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Herbal Detox Kits

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Detoxification is one of the basic foundations of natural healing. A good detox improves health by cleansing the intestinal tract, urinary tract, liver, gallbladder, blood and lymphatic system of unwanted toxins.

Detoxification is one of the basic foundations of natural healing. A good detox improves health by cleansing the intestinal tract, urinary tract, liver, gallbladder, blood and lymphatic system of unwanted toxins.

What Are They?

Doing a detox is different than doing a fast. In our clinic, we use detoxification diet programs at about a 500:1 ratio to fasting. Instead of a fast, which includes no food (just liquids), doing a detox allows the person to eat a full alkaline diet. Herbal detox kits include wholesome diet plans as well as supplements containing such herbs as licorice root, juniper berry, burdock and dandelion root.

How Do They Work?

We classify foods into either an acid-forming, neutral or alkaline-forming category. Since many health problems stem from an overly acidic system, a good detoxification program addresses the acid-alkaline balance of the blood. This means a number of dietary restrictions.

A person on a detox program is not allowed to eat any flour products, dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt; butter is OK), tropical fruits, sweets, processed food or preservatives. Acid-forming foods such as proteins (meat, beans, most nuts and grains) should be less than 20 percent of the diet. Alkaline foods (fruits, millet, buckwheat, brown rice, almonds) and neutral foods (most vegetables) can be eaten in any quantity desired.

The toxins we aim to eliminate are heavy metals, chemicals, microbial compounds and breakdown products of protein metabolism. Some toxins can be neutralized and excreted via urine and feces (and to some degree, through the skin and lungs). Others are typically stored in fat and bone tissues.

The liver, kidneys and intestinal tract are the primary organs of detoxification. The liver performs several functions. It filters the blood to remove large toxins, synthesizes and secretes bile full of cholesterol and fat-soluble toxins and has an enzyme system that disassembles unwanted chemicals. The enzyme system has two steps, phase I and phase II. Phase I either directly neutralizes a toxin or modifies the toxic chemical to form an intermediate compound that can then be neutralized in phase II.

This detoxification process is especially important to prevent several types of cancer. About 90 per cent of environmental carcinogens can be handled and eliminated by a good liver detoxification system. If the liver or kidneys become overwhelmed by toxins, they cannot function properly.

What Evidence Supports Their Use?

Many studies have shown that regular detoxes can reduce the body’s toxic load, thus keeping the mechanism working better. One important enzyme system for phase I detoxification is cytochrome 450. People more susceptible to environmental carcinogens have been shown to have compromised cytochrome 450. By detoxing two to four times a year, you can reduce the load on this and other parts of the detoxification system.

How Should I Take an Herbal Detox?

Many detox plans are available in health food stores. Each comes with its own set of dietary and other instructions as well as supplements to actively cleanse the blood, intestinal tract, kidneys, liver and lymphatic system.

The most popular kit has three sets of tablets (for the intestinal tract, liver/gallbladder and blood/ lymphatic system). You take two tablets of each twice daily. The kit also comes with a tincture. You take 30 drops (two squirts) twice daily. We often suggest a set of digestive enzymes to accompany a detox if the person has poor digestion (most of the time).

Caveats

Detoxification programs are safe and can be done by almost anyone, but should not be done by pregnant or breast feeding mothers.

The Bottom Line

It is best to cleanse two to four times a year for optimal results. Detoxification can last from three to 14 days.

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