Your gut is one of the toughest parts of your body. Just think of all the work it has to do to process thousands of calories’ worth of Taco Bell at 2 a.m. with a belly full of booze. But if your diet’s been out of whack for too long, you might feel like you need a reset button for your body.
That’s where an overnight colon cleanse comes in. But first, a quick anatomy lesson.
The colon is a tube that connects your small intestine to your anus. It removes water from your poop (so you don’t have diarrhea), balances electrolyte levels, and contains enzymes and good bacteria that aid digestion.
Some alternative medical communities claim that a buildup of harmful toxins in the colon can lead to tummy troubles like bloating, cramping, constipation, excessive gas, low energy, arthritis, and even body odor. An overnight colon cleanse is designed to purge your gut’s waste—at least that’s the idea.
What Is an Overnight Colon Cleanse?
The concoction is consumed on an empty stomach a few hours before bed. The idea is that the colon cleanse ingredients go to work in your gut while you sleep, then you wake up with the urge to take a massive dump that cleans you out.
So do overnight colon cleanses really aid your digestive health? Or is this just a New Age myth?
Do Colon Cleanses Work?
The colon is designed to cleanse itself, but if you feel the need to kickstart the process, read on.
The “cleanse community” purports that overnight colon cleanses and other detox diets can remove harmful toxins and even reduce the risk of colon cancer. The research supporting those claims is murky at best. But a colon cleanse can still offer temporary relief.
For hardcore cleansers, there are enemas and “colonic irrigation” which both involve water being shot up your rectum with a little hose. Alternative medicine practitioners claim this has health benefits ranging from detoxification to weight loss. But Mayo Clinic says such measures are unnecessary and may even have harmful side effects.
If you ask for medical advice about flushing your digestive tract, a doctor will likely recommend an over-the-counter laxative that will send you straight to the toilet—guaranteed. And if you’re prepping for a colonoscopy, your gastroenterologist will put you on a liquid diet to clean you out.
As you can see, there are several colon cleansing methods with varying levels of validity. But for now, let’s focus on some home remedies to unclog your colon.
5 Natural Colon Cleanse Methods
Here are five natural ways to cleanse your colon with stuff you can find in your pantry.
Mix two tablespoons of sea salt or Himalayan salt with a quart of warm water. Sip it on an empty stomach and try to finish it in less than five minutes. You should feel the rumbles within 30 minutes.
If the taste is too harsh, add a few drops of lemon juice. Which leads us to...
Lemon Water Cleanse
Lemons are rich in vitamin C, which may be useful for cleansing the colon according to a 2015 study. The citric acid in lemons is a natural laxative, plus the antioxidant properties protect your cells against free radicals which may be linked to cancer and other diseases.
For a lemon water cleanse, squeeze half a lemon into 8 ounces of warm water and sip over the course of five minutes.
A Spoonful of Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar tastes horrible, but has some great health benefits. ACV is packed with natural probiotics to boost gut health, antioxidants to protect your cells, and enzymes to fight bad bacteria.
This is the easiest colon cleanse recipe out there: just drink a shot or a spoonful before bed and let it go to work.
Aloe Vera Cleanse
This cactus-like plant has been used for centuries to treat dozens of illnesses and medical conditions. But it’s known especially well for its antioxidant properties and laxative effects when consumed orally.
Here’s how to prepare it: add two teaspoons of lemon juice into a cup of water, mix in 200 mg of aloe vera, and refrigerate for 3 hours before drinking it.
What to Expect From an Overnight Colon Cleanse
The colon cleanse recipes we explored all have laxative properties, meaning they should make you poop even if you’re feeling plugged up. Whether they actually “cleanse” your colon is above our paygrade to answer.
Some of the techniques may dehydrate you, so make sure you drink plenty of water and electrolytes after you’re done dropping the Browns off at the Super Bowl.
Whether you’re sipping salt water or taking shots of ACV, make sure you’re ready for the aftermath with a pack of DUDE Wipes.