Detox: “What on Earth does that Mean???”

With the new year festivities behind us we are forever being reminded what a good idea it is to ‘detox’.  Many expensive and branded so called ‘health’ products, as well as juices and smoothies, are sold to us to ‘aid detox’.  How many of us actually understand what ‘detox’ means?

Well, we all know how our bodies feel when we have over-indulged – tired, heavy, bloated, digestive problems.   Some  may develop skin problems or aches and pains.

If you are generally healthy and normally look after yourself your body will ‘detox’ itself given a little time – it is perfectly designed to do this.  Return to your healthy diet including low fat protein, essential fatty acids, wholegrain carbs and plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.  Drink plenty of water and your liver and kidneys will take care of the rest.  Alcohol, pharmaceuticals, caffeine and rich foods are first to be broken down by the liver as they are identified as being more damaging to the body than its own naturally occurring waste products of metabolism.  So, the more of these detrimental elements there are in your diet, the less effective the liver will be at reducing the backlog from a period of over-indulgence; and the longer it will take to return to a state of balance and good health.

Herbs known to support the liver and eliminatory organs may help alongside a healthy diet.  Taraxacum officinalis radix and herba (dandelion root and leaf) help support the function of the liver and kidneys respectively.  Cynara scolymus (artichoke) may help support metabolism, the liver and gall bladder whilst Urtica dioica (stinging nettle) can help break down certain acids that may accumulate in joints and help the kidneys do their job too.  Galium aparine (cleavers) and Calendula officinalis (marigold) both help the lymphatic system cleanse the body of toxic build up.  These herbs have a number of other actions in the body, so for advice concerning which of these may be best for you contact a qualified medical herbalist.

If you have any pre-existing health problems, are pregnant, breastfeeding or taking any medication then please contact a qualified medical herbalist for appropriate and professional advice.

Lynda Jones BSc (Hons) Medical Herbalist