Healthy Beginnings

Natural and Effective Remedies to Fight Constipation, Ward Off Bacteria

There are roughly 10 trillion bacteria and fungi that live in our intestines, 10 times more than all of the cells in the human body. These bacteria are potent chemical manufacturing machines, some are beneficial but many are very toxic and poison us with inflammatory promoting and brain poisoning substances. Throughout the history of medicine detoxification procedures including enemas, herb- al laxatives and fermented food diets have been employed to reduce this toxic load on the human system. Our modern SAD diet (standard American diet) is notorious for its lack of fiber, toxic fats and oils, preservatives, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, chemicals (pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, hormones, plastics, artificial colors and flavors), which all impact our intestinal flora, the microbiome.


Bowel cleansing to reduce the toxic load of bacteria goes back to the beginning of medical literature, from India, China and even the Dead Sea Scrolls feature bowel detox, enemas, herbs and fasting. Harvey Kellogg back in Battle Creek, Michigan at the turn of the last century was famous for offering colonics to his patients along with a high fiber, cereal diet. I was fascinated by the autointoxication theory of schizophrenia learned from Ayurvedic medicine1. In this medical philosophy disbalanced winds cause disturbed apna, energy that is supposed to bring out urine and stool but when abnormal flows up to the brain and causes psychosis. My ensuing research revealed that buildup of bacteria in the colon secreted toxic chemicals such as indoles, pyrroles and scatoles, which are psychoactive.

In 1973 I asked an Ayurvedic doctor what they pre- scribed for schizophrenia in India. He said just have the patient drink several liters of salt water and they would be better. At first I didn’t understand and then I realized that saline is a laxative/ purgative. During this time I was involved in drug research on schizophrenia at the Stanford Research Ward of the Palo Alto Veterans Administration Hospital. That began my studies into the bowel/mind connection in the early 1970s. Our clinic has been offering colon hydrotherapy since 1976. Colon hydrotherapy (colonics) uses sterile tubing and filtered water to gently irrigate the colon to remove, in some cases, pounds of old fecal material from the colon. The colon can become weakened by bad diet, lack of exercise, surgery, pregnancy and other damage. When the colon is in spasm, more toxins are released into the circulation and overload the liver. Pregnancy and other conditions cause the colon to have an abnormal shape. Colonics normalize the size and shape of the colon. Colon toxicity can also affect back pain as well as the liver and brain function.

When learning how to do colonics I studied with Marjorie Stevens, DC, whose office was above the corner of Haight and Ashbury in San Francisco. She had an x-ray machine and documented the improvement in the shape of the colon after six colonics using barium enemas. Colonics are an exercise for the colon to promote good peristalsis (movement of the colon) and reduce the toxic bacterial load. Our colon therapists also add coffee to detox the liver, ozone to kill candida, and fungus and excessive bacteria to stimulate the immune system, as well as probiotic good bacteria implanted directly into the colon.


As you may have often read in these pages, low thyroid function even in the face of normal or borderline thyroid blood tests causes constipation. Cold body temperatures, dry skin, hair loss, heavy periods, poor immune response to infection, fatigue, depression, weight gain and many more symptoms are related to this ubiquitous condition2. Our thyroids have been poisoned by fluoride, chlorine, bromine, cruciferous vegetables, egg whites, beans, soy products, radiation and hundreds of other toxins. Low thyroid functioning causes constipation and poor stomach acid production, which makes our absorption of minerals and proteins abnormally low. Supplementing thyroid hormones is a godsend to many chronically constipated and sick patients.


Vitamin C and magnesium (we like magnesium glycinate, which is muscle relaxing and great for sleep) are osmotic laxatives. They draw water into the bowel and flush the system. We all have scurvy (vitamin C deficiency) unless we supplement with vitamin C. Most species of animals make vitamin C in their livers and we don’t. A goat that weighs 150 pounds makes 14,000 mg of vitamin C every day and more when they are under stress. Magnesium, which has hundreds of marvelous uses to promote health, also regulates bowel movements. Vitamin C and magnesium are the best bowel regulating supplements.


When I studied with John Christopher, renowned herbalist, in 1975 his first treatment was Lower Bowel Combination containing cayenne, turkey rhubarb root, barberry bark, Lobelia, Cascara sagrada, red raspberry, ginger root, fennel and goldenseal root. He believed that all disease started in the colon and that it would take six to nine months of the Lower Bowel herbs for the average individual to clean out the fecal matter and rebuild the bowel structure sufficiently to have the peristaltic muscles work optimally.

The down side to herbs, which include senna pods, aloe vera, and many, many others, is that they may cause cramps, griping and dependence. Cathartic colon is a consequence of years of taking stimulant herbs and the inability to defecate without them. Short-term usage can bail one out from constipation but magnesium and vitamin C are gentler and help us out in the high desert where dehydration is a problem. Fiber from fruits and vegetables and supplements such as psyllium and probiotics, which promote healthy bowel flora, also assist our colon health.

Nurturing bowel health is one of the principle pillars of the immune system regulating inflammation, arthritis, heart disease, autoimmune diseases and mental health.

By Michael Gerber, MD, HMD

For more information, call Gerber Medical Clinic at 775-826-1900 or visit


  1. Harish Johari. Dhanwantari, Tantra Research Institute, 1974. Braun Brumfield Publisher Ann Arbor, Michigan.
  2. Textbook of Endocrinology Robert H. Williams, MD, editor, 1974 W.B. Saunders Company.