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HungryGuy's avatar

Is there anything to herbal colon cleansing?

Asked by HungryGuy (16008points) October 30th, 2010

A girl I know believes in herbal cleansing and wants me to try it.

Personally, I think this is so much “snake oil.” I suspect the crap that comes out is actually made by the pills. Anyone else here have a clue about this stuff?

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25 Answers

MissA's avatar

How could all of the nasty build-up from years of waste material be caused by the pills? Explain your thinking.

poisonedantidote's avatar

No, its hogwash, it has all been debunked many times. I think pen and teller even mentioned it in their show bullshit. in fact, if you go to google and type “colon cleansing” the 5th suggestion is “colon cleansing scam”.

EDIT: (the pen and teller show on detoxing).

Lightlyseared's avatar

No. The bowel is incredibly effective at cleansing itself without outside interference. It is a waste of your time, your money and can potentially make you very unwell.

Facade's avatar

There’s a lot to it. Most people, as you can see, will disagree, but I know it helped me (when I wasn’t being lazy about it). I highly recommend Dr. Natura’s products (watch out for the gross photos on the website if you’re squeamish).

HungryGuy's avatar

Thanks, all, for the answers. I am skeptical, but am wondering if there’s anything to it. I, personally, don’t see how any matter anywhere in the GI tract won’t eventually come out on its own. Or that a simple laxative won’t nudge along. Yes, my biggest concern is that if this stuff is actually harmful.

Facade's avatar

@HungryGuy Those laxatives you buy in the store are harmful. Herbs and fiber aren’t. Using senna, an herbal laxative, for longer than a month at a time will make your system dependent upon it, but that’s about it. No matter what you use, be smart about it.

gailcalled's avatar

Wednesday in the NYT:

To give you a sense of the article, here’s the opening sentence;

A month ago I went on a juice cleanse. You know what it cleans out of you best? The will to live.

Sentence in the middle of the story:

The next three days could be summed up thus: 1. I need food. 2. Hey, this isn’t bad! 3. Kill me now.

And near the conclusion:

Dr. Colbert said: “You have to ask yourself this question: With a juice cleanse, what are you really cleaning? Really, nothing. The bowel self-cleans. It’s evolved over millions of years to do this.”

faye's avatar

It’s ingredient appears to be psyllium. You can buy that cheaply at any drugstore and take it for a week. I take metamucil everyday because of medication I take and do feel much better, but if you are healthy and eat your fruit and veggies, drink lots of water, you don’t need to waste your money.

Aster's avatar

It ‘self cleans?’ Then why do “they” say that every adult has seven lb of waste in their colon? Waste that causes disease?? In fact, I think it was a lot more than seven lb. One of the reasons we’re told to drink plenty of water.

Facade's avatar

@faye I think it’s the herbs added to the psyllium that makes it more expensive…

HungryGuy's avatar

Are the herbs really that expensive to make it worth $100? What does a bottle of psyllium alone cost?

incendiary_dan's avatar

@Facade : Those added herbs can also be bought at many stores for cheap as well.

Sure, the stuff probably helps you. So does a cup of coffee, when it comes to cleansing your colon. No need to spend so much. If you’re not passing out enough waste, mild laxatives are great. That’s all that stuff is.

Paradox's avatar

Colon cleansing is a scam. The colon is designed to clean itself out. Don’t buy everything you hear from other people and these alternative health websites. I’m not skeptical of everything alternative but I am of most.

HungryGuy's avatar

Well, I’m more confused now than before I asked the question :-/

On the one hand, I’m challenged to explain my thinking why I dare to suspect a scam. On the other hand, it’s an outright scam. Is the answer somewhere in the middle, as compromisers would say? Or is it one or the other?

Now, I know a thing or three about biology and medicine, and so I know there’s no build-up of toxins or residue on the lining of the colon over years (too bad the same can’t be said of major blood vessels). Any foreign matter inside the colon will get expelled (if foreign matter collects anywhere, it would be in the appendix).

I’d be willing to try it to appease this girl I know, but not if it’s actually dangerous. And who knows, there might be some ancillary health benefits from the herbs…

gailcalled's avatar

@HungryGuy: would you do anything that may be risky (or, if nothing else, exceedingly uncomfortable) in order to appease a friend? That makes no sense.

Herbs are tasty and harmless…put fresh basil on tomatoes and mozarella cheese (cabrese salad): sprinkle dill on scrambled eggs and in vinaigrette; rosemary enhances lamb; oregano and marjoram compliment salsa, spaghetti sauce pizza, etc.

HungryGuy's avatar

Well, no. That’s why I want to get to the bottom of whether it’s merely a harmless scam, or outright dangerous.

gailcalled's avatar

It depends on your tolerance for stomach cramps. If used briefly, the cleanse can be only mildly annoying. If used for a longer duration, it might trigger constant diarrhea (which is no good for any body).

There are also some people with irritable bowels, or just sensitive GI tracts, for whom the experience may be asking for trouble.

Life is complicated enough. Why look for trouble unnecessarily?

HungryGuy's avatar

Why? Hot girl and one word. Three letters. Begins with S and ends with X :-p

gailcalled's avatar

Sex is not fun when you have stomach cramps, or have I missed something? And what an odd thing to ask a lover to do. Isn’t that unromantic?

HungryGuy's avatar

Well, she thinks it’s in my best interest to become “healthy” through herbalism…

gailcalled's avatar

The important question is, “What do you think?”

HungryGuy's avatar

I think I’m skeptical of its health benefits. But how safe it is? I have no idea.

faye's avatar

Phah, tell her you did some research and it’s not worth the money. But you’ll give up sugar for her. You’‘ll have better sex if you’re not having diarrhea.

MissA's avatar

A good, honest colon cleanse will help rid the body of intestinal parasites. Anyone who thinks that’s a joke should read up on the topic. My 2-cents.

HungryGuy's avatar

Intestinal parasites? Someone who has intestinal parasites needs prescription medicine targeting the specific parasite. Sometime physicians will prescribe herbs as supplemental therapy to strengthen the body’s immune system against parasites. But if you have parasites, you’ll need real medicine to eradicate them safely.

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