Related Terms

  • Ayurveda, bowel cleansing, chelation therapy, colon, colon cleanse, colon hydrotherapy, colon therapy, colonic irrigation, colonics, constipation, detox baths, EDTA therapy, enema, fasting, food allergies, gastrointestinal tract detoxification, heavy metal cleanse, herbal detoxification, herbs, high colonics, hormonal and skin care programs, hydrotherapy, intestinal cleanse, intestinal therapy, juice fasting, juice therapy, juicing, liver cleanse, lymph drainage, macrobiotic diet, nutrition, parasite cleanse, probiotics, rotation diet, skin care, skin cleanse, specific carbohydrate diet, supplements, toxic minerals, toxins, vitamins, water fasting, weight loss, wellness.
  • Not included in this review: Alcoholism and drug abuse detoxification.

Background

  • Detoxification is a broad term that encompasses many different ways of cleansing the body’s internal systems and organs. Major methods include chelation therapy (EDTA therapy), colonic irrigation, nutritional supplementation, several varieties of herbal medicine, dietary therapy, fasting, juicing, probiotics, hydrotherapy, sauna and exercise.
  • Four main types of toxins are addressed through detoxification: heavy metals, chemical toxins, microbial compounds, and byproducts from protein metabolism. Advocates believe detoxification cleanses the body, clears the skin, enhances the senses, helps weight loss, improves fertility, improves flexibility, increases vitamin and mineral absorption, purifies, reduces blood fat levels, reduces symptoms of toxicity, rejuvenates, rests organs, and slows aging.
  • Organs that perform detoxification functions for the body include the skin, liver, intestines and kidneys. Many methods of detoxification focus on strengthening or supporting the natural processes of these organs.
  • For many methods of detoxification there is little or no evidence from clinical trials to enable recommendations for or against their use. See individual monographs on this site for reviews of the available evidence.

Evidence Table

    Disclaimer

    These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

*Key to grades:

Tradition

    Disclaimer

    The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

Safety

    Disclaimer

    Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.

Attribution

  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration ().

Bibliography

    Disclaimer

    Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to . Selected references are listed below.

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