The Bowtrol Cleanse

What Should I Know About It?

What Is Bowtrol?

Bowtrol™ is a dietary supplement marketed as an herbal colon cleanser. It contains the following ingredients:

  • cascara sagrada
  • turkey rhubarb
  • bentonite clay
  • slippery elm
  • aloe
  • flax seeds
  • senna
  • wormseed
  • black seeds
  • peppermint
  • olive leaf extract
  • thyme oil powder
  • garlic
  • cloves

Claims for Bowtrol's Benefits

In alternative medicine, Bowtrol™ is purported to promote optimal colon health by cleansing your system of toxins.

The supposed benefits of this detox process include increased absorption of nutrients, improved concentration, weight loss, clearer skin, and better energy.

Bowtrol™'s manufacturers also claim that the supplement can help treat gastrointestinal problems like constipation, diarrhea, gas, and bloating.

Bowtrol as a Colon Cleanse

Although Bowtrol™ has not been scientifically studied for its health effects, a number of its ingredients have shown certain benefits in clinical research. However, since Bowtrol™ does not disclose the dosage of any individual ingredients, it's impossible to determine each ingredient's efficacy (or safety) as it's used in the supplement.

Here's a look at several of the herb ingredients found in Bowtrol™:

1) Cascara Sagrada

With a long history of traditional use by Native Americans, cascara sagrada may act as an herbal laxative. The herb contains anthraquinones, which are compounds that trigger contractions in the colon and, in turn, promote movement of the bowels.

2) Senna

Also rich in anthraquinones, senna offers laxative effects and is often included herbal detox remedies.

3) Flax Seeds

High in soluble fiber, flax seeds have been shown to serve as a natural laxative.

4) Peppermint

Animal-based research suggests that consuming peppermint oil may stimulate the flow of bile.

Bowtrol™'s manufacturers claim that this increased bile flow helps to calm the digestive system.

5) Garlic

Bowtrol™'s manufacturers suggest that garlic helps boost the immune system. Indeed, a 2009 report indicates that the herb stimulates the proliferation of a number of cells involved in immune defense.


There are a number of safety concerns associated with Bowtrol™'s ingredients. Some precautions to consider:

  • Anthraquinone-containing herbs should be avoided by people with diverticular disease, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, severe hemorrhoids, blood vessel disease, congestive heart failure, heart disease, severe anemia, abdominal hernia, gastrointestinal cancer, recent colon surgery, liver disease, or kidney disease.
  • A number of the herbs found in Bowtrol™ may interact with (or interfere with the absorption of) certain medications.
  • Neither senna nor cascara sagrada should be taken for longer than seven days (except under the supervision of a health professional).
  • Keep in mind that supplements haven't been tested for safety and dietary supplements are largely unregulated. In some cases, the product may deliver doses that differ from the specified amount for each herb. In other cases, the product may be contaminated with other substances such as metals. While consumers face such risks when purchasing any dietary supplement, these risks may be of greater magnitude in the purchase of products containing a variety of herbs in varying doses.

  • Also, the safety of supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established. You can get further tips on using supplements here.

Keeping Your Colon Healthy

Due to the lack of supporting research, it's too soon to recommend Bowtrol™ as a treatment for any condition. If you're considering trying it, make sure to talk with your doctor first. Self-treating and avoiding or delaying standard care can have serious consequences.

You can also take these steps to keep your colon healthy in the everyday:

  • Reduce your consumption of red meat
  • Follow a fiber-rich diet (including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds)
  • Limit your alcohol consumption
  • Exercise regularly


Butt MS, Sultan MT, Butt MS, Iqbal J. "Garlic: nature's protection against physiological threats." Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition 2009 49(6):538-51.

Nadir A, Reddy D, Van Thiel DH. Cascara sagrada-induced intrahepatic cholestasis causing portal hypertension: case report and review of herbal hepatotoxicity. Am J Gastroenterol. 2000 Dec;95(12):3634-7.

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. "Flaxseed and Flaxseed Oil." NCCAM Publication No. D313
 May 2006.

Vanderperren B, Rizzo M, Angenot L, Haufroid V, Jadoul M, Hantson P. Acute liver failure with renal impairment related to the abuse of senna anthraquinone glycosides. Ann Pharmacother. 2005 Jul-Aug;39(7-8):1353-7.

Vo LT, Chan D, King RG. "Investigation of the effects of peppermint oil and valerian on rat liver and cultured human liver cells." Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology 2003 30(10):799-804.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

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