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Cleansing: A Review

Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on January 26, 2010 by Paulina Nelega, RH

Dear Readers,

Praise be, I have finished my cleanse! I am no longer Candida over-grown! Hurrah!
That was the good news – and now for the not so good. Along with a “candida-busting” kit, I also kept strictly to an anti-candida diet. The kit I chose was loaded with yeast-killing ingredients, and lots of them – I think it worked. But I think it also wreaked havoc with my hormones, and this month I have had the worst PMS of all time!
In the past, I have attempted an anti-candida diet each time I’ve felt too yeasty. Using the basic yeast-free principles, I have avoided fruit, dairy and sugar, as well as vinegars, prepared sauces and processed foods. Though I have to be diligent for a few weeks, my yeast balance usually normalizes after that time. Easy-peasy. I have, though, a few times in my life been so yeasty that I’ve needed to undergo a total cleanse!
Typically during a yeast-cleanse when one experiences “die-off” – or gas released when the yeast is killed – it can be almost debilitating. Symptoms can be worse than the symptoms giving reason for a cleanse, and can cause people to abandon a cleanse entirely. Because of this, it is often recommended that a gentle approach be taken, to avoid as much die-off as possible. Slow and gentle may take longer (and means a longer time on a candida-free diet – no chocolate! Sob! ), but with no die-off the candidiasis symptoms just subside until they are gone. Having experienced this last cleanse, next time I will take the slow and steady approach!
The first two times I experienced yeast overgrowth my symptoms were heinous: huge, eczema-like rashes, hives, and allergic reactions. I used the Innovite Yeast Buster kit: simple, gentle, and effective. Coupled with the diet, I stayed with the program for 6 weeks and was so healthy afterwards! I experienced NO die-off, and I felt amazing. I only needed 8 hours of sleep (vs my 9 1/2 hours these days), I had incredible energy, and my skin was practically translucent.
This last time my symptoms were WAY less: I experienced gastro-intestinal upset and a little rashiness on my hands, but it was nothing compared to my previous episodes. And so, I thought my yeast levels weren’t as high. Because of this, I went for a more radical kit, one that combined a multitude of yeast killers:
Ingredients CandiGONE I (Morning Internal Body Cleanse) Supplement Facts: Uva Ursi (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi *20% arbutin) 300 mg ** Garlic Bulb (Allium sativum *2000 ppm allicin) 150 mg ** Magnesium Caprylate (Caprylic Acid) 75 mg ** Citricidal Extract (Grapefruit Seed & Rind ) 75 mg ** Pau D’Arco Root Bark (4:1 Extract) 75mg ** Calcium Undecylenate (Undecylenic Acid) 75 mg ** Barberry Root (Berberis vulgaris * 6% alkaloids) 50 mg ** Neem Leaf (Azadirachta indica) 5:1 extract 50 mg ** Olive Leaf (Olea europa 18% oleuropein) 50 mg ** Berberine Sulphate 25 mg ** ** Daily Value not established Other Ingredients: Vegetable capsules (vegetable fiber and water).
CandiGONE II (Evening Cleanse) Supplement Facts: Oregano Leaf (Origanum vulgare) 39.6 mg * Orange Peel (Citrus sinensis) 33 mg * Oregon Grape Root (Mahonia auquifolium) 33 mg * Pau D’Arco Root Bark (Tabebuia heptaphylla) 33 mg * Cinnamon Bark (Cinnamomum casia) 20 mg * Clove Bud (Syzgium aromaticum) 20 mg * Peppermint Leaf (Mentha piperita) 20 mg * * Daily value not established Other Ingredients: Filtered water & Ethyl alcohol. Herb extract at a ratio of 1 gm of herb to 5 ml of water and alcohol.
Percent Alcohol: 45-55%
I was advised by the packaging to take treatment 2 times per day, for 15 days. This will be simple and fast, thought I. Forget 6 weeks! I’ll be candidiasis-free in days! And so I undertook a diet of fresh veggies and proteins, with a little brown rice for extra fiber. And I used the cleansing kit. Easy, right? WRONG.
If you noticed my few updates during my cleanse you may have noticed that I was not a happy camper. I experienced die-off in the most incredible ways: migraines, bloating (I looked 6 months pregnant, no kidding), constipation, and rashing. My partner (who gamely did the cleanse along side of me) experienced the same responses to the kit – and this was not coincidence. We both wanted to rip our own skin off, and occassionally even tore a shred off of one another. We chalked it up to the intensity of the cleanse – until the 15 days were up. And we were both still messes.
I can’t speak for my man (although I did last week, when he was PMS-ing), but I can say that for the first time in years I had the worst PMS ever. I may have been experiencing die-off, but even a few days after stopping the herbs I was still suffering terribly. I was anxious, tense, and had gained 5 pounds in 3 days. I broke out into acne that had troubled my only in my teens. I had night sweats. OMG, I had PMS!
My discomfort may have been due to the herbal formulation, with such powerful herbs being taken twice per day. The manufacturer suggested taking 20 herbal drops and 2 capsules morning and night for 15 days. We did this. I wish I had done a google review, where I would have found this review HERE advising a different dosage. Not sure where this site got those directions, but they might have helped reduce my reactions. I believe that these herbs pushed me into an imbalanced hormonal state, and my partner too.
So to summarize: if you want to cleanse, go the slow, gentle route! Mild discomfort is normal, since when we remove a food from our diets we often crave it. But cravings aside, no one should have to endure intense side-effects like my partner and I did.
If you have any questions about a particular cleanse or you want to know more about the kit I tried, send your questions my way! I may not answer right away, as I may be thigh-high in chocolate. But I promise to answer within 24 hours.
Still grumpy, Sage
Photo Credit: darkpatator
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Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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