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A colon cleanse involves removing waste from your colon (large intestine). This can be done using techniques such as enemas or colonics, that are similar, but do have certain key differences.

What Does the Colon Do

The colon is a part of your digestive system and is the longest part of the large intestine – a tube-shaped organ that connects the small intestine and the anus. It works to eliminate water and nutrients from undigested food.

The remaining waste (mostly solid) moves through the colon into the large intestine and is stored in the rectum. This is the stool that is removed from the body through the anus {3}.

The colon plays an essential role in how your body uses the food you eat.

  • The food enters the mouth where it’s broken down by your teeth. After the food is swallowed, it enters the esophagus that is connected to the stomach.
  • Once the food enters the stomach, it’s liquified and passed onto the small intestine.
  • Here the food breakdown continues due to the activity of the pancreas, liver, and gallbladder. This is also the phase where important nutrients like vitamins are absorbed into the system.
  • This process typically leaves only liquid that is moved into the colon where bacteria break down whatever is left. The colon then moves the remaining materials to the rectum.
  • The rectum holds the waste material before the muscles in the rectum eliminate it from the body as stool through the anus.

If your colon isn’t working properly, you may have problems like bloating, gas, pain, constipation, and diarrhea {4}.

What Is a Colon Cleanse

A colon cleanse is also called colonic irrigation or colonic hydrotherapy. This includes cleaning your colon with fluids to remove waste from digestive processes and other toxins that could impede normal bodily functions.

The practice of colon cleansing has been part of traditional systems for ages, most notably, the Indian medical system of Ayurveda that dates back to over 5,000 years {1}. Ayurvedic practices promote an outlook of “complete-body” healing that includes physical, mental, and spiritual well-being as compared to Western medicine that tends to treat symptoms and separate these three aspects.

The vast knowledge of this natural medicinal system focuses on the relationship between the body’s constitution and functions to nature and the five elements. These five elements form the basis of the three doshas – or body tendencies – that affect the health of the human body.

Colon cleansing is one of the methods recommended by Ayurveda to detox your body and maintain the balance of the doshas.

According to Ayurveda, a cleanse can be done when there is a build up of too much ama that refers to the unmetabolized waste that cannot be utilized by your body {5}. Some of the symptoms of excessive ama include:

  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Stiffness or pain in the body
  • Increase in weight or an inability to lose weight
  • White coating on the tongue, especially in the morning

Sneha vasti (enema with oil) and kashaya vasti (enema that uses a decoction of herbs) are the two primary treatments that are used for a colon cleanse. An Ayurvedic consultant chooses the best option based on your body type and your medical history by using a technique called nadi pariksha (pulse diagnosis).

These factors along with the pulse diagnosis also help the consultant decide the duration of the treatment.

  • Karma vasti: 5 day treatment
  • Yoga vasti: 8 day treatment
  • Kala vasti: 16 day treatment

Why Should You Do a Colon Cleanse

There may be times you’re not feeling too well or there’s a specific condition that’s disrupting your normal flow of life, but you can’t determine the exact reason. This is when you should revisit your diet and check whether your digestive system is working at its optimum condition.

Why? Because it’s at such stages that you can calibrate your system and make sure that it’s healthy. On the other hand, if you feel great, don’t you think it’s a good idea to maintain this state?

You can check with your Ayurvedic consultant about the best options to bring balance to your lifestyle or to maintain your healthy state.

The current cultural focus on diagnosis based on symptoms and grouping certain conditions into convenient labels is taking away your ability to understand what your body is going through and ignore the signals.

Your body is extremely intelligent and industrious. Everyday, it processes all the food that you consume and eliminates those that are not suitable for you. It does this even when it’s inundated with several toxins, processed foods, and this is before you consider the many mental and emotional factors that could affect bodily functions.

Your body does its job admirably under every situation. But over time all these factors lead to the collection of toxins in your body, mainly in your digestive system. These toxins could affect your health in the long run if not attended to at the right time.

A colon cleanse decontaminates the entire digestive system including your digestive tract that is an essential part of gut health and gets it back to optimum potential. This has a positive impact on many other bodily functions.

Benefits of an Ayurvedic Colon Cleanse

A colon cleanse is one of the most effective ways to detox and helps with weight loss. It removes the toxins that are collected in your digestive system and has several other health benefits such as improved digestion, increased energy, and clearer thinking.

A study on people with irritable bowel syndrome found improvements in the gastrointestinal systems of the participants after they had undergone a colon cleanse program. This study was carried out over four weeks and included 18 participants out of which 12 had constipation-dominant irritable bowel syndrome and 6 had diarrhea-dominant irritable bowel syndrome.

At the end of the study, the participants also shared that their bowel movements were much better as compared to before and also had less disturbing symptoms {2}.

Colon cleansing also has other benefits:

  • Calms your mind
  • Revitalizes your nervous system
  • Promotes mental, spiritual, and emotional clarity
  • Brings about an improved sense of energy and vitality
  • Helps in maintaining a healthy body weight
  • Restores and maintains optimum sleep cycles
  • Restores regular function of your digestive system and balanced elimination
  • Balances the three doshas and brings you back to your natural state
  • Deeply nourishes and rejuvenates the tissues

Ayurveda uses natural and herbal colon cleanse methods for effective gut cleansing. Although the benefits of colon cleansing are obvious, keep in mind that you should always take an Ayurveda expert’s guidance for this process.


An Ayurvedic colon cleanse helps rid your body of contaminants and is good for overall health. You can book an appointment with an Ayurvedic specialist to check whether your digestive system is in top condition and what you can do to make sure it stays healthy.

Alternatively, you can also sign up for our “Foundation to Good Health” program that takes a holistic approach to your overall well-being and helps you not only manage, but also improve your health.



Venkat - AuthorAbout the Author:

Venkat is a freelance writer and an SEO buff. He writes about health & wellness, technology, and finance. He’s also a certified yoga and meditation instructor.



American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons: “The Colon: What it is, What it Does and Why it is Important.”

International Ayurvedic Medical Journal: “Critical Evaluation of Ama Concept and Its Clinical Significance.”

Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine: “Health and therapeutic benefits of Shatkarma: A narrative review of scientific studies.”

National Cancer Institute: “Colon.”

Techniques in Coloproctology: “Treatment of irritable bowel syndrome with a novel colonic irrigation system: a pilot study.”