Naturopathic medicine has been using detoxification for over 3000 years. Ayurvedic medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Native Americans, and folk medicine all use herbs and spices for medicinal and detoxification purposes. Herbs and spices are the primary detox supplements used to cleanse the body of toxins. During detoxification herbs and spices aid the body’s natural elimination systems. The body’s natural elimination system includes the liver, urinary system, digestive system, skin and lungs. Herbs and spices can be classified by the organ or system for which it works upon once it enters the body. There are a variety of ways that herbs and spices can be consumed to help cleanse the body of toxins. The difference between herbs and spices is that herbs are the leafy, green part of plants and spices come from the dried seeds, fruit, root, bark and vegetative substance. All spices are herbs however not all herbs are spices. Both herbs and spices can be added to foods, consumed alone, made into a tea or concoction or applied with oil. When used in detoxing the body, herbs and spices have different properties such as nutritive, rejuvenative, alterative, demulcent, antioxidant, antifungal, laxative, diuretic, antiseptic, expectorants, diaphoretic and cholagogue. Here you can find a list of herbs and how they act upon the bodies systems.
Alfalfa: As a natural laxative and diuretic, alfalfa cleanses the bowels. Alfalfa is an excellent source of fiber and contains many trace minerals. It also contains the plant compound chlorophyll, which has a natural deodorizing effect and breaks down carbon dioxide within the body.
Black cohosh : Black cohosh works on many systems within the body. It restores health to the body by loosening and expelling mucous from within the lungs, as well as stimulating secretions from the lymph, liver and kidneys. It protects the mucous membranes by neutralizing poisons within the bloodstream.
Black walnut: Black walnut is an anti-fungal agent, which expels parasites from the body. It also works within the bowels to remove fatty material, which stores toxins and impurities.
Burdock root: Burdock root has multiple purposes within the body for a powerful detox. It is an excellent blood purifier, stimulates bile secretion in the liver, and facilitates digestive processes. Burdock root decreases the build up of heavy metals especially in cases of treatment for cancer such as chemotherapy, and radiation. In addition burdock has anti-tumor and anti-mutagen effects.
Capsicum: Capsicum is an alterative, antioxidant, and antiseptic. It increases metabolism, which stimulates circulation. It is rich in vitamin C and contributes to weight loss.
Cascara sagrada : Cascara sagrada is one of the most common and powerful herbal laxatives. It is a fast acting laxative which to ease constipation. It contains anthroquinoness, which give it its laxative effects. Additionally it stimulates secretions of the liver, gall bladder, stomach and pancreas. This herb should only be used for short term.
Dandelion : Dandelions are one of the best liver herbs. It is a diuretic, which flushes the system and reduces fluid retention. This in turn reduces edema and increases weight loss. While cleansing the body of toxins, dandelions can also stimulate alcohol metabolism in the liver during times of hangover. It is an antioxidant, which is rich in vitamin A. Dandelion should be taken to repair liver damage and keep the liver and gall bladder clean and healthy.
Echinacea : Echinacea restores healthy body function by building up the immune system. It stimulates the immune response by boosting the production of lymphocytes, macrophages and interferon to reduce pathogens within the body. This increases the body's ability to eliminate bacteria, infection, toxins and chemicals.
Fennel seed : Fennel seeds are mainly used to induce bowel movements. It relieves gas, gas pains and cramps within the gastrointestinal tract. The main ingredient within fennel seeds inhibits spasms in the smooth muscles of the intestine.
Fenugreek : Fenugreek has an eliminating effect to restore health to the body. It expels toxins from the lymphatic system through mucous, and phlegm. It also has the ability to soften and dissolve hardened masses of accumulated toxins.
Gentian root: Gentian root is an antiseptic that stimulates bile secretion from the liver and the digestive tracts. It reduces inflammation and infection to restore normal function. It improves assimilation of nutrients such as proteins, fats, iron and vitamin B12.
Guar gum : Guar gum has a laxative effect on the bowel. It is a soluble digestible fiber, which absorbs undesired chemicals and toxins in the intestines. It also has the ability to lower cholesterol and curb appetite.
Ginger: Ginger--full name zingiber officinale--stands out as a remedy for a host of common ailments, from travel sickness and nausea to poor circulation. Herb Wisdom reports that ginger demonstrates impressive anti-inflammatory actions and may also have a role to play in arthritis, headaches and coughs. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions of ginger can help regenerate the liver during chemical difficulties that can occur when processing a range of toxins. Herbalists believe that terpenes and an oleo-resin called ginger oil represent the active components of this versatile spice.
Horsetail : Horsetail is an antifungal agent and has a diuretic effect on the body. It helps to flush the urinary tract of toxins. Horsetail is rich in trace minerals, which helps in the healing of bone, flesh and cartilage.
Irish Moss: This is a type of seaweed that is alterative, nutritive, and demulcent. It soothes the mucous membranes of the gastrointestinal tract.
Licorice root: Licorice root has mild laxative effects. It soothes irritated mucous membranes and nourishes the adrenal glands. It fights viruses by helping the body to produce antibodies. It also has nutritive, rejuvenative, and antioxidant properties.
Marshmallow : Marshmallow root is a soothing and detoxifying herb with mild laxative properties. It protects mucous membranes, sooths irritated digestive tracts and restores moisture to dry tissues. It is an alternative, demulcent, diuretic, nutritive and rejuvenative.
Milk thistle : Milk thistle is a powerful liver protectant. It stimulates protein synthesis, which strengthens the liver making it function more efficiently. It cleanses the liver of damaging contaminants such as drugs, alcohol and chemicals. Milk thistle is a natural antioxidant, which boosts the production of glutathione and inhibits the production of leukotrienes and free radicals.
Mullein leaf: Mullein leaf is a demulcent, diuretic and vulnerary. It soothes irritated tissues, heals wounds and protects the respiratory system.
Passionflower leaf : Passionflower leaf has a calming effect on the nerves, digestive tract and bowels. It calms the symptoms of constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. By calming stress it slows the breakdown of neurotransmitters.
Psyllium seed: Psyllium seeds have a laxative effect, which promote health bowel movements. Effective at cleaning out the intestines and colon. Once in the digestive tract, the seed absorbs water and swells, scrubbing and cleaning out any toxins or chemicals. This can be used for constipation, IBS, and as a fiber supplement.
Pumpkin seed: Pumpkin seeds are very helpful at expelling parasites from the body. They are high nutritive and also contain linolenic acid.
Slippery elm : Slippery elm is an anti-inflammatory, demulcent, laxative and nutritive. Slippery elm heals and soothes all parts of the body especially the mucous membranes of the gastrointestinal tract. It is very digestible and neutralizes stomach acidity.
Turmeric: Turmeric demonstrates a very powerful antioxidant action, giving rise to a number of dietary supplements that aim to harness these beneficial properties. Although best known as the spice in Indian foods that imparts the rich yellow-orange color in curries, turmeric is featured in the cooking of many other parts of the world and can protect the liver during detoxification processes. Williams notes that turmeric can also help trigger the gallbladder action to help remove conjugated toxins from the liver.
Violet leaf: Violet leaf is an alterative, antifungal, demulcent, diuretic and laxative. Safe and soothing for normal use. Rich in beta-carotene and vitamin C to restore nutrients.
Witch hazel bark : Witch hazel bark is an antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant. It is high in flavanoids, which help to heal damaged blood vessels, inflammation and bruises.
Yucca root: Yucca root is an alternative; this root restores health to the body by detoxing the bowels. It helps to break down organic waste.