The Basic Principles of Detoxification
The great efficacy of a whey cure can be fully grasped only when it is placed in the larger context of the detoxification cures used in naturopathic medicine and when one understands the basic principles of this school of medicine.*1 In fact, by itself, whey does not directly cure all the diseases and disorders cited as being receptive to its active principles. Rather, it works in an indirect manner by positively altering the internal cellular environment, thereby removing the conditions responsible for the hatching and subsistence of the diseases in question.
Here, we will consider how this is possible and examine the foundations on which this approach is based. According to naturopathic medicine, there is an ideal composition of the bodily fluids (blood, lymph, and extracellular and intracellular fluids) in which the cells are immersed; this allows for the optimum functioning of the organs and consequently the body as a whole.
Any qualitative modification of these fluids represents a threat to health. These changes can occur when the internal cellular environment becomes overburdened with substances, such as toxins and poisons, that should not be present in the body or substances, such as uric acid and urea, that should not be present in such large quantities. The other possible cause of these changes is dietary deficiencies—when the body lacks the substances, such as vitamins and minerals, that it requires to maintain the fluids’ ideal composition. It is the first problem, the presence of excess amounts of certain substances in the internal environment, that we seek to remedy with detoxification remedies such as the whey cure.
ILLNESS: AN ACCUMULATION OF TOXINS
The concept of illness as a consequence of the presence of undesirable substances in the system is based on observation and can be verified by anybody. Individuals suffering from respiratory ailments blow their noses, cough, and expectorate to rid themselves of the substances that are burdening their alveoli (asthma), their bronchi (bronchitis), their throat (cough), their sinuses (sinusitis), or their nose (the common cold). The joints of people afflicted with rheumatism and arthritis are inflamed, blocked, and deformed by the presence of grit and crystalline precipitates.
All skin disorders are due to the excretion of either acidic substances by the sudoriferous glands (eczema, skin that is cracked or split) or colloidal substances by the sebaceous glands (acne, boils, greasy skin, sweating, eczema). Excess food substances in the stomach and intestines can cause indigestion, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
When these substances are irritating or fermenting and putrefying, they cause inflammation of the mucous membranes (gastritis, enteritis, colitis) and the production of gas (flatulence, bloating). The entire gamut of cardiovascular diseases, to which 37 percent of all U.S. deaths are attributed,*2 is due to the presence of excess substances such as cholesterol and fatty acids that thicken the blood, become deposited on the vessels (arteriosclerosis), inflame the walls (phlebitis, arteritis), deform them (varicose veins), and clog them (heart attack, stroke, embolisms). In kidney diseases, the guilty substances are protein wastes; in obesity, fats; in cancer, carcinogenic substances; in allergies, allergens; and in stomach ulcers, acids.
THE PROFOUND NATURE OF DISEASE
Our ancient ancestors already knew, and it remains valid today, that the majority of illness is caused by the presence of undesirable substances in the body. These substances have been known by a wide variety of names over the course of history. Today they are generally designated as toxins.
These include the cholesterol and fatty acids that are the origin of all the cardiovascular diseases; the acids and crystals that inflame, block, and deform the joints of those who suffer from rheumatism and arthritis; the colloidal wastes that cause congestion in the respiratory tract, leading to infection and catarrh; the uric acid that causes gout; the salt that retains water; and the sugar that is the root cause of diabetic disorders.
In the present day we must also include in the list of undesirable substances all the food additives (colorings, preservatives), agriculture and gardening products (herbicides, fungicides, insecticides), drugs given to livestock (hormones, antibiotics, vaccines), medications we ourselves take (sedatives, sleeping pills, antibiotics), as well as the large number of poisons stemming from the pollution of our air, water, and earth.
The great doctors of all eras have underscored the fundamental role played by intoxication (in the clinical sense of poisoning). Hippocrates, the father of medicine, wrote: “The nature of all illness is the same. . . . When the contaminated humor is abundant, it will take hold and cast into sickness all that is healthy. The entire body is attacked and thrown out of order.”
