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Body Detox 101: How Herbal Cleansing Works

Low on energy? Having trouble losing weight? Toxins might be to blame. Here’s how specific herbs can actually assist the body’s natural detoxification process. From The Detox Strategy by bestselling author  Brenda Watson

Herbal cleansing has long been used to naturally and safely assist in the body’s detoxification systems. A tradition of herbal cleansing is recorded in the cultures of the ancient Sumerians, Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, Chinese, Europeans, and American and Asian Indians. The Chinese have a long and rich herbal tradition, dating back some five thousand years. They count their medicinal herbs in the thousands, as compared to the hundreds used therapeutically in Western societies. The therapeutic use of herbal preparations is also an integral part of Ayurvedic medicine, an ancient Indian system of healing that has its roots in Vedic culture. The American Indians also relied heavily on the healing properties of herbs. In fact, many of the over-the-counter drugs and prescription drugs in use today in our society are derived from Native American herbs. All cultures have traditionally used eliminative herbs that have laxative, diuretic (increases urine flow), diaphoretic (sweat-inducing), and blood-purifying properties to remove toxins from the body.

The heart of your herbal detox regimen is supplementation with herbs that will help all seven of your body’s elimination channels (liver, lungs, colon, kidneys, blood, skin, and lymph) by means of several different mechanisms. Stimulating these channels naturally enhances the physical process of detoxification so that your body is able to rid itself of toxins without obstruction. Some of the mechanisms by which the recommended herbs enhance the detoxification process include:

  • stimulation of bile production in the liver
  • stimulation of peristalsis (wavelike movements in the intestines to move waste along)
  • stimulation of urine output (a diuretic effect)
  • hydration of the colon
  • stimulation of blood and lymphatic circulation
  • nutritional support to strengthen organs and protect them from toxic damage
  • promotion of mucus discharge from lungs (an expectorant effect)
  • eradication of pathogens (such as fungi, viruses, and bacteria)
  • prevention of fat deposits in the liver

Numerous herbs working together synergistically provide the above effects, one of the most important of which is stimulating bile production and flow. You’ll recall that bile is the fluid secreted by the liver and discharged to the small intestine, where it plays a critical role in the proper digestion of food, especially fats and proteins. It contains many used body substances such as salts, acids, hormones, cholesterol, mucus, fat, dead red blood cells, toxins, and other cellular debris. The liver dumps these toxic materials into the bile, which carries them into the colon so they may be flushed from the body. If bile flow is stagnant due to liver congestion, then the colon will not eliminate efficiently, and toxins will be retained. As they build up, your body will produce extra fat and retain water in an attempt to dilute toxins. The liver then becomes a key organ of elimination for the dual purposes of detoxification and weight loss. Liver support is central to any cleansing program. As always, you should consult with your doctor before implementing my suggestions.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brenda Watson, C.N.C.,  author of The Detox Strategy: Vibrant Health in 5 Easy Steps (Copyright © 2008 by Brenda Watson), is a New York Times bestselling author and one of the foremost authorities in the country on internal cleansing and detoxification. She is dedicated to helping people worldwide achieve healthy digestion and leading them on a path toward natural wellness. She lives in Dunedin, Florida, with her husband and their dogs.

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