Constipation is a common medical complaint that affects almost every woman at some point in her life. It can leave you constantly feeling foggy and sluggish, while leading to bloating and a lack of desire to eat. Poor toxin clearance, however, may lead to a much wider range of issues from hormonal imbalance to immune or neurological dysregulation.
Cramps, constipation and bloating are just few signs of intestinal obstruction or dysfunction. Some of the best colon cleanse teas act as natural stimulant laxatives, which relieve constipation by increasing muscle contraction in the intestines. Others promote liver detoxification, or have antimicrobial effects that reduce bacterial overgrowth.
Although pharmaceutical laxatives are a common solution, they can only temporarily relieve the problem without fixing it. This is why herbal teas are the best, most sustainable way to repair your gut and keep your colon clean and healthy.
|COLON CLEANSE TEA||CUPS / DAY||BENEFIT|
|Milk thistle||1-3||Liver Detox|
|Dandelion root||1-3||Liver Detox|
|Wormwood tea||1-2||Intestinal Parasites|
|Black walnut hull||1||Intestinal Parasites|
|Clove Tea||1-2||Intestinal Parasites|
*Despite Senna is an amazing herb, we decided not to use it in our 28-day detox blend as it can damage the liver.
Signs You Need a Colon Cleanse
There is a range of potential signs that you need a colon cleanse, with the exact combination being different for everyone. You may have only one or two, or even all of them.
The signs you need a colon cleanse can involve bowel movements, overall digestive health, mental health, skin conditions and immunity. This is because your digestive system influences your immune system and brain, and poor detoxification can divert toxins to your skin for clearance.
Digestive issues that could indicate a colon cleanse are:
- Constipation, including straining or bowel movements happening less than once a day
- Undigested food, mucus or other materials in stool, such as stringy “things”
- Bowel movements are thin, hard to pass, not formed or float in the toilet
- Indigestion or poor appetite
- Abdominal cramping, gas or bloating
- Nausea and vomiting
- In severe cases of chronic constipation, rectal fistula (a break in the tissue) or bleeding.
Constipation is the most common reason why people seek out colon cleanses. Less frequent bowel movements; a sensation of incomplete evacuation; straining or taking longer in the bathroom; and cramping or bloating are clear signs that you are constipated.
Other signs that you need a colon cleanse, that affect the brain, immune system and other parts of the body, are:
- Poor sleep
- Poor concentration
- Frequent colds or flu
- Hormonal imbalances
Constipation, with symptoms including incomplete evacuation and straining during bowel movements, is the most common reason for a colon cleanse. However, other issues such as poor immunity and fatigue can have imbalances in the gut as an underlying cause.
These herbal teas can cleanse and detox your liver
Herbal teas to cleanse and detox your liver are an important part of colon cleansing.
They can help to remove toxins from the body so they can be eliminated with bowel movements.
To effectively cleanse and detox your liver, the best herbal teas have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and cellular-protective benefits to guard your liver while it performs its job.
Some also support detoxification pathways, that bind toxins to other substances so they can be cleared.
Turmeric for a natural liver detox
Turmeric is a popular spice in South Asian cuisines that is widely loved for its anti-inflammatory properties, and these may extend to the liver.
Through its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, turmeric protects liver cells from damage while it removes toxins from the body. One anti-inflammatory gene it turns up, known as Nrf2, also increases the activity of detoxifying pathways. Read:
- Turmeric: My Anti-Aging Secret Revealed
- The best Turmeric in Australia
- Juniper Berries Tea - Organic
Milk thistle may protect your liver
Milk thistle is most widely known for its ability to protect the liver while it detoxifies harsh substances. It is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and may reduce the formation of scar tissue, which could include the prevention of liver cirrhosis.
Through mechanisms such as turning up Nrf2 function, milk thistle improves liver detoxification.
Milk thistle is also great for new mum, read:
Nettle tea for liver detoxification
Nettle tea is widely known in the herbal medicine world as a diuretic and depurative, meaning it helps to cleanse the blood.
The diuretic properties of nettle assist in detoxification through urination. Lab studies show that nettle can slow down the first phase of liver detoxification, which protects it from damage, while increasing activity of the second phase and boosting antioxidant status.
If you are taking diuretic herbs (or coffee!), staying hydrated is essential.
Dandelion Root Tea for Liver Cleansing
Dandelion root tea is a versatile traditional herbal remedy for liver cleansing.
