Cleanse Envy: A Newbie’s Foray into Herbal Detox


I admit, I decided to try this detox program because I had model envy and holiday guilt. After a Thanksgiving feast, a Christmas hot pot, and a New Year’s drinking binge, my body was sending all sorts of messages. I assumed detoxing was the same thing as cleansing, I was wrong.

Cleansing products often consist of abusing certain pills, herbal or not, to rid one’s GI tract (gastrointestinal tract- the part of the digestive system consisting of the stomach’s small and large intestines) of excess baggage, shall we say.

Detoxing products are supposed to rid the body of toxins and fluids.

Arkopharma, a French pharmaceutical company, created 4321 Detox to help overweight individuals balance their diet. Their philosophy is that dieting works best when your system can function most efficiently. According to Arkopharma research, it’s best to rid your system of any impurities or harmful agents before embarking on a diet or a new regimen. They claim that 4321 Detox users will lose weight and have more energy after using the product. However, how does it work?

The system is a simple 10-day program that involves mixing the liquid solution with water. Though the substance tastes like a combination of cough syrup and iced tea, it’s very subtle once mixed. The name explains how the regimen works; you take four capfuls everyday for four days, three a day for the next three days, two for two days, and just one capful on the last day.

The liquid is not organic, but it’s comprised mainly of 10 herbs. Green tea, Yunnan Tea (from the Yunnan province in southern China), Mate, and Nopal (the stem of the prickly pear) allegedly burn calories. Fennel, celery and dandelion extracts flush out excess fluids. Chicory and Artichoke extracts, supposedly, help to purify the body, while Kola helps tones it. The product also contains a strain of sugars that foster the growth of beneficial bacteria that live in the colon and intestines, and lemon-flavonoids, which help circulation and encourage the release of toxins.

The first four ingredients, teas and herbs, help the body burn calories by preventing the storage of fat. The next three help digestion and act as diuretics, thereby relieving bloating; dandelion also has an anti-inflammatory property that can help those looking to slim down. The third set of extracts, chicory and artichoke, purify the body by flushing toxins and bile out, and facilitating digestion. Finally, Kola reenergizes the body and stimulates the muscles.

In the beginning, I was ambitious. I had planned to eat mostly fruits and vegetables and to adopt a regular exercise routine. While my workout routine hardly changed, I exercised willpower and avoided sweets, extremely salty and oily food, and tried to cut back on my caffeine intake. (Note: this product contains some caffeine, but the largest daily dosage contains less caffeine than one cup of coffee.) I also stayed away from starchy and sugar-packed foods like soda, breads, and cookies. Though, I normally maintain a similar diet, this detox program forced me to drink more water because the regimen calls for 32 ounces of water a day, 50 percent of the RDA.

About halfway through the program I noticed my stomach was a bit flatter and I was visiting the little girl’s room more often. At the time, I didn’t notice a change in my energy level, but thinking back, it had a profound impact. By the last day, I was working 12-hour days no problem, on two cups of coffee max.

If my approval isn’t enough, I think Arkopharma’s five million clients are a testament to its success.

4321 Detox is available at Natural Frontier III 266 Third Avenue 212.228.9133, Whole Foods Markets, including locations at Columbus Circle and Chelsea, and Joseph’s All Natural Health Foods 224 West 72nd Street 212.875.2601, among others. For a store near you, logon to

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