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Colon Health: The Natural Approach


Exercise.  To keep your colon healthy, you need to exercise regularly.  You've heard it said over and over again that habitual physical exercise helps to reduce your chances of all types of cancer even colon cancer. 


But did you know that regular exercise can help your colon perform better on a daily basis in a very noticeable way.  It's true.  Regular physical activity can help you avoid constipation.


Other natural ways to keep your colon health include eating foods high in fiber.  On the whole, a fiber-rich diet helps to eliminate constipation.  And constipation may ultimately lead to even greater health risks.  Eating foods high in fats, such as cheeses, eggs and meats can also trigger chronic constipation.


Fiber is that portion of grains and fruits and vegetables that is not digested by your system.  Soluble fiber can dissolve relatively easily in water and eventually transforms itself into a soft, gel-like texture in the intestines.  Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, passes through the intestines nearly unchanged.  The bulk and the soft texture of fiber help to prevent the hard, dry stools associated with constipation.


The average American eats between 5 and 14 grams of fiber daily.  This is far less than the 20 to 36 grams recommended by the American Dietetic Association.  As a nation, we eat too much in the way of processed foods which have no natural fiber.


Don't ignore that need to go!  Quite frankly, too many of us simply ignore the initial need to go to the restroom.  We get involved with a project at work, we're busy around the home or we simply procrastinate.  This not only eventually causes chronic constipation, but leads to continued poor colon health.


Drink more! While drinking more water may not actually cure constipation, many people find that water add bulk to the stools which makes them a little easier to pass.  If you are bothered with chronic constipation, try drinking liquids every day.  The best liquids are water and fruit juices.  Try to avoid coffee, tea and soda.  The caffeine content in these just makes your condition worse, acting as diuretics.  The caffeine takes liquid out of your body. Alcohol also acts as a diuretic.


Don't touch those laxatives!  Initially, it may seem like the right thing to do, but it may lead to a larger problem. Some people actually become dependent on laxatives.  The body then grows reliant on these in order to have a bowel movement.


Consider an enema.  There may come a time, especially so if you've ignored your health for any length of time, that you may want to jumpstart your healing and put yourself on the fast track to health.  The best way to "start anew" in a sense is through an enema. 


An enema flushes much of the old, dry, fecal build up on the walls and pockets of the colon very quickly.  This allows your system to eliminate the accumulation of toxins fast.  If you think you may want to take this route to colon health and improve your overall well being visit your natural health care practitioner.  If he can't help you, he'll direct you to a professional who can.


Colon health: An herbal approach



If you're looking for a natural, herbal approach to good colon health, there are several herbs that can provide that.


The first is cascara sagrada, an herbal laxative that helps to cleanse the colon.  Long used by Native Americans, this herb contains compounds called anthroquinones, which produce this laxative effect in the body. In fact, today it's probably the most common of the herbal laxatives


Cascara sagrada also helps to strengthen the muscle tone of the walls of the colon.  And as your muscle tone grows stronger, your constipation will slowly begin to fade.  This herb also helps to stimulate bile production in the liver, which also helps to speed the removal of toxins from your system.  You can find cascara in several forms, including capsules liquid extracts and as dried bark.  If you choose dried back you can make this into a tea.  Cascara sagrada tea has a natural bitter taste.


An average serving of cascara sagrada is 300 mg when taken in capsule form.  You'll want to take it in the evening to give it time to stimulate a bowel movement by the following morning.  This herb usually takes between six to 12 hours to work.


You shouldn't take this natural plant for more than seven days consecutively.  Nor is this herb intended for use by children.


Chickweed is another excellent herb for relieving constipation and helping to clean out the colon.  It works relatively fast and will help move the stools through your system with several hours.  Not only that, but it also helps to strength the stomach muscles and the bowels themselves which are the first steps toward long-term relief.  It's also noted for cleansing the system of toxins.


If you're looking for "an all-purpose herb," look no further than slippery elm.  This herb is not only a wonderful natural remedy for constipation, but it's also an extremely effective herbal aid for diarrhea.  Slippery Elm normalizes the stools while it soothes, coats and heals the lining of your intestines.  For the best effects and to help it move quickly through your system, you'll want to drink plenty of water when you consume it.


Senna is another herbal laxative, albeit a strong one.  It works quickly; expect it to work shortly after you've taken it. It's also acts as a purgative, cleansing the bowels naturally.  Normally, this herb is taken in tea form.  It also helps to stimulate peristaltic contractions, which help to move the fecal matter through your colon.  Many individuals are convinced of the effectiveness of this herb.


We must, however, add a word of caution about senna.  It makes some folks ill. Some report that they get nauseous when they take it.  But adding some ginger or cinnamon to the senna when you take it may help alleviate this problem.

Colon Health:  More natural options

Keeping your colon healthy is probably one of the best steps you can take toward your overall health and well being.  If you find that you're already having problems with constipation or unexplained fatigue, you may want to consider a few more natural herbal treatments.


The following suggestion doesn't fall into the herbal category, but it is a natural therapy which is very popular.  It's activated charcoal, a type of carbon made from wood, vegetable and other materials.  It resembles a fine black powder and is believed to have a great absorption capacity.  And it's this ability that allows it to bind with the unwanted matter and toxins in the colon.  You can also find activated charcoal in liquid form.


You might not have heard of this second natural remedy.  It's bentonite, a clay that is now available in supplement form.  The primary ingredient in this material is hydrated aluminum silicate.  Other ingredients found in bentonite include calcium, magnesium and iron.  Once the bentonite gets into the system, it begins to absorb water.  It stays in the digestive tract where it's thought that it not only binds to the toxins, but renders them harmless in the process.  Bentonite then promotes the excretion of these toxins.


An herb traditionally used in Chinese medicine that may help you clean  your colon is rhubarb. Not to be confused with the plant your grandfather grew in his backyard, this legendary herb contains powerful compounds associated with laxatives and in fact contain anthraquinones, the same ingredient found in the herb cascara sagrada which stimulates bowel movements.


Rhubarb, though, also contains something called tannins, which are thought to reduce the inflammation in the colon.  Because of these tannins, Chinese medicine uses rhubarb to help alleviate diarrhea.


You can find rhubarb in capsules, as liquid extracts and as a dried root.  Rhubarb works within six to 12 hours after being ingested.


Psyllium seeds have been popularized recently because of the host of fiber additives on the market today.  Psyllium seeds contain a category of fiber called mucilage.  Mucilage enters the digestive tract and absorbs water.  When it does this, it swells, making the stools in the colon bulkier.  This, in turn, triggers contractions of the colon walls.  These contractions then lead to bowel movements.


You'll only need one to two teaspoons of ground psyllium seeds mixed with eight ounces of water.  Usually taken one to three times per day.  When you take this natural remedy, be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day.  If you don't, you run the risk of obstructing the colon and only making your constipation worse.

Note: Some statements in this article may not be approved by the FDA. This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as professional medical advice.

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