Toxins have become an inescapable fact of everyday life. They are in our air, water, and food. Toxic overload can cause food sensitivities, allergies, and weaken the immune system. We can’t all move to a deserted island or pristine natural preserve to escape them, so what can you do?
A natural approach to detoxification is based on the premise that our body is self-healing. It is important to consider all organs of elimination (not just the colon). In addition to the digestive system, other eliminative systems to consider include the urinary system, liver and blood, lymphatic system, the skin, and respiratory system.
A simple process of removing harmful foods and adding helpful foods and the use of herbs that assist the body’s natural systems of elimination are all that is needed to gently cleanse your body of toxins and pathogens.
An elimination diet is recommended to help you identify possible food allergens or sensitivities. An elimination diet is when you remove one or more foods from your diet for a time and reintroduce it to see if there is a reaction.
Stick to unprocessed foods to avoid hidden ingredients (allergens), and read any labels carefully, to make sure that you are not accidentally eating a suspected allergen or toxin. You will also want to avoid or eliminate refined sugars, alcohol, caffeine, canned foods, and hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (found in margarine and many commercial salad dressings and sauces and baked goods).
Medicinal herbs provide a gentle way to assist the process of natural detoxification. Below are suggestions for herbs that affect the body’s natural systems of elimination.
- Laxative (supports digestive elimination) : Cascara Segrada
- Diuretic (supports urinary system of elimination) : Dandelion Leaf
- Hepatic (supports the liver & blood) : Dandelion Root, Burdock root
- Alterative (nourishing and restorative for all systems) : Nettles
- Lymphatic tonic : Cleavers
- Diaphoretic (promotes sweating, release of toxins through the skin) : Yarrow
- Expectorant/Pulmonary (Lung): Peppermint, Mullein
- Adaptogen (restores balance to various systems) : Siberian Ginseng (aka Eleuthero)
- Anti-microbial : Echinacea
You can create a detox blend with one or more of the above herbs and drink a cup a day as a tea. Consult your doctor before taking these herbs if you are pregnant or nursing women, or have gallstones, breast or uterine cancer, or autoimmune disease.
If you are really adventurous, you can create a detox body wrap blend with herbs. To learn more about how to do this, check out this video: At-Home Body Wrap