Cayenne Pepper and Lemon Cleanse

The lemon cayenne cleanse, also called the "master cleanse," the "cayenne pepper and lemon cleanse," or the "lemonade cleanse," is a short-term detox diet similar to a juice fast. The cleanse claims to loosen and eliminate congestion, and this is thought to detoxify your body and help you lose weight.

The lemon cayenne cleanse, also called the "master cleanse," the "cayenne pepper and lemon cleanse," or the "lemonade cleanse," is a short-term detox diet similar to a juice fast. (Image: sitriel/iStock/Getty Images)

Detoxify with Cayenne Pepper Lemonade?

Stanley Burroughs first promoted the cayenne pepper and lemon cleanse in 1940 as a cure for stomach ulcers. It was later more fully explained in his book "The Master Cleanser," first published in 1976.

Renewed interest in the lemonade cleanse came with Peter Glickman's book "Lose Weight, Have More Energy, and Be Happier in 10 Days," which was first published in 2004. Recording artist Beyonce Knowles popularized the diet in 2007 while using it to lose 20 pounds preparing for her role in the film "Dreamgirls."

According to "The Master Cleanser," alcohol, diet, drugs, and stress introduce toxins to your body which over time build up, prevent proper nutrient absorption, and become poisonous to the body. A November 2017 article in the Research Journal of Pharmacy and Technology noted that lemon juice helps remove toxins from the body, thereby allowing the body to increase its metabolism and lose weight.

However, registered dietitian Katherine Zeratsky of the Mayo Clinic says there is little evidence to support the notion that juice cleanses actually detox the body. The liver and kidneys are tasked with ridding the body of toxins, and in most cases, they are proficient at doing so.

The Lemon Cleanse Recipe

Capsaicin, a pepper extract, was reported in a June 2014 study in Appetite to increase feelings of fullness and to prevent overeating. In order to prepare your cayenne pepper lemonade, start by combining 2 tablespoons of organic lemon or lime juice with 2 tablespoons of grade B maple syrup, 1/10 tablespoon of organic cayenne pepper, and 8 ounces of purified water. For a 10-day period, drink 6 glasses to 12 glasses of the lemonade daily as your only food source.

To assist elimination, drink a laxative tea first thing in the morning and before you go to bed. If increased colon cleansing is desired, drink a salt water flush. This salt water flush, or salt water colon cleanse, can be made by combining 1 quart of warm, purified water with 2 tablespoons of non-iodized sea salt. The salt water flush should be consumed first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, before you drink the cayenne pepper lemonade or the laxative tea.

Lemonade Cleanse Side Effects

Check with your doctor before beginning the cayenne pepper and lemon cleanse, especially if you take long-term medications. There are a variety of side effects you should be aware of before starting this detoxing lemonade cleanse.

Harvard Medical School reports that the medical risks and side effects of detoxing include a lack of essential nutrients, dehydration, depletion of electrolytes, impaired bowel function and metabolic acidosis. Additionally, on the Mayo Clinic website, gastroenterologist Michael Picco, M.D. writes that most doctors don't recommend colon cleanses because "the digestive system and bowel naturally eliminate waste material and bacteria."

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) warns cleanses may not be safe and could lead to electrolyte imbalances. NCCIH also states you may experience headaches, fainting, weakness, dehydration and hunger pains while doing a cleanse. Though the potential weight loss promoted by the lemon cleanse may be tempting, such side effects may be enough for you to "just say no" to this cayenne pepper cleanse.

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