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detox

Detoxing, why should you bother?!

Detox has become a bit of a dirty word of late! With so called experts on both sides of the debate unable to come to any firm conclusion on the subject and to be honest there is just not enough actual scientific studies and data to confirm it one way or the other. On one hand you have people who swear by it, believing that detoxing is not just necessary for your health but fundamental to it. On the other hand, you have those who say our body is perfectly capable of detoxing itself and doesn’t need any further help from us. But who is right? Is detoxing a complete waste of time?

What is Detoxification?

Detoxification is an important process of cleansing our body and yes, we have natural detoxification systems already in place. They are in our lungs, skin, digestive tract, liver, and kidneys. These organs clean out all the harmful chemicals inside our body and cleanse everything, optimally.

Most of the time!

Compared to centuries ago, our bodies are exposed to more and more chemicals and heavy metals on a daily basis. From the processed, carcinogenic foods we eat, overuse of pharmaceuticals, contaminated drinking water, to the environmental aggressors all around us such as air pollution. All these and more combined takes a hefty toll on our natural detoxification methods.

Our bodies get bombarded with so many harmful toxins, it gets overloaded and struggles to keep up. Without adequate rest, your body gets sick and tired from constantly filtering out all those toxins and disease begins to take hold, especially when you couple that with a less than optimal diet. There is no shortage of anecdotal evidence to show that the body benefits from nutritional support and detoxifying elements to help keep you functioning optimally. There are people, communities, and religions worldwide that swear by and regularly encourage various detoxing methods such as fasting, saunas, steams etc. for centuries.

Benefits of detoxing

  • Better mental clarity
  • Clear blood
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Improved digestion
  • Reduced bloating
  • Clear skin
  • Balanced body weight
  • Balanced hormones
  • Bright eyes
  • Rejuvenated energy levels
  • Maintains healthy eating habits
  • Mental health
  • Fast recovery from illness

Methods of detoxification

Fasting

This can be as simple as just not eating after a certain time in the evening and allowing your body sufficient down time. For example, not eating after 6pm and before 8am. Intermittent daily fasting, or a more detailed fasting protocol whereby you fast for more than 48 hours at a time. For fasts longer than 48 hours, your cells undergo a process called autophagy. In this process, your cells start cleaning themselves and removing dysfunctional elements. This process can only occur during fasting stages as normally, your cells are just too busy converting food into energy.

When you fast for detox, there are some important points that should be kept in mind; Only drink water and/or herbal teas to support the detoxifying process in your body. No caffeine or sugary juices. Ensure you drink enough water to encourage the elimination process, approx. 2.5 litres depending on activity levels.

When breaking your fast mainly eat organic and fresh whole foods that do not contain harmful chemicals and less heavy metals to ensure greater longer lasting benefits from your detox.

Body treatments

Steam, dry brushing, and Saunas are other good options for detoxifying. They encourage the removal of toxins through your skin.

Dry brushing is usually done before you shower, sauna or steam. Use circular motions starting from the bottom of your body and working upwards, always moving towards the heart. This exfoliates toxins from the surface level of your skin removing dead skin cells, dirt, and waste. Moreover, it stimulates the lymphatic system’s filtering process thus eliminating waste, improving the production and distribution of antibodies and lymphocytes by increasing lymph flow and circulation internally.

Steams and saunas are a wonderful way to heat up the body enough to get rid of toxins through sweat. A sauna uses dry heat, whereas a steam bath uses high humidity – both open up pores to eliminate toxins through sweat, relieve joint pains, strengthen the immune system and improve blood circulation. A steam room is great for people with respiratory issues – it loosens secretion in the throat, lungs and nose.

The heat from sauna and steam rooms makes your body sweat. Sweating relieves the body of waste products, and it is known that sitting in a sauna or steam room for around twenty minutes can rid the body of the day’s sweat and waste products.

Don’t have access to a steam room or sauna? No problem, try a facial steam, extra hot bath or even a foot soak. Open up those pours to eliminate toxins. Especially good for anyone with respiratory issues to loosen secretion in the throat, lungs and nose whilst strengthening the immune system.

Herbs

Herbs are a powerful addition for a healthy body, especially when used for keeping your body clean and clear of harmful toxins. Using Herbs allows your body to replace lost nutrients while they clean out the gunk. Natural organic herbs are a side effect free way of cleaning your body from harmful substances.

Herbs have been used for thousands of years by our ancestors for their medicinal purposes. In the last few years there has been a massive resurgence in the popularity of herbal medicine, herbal teas, and general natural holistic healthcare. Why?

Because it works!

Herbs improve various health conditions with little to no side effects and it just feels good. It’s no wonder why people of the 21st century are returning to nature for the answers.

The plant & herb family is so vast you can easily find a plant for every person, each a unique scent, taste, and quality. With so many herbs to choose from, many having similar effects on the body, you are bound to find at least one you like and can benefit from.

Herbal tea

Drinking herbal tea is a natural and convenient way to maintain and improve your health through its wonderful health benefits. When used as part of a detox health regime, the right natural herbal tea can help cleanse your body, strengthen your immune system, and support natural weight loss.

Common Herbs for Detoxing

Nettle leaf

Nettle leaf is known well for stimulating liver function. It has antioxidant properties that keeps toxins and heavy metals at bay. Nettle leaf is a natural diuretic; it naturally increases the amount of water and salt getting expelled from our body as urine. This effect also benefits in lowering blood pressure levels.

