Most fasting regimens call for some method of colon cleansing to help rid the body of unwanted toxins and waste matter. The following are all viable methods to employ during a fast, and note too, the last one: doing nothing.
This was the preferred choice for cleansing during fasting for many years. Those who have the equipment and are comfortable with the process may want to consider taking enemas during their fast. Morning is usually considered the best time for this especially when combined with drinking warm lemon water the evening before. The lemon will begin to break up mucus during the night.
While many prefer enemas daily, every other day is actually sufficient during a fast. This allows time for the colon to rest from the disruptiveness caused by an enema, helps to prevent the enemas from becoming addictive, and reduces the enervating effects of enemas.
For the water solution used, many things can be added: diluted coffee is said to help detoxify the liver, powdered chlorella helps detoxify heavy metals, flaxseed tea relieves inflammation of the colon, and bentonite helps absorb and remove toxins.
Psyllium husks and flax seeds are two natural fiber products that help break up and bind to fecal matter, allowing for easier elimination. Both create a gelatin-like substance when mixed with water. This is the key to their colon cleansing abilities.
Because they are fiber, they're best used during partial fasts, such as fruit or rice, where fiber is a part of the fasting diet. For fasts where fiber is not being ingested, such as water or juice or Master Cleanse, you can use psyllium or flax, before and after your fast. It is fine to leave the colon and intestines alone during a fast, see below. A colon cleansing recipe utilizing psyllium, with instructions for its use, can be found here.
To use flax seeds, mix 1 teaspoon ground flax seed in 8 ounces of water. Take this three times per day. While helping to cleanse your colon, you will also benefit from all the healthy nutrients flax seeds contain.
This is a great fasting colon cleanse utilizing flax seeds, but without introducing fiber into the intestines.
Boil 8 ounces of water with 2 teaspoons flax seeds for 2-3 minutes. Let sit another 3-4 minutes and then strain while still hot and drink. Do this three times per day. This doesn't taste at all bad.
The gelatinous quality, as well as many of the nutrients, of the flax seeds will be retained in the water. If you want the additional fiber, drink the seeds as well; it's not hard to do since they slide right down easily.
If using lemon juice (as during a Master Cleanse), don't take the flax seed infusion near the time you ingest the lemon drink or the mucus-cutting quality of the lemon will be working on the flax seed gelatin. Take the infusion in the evening, well after your last lemon drink.
The salt water flush is commonly a part of the Master Cleanse methodology and consists of drinking a quart of salt water. When it works properly, it passes through the digestive system quickly, resulting in quite a few watery bowel movements. There are dangers to the salt water flush and it doesn't work for everyone.
These are still used quite commonly in Europe for their laxative effect and for a fasting colon cleanse. Add 2 tablespoons salts to a half a quart of lukewarm purified water. Drink this slowly and in small mouthfuls first thing in the morning. Adding some fresh lemon juice to it will make it more palatable.
This will create a number of watery bowel movements throughout the morning, similar to the salt water flush, so stay home, and near a toilet. You can follow the salts with some peppermint tea to get rid of the bitter taste in your mouth.
For milder effect or on days you must go out, use 1 teaspoon salts in 8 ounces of water.
There are a number of herbal teas available in both health food stores and grocery stores, which are blended just for laxative effect. "Smooth Move" by Traditional Medicinals and Good Earth Laxative Tea are perhaps the most popular.
During a fast, drink a cup of herbal tea in the evening before bed and optionally, another cup in the morning.
Senna is the main ingredient in these teas, used for its stimulating effect on the colon, but its use should be restricted to short term, such as fasting. Longer term use can create a sluggish colon as it becomes dependent on the stimulant to move.
While most people tolerate senna just fine, some experience cramping.
Yes, this is a viable option during a fast. The colon does not reabsorb toxins and waste materials from fecal matter and dump them back into the bloodstream. Not interfering with the colon allows it to rest and heal in its own appropriate way. A bowel movement will occur when it needs to.
Water fasters under Dr. Joel Fuhrman's care, typically have one or no bowel movements during 10-30 day fasts, according to his book, Fasting and Eating for Health. Their blood is monitored regularly and their reactions to the fasting state watched closely, as normal procedure. No harm ever came from the lack of a direct fasting colon cleanse.
Herbert Shelton, who fasted 30,000-40,000 individuals, gave enemas to his patients during the first five years of his practice. In experimenting without the use of enemas, he found that his patients "recovered in less time, that they are more comfortable, and that bowel function after the fast is much more efficient, if enemas had not been used."
Selecting a method of colon cleansing is, obviously, a very personal decision. We should choose a method that resonates with us on all levels, and certainly don't do any method that frightens or worries you.