If doctors had one-tenth the concern about the exhaust systems of their patients as engineers have about their machines, their patients would be far healthier.
A healthy bowel eliminates waste effortlessly and odourlessly once or twice a day. The bowel is forgiving, not forgetful. It is tolerant, but to a point. Its vocabulary is limited; when insulted, it bloats, cramps, screams, or becomes lifeless. When the offence continues, it ulcerates and bleeds.
By middle age many people have as much as 7 kg of undigested, putrefactive food in the colon. Toxins produced from this putrefactive build-up are absorbed back into the bloodstream creating ‘autointoxication’ or self-poisoning – also known as bowel toxaemia. Bowel toxaemia results in a dramatically weakened immune system and can lead to serious debilitating health problems.
Symptoms that a colon cleanse is necessary
- Abdominal discomfort
- Abdominal pain
- Leakage of liquid stool
The importance of a clean colon
Complete digestion is necessary for nutrient absorption and to avoid waste product build-up that can cause toxins to be re-absorbed.1 Despite a lucrative laxative industry, chronic constipation and fecal impaction (waste that becomes stuck in the colon) remain common gastrointestinal conditions. Prescription medicine is very common as a means of treating constipation. Statistics have shown that 43% of whites and 76.6% of blacks in South Africa indulge in the use of laxatives, out of which 14.3% and 21.5% respectively use more than one laxative at a time for the treatment of constipation.2
Some laxatives irritate the bowel to stimulate fluid secretion, causing the bowel to eventually become ‘lazy’ – so best to choose the natural way.
The primary cause of fecal impaction of the colon is constipation. According to the Journal Gastroenterology, the incidence of fecal impaction increases with age and dramatically impairs the quality of life in the elderly:3 ‘42% of patients in a geriatric ward had a fecal impaction.’4
When you have an impacted colon, your feces become dry and won’t budge, making it impossible to excrete them from your body. Impacted feces block the way for new waste to leave the body, causing it to back up. Complications of fecal impaction of the colon include tears in the colon wall; anal bleeding, anal tears and haemorrhoids, appendicitis and acute diverticulitis. Prevent fecal impaction of the colon by avoiding constipation.
Chronic constipation – a symptom, not a disease
In South Africa, 29% of the population suffer from constipation, especially in the elderly.5 That is very high when compared to the global average of 14% of adults. According to Rome III, a diagnosis of functional constipation is made when at least two of the following criteria are met for the last 3 months with symptom onset at least 6 months prior to diagnosis:
- straining on >25% of defecations
- lumpy or hard stools on >25% of defecations
- sensation of incomplete evacuation on >25% of defecations
- sensation of anorectal obstruction/blockage on >25% of defecations
- manual maneuvers on >25% of defecations and
- less than 3 defecations per week.
Constipation is not merely the presence of pellets of dried, shrunken, and hard material, eliminated with a struggle a few times a week. Constipation is a weak bowel. It is the absence of two or three effortless and odourless bowel movements a day – without bloating, urgency, discomfort or mucus. The stool should be formed – shaped as a cast of the colon – and sink readily in the water in the bowl. There should be no visible mucus on the stool or in the toilet bowl.
Causes of constipation
- Delaying going to the toilet for fear of rectal pain caused by hard stools and/or an anal fissure.
- Chronic dehydration (the body is too dry to have a well-hydrated bowel).
- A diet lacking fibre
- Sugar toxicity
- Insufficient nutrient intake
- Overpopulation of fermenting microbes in the bowel (vaginitis, prostatitis and fungal infections of the toes are clues that this may be a problem).
- Intestinal adhesions, inflammatory lesions, and tumours – it is essential to rule out the presence of bowel tumours as a cause of constipation.
- A side-effect of prescription medicine
- Mental stress
- Jet lag
- A spinal cord injury
Progast® Oxy-Colon Cleanse contains:
- Magnesium oxide
- Aloe Ferox powder
- Dry Rhubarb extract
- Sennoside A & B
- Citrus Bioflavonoids
- Apple Pectin
1. Magnesium oxide
Relieves symptoms of indigestion (such as acid reflux) and helps to relieve constipation.
Magnesium plays a critical role in muscular contractions; cramp prevention and calcium and oxygen transport throughout the cells of the human body. Magnesium based oxides release oxygen throughout the digestive system to assist in the removal of accumulated toxins and mucous, that obstruct cellular membranes and clog elimination systems. For all oxygen functions in the body, the bowel is as important as the lungs! Magnesium has a direct positive effect on our gut flora.6,7
The well-known laxative, milk of magnesia, is liquid magnesium hydroxide; similar to magnesium oxide in structure and function. In the presence of water, magnesium oxide actually turns into magnesium hydroxide. There is plenty of water in the body, making magnesium oxide and hydroxide interchangeable with regard to biological activity.
2. Aloe Ferox powder
Aloe is an adaptogen and assists in the regulation of the elimination cycles.