Nettle leaves nutritional profile is impressive too, containing all essential amino acids (not bad for a plant-based protein source), Vits A,B,C,K and minerals Iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium along with flavonoids, chlorophyll, and polyphenols. Is it any wonder it is one of my all-time favourite ‘weeds’ and one of few herbs that walk the line between food and medicine. “if in doubt, use nettle….”

Research has shown Nettle leaf can reduce the risk of chronic inflammation and several lab experiments have demonstrated that Nettle leaf inhibits the functionality of inflammatory hormones by blocking their production entirely. In a 2015 research, Wistar rats were assessed by giving them nettle leaf water. The results showed nettle leaf plays a clear protective role in Hg intoxication.

Yarrow

Yarrow is a beautiful common wildflower that comes in clusters with flat tops. They are tiny and come in assorted colors such as white, pink, orange, gold, etc. Yarrow is not just visually appealing, it has many health benefiting properties as well. Yarrow is loaded with anti-viral, antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, anti-parasitic properties and acts as a powerhouse element for our body. It contains tannic acid used as an antidote to soak up poisons. Just like this, yarrow herb gathers the poisons, chemicals, and all other toxins in the body and encourages secretion through the skin. It is a celebrated styptic, meaning it can slow or stop the flow of blood. It induces sweating helping to stem a fever and encourages elimination through the skin.

Adding yarrow to your diet is sure to help remove toxins from your body and leave you feeling cleansed and refreshed.

Dandelion leaf/flowers

Dandelion is another potent herb of which its flowers, roots as well as leaves can be used to remove toxins from the body. It is rich in nutrients such as vitamin K, C, A, B6, D and minerals such as iron, zinc, and potassium. Such nutrients give a boost to our body’s natural detoxifying organs. Moreover, dandelions contain rich compounds such as sesquiterpene lactones, taraxasterol, and taraxerol. These compounds are known for their calming and immune supporting properties. They function as antioxidants in our body and give a good fight to bacteria.

You can make tea from the Dandelion leaves and flowers, as well as add it into your salad, soups, smoothies, or a side for your daily meals.

Calendula

Calendula or Pot Marigold are orange flowers that are widely used around the world as a natural coloring agent. What most people do not know is that this herb is super for cleansing and healing internally as well as externally. It contains high numbers of carotenoids which are potent antioxidants. These antioxidants combat free radicals and fight off deadly toxins to protect you from things like early aging (not just wrinkles now but degenerative conditions too) and disease.

Lemongrass

Lemongrass is everyone’s favorite pick when it comes to tea. Or is that just me? it is so refreshing and delicious, I can’t help but use it in many of our HealthTea blends.

Studies show that Lemongrass tea is even more effective than green tea for antioxidant content. Shocking? It’s true, Lemongrass tea has chlorogenic acid and specific antioxidants that together act as a complete defense system for your body against toxins and bacteria.

It is also known for accelerating the cleansing functions of our natural detoxifying organs. Studies now prove it to be a successful weight loss aid as Lemongrass contains polyphenolic compounds that work to stimulate metabolism, allowing the body to burn fat more efficiently whilst boosting energy levels. It is also a natural diuretic that will help the body flush out excess water, eliminating excess fluid retention whilst gently detoxifying the liver and kidneys. Its star compound, citral, has been found to be effective in combating obesity, preventing the accumulation of abdominal fat, and promoting the use of stored energy. It could go a long way as part of a healthy weight management plan.

Red Clover

Valued by herbalists for its medicinal qualities mainly as a blood & lymphatic cleanser, you will find red clover growing in fields and gardens all over the country. Used for treating psoriasis, eczema and general skin health, poor circulation, respiratory issues & menopause symptoms.

This super wildflower is also one of natures’ best multi-vitamin & mineral supplements containing a good amount of vit C, B complex, beta carotene, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, selenium, phytoestrogens plus more!

When is the best time to drink herbal tea for detoxing?

You can drink your tea anytime you want. Honestly, it is going to do you good whatever time you drink it so don’t get too hung up on the small stuff. In saying that however, first thing in the morning when your stomach is empty can be a fantastic way to cleanse, replenish and set you up for the day. Firing up your energy levels and giving a boost to your mood as well.  SPRING CLEAN

Is detoxing necessary?

In my opinion, yes, absolutely! Again, just steer clear of fads and gimmicks that over promise and under deliver. Trust your intuition and learn to listen to your body.

Does detoxing make you feel good after? Supporting your body’s natural detoxing systems is a healthy, holistic & time-honoured way to good health by encouraging the cleansing of harmful chemicals and toxins from the body.

No need to buy any pills, potions, or starve yourself either. Just using various natural methods and adding in natural plants, flowers & herbs to your diet that contain polyphenols, chlorophylls, as well as other therapeutic compounds is the best way to keep your body in peak condition. Our busy modern lifestyles and all that comes with it have our bodies overwhelmed, this is another tool in your arsenal to help keep disease at bay. The key is to listen to your body, it has a habit of telling you exactly what you need.

I’d love to hear from you, what’s your preferred way to detox? Comment below and let’s get the conversation started.

 

 

About

Hi, I’m Róisín Sheridan, founder and creator of HealthTea. My 3 main passions in life are people, nature and health, although not always in that order...

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