Lungs and colon developed together, in concert with three other body tissues: skin, lymph and mucous membranes. These five are truly a single system that allowed life's liberation from the ancient waters. These five tissues are different facets of a unified organic system that empowered life's giant leap forward and upward out of its watery womb. They developed together, and sustain an ongoing unity of complementary function.
When animals emerged from the ocean to live on land, they obviously needed to lungs to breathe the air—to take oxygen into their blood, and exhale carbon dioxide wastes of cellular metabolism. Like the liver, lungs function to charge the blood that nourishes all other body cells.
Animals also needed a colon to remove excess water from digestive wastes, and thus retain and conserve internal body fluids. This critical function is made obvious to realize that in infants the shortest route to dangerous dehydration is diarrhea, when the colon not only fails to remove water, but flushes itself with an excess of precious plasma.
Skin was needed to enclose the body, retain fluids, prevent dehydration, and shield the body from stronger solar radiation, especially ultraviolet. Skin also insulates to conserve heat, or, oppositely, sweats to discharge excess heat.
When animals left the ocean, they still needed to carry water with them—as internal baggage, not external environment. Over 70% of the body is water, and the greatest portion of those waters is the lymph system. All the internal organs are floating in a sea of fluid. So the skin converted the body into a portable bag of water, and the lymph system is this internal ocean.
Last are mucous membranes, which are really specialized areas of skin—internal surfaces that are folded inward, instead of exposed to the outer air. The mucous membranes' main purpose is to moisten and lubricate the body's inner surfaces. They line the respiratory tract—nostrils, sinuses, trachea, bronchia, and lungs—and the digestive system. In women, they also line the vaginal tract. The largest mucous membrane is the colon's inner lining.
Further, without water to provide buoyancy, animals on land had to struggle to move against the greater weight. So, sinovial tissue also lines skeletal joints—including between vertebrae—to pad and lubricate joints against the greater force of gravity outside the ocean.
These five elements of animal anatomy form a unified organic system that is mutually supportive in function. They interact with each other in orderly ways, and if we understand their unity of function, we can better understand many mysteries of sickness and dysfunction that plague the body—from simple colds, diarrhea and acne, to advanced degeneration like cancer, multiple sclerosis and asthma.
Our Inner Ocean
So, like Earth with her oceans, your body is 75 percent water. Just as we begin life in the uterine waters, in the ancient evolutionary past life, lived only in the ocean, constantly bathed in water. Animals developed a membrane to enclose their bodies, isolating their inner world from the salty ocean outside. Kidneys formed to regulate the exchange of ions and electrolytes between these now separate inner and outer realms.
But at one point, living organisms left this ocean womb and began to live in the dry air on solid ground. To take this giant evolutionary step, animals had to develop a special membrane to enclose their bodies which could hold water in and prevent dehydration. And once out of water, land animals also needed protection from intensified solar radiation such as ultraviolet light. This membrane is our skin.
So, we still carry an ocean within us as we walk about on dry land. Of these waters, 90 percent form the lymph system, while intracellular, pericardial, blood, cerebral and spinal fluids account for the rest. Every organ, gland and tissue (except skin) float in this inner sea. This lymph fluid contains salts, electrolytes and nutrients, and is in constant slow circulation throughout your body.
Lymph keeps our inner world wet and clean. It actually washes and bathes the entire insides of your body. Lymph fluid comes from our bloodstream— tiny capillaries between arteries and veins let some of the water in blood leak out, while blood cells pass through from artery to vein. These leaking capillaries are the springs which feed the rivers of lymph inside.
The lymph system is a network of vessels, ducts and glands to collect and circulate this water. These springs, streams and rivers of lymph fluid flow into our lower abdomen. Thus, the intestines are your lymphatic ocean, and your navel is the center of this inner sea. Lymph nodes are the ponds and lakes where our inner lymph fluids pool for a moment on their way to the ocean.
However, to survive in dry air requires more than a skin. So, at this same time, animals evolved two new organs: lungs to breathe air, and colon to remove solid wastes. In the sea, animals simply flush their wastes into thewater, but it's not so easy for land animals. Life in dry air requires that animals develop a sewage treatment system to eliminate waste while conserving precious body fluids. One quick route to dehydration is diarrhea.
Another part of this system is a special skin designed to moisten and lubricate certain surfaces of our body. Without water to support them, land animals' skeletons had to bear up against the full weight of gravity. So special membranes developed to pad and lubricate bony joints. Inner
surfaces such as respiratory passages, intestines and vagina are also lined with this special moisturizing tissue. These are mucous membranes, which secrete a thick slippery substance.
