Herbalists believe that your body is self-healing and self cleansing. Your body is always working towards a state of homeostasis. It already has a complex and wonderfully effective system to rid you of waste and poisons. However, if your body becomes overloaded with toxins or you wish to help the detox process & remove toxins naturally there are natural herbs you can use to support this process. Safely.
This is not some get thin quick rubbish, this is eliminating toxins for the health of your body. to let you function better!
To detox your body naturally using the herbal method you must look at the elimination process as a whole – in other words we look at all the organs of elimination, and help each at the same time. The herbal approach to detoxification can be summarised in three steps:
- Support for the whole natural process of elimination
- Specific Support for overly taxed organs (e.g. lungs in a smoker, liver in an alcoholic, digestion for IBS)
- Alleviation of Symptoms and addressing any pathogens that may be present
How to Detox Your Body with herbs
Herbs and plants each individually have many diverse properties, meaning that there are many uses for each plant, and an abundance of plants that have the potential to heal a symptom. The herb or plant to be used often depends on a specific person. Therefore it can sometimes be difficult to specify which herb is right for you.
I have broken down the plants by the system or different pathways your body uses for elimination of toxins and the physiological effects they have on your body. This is not a comprehensive list, but I hope it gives you a starting place to work from.
The different processes of elimination for each system are as follows:
Digestive system & Colon – laxative
Kidneys & Urinary system – diuretic
Liver & Blood – hepatic, alternative (or blood cleansing)
Lymphatic system – lymphatic tonic, alternative (or blood cleansing)
Skin – diaphoretic, alternative (or blood cleansing)
Respiratory system – expectorant, anti-catarrhal
General system support – tonic, alternative (or blood cleansing), adaptogen, anti-microbial
If you are unsure what each of these processes are, I have given details in the table below for easy reference.
|Laxative||An aid to opening the bowels|
|Diuretic||An aid to promoting the flow of urine|
|Hepatic||Used in the treatment of liver disorders|
|Alternative||Promotes restoration & general wellbeing of the body|
|Lymphatic tonic||Promotes health of lymphatic system carrying tissue fluid|
|Diaphoretic||Used to treat skin by promoting perspiration|
|Expectorant||Aids removal of mucus from lungs & facilitates coughing|
|Tonic||Used to promote health of whole body|
|Adaptogen||Substance that regulates production of hormones|
|Anti-Microbial||Helps the body fight off organisms that cause disease|
Herbs & Plants that Detox
As I mentioned there are many plants that have detoxing properties, but as a starting point I will detail the basics as a starting point for you here. The plants that follow here are broken down following the table above and the process of detox for each system of your body. I’ve tried to make it as simple to follow as possible so I hope you find this system east yo refer to.
Dandelions are maybe the most underrated ‘weed’. They have so many properties and are full of nutritional value. They are one of the best natural sources of potassium, and they also have duel uses when it comes to detoxing.
Dandelion root works both as a laxative to detox your digestive system, a diuretic which means it will increase urine quantity to cleanse toxins through the kidneys (and help with water retention), and a hepatic to aid your liver in cleansing toxins.
Dried dandelion root can be drunk in a tea or decoction. Add 2-3 teaspoons into a cup of water, bring to the boil and gently simmer for 10-15 mins. Drink three times a day.
Yellow dock, so called because of its yellow roots, is full of tannins, which makes it mild acting instead of abrasive. It works as a laxative as well as making you sweat more to remove toxins through your skin (a Diaphoretic).
Yellow dock can also be taken in decoction or tincture form. As a tincture take 2-4ml three times a day, for a decoction make as above using 1-2 teaspoons of the dried root, and drink three times a day.
It is not unusual for different parts of a plant to have different properties and healing benefits. In this case Dandelion leaf acts as a diuretic to allow your kidneys to cleanse toxins out of your body through your urinary tract.
You can eat dandelion leaf raw in salads as you would any other leafy green, or if you prefer take a dandelion tincture – about 5-10ml three times a day.
Nettles have a multitude of properties. I have written a full post on the properties of nettles and all their medicinal uses and nutritious value here if you would like to read up on them. Because of all the vitamins and minerals nettles contain they are very good to use for your general wellbeing and restoring your health after a long illness. They strengthen and support the whole body.
