The old Mucoid Plaque Argument

This 100 year old paradigm is understandable, but long since disproved.

But there are wonderful healings available whilst fasting and using colonics - however, this is due to what is happening in the blood, not the bowel.

See the benefits of fasting for more detail

Dr. Bernard Jensen

Dr. Bernard Jensen

Pioneering Geniuses

Around 100 years ago, several Doctors and naturopaths reinvented the protocols around health, and built on very old methods to attain a new level of internal hygiene for themselves and their many patients.

Both the act of fasting and colon cleansing are very old fields of enquiry and strategy to achieving longevity and vitality, and a combination of the two proved to be the best method, using the sweeping powers of Psyllium husks alongside bentonite clay and digestive enzymes to keep the system moving.

Both the act of fasting and colon cleansing are very old fields of enquiry and strategy to achieving longevity and vitality, and a combination of the two proved to be the best method, using the sweeping powers of Psyllium husks alongside bentonite clay and digestive enzymes to keep the system moving.

During the bowel cleansing techniques - which they called 'Colemnas' (See the difference here) a strange material was expelled that required understanding and explanation. In order to adequately explain the phenomenon, idea's of mucoid plaque, back-up material, and undigested meat came to pass as a biological truth.

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”.

Results from fasting colonics using Jensen's methods

Results from fasting colonics using Jensen's methods

Dr. Jensen's 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 the symptoms of a congesting diet and failing immune system that it this is still the basic argument behind many of the colon cleansing products available today, and informs much naturopathic lore with regard to food, fasting and detox.

The painstakingly and effective processes designed were so effective in dramatically reversing bowel degeneration, that to this day variations on the theme of a juice fast and colonics are still generally accepted as the fastest and safest means of relieving the condition, along with its many symptoms of ill health.

Anyone using this method of fasting and colonics will understand why they drew the conclusions they did.

Much of the writing from these early pioneers speaks of emotional settlement in the bowel musculature, parasitic infestation, and general auto-intoxication, and while they have been proven endlessly correct on these points - all proven by the flowing health of participants in such cleansing events - the original explanation of mucoid plaque has been proven incorrect.

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.

Where's my mucus?

Clean colon wall, without visible mucoid plaque

Clean colon wall, without visible mucoid plaque

With advances in technology - unavailable 100 years ago - we can now see that the old matter (mucoid plaque) at the root of this theory does not actually exist. With every colonoscopy we see the same pink, blood vessel-filled, villi-covered, healthy, pink mucus membrane. So where is all this 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.

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.

The medical profession has always denied the existence of such materials because their modern diagnostic techniques do not reveal it. While the alternative therapists know there is something wrong with the bowel that affects the whole body, and that fasting with colonics reverses it, they are often so stuck are they on Jensen’s old model that they don’t care about colonoscopy footage. Neither trusts the other's methods and priorities.

Meanwhile, the metres of ropey, pungent anomaly continue to pour from my clients, and all I can offer them is my own hypothesis. Having passed it by the creative and enquiring minds of a couple of maverick colonic hydrotherapists, and backed it up by 15 years of my own experience, I am busy presenting it to the both worlds, in the hope that one will disprove it, or both accept a meeting point for their childish battle.

A new paradigm

We know that much of the material coming from the bowel is released from food through bacterial processes we have little control over (See why here). One bacteria will give us nutrients, others toxins - standard micro-biology.

We also know that once the cells that we eat are broken open through cooking, their nutrients are more susceptible to the corrosive effects of the stomach; i.e. its inherent enzyme content is destroyed. This in turn necessitates the pancreas provide additional enzymes to the digestive system that would otherwise source the immune system (yes, the immune system uses exactly the same enzymes, and the pancreas struggles to provide enough for both systems). As the immune system's primary use of these enzymes is to help with the flagging, digesting and clearing of foreign matter in the blood, less of this work gets done, leaving the blood less than optimal.

Cleaning the Blood

The following processes are at work day and night whilst eating, keeping the system as clean as it can with the resources it has.

However, when food is removed from the digestive system a concentrated event takes place.

Whilst fasting, when the digestive system is no longer providing sufficient energy and nutrients, the pancreatic enzymes are sent to resource the immune system so it can digest and gain energy from materials in the blood.

This IS the process of detox as we mean it here. It not only provides energy for the body, but helps the system to become free of such blood-thickening components.

However, this is a very messy process - a smokey burning process, one might say, causing the deposition of many acidic compounds to be released into the blood, which is not tolerated, so the liver is stepped up to do its job of cleaning the blood. See more on pH balance here.

Cleaning the Liver

With the arrival of all of this acidic material into the Liver, we have two results - dirty liver and clean blood. Blood which is now ripe to be utilised by the next dirtiest tissue structure - the muscles, fascia, fat cells, kidneys, even the liver itself - to throw their deposits into. This of course leads to thickening blood again, which will in turn be cleansed through the miraculous filter of the liver once more. Periodically, the liver must neutralise, collect and eliminate these toxic accumulations into the intestines. It does so in the form of bile. Lots of it.

Keeping the Bowel Moving

Another effect of not eating is the stalling of the peristaltic system. Without a filling of the stomach, the message to keep moving dies away, and the body saves on the energy it takes to run that system. This means that a straight water fast enables much material to travel from the tissues to the blood to the liver, and then to the bowel, but as the bowel is not moving much of what is accumulated there will be drawn back into the blood through osmosis in the bowel wall. This would lead to recycling of toxic material and a less than efficient detoxification system. Incidentally, this method has been used for millennia to improve health, (see more on fasting here) but it can be made more effective by keeping the bowel moving.

We achieve this through the use of psyllium husks, which are the indigestible shells of the Flea Seed (Plantago ovata).

Because they cannot be broken down they require no digestive resources from the body, but their dense fibre enables the bowel to continue to move. Because it is very absorbent, this material drinks up the toxic bile from the liver and refuses to give it back to the bowel wall, negating the above problem. 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 merely the very product taken during the week of fasting. And that explains how there can be so much of it - keep sticking it in one end, it is bound to leave at the other. 


So, we have here an alternative explanation of why the system works:

  • The blood is benefitted by the cleanse because the pancreatic enzymes are allowed to flood the immune system with resources to better do their job and clean it of all accumulated matter.
  • The liver is given a full workout and cleanse, plus a thorough rest from the tiring regime of supplying digestive, assimilative, and emulsification compounds.
  • The unusual amount of water consumed during a fast (generally replacing food) thoroughly flushes the kidneys, and allows all the organs to run a full hydration.
  • The bowels themselves are given a healthy dose of fibre to process, enabling them regain some of the muscle tone lost through years of fibreless foods.
  • With no excess of energy the whole being has gone into a deep rest, leading the mind to profoundly relax, and release through the stresses of normal life.

All of the above is standard, textbook physiology. 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.