Master Cleanse Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve heard of the Master Cleanse, Lemonade Diet, Master Cleanse Diet, Maple Syrup Diet, Lemonade Cleanse, Lemon Diet, Lemon Cleanse, and Lemonade Master Cleanse. Are they all the same?

Yes. Stanley Burroughs developed the Master Cleanse in the 1940′s. He published The Master Cleanser in 1976. In that book, he referred to it as The Master Cleanser and as The Lemonade Diet. There is also a letter in that book from a man praising the Master Cleanse.

In 2003, I put up a website calling it the Master Cleanse. In 2004, I wrote the first new book about it in nearly 30 years and referred to it as the Master Cleanse. As interest grew, people began to refer to it primarily as the Master Cleanse, although the other names are still in use less frequently. They are all the same detoxification diet.

Have you changed the Master Cleanse in any way?

No. The only change I’ve made is to recommend people take 1 box or bottle of probiotics after they return to a normal diet. This was after a great deal of research and three experiments on myself. I noticed that any cravings I had for “bad” food after the cleanse disappeared when I took the probiotics. I believe this was due to flushing the “good” bacteria out along with the old waste during the cleanse.

I have been wanting to go on this for a while, but I’m concerned about being older (61) and whether it will cause me any problems with my health. It’s good now, except I have no energy, know I need to cleanse my body and need to lose some weight. Have there been any problems for older people?

As of October 2007, I was 61 years old and had done it 18 times from 10 to 28 days. It’s wonderful and rather than aggravate problems, seemed to handle most of them. Most people are not hungry nor do they feel tired, except when they’re having a detox day and then it seems to pass after a day or two.

What’s the connection between the raw food diet and the Master Cleanse?

Craving your favorite cooked food is one of the symptoms of detoxification. It’s also the number one barrier to going on a predominantly raw food diet. That’s why I recommend people who can, do the Master Cleanse first. It will result in far less cravings.

One person I spoke to had done the Master Cleanse once a year for three years. After the first one, he stopped eating chicken. After the second one, he started buying organic food and eating more raw. After the third, he began eating 100% raw fruits, nuts, seeds and vegetables.

I drank the laxative tea in the evening and the quart of salt water in the morning, but didn’t have any bowel movements. What can I do?

This occasionally happens, usually to people who have been eating predominantly meat & cheese and very few vegetables. It generally occurs on the first or second mornings. If possible, drink a cup of laxative tea that morning one half hour later. Don’t worry. You just need to adjust the amount of salt in the salt water. Try increasing the amount of salt in the water. After getting the correct amount of salt for your body, I don’t know of anyone who did not have SEVERAL urgent bowel movements the next morning.

Last week, the lemon-maple syrup fast was recommended to me during an Ayurvedic (East Indian medicine, perhaps the oldest known system of medicine) consultation. I have one issue, in addition to fear of the unknown: too much citric acid makes me break out in terrible canker sores. Do you have any suggestions for working around such tendencies, or should I simply stop the fast when I break out and then deal with the pain?

Stanley Burroughs, in his book the Master Cleanser, does not mention any difference for those with canker sores. Perhaps, it’s because the citric acid is so diluted ( 6 to 1). Perhaps, it’s because allergies are the result of toxins in the body and that after detoxifying the allergies go, too. Either way, I believe that if you closely follow the instructions as given in the book, you will do fine.

The Master Cleanse has two major thrusts: detoxification and elimination. The lemonade drink and the lack of solid food encourages the body to detoxify — to physically loosen the toxins. The laxative tea and internal salt water bathing mechanically push and wash the loosened toxins out of the body. Since you know you are especially sensitive to canker sores from citrus acid, I would start off by doing only the minimum number of glasses of lemonade per day (6) in the beginning. In addition, it will be essential for you to maintain the daily elimination steps of laxative tea at night and salt water flush in the morning. Then if some canker sores formed, I would attempt to persevere in spite of them because I think they will be only temporary.

I recently had a baby and gained quite a bit of weight. Prior to my pregnancy I had put on some excess weight on a previously well fit and toned body. Needless to say I feel sluggish. I am done breastfeeding and would like to lose weight and rejuvenate myself. My cousin did the cleanse and looks and feels great. He was in much better shape that I was when starting. Is it okay to do this cleanse regardless of your physical fitness at the start? My cousin first did 50 or so days of veggie and fruit juice and then did 10 days of the “lemonade” drink. Is this a better way for me to go? Also, should I add in exercise? Any suggestions would be wonderful as I am anxious to feel like myself again.

I know of no reason being in poor physical shape should be any problem. If you’re speaking about someone who has some debilitating illness, that’s another matter. In fact, being in poor shape is a great reason to do the cleanse.

Raw food and juicing is a a very healthy diet. It will improve your energy and help you to lose weight. My experience and that of a friend has been that it is much easier to switch to a raw food and juice diet after the cleanse than to try to stay on such a diet before the cleanse.

I have observed that cravings for junk food are one of the symptoms of detoxifying from the residue of that junk food. Consequently, after you have done the cleanse and have gotten rid of the residue it will be much, much easier to choose to eat healthy foods rather than denatured, adulterated, cooked, preserved, and hormone fed food, which is sadly what most people crave and is promoted to them daily on TV commercials.

I personally experienced such a new wealth of energy that I wanted to exercise. You’ll have no shortage of energy doing this cleanse. A good friend in Georgia did the cleanse and was running almost five miles a day and riding his bicycle two miles. You’ll only be tired on detox days. That is the second symptom of detoxification. The tiredness only lasted one day each time for me. It was over the next morning after the salt water flush.

Can I use something else besides maple syrup?

If you are in a part of the world where fresh squeezed sugar cane juice is available, you can substitute it for the water and maple syrup in the recipe. Also, Burroughs recommends the substitution of molasses for maple syrup for diabetics as covered in his book, Healing for the Age of Enlightenment.

I know of one person who was trying to maintain a 100% raw diet and used the water from soaking dates as a sweetener. It was not as effective in sweetening nor did it provide as many minerals.

I know another person who tried honey. She reported that she actually gained weight and quit after only three or four days.