Herbal Cleansing - What and Why


Detox is when the body’s cleansing organs—the liver and kidneys—remove toxins that have entered the body through the air, food, or water and have built up in the body’s tissues, organs, and blood. When done properly, a cleanse, or detox, should increase energy and overall well-being. A detox can range from a full fast to a light, healthy eating plan that helps your body eliminate toxic elements. Everyday detox diet tips include drinking lots of water, eliminating caffeine and alcohol, eating organic foods, and loading up on antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. Popular detox herbs and supplements include aloe vera, milk thistle, dandelion root, turmeric root, milk-thistle seed, artichoke leaf, chlorella, rice bran fiber, sulforaphane, vitamin C, whey protein, and N-acetylcysteine (NAC).

Toxin Sources

Studies show that each one of us has dozens of environmental toxins—pesticides, heavy metals, solvents and by-products from plastics—stored in our liver and fat cells. Not only do we accumulate toxins by inhaling and ingesting them, but our bodies also create toxins as a by-product of normal metabolic functioning.

The body is designed to eliminate or neutralize toxins via the gastrointestinal system (including the liver, gallbladder and colon), the lymphatic system, the respiratory system, the skin and the urinary system. But when the normal pathways of detoxification are overloaded, problems can arise.

Common conditions associated with toxin overload are allergies, asthma, digestive disturbances, skin problems and painful joints. Some toxins have also been implicated in cancer, heart disease, depression and virtually every other degenerative disease.

Traditional healing modalities, such as Ayurveda and Western herbal medicine, have long relied on cleansing to remove toxins and improve health. Today, natural health practitioners frequently recommend cleansing for optimal wellness and to aid healing from chronic conditions.

Foundations of cleansing

Many alternative health practitioners recommend cleansing at the start of every season.

One to three weeks is an appropriate length of time for an herbal cleansing program. Some cleansing principles, such as including additional fiber in the diet and using bitter herbs to improve digestion, can be incorporated into a daily healthy lifestyle.

A key tenet of cleansing: Provide support for all of the body’s organs of detoxification. This prevents any one organ system from becoming overburdened with toxins and encourages thorough detoxification. For example, if sufficient fiber is not included in a cleansing ritual, substances that have been processed by the liver and sent to the colon to be excreted can instead be reabsorbed into the bloodstream through the colon walls.

People in good general health can do a cleanse on their own. Those suffering from a chronic or serious illness should consult with a health practitioner before undertaking a cleanse.

Basic cleansing ingredients

The following elements are essential for any cleansing program. Many herbal and supplements manufacturers offer cleansing kits, which usually include a fiber supplement and herbal capsules that target elimination organs. Major tea companies also have prepackaged herbal cleansing teas.


Flush out toxins with fiber.


Fiber speeds the removal of wastes from the body and naturally cleanses the intestinal tract. Soluble fiber (chia seed, flaxseed, pectin and psyllium) also binds to toxins in the intestinal tract and keeps them from being reabsorbed. Supplements can help fill in the gaps if people don’t get sufficient fiber (25 grams for women and 38 grams for men) in their daily diet.


Use herbs to support organs.

The following cleansing herbs stimulate the elimination of toxins and support the body’s detoxification organs.


Diaphoretic herbs, such as elderflower, ginger, peppermint and yarrow, help eliminate toxins through perspiration.

Diuretic herbs increase urination, which flushes toxins from the kidneys and urinary tract. Cornsilk, dandelion leaf, nettle, parsley and marshmallow root are all gentle diuretics.

Hepatic herbs stimulate liver detoxification. They often have a bitter flavor and improve liver function by triggering bile flow, which helps the body break down dietary fats. Examples include burdock root, dandelion root, gentian, turmeric root and yellow dock root. Cleansing formulas often include milk-thistle seed because it protects the liver from damaging toxins.

Laxative herbs enhance bowel cleansing. The gentlest are natural fiber laxatives such as chia seed, flaxseed, pectin and psyllium. The bitter herbs used to improve liver function also have a mild laxative effect. Stronger laxative herbs, such as cascara sagrada and senna, stimulate contractions of the intestinal tract and should not be used long term because they can be habit forming.

Lymphatic herbs improve cleansing of the network of lymph vessels and glands throughout the body. Cleavers, echinacea, prickly ash and red clover are all good choices for lymph purification.

Create a healthy internal environment.


Taking probiotics—the friendly bacteria that inhabit the gastrointestinal tract—regularly supports the cleansing process during and after a detox. Probiotics not only keep intestinal function healthy, they also neutralize toxins in the digestive tract

Article courtesy of NewHope360.com, found here.

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