Thomas Sydenham, a great English doctor of the seventeenth century, summed up the disease process magnificently when he said: “A disease, however much its cause may be adverse to the human body, is nothing more than an effort of Nature, who strives with might and main to restore the health of the patient by the elimination of the morbific [disease-causing] humor.” Closer to our time, the French doctor Paul Carton, dubbed the “Hippocrates of the twentieth century,” said in confirmation of the above sentiment:
“Disease is in reality only the translation of an inner effort to neutralize and clean out toxins, which the body performs for preservation and regeneration.” Rudolf Steiner, who in the early twentieth century founded anthroposophical medicine, an approach that integrates the physical and spiritual components of the individual, also observed that the origin of internal disorders stems from the fact “that undesirable substances are dissolving into our liquid being.
” Whatever the terminology employed in whatever era, disease has always been recognized as being caused by a build-up of substances that clog the body.
THE EXCRETORY ORGANS: THE EXIT DOORS FOR TOXINS
The body is equipped with five organs for confronting rising levels of toxins: the liver, intestines, kidneys, skin, and lungs. These excretory organs filter wastes out of the blood and the lymph and expel them from the body.
The liver is incontestably the most important of these five organs because not only does it filter and eliminate wastes like the others, it is also capable (if in good health and functioning sufficiently) of neutralizing numerous toxic and carcinogenic substances. The wastes filtered by the liver are eliminated in the bile.
Good production and flow of bile is therefore not only a guarantee for good digestion, it also ensures good detoxification. Because of their combined length (approximately 7 meters or 23 feet) and their diameter (ranging from 3 to 8 centimeters), the intestines also play a fundamental role in waste elimination.
In fact, the amount of substances that can stagnate, putrefy, or ferment within them is enormous, and largely contributes to the autointoxication (self-poisoning) of the body. The kidneys eliminate the wastes filtered out of the blood by diluting them in the urine, insofar as the kidneys are functioning properly. Any reduction in the quantity of urine or its concentration of wastes will engender an accumulation of toxins in the body, and this will generally cause health problems.
The skin constitutes a double exit door as it expels crystalloidal and acid wastes with sweat (through the sudoriferous glands) and colloidal wastes and fats with the sebum (through the sebaceous glands). The lungs and respiratory tract are primarily an eliminatory path for gaseous wastes, but because of overeating and pollution, they will often expel solid wastes (mucus, spit, and so forth).
TO HEAL MEANS TO DETOXIFY
The solution to the congestion of the body by toxins is detoxification. Nature reveals the path we should follow here. When confronted by excessive wastes, the body reacts: it burns them by fever or seeks to eliminate them through the excretory organs.
We can see the wastes leaving the body by way of the skin (acne, eczema), the respiratory tract (bronchitis, colds, sinusitis), the urinary tract (polyuria, acidic urine, grit), the digestive tract (vomiting, diarrhea), the uterus (white discharges), and the eyes (crust or discharge in the eyes on waking, conjunctivitis caused by excess acid in the tears). If the body is unable to expel all of the wastes via its normal exit channels, the body will create new ones for itself. These may be in the form of varicose ulcers, leaking wounds that will not scar over, or spontaneous hemorrhaging (hemorrhoids, bloody noses, heavy menstruation).
Animals also heal themselves through detoxification. Wolves who are bitten by poisonous snakes cure themselves by purging the toxins with the help of medicinal plants that they would not otherwise eat. When dogs and cats are sick, they will eat grass, which, depending on the amount ingested, can trigger expectoration, diuresis, and vomiting.
“All diseases are resolved either by the mouth, the bowels, the bladder, or some such organ. Sweat is a common form of resolution in all these cases,” writes Hippocrates. If illness is caused by autointoxication, it is logical that only detoxification can deal with it successfully.
Draining is the method that is used to achieve this cleansing. Draining consists of stimulating the excretory organs, which are used by the body to filter blood and eliminate toxins. The means that effect this stimulation are varied.
They may include using medicinal plants, ingesting fluids and foods that have detoxifying properties (such as whey, for example), adhering to diets, stimulating reflex zones, receiving massages, cleansing the intestines with enemas, and using hydrotherapy. The excretory organs are the essential pathways through which this draining is achieved. In draining cures, therapeutic efforts are directed at these organ systems to restore normal elimination and even increase elimination for a period to make up for the buildup of wastes in the body.
