Mucoid Myths


If you have an interest in optimum nutrition and holistic health, chances are you have experimented with colon cleansing, or at least come across the concept of it. You have also probably heard the long-held idea that, unless you follow an ideal diet and detox regularly, your colon will be coated with this layer of sticky, dark matter often referred to as “mucoid plaque”.

Over 100 years ago, an idea was formulated by Dr. Jensen's to explain this strange phenomena often seen during the colonics he oversaw whilst fasting his patients.


The idea follows that with each ‘less than ideal’ meal, a layer of extra mucous is secreted to protect the bowel wall against the ferocious effects of fermenting bacteria. Instead of being swept away by the next meal of fibrous green matter, each subsequent layer of mucus gets overlaid by another, and then another.

Because the colon spends much time drawing out water from the mix, this material becomes as hard as tyre-rubber. Once truly aged and hard, this grim coating inhibits the uptake of nutrients, slows the passage of material through the bowel, and houses the detrimental bacteria that give off endless waves of toxins, stressing the immune system, and giving rise to candida, IBS, and so on.

This explanation so graphically illustrates colonic results that it is still the primary argument behind many of the colon cleansing products available today, and informs much naturopathic lore with regard to food, fasting and detox. And anyone using this method of fasting and colonics will understand why they drew the conclusions they did.

The trouble is, it is wrong !

These days, 100 years later, we have new technology that the likes of Dr. Jensen did not have access to, and now anyone can type "endoscopy" into YouTube and see no hard, dark, sticky coating of mucoid material, but instead, clean, blood-vessel filled, villi-covered intestinal wall.

So Where's my mucus?

Since this discovery, of course, the general medical establishment has prematurely concluded that if the hardened mucus does not exist, then the process of colon cleansing is pointless and useless. But let’s keep this in context. The failing of this explanation should not overshadow the many thousands of people who have found benefit from the practices. So surely we must arrive at an evolved understanding, which incorporates the new information from colonoscopies with the undeniably amazing results people have achieved through colon cleansing.

Baby and Bathwater

But let us not confuse the map for the territory here. While some of explanation may be faulty, the results of 100 years practice remain consistently effective and worthwhile.

Having helped hundreds of colons relieve their troublesome burdens, and looking for the context in which these contradictions can be put to rest, I was determined to get to the bottom of this logjam in the founding premise of colon care. I spoke to numerous people on both sides of the profession who (in my professional opinion) “should” know better, and what I found was much worse than a conundrum. It is a basic denial of the need to answer the question.

Thus most practitioners of mechanised (high street) colonics are still entranced by the 'mucoid plaque' argument, and I have yet to come across another detox retreat company that pays any heed to such contradictions in their knowledge.

So What is it Then ?

Meanwhile, the metres of this ropey, pungent anomaly continue to pour from my clients, and all I can offer them is my own hypothesis.

A new paradigm

To keep the bowel moving (in constipation defence against a fiberless (cooked) diet, or during periods of fasting), some Indian traditions turned to the use of psyllium husks - the indigestible shells of the Flea Seed (Plantago ovata).

They form a fibrous gel, in the gut, which is very absorbent. This material drinks up bile from the liver and refuses to give it back to the bowel wall, thus carrying it from the body without reabsorption (massively increasing the efficacy of the fasting process).

If this product is taken many times a day, it completely inhabits the bowel, forming an endless queue of vehicles to carry the material through.

Some of the psyllium will adhere to the bowel wall for a while, absorbing more bile and changing colour and consistency, while others move through faster, picking up less discolouration and form.

Endless Results

It is none other than this material that is seen during the colonics, heavily stained with bile - anywhere from beige and dark orange to seaweed green and even black. Its passage through the many twists and turns of the bowel can leave it disfigured and nodulated, often appearing tortured and contorted. No wonder they attributed such legend to its existence.

But alas, it is not years of ancient mucosal lining. It is simply Psyllium.

And that explains how there can be so much of it - even after days of fasting, at regular intervals - for years on end.

Keep sticking it in one end, it is gonna come out the other.

But let us not confuse the map for the territory here. While some of explanation may be faulty, the results of 100 years practice remain consistently effective and worthwhile.

These days, the positive effects of fasting is entering the holy realms of scientific enshrinement, and colonics are commonly available these days.

Personally, after 20 years in the business, I don't advocate colonics at any time other than fasting - see more here.


It is such a shame that orthodox and alternative medicines are such arch-enemies - they could learn so much from each other. 'So what' if mucoid plaques is an medically unsupported myth, the process of fasting in such a way that reveals such things (however mislabelled and misunderstood), the benefits are clear in thousands of clients with improved digestion, released emotions, revamped stress levels and renewed energy.... 

But because of the locked horns and closed minds of both orthodox and alternative paradigms, the two still deny the validity and benefit of the other.

You would think that the great minds of science and alternative thinking could have met in the middle to find out what was happening themselves… But, no. They prefer to be dissociated rather than united.

What a waste of resources and cohesion on both sides.


The composition of the gut microbiota shapes the colon mucus barrier by Hedvig E Jakobsson,1 Ana M Rodríguez-Piñeiro,1 André Schütte,1 Anna Ermund,1 Preben Boysen,2Mats Bemark,3,4 Felix Sommer,5 Fredrik Bäckhed,5 Gunnar C Hansson,1 and Malin EV Johansson1,
EMBO Rep. 2015 Feb; 16(2): 164–177. Published online 2014 Dec 18. 

Clinical effects of colonic cleansing for general health promotion by Am J Gastroenterol. 2009 Nov;104(11):2830-6; quiz 2837. doi: 10.1038/ajg.2009.494. Epub 2009 Sep 1.

Current understanding of the human micro biome by Jack A GilbertMartin J BlaserJ Gregory CaporasoJanet K JanssonSusan V Lynch & Rob Knight in
Nature Medicine volume24, pages392–400 (2018) Published: 10 April 2018