Best Herbs To Take For Detoxing
Benefits of Cleansing Herbs
Purifying to the Blood and the Liver: Some of the primary cleansing herbs for detoxification involve the purification of the blood and the liver is the "master detoxifier" and blood filtering center largely responsible for the condition of our bloodstream. By strengthening the liver we can improve the quality of the blood which runs through and effects every organ system.
Stated in the words of world renowned herbalist Rosemary Gladstar:
"The blood that runs through our bodies is much like the rivers and streams that nourish the Earth. Those rivers running clean and untamed from the mountains sparkle with life. They feed and nourish the Earth that they pass through. Rivers that run through cities become sluggish and thick with chemicals, toxins and environmental wastes. The waters that were once life-giving turn to poison much the same way a human system becomes loaded down with toxins."
Many disorders associated with the kidneys, heart and skin as well as the respiratory and endocrine systems are considered by many alternative health practitioners to be the direct result of an over-burdened liver. The liver is also a major organ of the digestive system and processes every substance we ingest and take in, both nutritive and toxic. It not only filters out and neutralizes metabolic wastes as well as chemicals, drugs or other impurities that find their way into our bloodstream, but is also involved in nutrient break down and absorption.
All nutritional substances are only metabolized after they have been acted upon by bile secretions produced by the liver. Likewise, the blood from the gastrointestinal tract passes, via the portal vein, to the liver where it is filtered and nutrients are processed. In addition, our liver is also in charge of synthesizing and secreting several important hormones beneficial for a balanced well-functioning endocrine system.
When we nourish this all important organ (the largest one in the human body) and keep it healthy, our entire body, mind and spirit as well as all other organ systems feel the results.
Here are 11 detoxifying herbs you can include during the spring that help to eliminate toxic buildup from your system and renew your health.
Dandelion root (Taraxacum officinale) is one of the top cleansing herbs used for many types of liver disorders as well as digestive and gall bladder issues. It is a gentle and safe natural detoxifier and blood purifier used by humans for centuries as a herbal therapy for various ailments from hepatitis to acne. Some of its primary active compounds include taraxacin, taraxacerin and acrystalline. Historically it is a well-known treatment for digestive complaints as it increases the appetite, stimulates bile production and acts as a mild laxative. It is rich in various vitamins and minerals and is a nutritious bitter root that encourages healthy immune response. Dandelion root tea can be a great addition to a juice fast for a way to accelerate the cleansing process and neutralize toxins.
Dandelion leaves are an important part of a detox because of their diuretic action, and unique because they do not leach out potassium, an important electrolyte mineral. The nutritious leaves are a good source of vitamins A, B, C and zinc. Although dandelion can be bitter, it’s the bitterness that helps to stimulate the liver and gallbladder, thereby improving digestion. The root has traditionally been used as a liver detoxifier, and both the root and leaves serve as a digestive tonic. The herb also helps flush the urinary tract by eliminating excess fluid from the body.
2. Red Clover
By far one of my favorite herbs, red clover is incredible for cleansing the blood. The flowers have the ability to carry waste out of the bloodstream, making this herb a valuable part of a detoxification protocol.
Red clover is also a powerful tonic, helping to assist in toxin breakdown within the lymphatic system. Its expectorant properties are also great for individuals needing lung support. However, make sure to do your research, as red clover is only appropriate in certain forms and amounts.
3. Stinging Nettle
Nettles help to support the kidneys in eliminating waste and, along with your liver, your kidneys serve an important role in detoxification as well. Beware of picking this herb with your bare hands. It stings and can leave tiny little bumps on your hands and arms. But not to worry, it lasts only temporarily, but is very itchy!
You can enjoy the leaves of this herb by steaming them and adding them to a salad. You can also enjoy nettles in a soup by boiling them with vegetable broth, garlic and onions, then pureeing it. It’s a light and nourishing soup that is rich in iron and vitamin C. Vitamin C is an important nutrient needed to support the different phases of liver detoxification.
You can often find this herb available as a tea. Due to having mildly energizing benefits and supporting the liver and kidneys, it is a great morning tea that can help to kick-start detoxification in the a.m. and supply your body with vital nutrients. Although fresh nettle is primarily known for its stinging quality, dried nettle is one of the most impressive detox herbs. It contributes to the detoxification of the urinary tract, and it also contains histamine that may help with seasonal allergies.
4. Burdock Root
Burdock root (Arctium lappa) is a nourishing cleansing herb that works with the liver and lymph to purify the bloodstream of metabolic wastes and toxins. Its high vitamin and mineral content is enriching to the blood and building to depleted individuals. It promotes bile secretion, enhances eliminatory functions and has been shown in some research to provide antioxidative and anti-inflammatory actions.