First, the individual excretory organ, stimulated by one or more drainers, will cleanse itself of the wastes that lie stagnant in its tissues and clog its “filter.” Once it has been cleansed, the organ will regain its ability to filter blood properly. The blood, in turn, irrigates deep tissues, ridding them of accumulated toxins by transporting wastes to the various excretory organs. Draining is thus characterized by the increased waste elimination performed by excretory organs. This increased elimination will be apparent to the individual taking the cure:
The intestines will expel more matter, or evacuation will occur more regularly. Urine, now loaded with wastes, will take on a darker color and will increase in volume. The skin will sweat more copiously, and the respiratory tract will free itself of colloidal wastes through increased coughing and catarrh.
This visible elimination of wastes reduces the amount of toxins that are held in the tissues. With this cleansing of the internal cellular environment comes improvement of the body’s overall health and the gradual disappearance of symptoms of illness. The extent of the healing possible obviously depends on the amount of damage that these wastes have already caused in the organs, as well as on these organs’ capacity to regenerate.
If draining toxins is not the logical response to the true nature of illnesses, how do we explain that a single therapy—the general draining of toxins—can dispel all health problems for the same patient, despite the vast differences that might characterize the disorders? A multitude of patients, after running from one specialist to the next to treat various disorders, have found themselves cured of all conditions by a single causal treatment—detoxification with therapeutic drainers.
THE IMPORTANCE OF MAINTAINING GOOD EXCRETORY FUNCTION
The excretory organs serve as the obligatory exit doors for toxins. The following figures illustrate the importance of these organs and the consequences that may result when any of them loses function. The kidneys should eliminate 25–30 grams of urea over a twenty-fourhour period. If they eliminate only 20 grams, this represents retention of at least 5 grams per day, or 150 grams (1/3 pound) per month! These 150 grams of urea will clog the tissues and overburden the internal cellular environment.
The same is true for salt. If the kidneys eliminate 12 grams of salt in twenty-four hours, instead of the entire 15 or more grams that are typically absorbed from food, this means 3 grams each day are retained, equaling 90 grams (1/5 pound) per month! To be sure, these elimination figures are not precise, as wastes can be expelled through more than one exit.
Nevertheless, substantial amounts of wastes do accumulate in the tissues, as can be seen during dialysis. During one twenty-four-hour period of blood dialysis—in which all blood is extracted from the arteries and passed through a filter that removes urea before the blood is reintroduced through a vein—an amount of 300– 400 grams of urea can be collected, whereas the presence of only a few grams (2 grams per liter of blood) is considered fatal. These 300–400 grams of urea are obviously not stored in the bloodstream (our bodies contain only around 5 liters of blood, so this amount would clearly be fatal); but, because the excretory organs are unable to eliminate all of the wastes, they are pushed deeper into the tissues where they contribute to congestion of the internal environment.
RECOGNIZING GOOD EXCRETORY FUNCTION
The criteria for good excretory function are as follows: the intestines should empty once a day; the stools should be well formed but not hard, and they should not have a foul odor. The speed at which food travels through the intestines is also important. Food should leave the body within twenty-four to thirty-six hours after it is consumed.
Hard, dry stools that are difficult to expel and are evacuated only every two to three days or more are a sign of autointoxication in the intestines, characterized by poor elimination. The kidneys eliminate approximately 1.3 liters of urine each day. Urine should contain certain wastes that are detectable only through analysis, but which give urine its typical color and odor. Consequently, urine that is too clear, has no color or odor, or is excreted too infrequently (meaning only two or three urinations a day) indicates insufficient kidney function. Urine that is highly charged with wastes testifies to strong eliminatory capacity, but also reveals a high level of contamination.
The skin eliminates wastes through the sudoriferous glands in the form of a liquid (sweat) and through the sebaceous glands as a greasy coating (sebum). Healthy skin perspires over its entire surface and maintains its suppleness thanks to secretions of sebum. The absence of perspiration, acne, and the various forms of eczema can indicate that the skin is sealed and the wastes it should be eliminating are stagnating below the surface. The respiratory tract (lungs, bronchi, nasopharynx, sinuses) provides paths of elimination for gaseous wastes (CO2).
