients are waking up to the realization that we need to rid the body of heavy metals, chemicals and parasites to prevent illness.

However, with options that include water fasts and colon cleanses, the hard part is figuring out which detox is right for you.

To begin, it is important to note that a general detox is usually done through fasting (either water or juice). In this type of detox, cells throughout the body are cleansed, but no particular organ or system is targeted. Combining a general detox with an organ/system-specific detox makes use of specific herbs/supplements or protocols to target specific areas of the body such as the liver, kidneys, and colon.

Water or Juice Fasting

General cleansing is usually done through a type of water or juice fast. The distilled water fast is probably the touchstone for all detoxing protocols used in alternative health. The principles behind it are simple. First, when you deprive your body of food, your body begins to consume itself to survive. Being geared to self-survival, your body chooses to consume damaged cells and toxic cells first, saving the healthiest for later. Second, it takes a tremendous amount of energy, and puts a tremendous strain on your body's organs, to process food. (Check your heart rate after eating a large meal and observe how exhausted you feel.) When you fast, your body diverts that energy to repair and rebuilding.

Refined, processed, low-fiber foods, animal fats, a lack of exercise, and ever-increasing levels of stress all contribute to our current gastro intestinal health crisis.

There are three levels of fasting worth considering. The pure water fast is the most powerful form of fasting, but also produces the most toxic side effects. The other downfall is that when you go too long without sufficient calories, your body slows down its metabolism to prevent starvation. Then when you begin to eat again, even normally, your body treats anything beyond the barest minimum as excess calories, causing your body to gain weight at an accelerated rate.

Some add honey and maple syrup with lemon, which helps balance out the blood sugar swings, reduce fatigue, and prevent headaches. Lemon is also antimicrobial and tends to kill bad bacteria in the intestinal tract and works as an alkalinizing agent, raising general body pH. However, juice fasting is preferrable since it provides basic nutrients while being so easy to digest that it offers 90 percent of the benefits of a water fast. Even better, add chlorella to a juice fast to further help detox and get protein in a form that requires almost no effort to digest. In other words, you still get all of the benefits of fasting, but can easily fast for that much longer.

Detoxing

Although general fasting definitely provides overall detoxing benefits, targeted detoxing takes advantage of certain herbs, nutraceuticals, or alternative health protocols to greatly accelerate the process – particularly in regard to specific body systems and/or organs. The combined fast with an organ-specific detox offers the most powerful cleansing program for overall health of the body. In my book, I discuss how to incorporate the positive aspects of all these programs into one major detox. For now, the specific detoxes include the colon, liver, gallbladder, kidneys and blood.

Colon Cleansing

The foundation of any health or healing program must begin with the intestinal tract. This is not necessarily because it is inherently more important than any other system or organ in the body, but because it's the area of the body upon which we focus our greatest abuse; and because it impacts virtually every other system in the body.

The colon is the main elimination channel of the body. It is the means by which we eliminate the toxic waste of the digestive process, including massive amounts of E. coli bacteria and parasite larvae. If that waste hangs around longer than necessary, its impact on the body is profound.

Our modern lifestyle has taken its toll on our digestive/elimination organs. Refined, processed, low-fiber foods, animal fats, a lack of exercise, and ever-increasing levels of stress all contribute to our current gastro-intestinal health crisis. Therefore, periodically (approximately every three months), you will need a strong purifier and intestinal vacuum to help remove more than 2,000 known drug residues.

Any program designed to clean, detoxify, and rebuild the colon needs to address everything from muscle movement to removing old fecal matter, poisons, heavy metals, parasites, chemicals, drug residues, radioactive material, Candida albicans and toxins off the walls of the colon and out of any bowel pockets. It also should promote the healing of the mucous membrane lining of the entire digestive tract, especially the herniated areas, increase the flow of bile and promote healthy intestinal flora. No one formula or magic pill can accomplish it all. What I recommend is a two-pronged approach:

  1. a colon correction formula
  2. a colon detoxifier

Colon Corrective

A good corrective formula provides both cleansing and healing to the entire gastrointestinal system. It stimulates peristalsis (the muscular movement of the colon). It halts putrefaction and disinfects, soothes and heals the mucous membrane lining of your entire digestive tract.