These five parts—lymph, skin, lungs, colon, and mucous membranes -developed together in evolution and work closely as one system. Distress in any one part will cause reactions by the partners in this system. For example, skin problems such as eczema, hives, acne, and dandruff indicate lymph system trouble. In a pinch, our skin aids our colon to excrete waste from the body. Thus, most sinus headaches have their root in the colon's mucous membranes.
To Everything There Is a Season
Our inner ocean is subject to the same influences as the outer planetary seas. The sun and moon are the two greatest forces affecting the Earth's oceans. Similarly, the activity of our mucous membranes occurs in natural daily, monthly and seasonal cycles.
In the fall, when the weather turns cold, the body adjusts to the onset ofwinter. Colon and kidneys become more active, and mucous collected during warm months is expelled. If the colon is unable to handle an inordinate excess, the respiratory membranes will lend a hand. Cold and flu season from September to December are months of intensified mucous discharge. Spring cleaning marks a similar discharge which occurs in April to June.
Our lymphatic ocean is also subject to lunar influences. Even as tides sweep the planet's seas, so our lymph system has a 24 hour cycle of ebb andflow. More significant is the 28 day cycle of high tides at full and new moons. Menstruation is the perfectly natural expression of this lunar cycle in which mucous and blood are yin and yang. Women release blood at one end of this cycle; 14 days later, at ovulation, a strong flow of mucous is released.
Oriental science says both men and women have lunar cycles. Men do not menstruate, but both sexes secrete mucous. Asthma patients can expect symptoms to intensify at the full moon. Patients with environmental illness and mucous problems should be aware of these natural seasonal discharges. The goal is to take advantage of this natural cleansing, not suppress it.
Colon, kidneys and lungs share a common mission: they are partners in grime. They each specialize in removing unwanted solids, liquids and gases from the body. Our lungs expel gaseous waste, mostly carbon dioxide, from our blood. Kidneys filter fluid wastes from your blood, mostly minerals andproteins. The colon removes solid waste, mostly fats and sugars, from your lymphatic ocean. If these organs become weak, then waste from metabolism begins to pile up inside, and we become toxic, threatening our health.
Every cell in your body produces waste. Like modern industrial factories, our cells dump their metabolic by-products into the rivers and streams of our lymph system. Cellular debris from every part of the body washes into the ocean in your lower abdomen. There, the colon, whose outer surface is covered with lymph glands, collects these wastes and passes them out through your bowels. The lymph system is the physiological analog to a city Sanitation Dept. that picks up trash and hauls it to a landfill.
The colon is your landfill. This 6 foot long, hollow tube begins in the abdomen's lower right corner, tucked in the pelvic hollow. Here, it connects with the small intestine at the ilio-cecal valve; the appendix is also here. From there it rises up to attach under the liver. It then droops across the body above the navel to a second attachment under the spleen. Then it hangs down the left side of the pelvic hollow to attach to the anus.
Thus the colon forms a ring around the small intestine, the center of your lymphatic ocean. Its purpose is to keep your ocean clean. The colon's inner lining is a thin mucous membrane, which is actually the largest single mucous membrane in your body, and so exerts a controlling influence over all mucous membranes. It synthesizes mucous from waste collected by the colon's lymph glands, and secretes it into your bowels.
Sinus headaches are caused by swollen, irritated mucous membranes and are treated by relieving the colon. Massage of the colon meridian across the top of the shoulders will help.
Thus, the colon has two functions. Most of us know it passes food digested in the small intestine out of the body. But also, the colon's inner lining secretes mucous out of the lymph system. In inglorious terms, the colon changes mucous to offal. This latter function is unknown to most people, yet causes much common sickness and is a precursor of many diseases.
Mucous: A Solid Waste
Mucous is a common term for the wet, sticky, slippery ooze secreted from the lymph system. Everyone has it, but few know what it is, or why they have it. Not even doctors seem to know.
Mucous is synthesized from the sugars, fats and proteins floating in our lymph fluids. A certain amount is needed to lubricate and moisten our body's inner surfaces. But often there is too much, or it's an inferior quality, so it becomes waste.
Like carbon dioxide in our modern "greenhouse effect" atmosphere, excess and poor quality mucous is a primary cause of "environmental" disease and allergy. Sometimes our grime fighters are too weak to do an effective job. But more often we produce too much by eating improperly. Often digestion puts "stuff" in our blood and lymph which our cells have no use for."Garbage in, garbage out" is as true for cell metabolism as for dataprocessing.
