Our bodies have the natural ability to detoxify on a regular basis as a way to maintain homeostasis, or balance. Our livers are constantly working to filter out substances which are either foreign or are waste byproducts of our metabolic processes. (We must actually detoxify from our own hormones in this way.)
Supporting Our Pathways of Elimination
These toxins can then be removed by our bodies through pathways of elimination. One pathway leads through our gallbladders, via bile, and out of our bodies through our digestive tracts in the form of feces. We also get rid of toxins through our kidneys in the form of urine. Our skin is another pathway, facilitating the removal of toxins through sweat.
You can clearly see that if there are any hang ups with these pathways our bodies are not able to detoxify as effectively as they should. Chronic constipation is a huge hindrance. If we don’t drink enough water we aren’t flushing out our kidneys like we should. If we don’t ever exercise to the point of sweating or we use antiperspirants to block sweat we are not facilitating our bodies’ natural cleaning process. If any of these things go on for a period of time we can start to get a back-up of toxins and our bodies will start storing them.
We need to support these pathways in order to feel healthy and energetic. Once we have addressed the logistical aspects, like eating enough fiber, drinking enough water and getting some aerobic exercise, we can use medicinal herbs to aid us in our effort.
Dandelion (pictured above) is a plant that most people would call a weed. I call it a volunteer plant, making itself available for our use in most of our yards and open spaces. It is one of the best herbs for supporting our our elimination pathways.
Benefits of Dandelion
- It is a diuretic, which means that it increases the flow of urine.
- It is a hepatic, meaning that it supports and improves the function and metabolism of the liver.
- It is a cholagogue, which means it has a direct impact on the secretion and release of bile.
- It is a laxative, meaning it improves elimination through the colon.
There are many ways to use dandelion. If you do not spray your yard with herbicides or pesticides you probably have a fresh supply this time of year. You can simply pick the fresh, young leaves, wash them, and add them to your salads. You could also let the leaves dry (by spreading them out in a basket or on a paper bag) and use them to make tea. You would use about one tablespoon of dry leaves per 8oz of hot water.
If you don’t have dandelion volunteering in your yard, you can purchase tea bags. I particularly like Traditional Medicinals roasted dandelion tea. It has a great flavor! You can also get a liquid extract that comes in a one ounce bottle with a dropper. The suggested dosage is found on the bottle.
Using supportive herbs like dandelion is a great way to facilitate detoxification on a regular basis. We can also do more intensive detoxification periodically to help regenerate our bodies’ cleansing abilities and improve our health. Spring is the perfect time to cleanse, but it’s good to remember that there’s no one type of cleanse that is right for everybody. The kind of detox that I would design for someone would be based on their health history, and present health situation.
If you are interested in finding out more about how a springtime cleanse might help you feel healthier and more vibrant give me a call.
* Consult with me or another health care practitioner before taking dandelion or doing a cleanse if you take prescription medications, or you are pregnant or nursing.