as many of us take time to clean out the clutter in our lives—go
through the basement and closets—we should also acknowledge that
every once in a while our bodies need help in facilitating the
natural process of detoxification and elimination. The body is a
self-cleaning mechanism via the liver, kidneys, urine, feces,
breath, and sweat. Keeping our systems of elimination in a healthy
condition can help improve and protect our health. Yet for many of
us, our systems are overloaded and can use a bit more help. We can
give our bodies the opportunity to let go of that which is not
necessary—the feeling of sluggishness and the extra pounds gained.
Although weight loss is not always a primary goal in detoxification,
it can be one of the benefits as well as simply feeling lighter and
fresher. A cleaner body can even enhance one’s ability to feel more
creative, motivated, and energetic.
Most people are exposed to chemicals at higher levels than ever
before in history. Pollutants in the body can contribute to fatigue,
mental dullness, allergies, headaches, skin problems, digestive
disorders, degenerative disorders, and a weakened immune system.
Herbs can provide us safe, natural, time-tested methods to improve
the natural functions of our bodies and be valuable allies to
support the body’s natural cleansing process.
are a number of categories of herbs used in the detoxification
process. One of the most popular types is alteratives.
Although alterative herbs are often referred to as "blood
purifiers," the way they work is to improve organs of blood
purification, such as the liver and kidneys, and thus aid in the
elimination of harmful by-products of metabolism. Alteratives
increase blood flow to the tissues, detoxify, improve assimilation,
and stimulate metabolism. They are also often rich in electrolytes
and trace minerals and are best used over a period of time for their
Antifungal agents inhibit the growth of unfriendly yeasts
that can contribute to candida. Antioxidants help protect us
from free radicals—unpaired molecules we are exposed to through
environmental pollutants that can cause cellular damage. A
cholagogue promotes bile flow to the liver and aids the
breakdown of fats. A demulcent soothes irritated tissue of
the throat as well as gastrointestinal system. This effect is
usually due to the plant’s content of mucilage, a soothing slippery
substance that lubricates and heals.
Diuretics increase kidney function and thus the elimination
of urine and excess fluids. Nutritives are rich in vitamins
and minerals that help build and tone the body. Rejuvenative
properties in plants help renew the body and mind and help slow down
the aging process. They are usually tonics, are highly nutritive,
counteract stress, and gently increase endurance. A vulnerary
herb helps promote cellular growth and repair.
Herbs in Detox
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