Cleansing in September

By Cheryl Wright, RHN, BA

Although January is technically the New Year, many people feel September is when a new year starts for them. With the summer holidays ended and kids heading back to school, most people are trying to get back into their regular routines. However, this is sometimes easier said than done. After a summer of sleeping in and overindulging, September really is a great time to reboot your system by cleansing.

Many people are unaware of what cleansing and detoxification actually are. Detoxification is the body’s natural process of eliminating or neutralizing toxic materials from cells, organs and the bloodstream. Cleansing is the action of helping your body to perform detoxification more thoroughly. People have been using natural herbs to cleanse the body for thousands of years. As the world we live in becomes more and more polluted, cleansing and detoxification has become vital to ensure good health.

Did you know that as many as 8% of all non-accidental deaths in Canada are related to air pollution? That is up to 16,000 premature deaths per year! 1 While this may seem overwhelming, there are ways to fight the overabundance of toxins that enter our bodies on a regular basis. Even if you eat the best organic diet, don’t smoke and use only natural products to clean yourself and your home, you are still exposed to a multitude of toxins that are out of your control. This means that everyone should cleanse and September is a great time to start.

Some people wonder about the benefits of cleansing, there are tons! The positive impact herbal cleansing can have on your health are numerous including;
o    Increasing your energy levels
o    Improving your digestion
o    Improving your overall health

One of the best ways to detoxify the body is through herbal cleansing. When looking for an herbal cleanse, it is important to look for a cleanse that stimulates the detoxification process of the body’s 7 channels of elimination: the liver, colon, kidneys, blood, lungs, skin, and lymphatic system. There should be a main focus on the colon and the liver as these are two of the most important paths of elimination.  The liver is a an ingenuous cleaning system working to detoxify alcohol, heavy metals, drugs, chemicals, toxic byproducts and other poisons from the blood. Meanwhile regular bowel movements will ensure that the toxins released during the cleansing process, are actually being removed from the body.

Renew Life’s CleanseSMART is a good example of a 30 day cleanse which works on all 7 channels elimination with a special emphasis on the liver and colon. It does not include any purgative herbs such as senna or cascara segrada which have been known to irritate the colon, as well as become addictive over time. Instead it uses magnesium hydroxide which works to hydrate the colon by bringing water to the bowel. It also includes peristaltic herbs such as cape aloe, rhubarb and triphala, to help increase the muscular movement of the colon. The combination of hydration and stimulating peristalsis allow for natural, easy bowel movements without the use of harsh laxatives.

For those that want a structured diet to incorporate into their herbal cleansing program, pick up the free booklet “The Cleansing Diet” by naturopathic doctor and certified nutritionist Brenda Watson at your local Health First store. The booklet provides meals that are easy to prepare, nutritious and high in dietary fibre. It lists great tips on how to make cleansing more effective.

Currently pollution is something Canadians just have to live with.  In order to keep vibrant health, one of the most important things you can do is to cleanse regularly. It is suggested that everyone cleanse the body twice a year, why not make this September one of those times. Remember, if you breathe, you should cleanse!

1  Suzuki, David. “Taking Our Breath Away The Health Effects of Air Pollution and Climate Change” [Internet].[Cited July 18, 2012]. Available from:   http://www.davidsuzuki.org/publications/downloads/1998/health_exec_eng.pdf