The Best Herbs for Cleansing the
Sam Rose, CN MS
The case for ridding the body
of accumulated waste is a strong one. Powerful natural healers over the years
have pointed to internal cleansing time and again as a cornerstone of optimum
health. Natural health giants including Dr. Bernard Jensen, Dr. Norman Walker,
Ph.D., Dr. Jon Matsen, author of Eating Alive, one of the best natural
health primers ever written, Dr. Paul Bragg, Dr. Herbert Shelton, Dr. Paavo
Airola have all emphasized the need to cleanse our internal bodies. The list of
advocates goes on and on. The question no longer is whether to detoxify, but
At the end of the nineteenth
century, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, of Kellogg’s cereal fame and subject of the
film The Road to Wellville, offered his guests a variety of cleansing
programs at the Battle Creek Sanitarium. Later, Dr. Jensen helped thousands of
patients relieve a wide assortment of ailments through internal cleansing at
his ranch retreat in Escondido, California. But these days it isn’t practical
for most of us to drop everything for days, weeks, or even months at a time to
“clean house”. We may no longer have the time, but our need to detoxify is
greater than ever.
Today, toxins from every
direction bombard our bodies. Poisons pollute the air we breathe. They seep
into the water we drink and infiltrate the food we eat. There’s just no
avoiding them. In 1993 over 271 million pounds of toxic chemicals (phosphoric
acid, ammonia, sulfuric acid, methanol etc.) were dumped into our water supply.
Agribusiness uses 33 times more pesticides today than 50 years ago. The simple
truth is your filtering and eliminative organs were not designed to process
such a heavy load. Eventually they become overworked, sluggish and toxins begin
to accumulate throughout the entire body.
Staying inside won’t work
either. The EPA reports that levels of pollutants inside buildings can be as
much as 100 times greater than outdoor pollution levels. Time magazine,
December 21,1998, in an article titled This Place makes Me Sick, reported
on the escalating problem known as sick-building syndrome, a disease of modern
architecture in which sealed, energy conserving buildings have become breeding
grounds for some particularly insidious stuff. These include out-gassing of
paint, vinyl flooring, insulation and furniture; chemical contaminants oozing
from copy machines, fax machines and laser printers; molds, fungi, bacteria and
dusts belching from dirty air ducts and inadequately maintained air conditioners.
It’s enough to make you sick…and it does.
But if this toxic monster
seems unbeatable, don’t despair. Therapeutic, internal cleansing can take the
load off your eliminative organs and free them up to do their work. Remember
that these poisons are hiding all over your body, in all the soft tissues,
organs and systems. Avoid the mistake of concentrating solely on the colon. A
colon cleanse will do you some good, but improvement will be marginal. The
large intestine is only one of your body’s five channels of elimination, albeit
the most obvious one. The lungs, lymph system, kidneys and skin each have
crucial roles to play in the cleansing process, and you’ll need to address them
all to get maximum results. The liver, the primary filter for the blood stream,
will almost certainly need detoxifying. However, unless it is especially weak
or toxic, cleansing the liver should wait until you’ve lowered the toxic load
on the rest of your body.
herbalists have formulated some excellent cleansing products you can use to
great effect, without putting your life on hold. Keep in mind, different herbs
target different organs and systems. A cleansing product’s design should be
comprehensive enough to do a thorough job. The best cleanses activate all five
channels of elimination and promote the release of toxins from every nook and
cranny. Here’s what to look for.
Channel #1 - The Colon
Unless you are having 2-3 good bowel movements every day you are
constipated and invariably toxic.
Chickweed to strengthen the bowel.
Fennel seed to relieve gas by improving digestion.
Ginger Root, which acts as a cleansing agent.
Marshmallow removes hardened mucous from the intestines.
Peppermint cleans and strengthens the bowel.
Plantain, one of the best herbs for neutralizing poison and
breaking up intestinal mucous.
Slippery Elm heals and soothes the bowel (and the lungs).
Fenugreek lubricates the intestines and dissolves hardened
Health Food for the Colon
Flax Seeds- a gentle bulking agent.
Miller’s Bran- a fiber to help restore
Whey- to acidify the colon.
