Why I Don’t Recommend Cascara and Senna for Detoxing

Why I Don't Recommend Cascara and Senna for Detoxing

False expectations.  Don’t you just hate when someone makes a promise and does not follow through.  It just gets under my skin.  This is not all that different than the story associated with two herbs that are often found as part of detox programs.  These two herbs are cascara and senna.  They offer a lot of promise, but there role in detoxification is limited.  So why are they part of detox programs?

What are Cascara and Senna?

Cascara and senna fall under a category of herbs called cathartics.  Another way to think about cathartics is that they help purge your system.  So, cascara and senna help purge the system.  In other words, make sure you have a toilet nearby if you are going to proactively use these products.  They are well known to promote a bowel movement and do it effectively.  What you may not know about these products is the way that they promote a bowel movement.  Having a regular bowel movement sounds good.  Keeps you “clean inside”.  But there is a downside also.  This is one of the primary reasons that I do not use these products for detoxing.

Cascara and senna contain glycosides.  They have profound effects, especially relating to the frequency of bowel movements.  Cascara acts like a laxative by inhibiting the absorption of water and electrolytes.  Are you starting to see a problem yet?  Let me show you.  First, laxatives do not equate to detoxing.  If you need laxatives, yes, you are probably toxic, but there is a bigger picture at hand.  Second, the water and electrolytes that you are not getting in are needed for detoxing through the kidneys.  The gut is not the only way to rid your body of toxins.  The kidneys also play a very powerful role.  Forcing movement in one detox system, the gut, and the expense of short changing another detox system, the kidneys, doesn’t seem like a very efficient way to detox does it?

What about senna?  Well, senna is not in the clear either.  Remember, it contains glycosides also.  Its primary action is as an irritant.  This irritation causes motility.  One problem though.  When you are toxic, the bowels are already likely irritated.  In fact, when toxins are present, the gut is less functional and the immune system is disturbed.  This is leaky gut.  Frequent use of senna will make leaky gut worse and make you more toxic.  But you are trying to become less toxic!

The Long and Short of It

Let me put cascara and senna in perspective for you.  These are meant for increasing bowel movements.  They are efficient at it, but it comes with a price if used long term.  Therefore, their use should be limited to short term applications.  A few days at the most.  Detoxing on the other hand is an ongoing process.  You should always be detoxing.  Think about detoxing as what you do long term.  Cascara and senna do not fit this model.  Rather than using these stimulating and irritating herbs, a better option is to stick to the fundamentals; eat clean, drink clean and exercise consistently.  Check out this post for more details on how to do this.  And for your biannual detox or the times when you know you haven’t been your best, I recommend a cascara and senna free detox program that directly enhances your body’s own system to promote energy, better bowel movements, weight reduction and less inflammation without stimulants and irritants.  Learn more at the link below.

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Cascara and senna are not supporting your body’s detox systems and anything else is just a false promise.  I want you to feels the benefits of a deep cleansing detox, not a quick fix purge.



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  1. […] that make toxin elimination efficient.  Unfortunately, many detox programs focus on using herbs and stimulants that purge the body, without providing true detoxification.  And they are certainly not prepping […]

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