Waste produced in the body as a by-product of metabolism – the cells absorb nutrients and excrete wastes, like little microcosms of our bodies themselves.
Toxic material absorbed in food, drink and through the lungs and skin – pollutants from the outside world. These toxins have to be removed from the body, and the correct procedure is that they leave via one of three main exit routes: the bowel, the urinary tract and the lungs. These exit routes then are of prime importance. If any of them are not working properly, the toxic burden in the body will rise.
A particularly common problem is a sluggish bowel! The body has a couple of ‘emergency exits’ to use if the main exits are blocked or sluggish; it can push toxins out through the skin, the mucous membranes and, in women, the menstrual blood. The lymphatic system will also have to deal with more toxins than usual and may become sluggish, causing recurrent swelling of the glands.
Thus, people whose exits have become bottlenecked are more likely to have skin problems, catarrhal congestion and heavy periods. They will also get cystitis and other urinary tract infections (UTIs) more easily, and feel lethargic and run down as their liver, one of the organs in charge of energy production, struggles to cope with the recycled toxins. Keeping yourself sparkling clean on the inside will therefore enable you to present a pristine exterior to the world.
When attempting to lighten the toxic burden within the body, it is vital to open the exit routes first. Many detox programs come straight in with big changes to the diet and cleansing regimes that cause an outpouring of toxins, without ensuring that these toxins can leave the body. This type of program makes you feel terrible, for no eventual benefit. All pain, no gain. First we must open the exit routes and encourage plentiful emptying of toxins into the outside world…
Let’s be gentle about all this though – detox doesn’t have to be a penance. Start by drinking 1.5 liters of still water every day, to flush out the urinary tract. You may also like to introduce Nettle tea into your daily routine. Nettles have a beneficial blood-cleansing action and make you feel energised and refreshed. If you really hate the tea or want a stronger effect, you can take nettle (Urtica) tincture, 20 drops twice a day before meals.
Improve your diet, cutting out the obvious rubbish such as take-away food, white flour, white sugar, coffee, fried food and alcohol. (Not easy, I know, but you will have to cut out all alcohol for a while. Still, it’s worth it.) Start getting a blast of fresh air every day. It need only be a brisk ten minute walk around the block, but it needs to be regular, to get your lymphatic system (which depends on muscle movement) and your lungs working. An hour once a week in a stuffy gym is just not the same as a daily trot around outside!
If your bowel is particularly stubborn, start using a mixture of Linseed, Frangula and Senna (depending on the degree of stubbornness) to get it moving. It is a strong remedy for a sluggish bowel, and needs to be taken cautiously to start with, in case an over-enthusiastic dose glues you to the loo… If your bowel is already quite obliging, you would only need to take the lowest dose. If this proves too powerful for you, cut it out completely. Do bear in mind that if you are used to going to the loo once every two to three days, having two to three bowel movements per day may feel excessive; but actually it is ideal, so don’t panic.
A complex containing Milk Thistle is a fantastic remedy for an overworked, hung-over liver, struggling with the toxic burden placed upon it daily. Indications that the liver is not in peak condition are bad periods, bad skin, a metallic taste in the mouth, unfair weight gain especially around the abdomen, lethargy, problems with temperature regulation, and anaemia. As well as Milk Thistle, the tincture contains Dandelion root, Globe Artichoke, Peppermint and Boldo. Pop 15 to 20 drops into a little water twice a day.
Dandelion root is also doing wonderful things for the liver and gall-bladder. It is an excellent cleansing agent, being one of the most effective detoxifying herbs. It possesses a wide range of active constituents and is also rich in minerals and nutrients.
Also, make sure that the urinary tract is well cleansed and strengthen with herbs. If your diet revolves around chocolate, coffee, fizzy drinks, sweets, you may well feel some bladder symptoms, such as pain when passing urine, feeling an urgent need to urinate, even when there's little urine to pass or sometimes pain will travel to the lower abdomen or lower back. A complex containing Uva-ursi wil eases bladder and urinary tract irritation as well as the resulting back pain or discomforts.
These herbs will provide an excellent Detox program. Use them together with the dietary advice for at least ten days, more if you feel like it. It is especially good to do in the spring and autumn, when the body is contemplating detoxing anyway.
by Alison Cullen