Brewer’s Yeast- supplies B-complex
vitamins, amino acids and minerals to support nerve supply to the colon.
Yogurt- supplies friendly bacteria.
Super-Green Foods- chlorella, spirulina,
and blue-green algae help detoxify and build the entire body.
A colon friendly diet is largely vegetarian with lots of
high fiber vegetables, fruits, whole grains, cereals and salads.
Channel #2 – The
Every time you exhale
you are eliminating waste.
Black Cohosh- helps to loosen and expel mucous from
the bronchial tubes.
Fenugreek- helps expel phlegm, toxic waste, and
protects against infection.
Ginger Root- cleansing agent for the lungs.
Licorice Root- reduces excess fluid in the lungs.
Mullein- loosens mucous.
Marshmallow- removes mucous.
Slippery Elm- soothing and healing to the lungs
Lobelia- relieves bronchial spasms and congestion.
Health Food for the Lungs
A diet for lung health should be high in vegetable
proteins, whole grains, and low in refined carbohydrates and starches. Pitted
fruits like apricots, peaches and plums are good for the lungs, as are cultured
foods like yogurt, kefir and miso.
Channel #3 – The
system removes cellular debris from all over the body and is home to a large
part of your immune system.
Black Cohosh- stimulates secretions of the
Echinacea- improves lymphatic drainage.
Fenugreek- promotes the expulsion of toxic waste
from the lymph.
And because liver exhaustion and stress weakens lymphatic
function, support your liver with:
Dandelion Root- a powerful liver detoxificant.
Milk Thistle- very protective and cleansing to the
Health Food for the Lymph System
Too many saturated fats, refined carbohydrates, and
insufficient water intake makes lymphatic flow sluggish. A colon friendly diet
is also good for the lymph. You’ll also want to add some potassium rich foods
like broccoli, bananas and black olives. Fresh vegetable juice made from
carrots, celery, spinach and parsley is great for the lymph system and the
liver. Buy it freshly made at the health food store or, if you are feeling
particularly motivated, get a juice extractor and make it yourself using 3
carrots, 3 stalks of celery, ½ a bunch of spinach and ½ a bunch of parsley.
Channel #4 – The
water and electrolytes, maintaining normal acid-base equilibrium, retention of vital substances and the elimination of metabolic waste is the kidneys’
Burdock Root- helps detoxify the kidneys.
Ginger Root- detoxifies the kidneys.
Horsetail- tones the kidneys and bladder.
Health Food for the Kidneys
Emphasize garlic, onions, papayas, bananas, sprouts, leafy
greens, cucumbers, and watermelon- all are healing to the kidneys. Try to avoid
heavy starches, red meat, dairy products (except cultured), refined, salty and
fatty (fast) foods- they all inhibit the kidneys’ filtering ability. In
general, a healthy diet that includes plenty of water will support healthy
Channel #5 – The
largest organ also happens to be the largest organ of elimination, removing
over 20% of your body’s waste. If you want to detoxify you’re going to have to
Therapeutic Herbs – Herbs that cleanse the blood have a
beneficial impact on the skin.
Therapeutic Herbs –Black Cohosh-
neutralizes poisons in the blood.
Therapeutic Herbs –Yellow Dock- a great
Therapeutic Herbs –Burdock Root- one of the
best blood purifiers.
Therapeutic Herbs –Dandelion Root-
detoxifies the liver and the blood.
Therapeutic Herbs –Yarrow- opens the pores
to permit free perspiration.
Health Food for the Skin
Foods for healthy skin include:
mineral rich foods like leafy greens, bell peppers, broccoli, sunflower and
sesame seeds, fish and sea vegetables. Cultured foods like yogurt and kefir
supply friendly bacteria. Eat lots of high water content foods; fruits and
vegetables, and drink plenty of water, 6-8 glasses of bottled or filtered water
Turbo-charging the cleansing
process with herbs and lifestyle modification has helped thousands of my
clients relieve digestive problems, lose weight, improve poor skin, eliminate
allergies, constipation, fatigue, headaches, brain fog, menstrual problems…the
list goes on and on. Chances are, it can help you too.
Sam Rose, CN MS is a licensed and certified nutritionist
and owner of Rose Nutrition Center in West Los Angeles. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 310-473-8835.