January is the month when everyone is talking about detox, with instant detox products hitting the market and celebrities sharing their personal tips. This kind of faddist frenzy can alienate many people who are looking to take a more balanced approach to health. Add to that articles from medical doctors saying detoxifying the body is medically impossible and totally unnecessary, and there is no wonder that people are looking to find a more balanced view.
A responsible gentle approach to detoxing the body is more realistic, as extreme behaviour normally leads to more extreme behaviour later on when it comes to the re-tox stage!
There are many ways to gently assist the body in laying off some of the toxic load we might have accumulated, and different styles suit different people and lifestyles.
It is understood by naturopaths and nutritional therapists that an overwhelm of toxicity in the body, perhaps with sluggish elimination systems can be the root cause of symptoms of disease. Certainly it does seem that after detoxification, even of the gentlest kind, symptoms of disease can lessen and general overall health & vitality can improve.
It’s true that our bodies are naturally detoxing every day by the way of our elimination channels. We get rid of waste via the colon, kidneys, liver, lungs, lymphatic system and the skin. Our bodies are processes, excreting, sweating, urinating and generally keep the system going twenty four hours per day, seven days per week. So why should we do anything different?
Well it is possible that because of our modern lifestyle our bodies are on the receiving end of chemicals that are present in our food, and in our enviroment and our elimination system could well be overwhelmed and just not working as well as it could.
It is not just our body’s basic bio-chemistry that produces toxins and free radicals, we are subjected to toxins from many other sources, including the food we eat. Add to that alcohol, smoking, prescriptive medicines, illness, stress, and environmental toxins and our bodies can soon feel tired, lethargic, depressed and run down.
A gentle detoxification program can give the body’s natural processes a kick start and tip the balance back towards vitality and wellbeing.
It’s important to have realistic expectations and a healthy body should be able to tolerate some toxins with ease. So a period of time focused on cleansing & detoxing can boost health and assist in returning the body to its natural robust balance.
It is worth noting that that has been a huge increase in people experiences food intolerances, and this has been alongside an increase in how much processed foods and environmental toxins we are subjected to. There is definitely a case to say are bodies are overwhelmed and our tolerance for processing more complex foodstuffs has been compromised.
It is true to say that medical science does not acknowledge the need for detoxification, and it is very true that unrealistic health claims, over-priced products, extreme detox programs, not to mention faddish extreme behaviour is probably not going to benefit your health in the long term.
However it does seem that many people experience an increase in vitality and an improvement in their health from gently eliminating processed foods, environmental pollutants (where possible), caffeine, alcohol etc, and focusing on herbs and superfoods that have been used for thousands of years for their protecting, cleansing, tonifying and re-balancing properties.
How do we detox?
A detox can be as little as cutting out alcohol and caffeine from your diet and drinking some cleansing herbal tea every day. A more serious approach might be to forfeit normal foods for a juice only diet and add to that therapies such as colonic irrigation, massage, body wraps, skin brushing and sauna.
Beginning by removing all processed foods from the diet and eating a diet that is rich in pure whole unprocessed foods with plenty of fruit and vegetables is an obvious choice. Lightening the load by eliminating more complex foods such as Meat, Dairy, and Gluten can be of assistance.
There are many Herbs and Superfoods that are naturally cleansing and detoxifying to the body, and including some herbal preparations into the daily routine can gentle stimulate and assist.
Foods, namely fruit and vegetables that have not been heated and are still raw can contain a rich source of live enzymes and can assist the body systems to kick starting the natural healing process, and this is why a naturopath would recommend consuming live fresh raw vegetable juices.
However anyone who is feeling purposeful about detox should cover these stages:
- Cleansing the body, focusing on the elimination organs (Kidneys, Liver, Skin, Lungs) and systems (Lymph, Digestive) and cellular renewal.
- Increasing the circulation to assist the effective removal of toxins that have been released.
- Stimulating the proper working of the elimination channels to ensure the body is getting rid of the toxins effectively.