Aloe ferox (commonly known as the bitter aloe or Cape aloe) is an important traditional medicine against many ailments in its native South Africa.8 One such use is as a laxative agent. The aloe bitters contain anthraquinones, mainly aloin and alecin, as well as resins. Aloin is pharmacologically inactive, but when ingested it is converted by the bowel flora to aloe-emodin anthrone, which has primarily a laxative effect. As the aloin has to reach the colon before any effect can occur, it takes about 8 hours to work. A dose taken at bedtime, therefore results in a bowel movement the next morning.9
The genus name Aloe, from Latin and Greek, is translated as ‘famous for its bitterness’. The bitterness is due to the yellow bitter leaf juice that flows from the fleshy leaves when you cut them diagonally at the base of the leaf. This dries into a hard, dark brown, opaque mass, which is known as ‘Aloe’.
The anti-inflammatory effects of orally administered aloin have been demonstrated in animal experiments.10 The inactive aloin passes harmlessly through the stomach on the way to the colon leaving the stomach unaffected. Aloe ferox has been traditionally used as a vermifuge. 11 Aloe also helps to decrease the amount of unfriendly gut bacteria, keeping intestinal flora in balance.
In a 2010 study published in the journal BMC Gastroenterology,12 the effect of Aloe Ferox powder compared favourably with the laxative Senokot. Aloe ferox was effective in ‘influencing increased defecation frequency, fecal volume and motility of the colon.’
3. Dry Rhubarb extract
A well-established medicinal plant for the treatment of constipation.
Rhubarb has been used as a first-choice herb for constipation, for thousands of years in China. There are about 200 compounds isolated from rhubarb, including its main chemical compositions: anthraquinones, stilbenes and polysaccharides. Rhubarb shows extensive pharmacological activities including gastrointestinal, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory.13
The liver detoxifies toxins produced in the gut and Rhubarb protects the liver.14 Furthermore, Rhubarb, with diuretic and other effects, protects the kidneys and speeds up the excretion of waste. Rhubarb is used to treat haemorrhoids, gastrointestinal bleeding clinically as it has a contracting effect on the tissues or blood vessels.15
4. Sennoside A & B (Senna leaf)
Senna is the gentlest of the stimulant laxatives.
The leaves and the fruit of the Senna herb, have been used to make medicine at least since the 700s. Their action is due to free anthraquinones (also found in rhubarb and aloe mentioned above). Anthraquinone glycosides called sennosides, have been identified as: A, B, C and D.16
Sennosides are known as stimulant laxatives, used to clean out the intestines before a bowel examination such as colonoscopy or before surgery. The breakdown products of Senna irritate the colonic wall to induce fluid secretion and colonic motility.17
5. Turmeric (Curcumin longa)
Curcumin has an anti-inflammatory effect on bowel symptoms.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is the root of a flowering plant of the ginger family. Turmeric has been traditionally used in Indian, Chinese and Western herbal medicine for managing abdominal pain and bloating, bacterial infections and digestive issues for thousands of years.
Turmeric’s extract, curcumin, is a naturally occurring phytochemical, well respected for its anti-inflammatory action. With proven pharmacological properties (antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, antiproliferative and antiangiogenic) curcumin has become increasingly popular over the last decade.
Turmeric improves intestinal flora, aids in digestion of protein, and treats gas and colic.18 Because of its higher bioavailability in the gastrointestinal tract than in other organs, the therapeutic potential of curcumin has been investigated in several studies of digestive diseases.
A potential role for curcumin in ulcerative colitis patients is supported by a randomized, double blind placebo-controlled study.19 In another study, curcumin supplementation showed decreased abdominal pain intensity and improved quality of life in IBS patients.20 Curcumin clearly has an effect on bowel symptoms and the emerging role of intestinal inflammation and immune activation in functional bowel diseases.21
6. Citrus Bioflavonoids
Bioflavonoids help protect your cells from free radicals and oxidation.
Bioflavonoids are colourful substances that occur widely in the plant kingdom. Citrus bioflavonoids (a lesser-known nutrients in citrus fruits) have strong antioxidant properties. They help clear the body of toxins and to fight microbial infection. Free radicals are byproducts of natural processes like digestion and respiration.
Bioflavonoids can increase capillary resistance and strengthen the walls of blood capillaries, – helpful for hemorrhoids.22 There are many studies which have demonstrated the antimicrobial and antifungal effect of citrus bioflavonoids.23
7. Apple Pectin
A fibre rich prebiotic that feeds gut flora and inhibits microbes.
Apple pectin is extracted from apples, which are some of the richest sources of fibre. Considered a prebiotic, apple pectin promotes gut health by feeding the beneficial bacteria and at the same time inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria in the digestive tract. Apple pectin may alleviate both diarrhea and constipation as it normalizes stool formation.24 Apple pectin may alleviate heartburn and acid reflux.25
An imbalanced gut microbiome (dysbiosis) can cause constipation and constipation-type irritable bowel syndrome. Constipation can in turn cause dysbiosis. We need to clear the colon, and then rebuild the microbiome.
Dysbiosis means a disruption in the delicate balance in the populations of bacteria and fungi constituting the gut flora. Gut dysbiosis have significant consequences for disease, notably in cancer pathogenesis. Colon cancers are reported to be caused by certain microbial species that are toxic to living cells. Anyone over 50 should have a colonoscopy every five years to detect polyps, which can be a precursor or indicator of bowel cancer. Dysbiosis often requires removal of the offending microbe and restoration of gut ecology.
