Main ideas about herbal detoxes:
1. Make sure you are eliminating properly
2. Support the organs of elimination!
That's all there really is to it! Now let's talk about how do achieve those two items in a safe and healthy way.
This means to make sure you have a healthy gut that has regular bowel movements, as well as isn't inflamed so that toxins leak into your system. I find that most commercial herbal detox products focus a lot on this subject as they are usually just laxatives. Laxative herbs, such as cascara, rhubarb, triphala, and aloe are the most common. And although it's important to eliminate properly, many of my patients com to me and are weary of doing a detox because in the past they have done products containing these herbs that basically gave them week-long diarrhea. Diarrhea is never a healthy option! Just make sure the product you select isn't made up entirely of laxative herbs.
Other herbal products to support elimination are fibre (psyllium, flax, or chia), and gut-soothing herbs (liquorice, slippery elm, marshmallow). The fibre will help to bulk up and move stuff out, and the soothing herbs will reduce any existing trauma and strengthen the gut barrier so toxins don't leak into your system.
Supporting the Organs of Elimination
As mentioned in the overview blog, the main organs to focus on are the liver, the kidneys, and the intestines. The intestines get supporting by the soothing herbs listed above because they protect the integrity of the intestinal lining. There are many different herbs that focus on supporting the liver which is good news for us herbophiles!
My top five herbs are: milk thistle, artichoke, turmeric, dandelion,
Milk thistle (silybum marinum) - supports the regeneration of liver cells, reduces inflammation production, stimulates the flow of bile (supporting elimination), supports both phases of liver detoxification.
Dandelion (taraxicum officinalis) - supports bile production and flow
Artichoke (globus scolymus) - protects the liver cells and reduces damage done by degeneration, reduces cholesterol production, stimulates bile flow and detoxification.
Turmeric (curcuma longa) - protects the liver, reduces inflammation, subdues phase 1 of detox so that phase 2 can eliminate more effectively
Goldenrod (solidago odora) - tones the kidneys
Look for products that have a combination of all of the above so that you get the most comprehensive and effective detox!