The importance of the large intestine to our overall health should not be underestimated. Researchers in the field of neurogastroenterology (the study of the nervous system of the gut) refer to the intestine as the body’s “second brain.” The large intestine consists of hundreds of millions of neurons. The folding in the large intestine and brain are quite similar. Researchers are also finding that the memory of emotional trauma is retained not only in the folding of the brain, but also in the large intestine.
Imbalanced diet, lifestyle, pollution and the side effects of medicines are also contributing factors to large intestine and liver problems. Doctors are paying more attention to the large intestine in physicals, and in tests (colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy) and recommending enemas more often.
Western and Eastern (natural healing) approaches to health differ. The Western approach can be symbolized by the “microscope,” going deeper and deeper to determine the source of the problem, while the approach in natural healing can be symbolized by the “macroscope,” looking both at the local and systemic problem through the internal organ system and the meridian network. For example, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), internal organs form energetic links that are reflected as Yin-Yang pairs. The large intestine is a Yang internal organ associated with the Yin internal organ, the Lungs. The impact of this energetic linked pair is important. Problems with the lungs will have repercussions in the large intestine and vice versa. Doctors are seeing this relationship in terms of how cancer metastasizes: When lung cancer spreads, it will normally metastasize first in the large intestine and vice versa. Other lung and large intestine diseases follow this pattern, which is an important consideration in preventive medicine.
The connection of bowels and skin is illustrated here where severe advanced pyoderma gangrenosum (a rare skin complication of inflammatory bowel disease) is visible on the left ankle.
Each of our internal organs governs certain aspects of our physical, mental and emotional states. For example, the lungs (yin) regulate skin health over the entire body. Therefore, cleansing of the large intestine (yang of the Yin-Yang pair) will directly affect the appearance of skin, including suppleness and tone. It also affects the aging of skin (wrinkling, discoloration) and other skin problems such as growths, rashes, hives, and cancer.
The natural healing cultures of the world have understood the relationship between the large intestine and overall health for thousands of years. The field of reflexology has even documented how each part of the body is associated with a certain region of the large intestine. By helping a problem area in the large intestine with an herbal enema, the associated parts of the body become healthier.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has found that the most effective practice for large intestine health is an herbal enema. It is effective, easy to perform, has no side effects, and is suitable for all ages. It is not just used for constipation, but also for high fever, poisoning, leukemia, intestinal and gastrointestinal problems, children’s health issues, external injuries, and skin problems. It has been documented that herbal enemas have many benefits including reduced pressure on the head and body in the treatment of heart disease
Bowel problems can increase pressure in the head is illustrated by this case of episcleritis, inflammation and internal bleeding of the eye.
Herbal enemas are used for treating lung diseases like asthma, allergies and emphysema. Herbal enemas have also been used for acute back pain, headaches and migraines, and skin care.
TCM theory recognizes the energetic relationship between the large intestine and the lungs. Large intestine-absorbed herbs move through the large intestine meridians to the lungs, and through the lungs to all the meridians in the body. All diseases will be reflected in the large intestine. Direct absorption through the large intestine can see direct results for balancing internal organ energy. The large intestine is not just a corridor for moving out waste—it is also a path for absorbing the most important nutrients.
How do herbal enemas work? Herbal enemas help to improve large intestine function. They break down debris and move out the negative bacteria and parasites, without dangerously depleting the positive bacteria. Herbal enemas remove residual fecal matter that has gotten caught in the foldings (haustra), and especially, the corners (flexures) of the large intestine.
Modern medicine recognizes the strong absorptive function of the large intestine. Even a diseased large intestine has some absorptive function. Medicines delivered through enema have the ability to be absorbed through the mucous membrane and travel through the arteries and vessels of the large intestine to deliver the active ingredients directly into the circulatory system. Research shows that 50%-75% of the ingredients can enter the circulatory system.
Branches of the superior mesenteric and inferior mesenteric arteries supply the colon. Herbs absorbed through the circulatory system are not subject to stomach acid and digestive enzymes and thus preserve greater effectiveness.
As such, direct absorption of herbs or medicines through enemas is the cutting edge of best East/West health practices.
80% of the bacteria in the large intestine are positive and necessary for good evacuation. Water-based or oil-based enemas remove the negative bacteria, but also move out the positive bacteria. They can help in cleansing but not in absorbing medicinal herbs. Coffee enemas increase peristalsis, but there is no absorption of nutrients, and if done too often will have side effects
Also, modern research reports show that people diagnosed with cancer will have had a period of constipation before the onset of cancer. Additionally, people who have frequent bouts of constipation are more prone to cysts and polyps in the large intestine.
Other reports show that people, age 45 and up, are prone to develop cysts and polyps. With age, these problems increase. This is another reason why colon cancer has become the third most lethal type of cancer.
From the natural healing perspective, different diseases, wherever they are in the body, will be reflected in certain reflexology points in the large intestine. The approach is to use herbal enemas to “stimulate” the reflexology points in the large intestine, thus helping the whole body. TCM also believes that herbal enemas are effective because the large intestine is the associated organ of the lungs. When the energy from the herbs reaches the lung meridian it is quickly moved throughout the body.
Western medicine also believes that both the circulatory system and lymph system can easily absorb medicine from the large intestine. Furthermore, the acids in the stomach and large intestine do not reduce the medicinal properties, nor does it harm those organs and the liver.
Thus, he combination of the best Western and Eastern practices is beneficial to cancer patients. Western treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation, and concurrent use of herbal enemas to (a) reduce the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation that include liver/kidney damage, and (b) to bolster immune system energy can greatly benefit patients who are treated with this West-East approach.
In the future, herbal enemas and medicinal enemas will take an increasingly important role in large intestine health and in the prevention, rehabilitation, and maintenance of the whole body.