Advocates of natural healing and alternative medicine believe that detoxification is an important method of regaining health for many people. Due to factors like overeating, unbalanced diet, consumption of processed foods, and exposure to toxins in our food, water and environment, unhealthy substances can build up in our bodies.
In some cases, our own bodies produce toxic substances, for example, during times of stress. Some of these substances are not really toxic in and of themselves, indeed some are even essential nutrients, but they become toxic when too much is stored in the body. Normally, our system is capable of eliminating these toxins on its own, but unfortunately we often defeat the body’s maintenance capabilities. Sometimes our intake of toxic substances simply overwhelms the body’s elimination system. Certain health conditions, disease, and the toxins themselves can compromise our body’s ability to properly deal with harmful substances. In some cases, there are substances that our body is just not good at getting rid of, or routinely stores for one reason or another.
Methods of detoxification
In order to help our body deal with toxic substances, we can aid in the process of elimination of toxins from the body, neutralize the substances within the body, and/or neutralize the harmful effects of the toxins.
Natural healing methods involve fasting, diet, exercise and other physical activity, and herbal/nutritional supplements and medicines to help the body detoxify in a natural manner.
The body normally eliminates wastes in urine and feces, and also in perspiration, mucus and exhalation. In order to encourage such elimination, certain herbs are used to stimulate the systems involved. For example, diuretic herbs stimulate the kidneys and urinary system to promote urination. Sometimes, for various reasons, the body may be too weak or out of tune to properly manage this function on its own. Some commonly used diuretic herbs are uva ursi, Prince’s Pine, juniper berries, peony and dandelion.
By using herbal and nutritional supplements, you can provide stimulus and nutritional support to get the body back on the right track. In some cases, deposits and stones will build up in the kidneys and urinary tract, causing the organs to become rigid and blocking passageways. In such cases, there are herbs and foods that can help dissolve such stones and deposits. Cranberry and citrus fruits are examples of foods that can help clear out the kidneys and bladder in such instances depending on whether the buildup is acidic or alkaline in nature.
Herbal laxatives are used to stimulate elimination through the bowels. Very mild types of treatment of this kind may involve only the use of “slippery” substances like olive oil to help with lubrication. Some herbs like Oregon graperoot and garlic stimulate the liver to secrete bile into the intestinal tract. You can also take bulk fiber supplements like pysllium husks to help “push” blockages through the gastrointestinal system.
Harmful free radicals
One of the harmful effects caused by toxins in the body is the generation of atoms, molecules or ions known as “free radicals.” Because they have unpaired electrons, free radicals are highly reactive and contribute to a harmful process known as oxidation.
Herbs and nutrients that help clean up free radicals and prevent other types of oxidation are known as antioxidants. Because antioxidants help in counteracting the symptoms of toxins in the body they are quite popular. Many antioxidants are common nutrients like vitamins C, A and E and thus are quite helpful to the body aside from their antioxidant properties.
Many antioxidants tend to have limited or no side effects, so they can be taken regularly in liberal quantities without harming the body. They can thus be used as a preventative or a regular body tonic to deter free radicals and excessive oxidation in the body.
Many of the “super fruits” are popular because they are very high in antioxidants. These include pomegranate, goji berry, acai, cranberry, noni, blueberry, mango and mangosteen.
By using herbs as part of an overall detoxification program that can include dieting, a physical regimen, stress reduction, and other techniques, you can bring your body back to its natural healthy condition. Once the body is free of toxins, maintaining good health is much easier.