By Cathy Wong, ND

Updated June 09, 2014

This digestive system cleanse is suited for first-timers, as a pre-cleanse before a fast, for people with mild digestive symptoms, or as a general preventative measure. This duration of this cleanse is usually two to three weeks.


1. Activated charcoal

Activated charcoal binds intestinal toxins and unfriendly microbial growth and excretes them in the stools. 500-600 mg three times per day 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals and medication.

2. Bentonite clay

If activated charcoal is unavailable, bentonite clay can be used. Bentonite is a type of edible clay that acts as a bulk laxative by absorbing water to form a gel. It binds toxins such as pesticides and helps to carry them out of the colon.

Bentonite clay can be found at the health food store. 1 tablespoon liquid bentonite 2-3 times per day 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals and medication.

3. Psyllium

Psyllium is a dietary fiber that supports normal bowel function. It cleanses the mucus lining of the intestines and increases the bulk of the stools. 1 teaspoon psyllium powder three times per day. Stir psyllium into 8 oz water and drink immediately. Take with activated charcoal or if using bentonite, stir it into the psyllium water.

4. Probiotics

The digestive tract maintains a balance between healthy and potentially harmful micro-organisms. Probiotics, the supplement form of healthy micro-organisms, have been used for many years to increase the proportion of protective bacteria and for the prevention and treatment of many health conditions. 1 capsule three times per day.

Continue taking probiotics for several weeks after the cleansing period is over. Here are some things to look for in a probiotics supplement:

The most common strains of probiotics are Lactobacillus acidophilus for the small intestine and Bifidobacterium bifidum for the large intestine. Look for a combination of the two strains.

Probiotics should always be refrigerated before and after opening.

Each capsule or dose should contain more than 1 billion viable bacteria. The minimum therapeutic dose is suggested to be 108-109 cells per day. More bacteria per capsule or dose is preferable, since the bacteria must survive during shelf life and then after ingestion, during transit through the acidic conditions of the stomach and hydrolytic enzymes and bile salts in the small intestine.

5. Diet Foods to Enjoy


FRESH VEGETABLES — except corn, which can be an allergenic food. Great detox foods include broccoli, cauliflower, broccoli sprouts, onions, garlic, artichokes, beets, red and green vegetables. Approximately 40% of your diet should be fruits and vegetables.

RICE — Rice is easily digested by most people. Choose brown or basmati rice, rice cakes, rice crackers and rice pasta.

QUINOA, AMARANTH, MILLET, BUCKWHEAT — can be used instead of rice. They can be purchased at a health food store.

BEANS — Split yellow and green peas and lentils are easy to digest and require less soaking time. Other beans include kidney beans, pinto beans, mung beans, garbanzo beans (chickpeas) and adzuki beans.

NUTS and SEEDS — Unsalted nuts, seeds and nut butters can be sprinkled over any meal. Includes flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, cashews and walnuts. Avoid peanuts.

FISH — Poached, broiled or steamed fish in moderation.


CONDIMENTS — Vegetable salt, sea salt, vinegar, naturally fermented soy sauce or tamari, any culinary herbs or spices, limited amounts of honey.

HERBAL TEA — Herbal non-caffeinated teas, except green tea.


Foods to Avoid

SUGAR — Refined sugar and mixtures containing refined sugar including sucrose, dextrose, corn syrup, brown sugar, turbinado. Avoid artificial sweeteners.

DAIRY PRODUCTS — Milk, eggs, butter and other dairy products.

WHEAT — Wheat and products containing wheat.

CORN — Corn and all corn products


CAFFEINE — Coffee, both regular and decaffeinated, black tea, green tea and other drinks containing caffeine.






6. Vegetable Broth

Vegetables in this alkaline vegetable broth contain minerals that are necessary for tissue cleansing. Drink 2 cups per day.

7. Fluids

Adequate fluids are essential when taking psyllium, activated charcoal, or bentonite clay. Drink 8-12 glasses per day. When calculating total fluid intake per day, be sure to include intake of herbal tea and alkaline broth.

8. Contrast showers

The contrast between hot and cold water increases circulation, promotes detoxification and strengthens the immune system. This helps bring nutrients, oxygen and immune cells to damaged and stressed tissues and carries away metabolic waste, inflammatory by-products and other toxic substances.

Start with three minutes of hot water followed by less than one minute of cold water. Repeat this pattern at least once, always finishing with cold (e.g. 3 minutes hot – 1 minute cold – 3 minutes hot – 1 minute cold).

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