Entirely herbal, with no harsh, habit-forming chemicals, an effective activating formula also will help improve digestion, relieve gas and cramps, increase the flow of bile (which in turn cleans the gall bladder, bile ducts, and liver), destroy Candida albicans overgrowth and promote a healthy intestinal flora, destroy and expel intestinal parasites, and increase gastro-intestinal circulation. The herbs used in this formula are also antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal.

Look for a formula that contains all organic herbs, such as: cape aloe, senna, Cascara sagrada, barberry rootbark, ginger root, African bird pepper, fennel, and the great Tibetan intestinal health herb, Termianlia cherbula.

These herbs work as an intestinal detoxifier to loosen and draw out old fecal matter, waste and toxins. And they stimulate peristalsis. They also help halt putrefaction and disinfect, soothe and heal the mucous membrane lining of your entire digestive tract. In addition, they help improve digestion, relieve gas and cramps, increase the flow of bile (which in turn cleans the gall bladder, bile ducts, and liver), destroy Candida albicans overgrowth, and promote a healthy intestinal flora, destroy and expel intestinal parasites and increase gastro-intestinal circulation.

Colon Detoxifier

In contrast with an activator, a good detoxifier is cleansing and soothing. It is to be used periodically in conjunction with the activator. The detoxifier is a strong purifier and intestinal vacuum. It draws old fecal matter off the walls of your colon and out of any bowel pockets. It also works to draw out poisons, toxins, heavy metals such as mercury and lead, and even remove radioactive material, such as strontium 90. A good detoxifier also will remove more than 2,000 known drug residues.

Its natural mucilaginous properties will soften old, hardened fecal matter for easy removal and also make it an excellent remedy for any inflammation or irritation in the stomach and intestines. This formula is helpful in irritable bowel syndrome, diverticular disease and hemorrhoids. And on top of everything else, this formula will eliminate the effects of food poisoning or stomach flu in 20-40 minutes.

Look for a formula that contains all organic herbs, such as: apple pectin, montmorillonite clay, slippery elm inner bark, marshmallow root, fennel seed, activated willow charcoal, and psyllium seeds and husks. Pau d'arco also works well in the formula for its ability to help control Candida.

Liver/Gallbladder Cleansing

The liver detox is the centerpiece of any thorough detox and one of the most important in terms of achieving maximum health in today's environment. Next to the skin, the liver is the largest organ in the body and is involved in at least 200 separate functions. Generally speaking, the liver performs a vital role in regulating, synthesizing, storing, secreting, transforming, and breaking down many different substances in the body including the regulation of fats, removing bacteria and toxins from the blood, storing vitamins, metabolizing protein and managing cholesterol and hormones.

In fact, the liver is the main detoxifying organ of the body. It filters out dangerous drug residues and poisons from the blood and passes them out of the body – through the colon via the bile duct. Therefore, remember to never detox the liver until you clean out the colon, so that the toxic material will have a clean path out of the body.

The liver is so important to our well-being many healers maintain that most diseases cannot develop in the body (and that, in fact, no form of cell degeneration can occur) if the liver is functioning in an efficient, healthy manner. Conversely, an unhealthy liver is very likely at the root of most serious health problems.

More than 7 million people have less than half the kidney function of a healthy young adult; another 11.3 million have at least half of what's regarded as normal kidney function.

What Harms the Liver?