Nettles can be taken in many ways. The easiest are in a tea infusion – pour a cup of boiling water onto 1-3 teaspoonfuls of dried nettle leaves. Leave to infuse for 10-15 mins and drink three times a day. You can also take a nettle tincture: take 1-4ml three times a day.
Cleavers are one of the first plants to grow at the start of Spring. They have been used since ancient Greek times as a spring cleansing tonic. Amongst many properties Cleavers cleanse the lymph system and relieve swollen glands (as they are part of your lymphatic system). Their diuretic properties flush out accumulated wastes, bacteria, and toxins via the urinary tract. Cleavers also work on your whole body & promote restoration and well being.
To take cleavers you want to use the dried leaves and shoots of the plant. Make a tincture and take 2-4ml three times a day. Or you can take as a tea by pouring boiling water onto 2-3 teaspoons of dried herb. Leave to infuse for 10-15 mins and drink three times a day.
Echinacia is well-know as a supplement you can take to boost the immune system and help fight colds and flu. It is an anti-microbial meaning that it fights off organisms such as viruses and bacteria that cause disease in your body. It also aids your lymphatic system to cleanse.
You can now easily buy Echinacia from your local health food store, but if you wish to make your own remedy it can also be taken in tea or tincture form. Echinacia does not naturally grow wild in the UK, buy you can still grow them yourself in the garden. A decoction of echinacia can be drunk using 1-2 teaspoons of the dried root in a cup of water. Bring to the boil and let simmer for 10-15 mins, then drink three times a day. You can also take a tincture of echinacia – 1-4ml three times a day.
Marigold is another plant most often found in the garden. It works to treat ulcers and gall bladder problems as well as having anti-fungal properties. marigold is also used to aid the health of your lymph system and remove toxins.
Make a tea with 1-2 teaspoons of the dried marigold flowers, leave to infuse and drink 3 times a day. You can also take as a tincture, just 1-4ml again 3 times a day.
Lime trees grow beautifully scented blossoms which flower in July. Not only are these blossoms good to smell they are also used in a popular tisane known as ’tilleul’. Lime blossom calms the nerves, relaxes blood vessels and muscles, helps lower blood pressure and aids sweating and cooling in fevers. This sweating action is what helps you to eliminate toxins from your system through your skin.
Dried lime blossom flowers can be taken as a tea. Just one teaspoonful infused in boiling water for 10 mins and taken three times a day. For tinctures you can take 1-2ml three times a day.
Mullien is one of the best plant remedies for dealing with respiratory problems. It not only reduces inflammation but works to facilitate coughing and help your body remove excess mucus from your respiratory system. It will also break up thick catarrh from your lungs and nose.
Dried leaves and flowers of Mullein can be taken as an infusion or made into a tincture. Use 1-2 teaspoonfuls of dried herb, pour a cupful of hot water over them and leave to infuse for 10-15 mins. Drink three times a day. Tinctures, take 1-4ml three times a day.
Coltsfoot has long being used as a cough remedy. This bright yellow flower can be used to help relieve asthma, bronchitis, and coughs. As well as soothing the airways and helping clear catarrh it is another good herb for helping to detox your respiratory system.
Pour a cup of boiling water over 1-2 teaspoons of dried flowers and/or leaves, leave to infuse and drink three times a day. Coltsfoot is best for only short term use over 2-3 weeks. To take in tincture for you want only 2-4ml three times a day.
Garlic is much more than a pungent flavoured food. It is also (along with Echinacia) one of the most effective anti-microbial plants available. It will help your body fight off bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Can help fight respiratory infections, colds & flu and digestive infections. Wild garlic will help you to boost your immune system and help your body fight of disease.
Garlic can be taken in many forms. It is now easily available to buy in capsule form if, like me, you don’t enjoy the taste of garlic. Adding garlic to your food is also an easy way to consume this herb, but to treat a specific problem or to detox effectively you need to take garlic 3 times a day. So I would recommend garlic oil capsules where possible.
Now that you have the basics you will be able to work with your body to improve your health, as well as do your own research to find other plants and herbs with the correct actions and properties to detox particular systems of your body!
If you are unsure I’m always here to help. Just get in touch via the comments or message me direct…