The result is an extremely inordinate amount of "sticky stuff" trying to leave the body. Accumulated waste in the lymph system causes abnormal mucous discharges. Among the sicknesses this causes are colds, sore throats, ear infection, hayfever, rhinitis, flu, pneumonia, constipation, sinus headache, acne, arthritis, bronchitis, asthma, to name only a few. Mucous also accumulates in the joints, producing swelling, aches and arthritis. These problems afflict many people today, yet few understand what all this mucous is about.
When our lymph system can't keep up with debris dumped by our cells, waste begins to pile up. Like Boston Harbor festering in effluent, our lymphatic ocean becomes sullied with thick, sticky mucous. At the very least, mucous is excess baggage—"weight"—we haul about.
Years ago, I worked with emotionally disturbed kids. I remember them getting on the bus in winter with thick "snot" dripping from their noses. Back then, I didn't connect emotional disturbance or learning disorder with toxic waste in the lymphatic ocean, or poor diet and nutrition.
When lymph fluids become thick, lymph glands swell as extra landfill sites are set up inside the body. Lymph vessels become narrowed and blocked by sticky, heavy gobs of stagnant waste, and lymph circulation becomes sluggish. As our cells begin to suffocate and drown in jelly-like junk, lung and nasal membranes go on overtime to remove the excess. The liver attempts to incinerate our excess bodily trash, producing fevers. The spleen creates cysts to store these toxic wastes.
Three things cause excess mucous:
- poor quality, poorly digested, poorly metabolized food,
- poor bowel function, especially mucous secretion, and
- mucous too thick and too sticky to wash cleanly through lymph vessels.
As conditions worsen, often there's damage to the colon's mucous membranes.
At first, they become swollen and congested with thick mucous deposits. They can corrode from acid drainage and harsh chemicals in poorly digested food. Fortunately, mucous membrane is part of your skin and, like skin, can regenerate and grow back.
The colon can swell and stretch, weakening its delicate membrane lining. Many people suffer chronic swollen colon. Bloated colon is painful, and often mislabeled "stomachache." Hemorrhoids are a sign the colon is overloaded by fatty, oily debris. Diverticulosis is an advanced stage of steady colon deterioration.
As mucous accumulates around the small intestine, it interferes with digestion and assimilation in the gut, and causes much simple food allergy. The small intestine's complementary relationship to the brain means congestion in the gut can appear as mental confusion and emotional disorder. A side effect of the common cold is fuzzy, foggy thinking.
Immune System Breakdown
As pollution congests the lymph system, the respiratory system becomes a secondary landfill site to excrete the waste. Mucous membranes in our lungs, throat and sinuses disgorge the excess. Post nasal drip is a first sign of this abnormal function. Colds and sore throats are warnings the problem has become acute. Asthma, bronchitis and emphysema are "last ditch" efforts to dump our junk.
Mucous can pile up in the abdomen's midsection to congest the liver, spleen and kidneys, trapping and choking them in sticky, stagnant waste. These organs are our Defense Dept. to regulate our blood quality. A common cold is an early warning our body is filling with waste—one few people heed. When toxic wastes attack organs, there is disorder and often disease. Once the blood controlling organs are invaded and "laid waste," blood abnormalities appear, and disease is now deeply rooted.
Once blood chemistry is disturbed, the immune system becomes weak and reactive, and every part of the body is affected. Alien cells roam our bloodstream, causing confusion and alarm. Cells become activists, posting "NIMBY" signs at membrane doors. Instead of recognizing the common
sensecause of the common cold, medical science makes viruses, bacteria and molds into the villains. Reckless, careless eating is our real enemy.
The hollow space inside our colon is a dark and damp world, densely populated with microbial life. We normally carry three pounds of microorganisms in our gut. Our intestinal microlife is as natural as the primitive cells in the ancient planetary ocean. They are essential for proper digestion of food; they are the "soil" out of which our intestinal "roots" absorb nutrients from the liquid stream of food flowing through your gut.
But excess mucous encourages parasites to live and thrive in our colon and lymphatic ocean. They feed on the rich rubbish of sugars, fats and proteins piling up in your landfill. Candida yeast proliferate as they gorge on the litter of excess sugars. Bacteria and viruses chow down on trash proteins.
Certain forms of cancer cells spread by feeding on the garbage fats clogging our inner waterways. Similarly, dust, hair, pollen and other allergens are not our enemy. Rather, they trigger needed discharges of the mucous despoiling and choking our inner ocean.
Medicine prescribes antibiotics to kill off bacterial infections, but the real solution is remove the food for such parasites. In truth, antibiotics actually add to the imbalance by wiping out friendly, essential microlife, upsetting our microbial equilibrium and overwhelming our immune system.
