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What Herbs Help the Detoxification Process

DETOXIFICATION AND HERBS:  What herbs help the detoxification process?  

By Dr. Keith E. Lewis
June 19, 2008

There are several different herbs to consider when employing or undergoing a detoxification program.  The following is a list of several of the herbal constituents that we have found to be effective in our clinical practice depending upon the patient's conditions and what the patient's desired goals for detoxification are.

I will list these herbs and just a brief presentation as to what its physiological and biochemical effects are on the body. 

Black walnut hull is an alternative and anti-fungal agent that helps the body eliminate parasites.

Hibiscus flower is mildly antibacterial and has soothing properties. It is also mildly diuretic and antiparasitic.  

Oatstraw is a very high nutritive herb causing rejuvenating as well as calming effects involving the nervous system. It even helps in exhaustion and depression.  Oatstraw helps provide minerals to nourish bones, skin, hair, and nails.  

Gentian root is an alterative antiseptic agent and cholagogue. It is extremely bitter and works as an excellent digestive agent focusing on digestive secretions.  It also helps in the breakdown of protein and fat. It even helps improve the assimilation of nutrients like iron and vitamin B12. It has a cooling effect on the body by helping reduce inflammation and infection.

Milk thistle seed is commonly used to improve liver function by stimulating protein synthesis. It is also a hepatoprotective (liver protector) agent. Milk thistle is considered a natural antioxidant, helping to detoxify a wide range of potentially damaging contaminants, including drugs, alcohol, and a wide variety of chemicals.  

Capsicum also known as cayenne pepper is another alterative antioxidant.  It is an antiseptic and is a circulatory stimulant.  It is rich in vitamin C and helps improve metabolism, thus contributing to weight loss.

Slippery elm bark is an excellent anti-inflammatory agent. It is a demulcent, laxative, and a nutritive, and promotes tissue healing, thus soothing irritated tissues of the gastrointestinal tract. It is one of the most digestible substances known.

Witch hazel is high in flavonoids that help damaged blood vessels. This plant is also somewhat antiseptic and anti-inflammatory in nature.

Mullein leaf is a demulcent, diuretic, and a vulnerary.  It soothes irritated tissues and is especially beneficial for the respiratory system.  

Pumpkin seed helps the body expel parasites and is also highly nutritive, containing beneficial linolenic acid.

Irish moss is a type of seaweed.  It soothes an irritated gastrointestinal tract.  

Yucca root is a very beneficial laxative agent.  It helps breakdown organic waste in the body. One of its primary uses in folk medicine is to relieve the inflammation associated with arthritis.  

Marshmallow root is a mild laxative.  It is nutritive and it is also rejuvenative.  It is a high mucilaginous which means it soothes an irritated digestive tract and provides moisture to dry tissues.

Violet leaf is an antifungal. It is a diuretic and also a laxative. It is safe and soothing.  It is rich in beta carotene and vitamin C.

Passion flower leaf has a very calming effect on the nervous system. It helps to calm stress and slows the breakdown of neurotransmitters.  It also helps to calm an irritable bowel.  

Yucca root is an excellent anti-inflammatory and helps relieve irritation and inflammation in the digestive tract.  

Cascara sagrada bark is widely appreciated for its quick-acting laxative effect.  It stimulates secretions from the liver, gallbladder, stomach, and pancreas due to its bitter content.

Alfalfa is a natural diuretic and laxative. It is an excellent source of fiber and provides natural chlorophyll, which has deodorizing properties, helping to sweeten the breath and freshen body odors.  

Hibiscus is a natural anti-bacterial and has soothing properties. It is also mildly diuretic and antiparasitic.  

Psyllium seed is a lubricating mucilaginous fiber used as a gentle bulking and laxative agent.  The mucilage in the seeds expands 8 to 14 times in size of the original seeds.  This can also create a feeling of fullness decreasing ones desire to overeat.  Psyllium fiber works as a broom, sweeping the gastrointestinal tract of toxins, but be sure to drink lot of water.  Psyllium is also a great cleansing agent.  

Licorice root is known oftentimes as the great harmonizer in Chinese medicine.  It is mildly laxative, nutritive, and considered rejuvenative. It soothes irritated mucus membranes and nourishes the adrenal glands.  Using small amounts of licorice helps to instill a feeling of calmness.  However, some degree of caution is necessary when using licorice because megadoses can be toxic in nature.  

If you have any other questions concerning herbs or herbal remedies especially as it relates to detoxification processes, you should contact your health care professional.