- Nourishing the body with a dense source of nutrition to heal and re-balance.
Nature’s Detoxifiers – Herbs & Superfoods Profile
Here is a profile of our favourite herbs and superfoods that have a long history of use for their detoxifying properties.
- Milk Thistle Leaf, Powder, Tincture - Protects and cleanses the liver.
- Nettle Leaf – Cleanses and tonifies the kidneys and body systems.
- Dandelion Leaf and Tincture – Diuretic and cleansing to the kidneys.
- Pau D'Arco leaf, Tincture - Anti-microbial, anti-fungal, cleansing.
- Tumeric – Anti-microbial, cleansing to Liver.
- Hawthorn Berries and Tincture & Black Pepper Powder -Stimulates circulation.
- Beetroot Powder – Cleanses the blood and stimulates circulation.
- Linseeds & Psyllium Husks -Promotes Healthy Bowel Function.
- Betonite Clay – Draws out impurities (recommended as a body mask / wrap).
- Spirulina Powder & Chlorella Powder- Cleansing, alkalising and re-nourishing – dense source of nutrition.
- Wheatgrass Powder & Barleygrass Powder - Complete nutrition, alkalising and calming.
- SuperCleanse Loose Leaf Herbal Tea – Blend of cleansing herbs.
- Love Your Liver Powder Blend – A premium mix of herbs and superfoods to support a detox program.
Preparations using these Detoxifying herbs and superfoods:
A tincture mix:
of Hawthorn, Milk Thistle, Dandelion Leaf, Ginger and Pau D'arco can be made in equal parts. This tincture blend lends itself to being used twice or three times per day, and will suppory deep cleansing and boost the circulatory system.
A Super powered herbal powder blend:
of Spirulina, Barleygrass, Tumeric, Ginger, Beetroot and Black Pepper powders can be added to a morning smoothie made from nut, seed or hemp milk or fresh carrot juice. This powder blend is going to offer a dense source of nutrition, have cleansing properties and again boost the circulatory system.
Cleansing power of herbal tea:
Additionally Nettle leaf tea can be enjoyed all day as it is tonifying, cleansing and a great support to the detox process.
The Indigo Herbs SuperCleanse Tea blend:
is a mix of Fennel, Liquorice, Nettle, Dandelion, Red Clover and Ginger, and has been specially formulated with detox in mind.
To support the elimination process it is worth adding some extra fibre for the bowel to work effectively. Soaking Linseeds over night in filtered water and then adding pysllium husks to the mix into the morning makes a super fibrous morning drink. The linseed and psyllium mix is also thought to absorb released toxics and toxic matter in the bowel and effectively eliminate it.
A naturopath would only advise a detox program for a short period of time, to give the body a chance to release and renew. It would not be recommended as a lifestyle. Many of the herbs and superfoods profiled here have a long history of traditional use and a are safe, however this blog does not aim to offer any personal medical advice to the individual.
Beyond the detox program our daily Herb and Superfood Blend 'love Your Liver' has been formulated to protect, support and nourish the liver and body systems.
History of Detox
The concept of detoxification and cleansing dates back to Ancient Egyptian and Ancient Greek practises. The idea that toxins could harm the body was connected to ‘The Humeral Theory of Health’ popularised by Hippocrates and his followers. It was thought that these four humours could poison the body in excess, and effect the health if in deficiency. Practises such as Blood letting, Emetics (induced vomiting), and purges were carried out to expel a harmful excess of a humor. By the early 20th century this concept had fallen out of favour completely.
We can also look to Ancient Ayurvedic Medicine practises to the discipline of Pancha Karma. Ayurvedic Medicine, originating in India dates back to 3500 BC. Luckily Ayurveda seems to have favoured a more gentle approach as Pancha Karma involves eliminating certain foods from the diet, cleansing the colon and nasal passages and taking spiritual walks. The aim of this practise has always been to prolong life, prevent disease and nurture holistic health and wellbeing. This practise is still used in Modern day Ayurvedic Medicine.
Hippocrates - Had a sense of Humer?