In addition to Oxy-Colon, we suggest taking FloraCare; as probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics are effective treatment options for a variety of gut conditions.
For dosage, side-effects and directions, see package insert.
- Tracey J. Fecal impaction: not always a benign condition. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2000;30:228–229.
- Meiring PJ, Joubert G. Constipation in elderly patients attending a polyclinic. S Afr Med J. 1985;88:888–890.
- De Lillo A R, Rose S. Functional bowel disorders in the geriatric patient: constipation, fecal impaction, and fecal incontinence. Am J Gastroenterol. 2000;95:901–905.
- Read N W, Abouzekry L, Read M G, Howell P, Ottewell D, Donnelly T C. Anorectal function in elderly patients with fecal impaction. Gastroenterology. 1985;89:959–966.
- Koloski NA, Jones M, Wai R et al. Impact of persistent constipation on health-related quality of life and mortality in older community-dwelling women. Am J Gastroenterol 2013;108:1152–1158
- Pachikian, B. D., Neyrinck, A. M., Deldicque, L. et al. Changes in Intestinal Bifidobacteria Levels Are Associated with the Inflammatory Response in Magnesium-Deficient Mice. Journal of Nutrition,140(3), 509-514. doi:10.3945/jn.109.117374
- Jørgensen, B. P., Winther, G., Kihl, P. et.al. Dietary magnesium deficiency affects gut microbiota and anxiety-like behaviour in C57BL/6N mice. Acta Neuropsychiatrica, 27(05), 307-311. doi:10.1017/neu.2015.10
- van Wyk B, van Oudshoorn B, Gericke N. (1997) Medicinal Plants of South Africa. Pretoria: Briza.
- Professor M C Botha, immunologist in Professor Chris Barnard’s heart transplant team, and ethno-botanist. Various unpublished lectures and presentations.
- Davies RH. (1986) Anti-arthritic activity of anthraquinones found in Aloe for podiatric medicine. JAMA 76(2).
- M. Mwale, P.J. Masika (2010): Analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities of Aloe ferox Mill. aqueous extract. African journal of pharmacy and pharmacology 4(6):291-297
- O. Wintola, T. Sunmonu A. Afolayan (2010) The effect of Aloe ferox Mill. in the treatment of loperamide-induced constipation in Wistar rats. BMC Gastroenterol 10:95
- Cao YJ, Pu ZJ, Tang YP, et al. Advances in bio-active constituents, pharmacology and clinical applications of rhubarb. Chin Med. 2017;12:36. Published 2017 Dec 28.
- Qin LS, Zhao HP, Zhao YL, Ma ZJ, et.al Protection and bidirectional effect of rhubarb anthraquinone and tannins for rats’ liver. Chin J Integr Trad West Med. 2014;34:698–703.
- Jiao D, Du SJ. Study on rhubarb.Shanghai: Shanghai Science and Technology Press; 2000. pp. 273–307.
- Ramchander, Pawan Jalwal and Anil Middha. Recent advances on senna as a laxative: A comprehensive review of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry 2017; 6(2): 349-353
- Sharkey KA, Wallace JL. Chapter 46. Treatment of Disorders of Bowel Motility and Water Flux; Anti-Emetics; Agents Used in Biliary and Pancreatic Disease. Goodman & Gilman’s The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2011.
- Turmeric: Pros, Cons, and Contraindications. East West School of Planetary Herbology.
- Hanai H, Iida T, Takeuchi K, et al. Curcumin maintenance therapy for ulcerative colitis: randomized, multicenter, double-blind, placebocontrolled trial. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2006; 4: 1502-1506
- Bundy R, Walker AF, Middleton RW, Booth J. Turmeric extract may improve irritable bowel syndrome symptomology in otherwise healthy adults: a pilot study. J Altern Complement Med 2004; 10: 1015-1018.
- Ishihara S, Tada Y, Fukuba N, et al. Pathogenesis of irritable bowel syndrome–review regarding associated infection and immune activation. Digestion 2013; 87: 204-211.
- Alonso-Coello P, Zhou Q, Martinez-Zapata MJ et al. Meta-analysis of flavonoids for the treatment of haemorrhoids. Br J Surg.2006
- Maruti J. Dhanavade, Chidamber B. Jalkute, Jai S. Ghosh and Kailash D. Sonawane. Study Antimicrobial Activity of Lemon (Citrus lemon ) Peel Extrac. British Journal of Pharmacology and Toxicology 2(3): 119-122, 2011
- Chutkan R, Fahey G, Wright WL, McRorie J. Viscous versus nonviscous soluble fiber supplements: mechanisms and evidence for fiber-specific health benefits. J Am Acad Nurse Pract. 2012 Aug;24(8):476-87.
- Havelund T, Aalykke C, Rasmussen L. Efficacy of a pectin-based anti-reflux agent on acid reflux and recurrence of symptoms and oesophagitis in gastro-oesophageal reflux disease. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 1997 May;9(5):509-14.