It should not be obstructed by solid or fluid wastes (phlegm, mucus, colloidal wastes). Congestion is a sign that the body as a whole has accumulated too many toxins and is trying to expel some of them through the respiratory tract. Except for a few waste products present when rising in the morning, the nose should always be clear and free of congestion.
Drainers are the products used to stimulate the excretory organs to perform their filtering and elimination tasks. Drainers, in addition to their eliminatory effect, also regulate and reeducate the excretory organs to restore optimum function. Drainers consist of simple foods as well as medicinal plants that have specific properties that encourage the work of the excretory organs. Some of the most effective drainers for each of the excretory organs are listed here.
Artichoke, dandelion, black radish, carrot, cabbage Infusions, drops, or tablets of common centaury (Centaurium minus), rosemary, chicory, dandelion, black radish, boldo, curcuma Olive oil: Take 1–2 tablespoons in the morning on an empty stomach. This treatment should be followed for fifteen days.
Wheat bran Flax seeds, psyllium, agar-agar powder Prunes, figs Infusions, drops, or tablets of alder buckthorn, cassia, mallow, licorice, polypody Whey
Artichoke, asparagus, pumpkin, watercress, green beans, cabbage, celery, onion, turnip, pear Infusion, drops, or tablets of linden sapwood, birch, bearberry leaves, cherry stem, horsetail, couch grass, dandelion, juniper, nettle, onion, leeks Drinking lots of fluids: water with low mineral content, fruit and vegetable juices, whey, herbal teas
Juice, infusions, tablets, or essential oils of eucalyptus, oregano, plantain, licorice, coltsfoot, Iceland moss, thyme
Juice, infusions, drops, or tablets of burdock, borage, chamomile, wild pansy, elder, lime blossom Hot baths, saunas, warm compresses Massage with gentle essential oils like lavender or geranium As we have seen, whey is an intestinal drainer as well as a renal drainer, and it has an indirect effect upon the liver. Whey acts on three of the five excretory organs—hence its great effectiveness in detoxifying the body.
THE PRACTICE OF DRAINING CURES
Two factors must be taken into consideration with draining cures: their intensity and duration. The efficacy of the draining will depend on its intensity. Therefore, determining the correct dosage is key: if it’s too low, the excretory organ will not receive enough stimulation and no results will be obtained; if the dose is set too high, the body will exhaust itself and the excretory organs themselves can become damaged from the flood of toxins.
The optimum dose, one that sits somewhere between these two extremes, will be different for each individual body. Unfortunately there are no mathematical formulas for determining the correct dosage. Each individual must start with a small dose and gradually increase the amount, while monitoring the body’s reactions, to determine the appropriate dosage.
Beginning with a large dose can cause imbalances and puts the body at risk for exhaustion. In addition to the general health threat this poses, it also makes it difficult to determine the body’s true reaction to the drainer. The duration of the draining also plays a fundamental role in the success of the treatment. The cleansing engendered by the draining is a physiological process.
The body is not capable of emptying itself of all its toxins at once. To the contrary, toxins are extracted from the blood and tissues little by little. For a detoxification cure to be effective, drainers should be used regularly for at least two weeks, preferably for a duration of one to two months. Cures can be repeated several times during the year as needed, so long as the body is given a month-long rest in between treatments. All of the excretory organs should not necessarily be stimulated at the same time. When draining is practiced for the first time, it is preferable to stimulate only one organ at a time to avoid dispersing the body’s strength.
In this case, begin with the organ that is the most deficient: the intestines in cases of constipation, the kidneys in cases of edema, and so on. Another option is to stimulate the excretory organs in order of their importance: liver, intestines, kidneys, skin, and lungs. This progression is even more prudent for the individual who is suffering from a great degree of poisoning (someone who eats a lot of meat or has been overmedicated) or whose energy reserves and strength are restricted (the elderly or those who have been severely ill). Once the excretory organs have been retrained, the draining cures can target all the eliminatory organs at the same time. The organs will be more responsive to detoxification efforts and will eliminate wastes more efficiently, leading to better overall health.