  • Too much protein in the diet. Protein metabolism is especially taxing on the liver since it is the liver that must metabolize complex proteins into simple compounds.
  • Too many simple carbohydrates in the diet. The body converts excess simple carbohydrates into triglycerides, which are then stored in the liver as fat, preventing the liver to perform its full range of normal functions.
  • Overeating and too much enzyme deficient food. This stresses the liver.
  • Drug residues. Virtually all of the drugs that we take (medicinal, recreational, chemotherapy, whatever) are processed, purified and refined in the liver.
  • Alcohol causes inflammation of the liver's tissue. Once the liver is inflamed, it can no longer filter or regenerate itself, which causes it to plug up with fat and harden (cirrhosis of the liver).
  • Toxins, heavy metals, and pesticides. Everything we breathe, eat and absorb through our skin is purified and refined in the liver.
  • Lack of exercise forces the liver to do the elimination work that should be done by the lungs and the skin.
  • And of course, there's always liver disease such as chronic hepatitis C.

Fortunately, your liver has an astounding ability to regenerate itself – if you give it a chance. Giving it a chance means two things:

  1. Proper diet. You need to eliminate (or at least cut back) the liver stressors in your diet. The sicker you are, the more cleaned up your diet needs to be. If you're suffering from serious liver problems, a raw juice diet may be required to give your liver time to regenerate.
  2. Several times a year, you need to do an herbal detox/flush of your liver.

By cleansing the liver, we're talking about inducing the liver to purge all of the fats, old cholesterol deposits, gallstones, poisons, drug residues, and toxic waste stored therein. Probably nothing else you do (including even the bowel cleanse and detox) will make a greater difference in your overall health.

The use of an herbal tea and tincture along with the flush is essential. The tea helps with the flushing process itself, but also helps minimize any discomfort or nausea. The key herb in the tea is dandelion root, one of the strongest herbal lipotropics known. That is to say, it flushes fat deposits from the liver. Other herbs you will find in a good detox tea include ginger, clove, cinnamon, burdock root, and horsetail.

The tincture is crucial in that it contains herbs that help the liver to rebuild and regenerate itself. A secondary benefit is that it will significantly reduce the liver's release of LDL cholesterol. The key herbs include milk thistle, dandelion root, the perennial herb picrorhiza kurooa (sometimes called kutkin, or "Indian milk thistle"), and artichoke or beet leaf. The liver/detox tincture is also a good place to include the antiparasitic herbs such as wormwood and black walnut. Along with the garlic that you are taking with the liver flush, this will drive virtually any parasite from your body.

Blood Cleansing

Our blood is filled with many impurities, including everything from an overabundance of fats and cholesterol, to toxic heavy metals. These must be removed from the blood for optimum health. There is no secret as to which herbs cleanse the blood. The efficacy of these herbs has been proved over several hundred years. Medical science doesn't fully understand why these herbs work as blood cleansers, but small discoveries are slowly taking place. Any good blood cleansing formula will contain some, or all, of the following herbs: red clover blossoms, burdock root, chaparral, periwinkle and goldenseal.

Kidney Flushes

Chronic kidney disease is a worldwide medical and public health problem that is beginning to assume epidemic proportions. The absolute number and incidence rate of renal disease doubled from 1988 to 1997 and doubled again from 1997 to 2005. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. It is estimated that a stunning 10-20 million have kidney disease and don't know it. Moreover, more than 7 million people have less than half the kidney function of a healthy young adult; another 11.3 million have at least half of what's regarded as normal kidney function.

Herbs such as juniper berries, uva ursi, dandelion leaf, corn silk, burdock root, hydrangea root, gravel root and Chanca piedra can help dissolve and flush kidney stones, while at the same time, eliminating any trace of kidney, bladder or urinary tract infection.


At age 16, Jon Barron worked under his father, one of the world's first food technologists, at a large grocery chain. They developed a new line of food products that sparked Jon's interest in food formulation and natural remedies. He forged ahead not only with a nutraceutical company and a nonprofit foundation, but also with product formulation consulting. For more information, including complete instruction on how to combine several organ detoxes into one complete detox, please visit www.jonbarron.org.
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