If we pile household garbage on our back porch, it's inevitable we'll be plagued by flies, rats, ants, cockroaches, and skunks no matter how many pesticides we spray in our kitchen.
Until strong secretion of mucous through the colon membrane is restored, and colon function is normal, the lymph ocean remains fouled, unable to disgorge trapped, toxic effluents.
Number one among modern foods which create excess mucous are dairy foods. They consist of hard to digest proteins and fats, with little carbohydrate and no fiber. Probably no other food causes as much allergy and immune system disorder as cow's milk. A simple cure for post nasal drip is to avoid milk. Colon troubles, beginning with bloat and on to colitis and Crohn's Disease, all have milk as their common cause. Ear infections are a sure sign of milk "allergy."
Milk is a serious health issue today, especially for non-whites. According to medical studies, lactose intolerance (inability to digest milk sugar) is95% in Orientals, among native Americans 90%, and 80% in blacks. Even among whites, lactose intolerance runs 40 to 60%, depending on ethnic background. To put it simply, milk is mucous.
But the most serious milk problem isn't sugar or fat, but protein. Cow's milk proteins are extremely large, dense molecules which human metabolism finds nearly impossible to break down. Since it's difficult to digest or metabolize these proteins, they become waste. And, as protein, they easily become toxic waste. Problems engendered by milk's abnormal proteins are barely recognized by modern medicine and nutrition.
Our body is made of protein. Dairy's protein-rich mucous presents special problems to our lymph and immune systems, especially when we force our body to rely on milk as our primary source of protein. Milk's abnormal proteins are sticky (much like powdered milk), and readily become allergens. Most bedwetting is triggered by the kidney-bladder reaction to dump acidic cow milk protein. The simple truth is cow's milk is for baby cows; it's unnatural for humans, especially adults.
A single chemical with a three letter name causes more disease than all others combined. Not PCB, DDT, or CFC, but FAT, and its lightweight relative OIL. Number two are fatty, greasy foods, including every kind of hard fat: butter, margarine, shortening, lard, eggs, red meats, fried foods. Colon, breast and prostate cancer are three of several medically linked to excess fat. Even nuts and nut butters add to lymphatic litter, since an oil slick burdens our body's lymph and colon. Hard fats like hydrogenated peanut butter on white bread with jelly is ideal mucous forming food. However, natural peanut butter on whole wheat bread with "natural" preserves is only slightly better.
Third are sugary foods, including refined sugars and so-called "natural" sugars. Being concentrated, they're easily eaten in excess, and convert to extra thick, sticky mucous to feed parasites like Candida.
Refined sugars lack the minerals, vitamins and amino acids needed for cell metabolism, so they easily become junk in our gut and blood to be landfilled in lymph vessels.
Fourth are refined flour products, especially when baked dry with sugar and fats. Nutrients in super-refined flour are oxidized, bleached, stale, and indigestible. With all their fiber milled away, they provide no roughage to stimulate normal colon elimination. Stale flours quickly become cellular throwaways. Even whole grain flours are inferior foods, since the long cellulose fibers are shredded, and the stale nutrients are baked dry.
Fifth are classic "junk" foods, such as pizza, chips, dips, ice cream, cakes, cookies, and donuts. They're so refined they contain virtually no cell structure, are pure mucous, and provide little nourishment except their value as entertainment. These "plastic" foods are virtually indigestible, intentionally unbalanced and often toxic. Even overeating good, wholesome foods can produce excess mucous. And eating late at night is mucous forming, since our digestive and metabolic activities slow or stop during slumber, so late night snacks easily become mucous.
Natural, wholistic healing supports and nourishes natural wholeness inherent in the organism. Not by taking sides in battles against microbes and chemicals for a "cure," but by providing care. If we correct the underlying imbalance, the organism can return to healthy balance. We restore order to the biological world within, rather than treat symptoms and manipulate the external environment. If we establish harmony to our world within, "allergy" to the world without, and "demonic" microbes assume normal, natural proportions. Our medicine is simply the way we live.
The pollution solution is to clean house, and to care for the colon to help it begin rapid removal of congested wastes afflicting the lymph system and other affected organs. Like the CO2 in our greenhouse atmosphere, disease is as incurable or untreatable as our reckless indulgence in creating the noxious pollution of our body.
Cleansing the lymph system with macrobiotics can take as little as six months. However, most require two or three years, depending on extent of congestion, thickness of mucous, degree of colon weakness or damage, and the acuteness of toxicity. Once the colon is restored and the lymph system clean, other organs can become strong and healthy again.