Although this may not be the tastiest of herbs, it is an incredible blood cleanser and loaded with detoxifying nutrients, such as folic acid, vitamins C, E and magnesium. Burdock is also a diuretic, helping to expel toxic buildup in your blood and eliminate it through your urine.
Burdock is a strong herb and it would be advised to include this once you have gone through months of detoxification protocols. It has a very strong affinity for the liver and works extremely well to eliminate toxins, therefore it can make you feel quite ill if other detoxification pathways are not optimized.
Burdock is also great for supporting the adrenals, helping to balance blood sugar. It also contains antimicrobial compounds. Burdock has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to clear toxins from the bloodstream, and it’s known to increase urine output. The root contains antioxidants, while the leaf helps cleanse our mouths of unwanted micro-organisms.
This strong-tasting herb is most often used to chelate heavy metals like mercury from the body. You can enjoy it in salads, soups, smoothies or fresh-pressed juices. You can also find this available in tincture form, but do consult with an herbalist before taking it, as it can be quite potent and strong. A heavy metal detox does require guidance and support.
6. Ground Ivy
Speaking of heavy metal detoxers, ground ivy is great for removing lead and other heavy metals, making it a valuable herb to include in a detox formula. This herb is also a great diuretic, helping to eliminate waste and toxins from the kidneys.
7. Milk Thistle
This herb is most widely used for liver detoxification and is readily available. Milk thistle can help to regenerate liver cells and provides vital nutrients for the liver in helping it to expel toxins and metabolic waste. It also helps to produce bile, which assists in supporting digestion. Certain components of the milk thistle plant (found mostly in the fruit and seeds) may act as a buffer between toxins and your body, preventing the toxins from binding to your liver cells and thus blocking toxin overload before it occurs.
Milk thistle seeds are known for their antioxidative effects and properties that inhibit the binding of toxins to liver cell receptors. This characteristic has been used to reduce liver damage caused by toxic exposure to poisonous mushrooms, in addition to other harmful chemicals and ingested pollutants. Silymarin extracts have been utilized to "treat alcoholic liver disease, acute and chronic viral hepatitis and toxin-induced liver diseases." Ground milk thistle powder additionally acts as a digestive aid and helps in the breakdown of dietary fats.
This wonder herb is commonly found in natural dental products due to its antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and antiseptic properties, making it a great addition to any detoxification regime. Neem is also great at purifying the blood and helping to rid the body of unwanted metabolic waste.
9. Yellow Dock Root
Yellow dock (Rumex crispus) is a prolific wild edible plant, like dandelion, that grows in many parts of the world. It comes from the family of "docks" but is specifically characterized by its very yellow-golden root. It is another building yet cleansing herb for the liver that is enriching to the blood. It is likewise an excellent detoxifying herb that helps with the digestion of fats and sluggish elimination. Containing a compound known as "nepodin", yellow dock has been researched for its inhibitory actions against the blood parasite that causes malaria. The root of the yellow dock plant is rich in various minerals, especially iron which helps to enrich the blood and prevents anemia.
10. Oregon Grape Root
Oregon grape root (Mahonia aquifolium) is another nutritious, purifying herb for enhancing liver functions, bile production and blood purification. A holly-like plant that grows primarily in the Pacific Northwest, the roots are a golden color similar to yellow dock. It contains two main alkaloid compounds known as berberine and jatrorrhizine. Berberine is also found in barberry and goldenseal and the herb is often used interchangeably with these two varieties. Teas made from the decocted root are helpful for liver or gall bladder complaints, especially when there is sluggishness or congestion. The antibacterial and antifungal properties of Oregon grape root have been studied effective for conditions like candida overgrowth. It is likewise great for skin disorders and acts as a mild laxative. It is often used with other alterative herbs or herbal laxatives in formulations to enhance its medicinal activity.
11. Sarsaparilla Root
Sarsaparilla root (Smilax officinalis) is one of the herbs utilized, along with sassafras (another liver herb) in original version of root beer, actually made from "roots" and intended as a therapeutic liver tonic. Sarsaparilla root teas have been used by herbalists throughout the ages for treating conditions associated with joint inflammation, such as gout and arthritis. It is also a famous skin healer and was once a primary herb used to treat syphilis due to its antibacterial compounds. Some of its active constituents include sarsasaponin, sarsaparilloside, arsasapogenin and sarsapac acid. The root has pleasant aroma and a sweet spicy flavor and it is a delicious ingredient simmered into root beer tea decoctions made using other cleansing herbs like dandelion root, burdock and spices including cinnamon and ginger root.
Detoxification can be an intense process. Be sure to start out with the right support and guidance and with small doses. Teas are gentle and can be a great supplement for anyone wanting to start a detox protocol.
After you’ve supplied your body with the right nutritional support and nutrients, you may then want to consider incorporating some of these more potent and detoxifying herbs to increase the health of your detoxification pathways and renew your overall health.