DETOXING WITH HERBS AND NATURAL HEALING

 

What is a detox?

Detoxing literally means any process which helps remove toxins from the body. A detox (or cleanse) is therefore any programme that seeks to assist the body’s natural processes of elimination. It is not in any way a new concept, older societies are known to have understood the value of a regular purge and used various natural remedies to achieve this aim.

 

Why should I detox?

Our bodies produce a variety of harmful waste products as a natural by-product of living. These mainly acidic substances are carried in the bloodstream and are excreted daily via the eliminative organs e.g. urea via the kidneys, carbon dioxide via the lungs etc. When the energies within the body are unbalanced waste may be produced in excess or be inadequately eliminated when organs are over or under functioning. Symptoms of toxicity can range from constant tiredness and mood swings to allergies, digestive problems, arthritis and skin complaints. In addition, we are exposed to over 15,000 synthetic environmental pollutants in our water, food and air. To use the analogy of a car, a detox is the equivalent of a yearly MOT or a more regular oil and water change! Toxin build up can be both the cause and result of ill health therefore regular cleansing is preventative as well as curative.

 

When should I detox?

Anytime! Basic detoxing can be undertaken whenever the need or urge arises. However, certain times of the year are particularly suited to specific eliminative organs e.g. spring for the liver, late summer for the bowel, avoid kidney cleansing in winter.

 

How do I detox?

There are no real rules as we have many different ways to detox, ranging from simple avoidance techniques to wholehearted active participation. The most important points to remember for a basic cleanse are:

    • Water - dilutes toxins and flushes them out of the system. Drink about 2 litres a day, or more according to body weight and if you normally drink a lot. Drink water at room temperature and before 9pm to avoid waking constantly at night.
    • Food – avoid dairy, meat, sugar and processed foods generally. Instead opt for more grains, vegetables and fruit to provide fibre, nutrients and natural cleansing properties. Whole natural foods reduce acid forming components and promote a healthy alkaline bloodstream.
    • Beverages – avoid tea, coffee, alcohol and fizzy or processed drinks.
    • Alcohol – avoid, especially when working on the liver.
    • Smoking – avoid, especially when working on the lungs.
  • Exercise – this invigorates the circulation and helps release toxins from the tissues. Again there are no rules; even 20 minutes fast walking each day will have beneficial effects. Pace yourself if you are normally inactive.
  • Sleep/Relaxation – sleep is a great healer and rejuvenator. You will need more than usual whilst detoxing as the body is working that little bit harder. Aim for 10 hours each night. Maintaining a positive attitude and focus is also beneficial.

How long should a detox last?

This depends upon your state of health and your reason for detoxing. It can vary from a simple day long fast to a month or more. For those new to cleansing it is best to go slow and remember the one rule 'cleanse a little, build a little'. Cleansing for too long or too fast can be uncomfortable and unbeneficial. Pace yourself as toxins should be stirred up and released slowly to keep pace with your bodies own pace and abilities. If toxins are released quicker than they can be shed, you may feel even more tired and unwell than before you started. This is termed a 'healing crisis' and includes symptoms such as headaches, swollen glands, nausea and emotional disturbances. If this should occur then continue to drink water but slow down your programme until this subsides. It is vital to ensure that your bowel is moving every day, as this is one of the most important and immediate eliminative channels. If food goes in your mouth and doesn’t come out the other end it is stagnating in the bowel, passing into the bloodstream and producing an even greater toxic load. A healing crisis is an indicator that there is plenty of work to do in the future!

Specific organs & systems for detoxing

  • The Bowel
  • The Liver
  • The Kidneys
  • The Blood
  • The Lymphatic system
  • The Skin
  • The Lungs
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