Your bowels should move once a day. Before you flush, stop to study your stool. It should be large, well formed and medium brown. Dark color and strong odor are signs of poor digestion and improper food intake. Your stool should float—sinking indicates excess fats and animal proteins.
GO AND YIN NO MORE:
Like our modern solid waste crisis, the basic cure is trash reduction; recycling alone won't cure our ills. Mucous forming foods should be minimized, if not avoided. Milk and dairy should be avoided completely until our ocean is clean and colon strong. Fats should be avoided. Refined sugars should be avoided, although small amounts of natural sugars may be consumed.
'TIS A GIFT TO BE SIMPLE:
Rely on whole grains, vegetables, beans, seeds, and fish. Foods, cooking and food combinations should be kept simple for easy digestion. Less is better, including less oil, less protein, less sugar, less salt. When the digestive system is weak, it's wise to eat simple meals with basic cooking methods. Fresh is best: fresh food, fresh cooked.
SCRUB AND SCOUR:
The basic ingredient in a healthy diet to clean the lymph system and colon is fiber. Even medical science agrees that adequate dietary fiber lowers blood fats and cholesterol, but not why. This is because fiber provides the bulk to scour the intestines, and scrub out mucous and waste trapped inside. Fiber provides the soft bulk to assure good, daily bowel movements. Fiber also provides bulk to massage and stimulate the mucous membrane lining the intestine. The best quality fiber comes from whole, unprocessed cereal grains such as brown rice, barley, millet, oats, etc. Wheat bran is often too coarse and brittle, and actually scratches and irritates the inside mucous lining of the intestines. Second best quality is from fibrous, alkaline vegetables. Metamucil, psyllium seed husks and other pharmaceutical fibers can also be helpful.
Not just the inside needs scrubbing. Often mucous is discharged directly through the skin, where it clogs up our pores. Regular baths and vigorous skin scrubbing with a coarse cloth, loofa sponge or stiff brush strips tacky secretions off your skin, and breaks up congestion under the skin and in your capillaries.
Some gasoline companies promote the detergent action o their fuel to clean carbon deposits on pistons and valves. Similarly, certain foods loosen and dissolve mucous stuck in the colon and lymph system. Queen of the mucous looseners is the onion family. They not only dissolves mucous, but increases secretion of mucous membranes. Even as the pungent fumes from fresh cut, raw onion cause teary eyes and runny nose, so eating onions, leeks and scallions encourages internal mucous dissolution and secretion. King of the mucous dissolvers is daikon radish. It can be used raw, cooked or dried, and has a different benefit in each form. Also effective are turnips, leafy greens, cabbage, miso, garlic, oat straw and bran, and plantain. Among grains, barley and wild barley (Job's Tears or hato mugi) help dissolve animals fat and protein. Consume these foods regularly.
FERTILIZE YOUR FLUIDS:
Since the lymph is our internal ocean, sea vegetables have what it takes to impart strength to lymphatic fluids. Kombu is especially effective—it provides a special mucous to lubricate intestines and lymph vessels. Soup with kombu, onions, and daikon should be a daily replenishment for your lymphatic water. Fresh ginger root also helps to dilate blood and lymph vessels to increase internal circulation.
Replace harsh, chlorinated tap water with spring or well water to restore equilibrium to your inner fluids.
WE CAN WORK IT OUT:
If stagnation is the problem, activity is the obvious antidote. Don't wallow in waste—exercise is essential. At the center of our blood system, the heart steadily pumps fluid around. Lymph has no single organ to pump fluid through its vessels. Instead we rely on contraction of all our muscles to pump lymph fluid through our tissues. Regular daily exercise is necessary to stimulate the lymph circulation and pump mucous through it. Simple walking and deep abdominal breathing are basic forms of exercise, but vigorous exercise like aerobics, swimming, dancing, running, tennis, racketball, basketball provide better flushing action. Vigorous exercise contracts our abdomen, sending great waves across our lymphatic ocean.
A simple yet very effective practice are hot compresses. They cause blood and lymph vessels to expand, and soften and loosen mucous. This breaks up thick congestion and flushes mucous out of tissues. These are more effective if fresh ginger is added. Apply them for 30 minutes once a week at night before bed.
After a compress, massage the abdomen. Press deep and rub in small circles to break up mucous around intestines and encourage lymph fluid circulation. Begin at the abdomen's lower right corner and work slowly up, across and down in a large clockwise circle—the path food travels through your colon.
Enemas and colonics may be necessary when there is difficult and persistent constipation, but only for extreme or emergency conditions. It's better to use careful diet and hot compresses rather than flood the entire colon with water.