Like turmeric and milk thistle, dandelion can protect the liver through its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
The difference that dandelion brings is that its bitter components stimulate bile production and release.
We know of bile as being necessary for fat digestion, but it also carries neutralised toxins into the intestines so they can be cleared through bowel movements.
Dandelion root may be a diuretic too, read:
- Can Dandelion Root Help You Lose Water Weight?
- Effective Herbs To Get Rid Of Water Retention In Legs
The best herbal medicines for liver detoxification have protective antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties; speed up the second phase of detoxification; and boost bile production or urination.
The Best Teas for Constipation
Once the liver has detoxified your blood of chemicals and metabolic waste, they must be removed from the body in bowel movements. If you are constipated, then laxative teas may be right for you. Read:
- What Tea is Best for Pooping?
- The Best Natural Laxatives for Constipation
- How to Cleanse Your Gut Naturally at Home
The best teas for constipation include the stimulant laxatives senna and cascara, alongside the soothing marshmallow root. While they increase muscle contractions, they are not so forceful as to cause pain.
Senna Tea is a strong natural laxative
Senna is a powerful herbal laxative that stimulates muscle contractions and fluid secretions in the colon. Even though it is very strong, it is cheaper than other herbal laxatives, so is one of the most popular. One dose of tea is made from 0.5-2 grams of dried leaves or fruit.
Cascara sagrada is a stimulant laxative
Cascara works in a very similar way to senna, but is milder and therefore less likely to cause stomach cramps. Unfortunately, this stimulant laxative is very bitter, so you must decide whether you want to exchange taste for potential side effects.
Marshmallow root to protect the colon lining
Using herbal laxatives such as senna, cascara, or the even stronger aloe (not recommended) can be irritating to the colon lining.
For this reason, marshmallow root may be a suitable addition to treatment as it can provide your intestinal lining with a gentle, soothing barrier. It also stimulates the growth of the lining’s cells, which may be helpful after inflammatory conditions. Read:
When looking for herbal laxatives, choose senna or the gentler cascara as others may be too strong. Adding in soothing herbs like marshmallow can protect the intestinal lining too.
Teas that help with SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth)
Although supplementing with probiotic species can be beneficial, you can have too much of a good thing when it comes to gut bacteria populations.
SIBO is often the underlying cause of gas, bloating, constipation and poor digestion, as the intestinal bacteria overpopulate the organ’s inner space and ferment nutrients into gas.
Herbal teas that help with SIBO are often gentle antimicrobials, helping to reduce excess bacteria populations without being too heavy-handed on friendly species. In some cases, they act as prebiotics to support the species we do want.
Chamomile can help with digestion
We know of chamomile as a gentle remedy for digestive problems in babies and young children, but it can benefit people of all ages. Chamomile essential oil, which contains its volatile, aromatic phytochemicals, may have antibacterial effects against a range of common intestinal bacteria that can get out of hand. They include E. coli, candida and S. aureus.
To learn more about chamomile tea for babies, visit How Can Chamomile Tea Help My Baby?
Ginger to get rid of SIBO
Ginger tea, made from dried rhizomes, is an effective antimicrobial against species including S. aureus, B. cereus (a cause of food poisoning) and E. coli. It is more effective when hot air-dried than sun-dried, so if you make your own, it’s best to use an air fryer or oven at low temperatures.
Studies show that ginger can also relieve the symptoms of IBS by calming inflammation, at least in cases where it is diarrhoea-predominant. Read:
- Debloat Naturally and Flush Salt Out of Your Body Overnight
Green Tea may interact with the gut microbiota
Colon cleansing is about more than just removing unwanted toxins and species of bacteria.
Green tea may help to increase populations of beneficial bacteria, for example, with up to four or five cups per day shown to boost Bifidobacterium species. These have anti-inflammatory benefits, which enables repair of the intestinal wall and balanced immune function.
Chamomile and ginger teas can remove unwanted, inflammatory species of bacteria, while green tea may increase populations of “probiotic” species.
Effective teas against Intestinal Parasites
Intestinal parasites are annoying, persistent infections that can cause anything from nutrient deficiencies to diarrhoea and intestinal inflammation.
You may catch parasite infections from eating undercooked meat; drinking contaminated water; caring for animals or young children; or travel.
Effective teas for intestinal parasites include wormwood, black walnut hull and clove. They target parasites in multiple ways, from killing adult worms to destroying the biofilms they hide under.
Wormwood tea can treat parasitic worm infections
Wormwood, or Artemisia absinthium, has been a popular ingredient in herbal parasite cleanses for centuries (hence the name). One particularly frustrating parasite it may work against is the tapeworm, which does not cause an obvious acute infection, but instead steals our lunch. Use of wormwood may destroy both adult tapeworms and their eggs, reducing the egg count over time.
Black walnut hull can remove persistent biofilms
Besides removing parasites, black walnut (Juglans nigra) hull can also break down the biofilms that bacteria, fungi and parasites use to hide from the immune system and antimicrobials. A lab study showed that juglone, a key phytochemical in the remedy, could break down biofilms and prevent the formation of new ones.
Clove Tea For Parasites
Essential oil-rich cloves are well loved for their broad antimicrobial properties, which may include parasites too. Eugenol, a significant phytochemical in clove oil, has powerful effects against the protozoal parasite that causes leishmaniasis. Protozoa are single-celled like bacteria, but count as parasites because they are similar to primitive animals in many ways.
Wormwood, black walnut hull and clove are three of the most common antiparasitic herbal remedies, as they can remove both the infections and their hiding places.
Risks of colon cleansing and natural detox
Optimal health requires our bodies to be kept in balance, so there are some risks of colon cleansing and natural detox. There may be too much of a good thing, or some methods of detoxing may not be right for you.
Excessive colon cleansing and natural detox treatments can damage or irritate the intestinal lining. For this reason, issues such as inflammation rule out the safety of colonic hydrotherapy and strong detox protocols.
The potential list of situations where colon hydrotherapy, and by extension the heavy use of cleansing herbal teas that are not advised include:
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Recent surgery on the digestive system and abdominal wall
- Tumours inside the intestines
- Anal fissures and fistulas, are splits and tears in the tissue wall
- Cardiovascular disease, including uncontrolled hypertension
- Kidney failure
- Use of herbal teas that only stimulate Phase I liver detoxification. This must be balanced by Phase II, as the first stage can make substances more toxic through being more water soluble.
- Long-term use of colon cleanses (more than six cycles, or six weeks) without medical advice. While cleansing benefits the intestinal microbiome in the short-term, over time this may deplete beneficial bacteria.
What is the main cause of constipation?
For long-term benefits, we must look at the lifestyle causes of constipation, otherwise the problem may keep returning:
- Sufficient fibre intake prevents bowel movements from being too small and dry, allowing you to clear toxins more effectively. Soluble fibre from fruits, vegetables and legumes softens stools, while insoluble fibre from grains adds bulk.
- Water also prevents constipation from bowel movements that are too hard and dry, so staying hydrated is important.
- Lack of exercise means the muscles in your colon aren’t being stimulated enough for strong, healthy contractions.
- Ignoring the urge to go both affects the normal neuromuscular rhythms and makes bowel movements dry out even more.
Colon cleansing and natural detox protocols can be risky in cases of intestinal inflammation, pregnancy, cardiovascular problems, and when we rely too much on them at the expense of lifestyle modifications.
When to see a colonic hygienist
If herbal teas aren’t enough, you may benefit from colonic hydrotherapy. This is a more direct and somewhat invasive method of detoxification, as the colon is filled with sterile water and emptied out in cycles.
Reasons to see a colonic hygienist include a range of health issues linked to prolonged constipation or infection. It is not necessary if your constipation has only recently appeared.
You may choose to have colonic hydrotherapy for any of the following reasons:
- Chronic constipation, where the problem has been persisting for three or more months
- Haemorrhoids as a consequence of constipation
- Parasite infections, as a complement to antiparasitic therapy
- Autointoxication, where symptoms including headaches and fatigue appear from the body reabsorbing toxins from the intestines, instead of excreting them.
- Imbalances in gut bacteria populations, which may cause diarrhoea and gastrointestinal inflammation.
- Poor immunity, such as frequent cold and flu infections, can be another consequences of gut bacteria imbalance.
- Detoxification after drug and alcohol use; radionuclide exposure; or chemical exposure.
Colonic hydrotherapy can be indicated after long-term constipation, or infections such as parasite infestation.
Colon cleanse teas can have a wide range of benefits for your digestion, immune system and overall health.
Through relieving constipation, improving detoxification and restoring the balance of gut bacteria populations, they provide a much needed reset after what may have been years of toxin accumulation.
If you are unsure as to which of these remedies is best for you, we recommend seeing a naturopath or other holistic practitioner for advice.