Our toxin elimination organs are: the liver (in priority), the kidneys, the colon, but also the lungs and respiratory tract (lungs and sinuses), the skin and the mucous membranes. It is already possible to support them simply, with a “hypotoxic” diet (see how to eat during a detox cure), by chewing well, by having moderate exercise, or with specific care. And widely used, there are plants and phytotherapy…
Plants for the drainage of toxins
Plants have long been used to promote the elimination of toxins. They can stimulate the functions of the emunctories (organs responsible for eliminating undesirable substances): liver, kidney, colon, lungs, skin, etc.
We are well aware of the dandelion cure or our grandmothers’ cherry stalk tea, but we know less about the real effects of so-called “draining” plants on our various organs of elimination.
Each region of the world has its own traditions and its own plants. In general, nature is well made and the plants that grow in an area are rather well adapted to its inhabitants. Thus, we have available in our countries drainage plants that work well, and nothing proves that their Asian equivalents are more effective for Europeans (except in terms of marketing: exoticism sells).
The drainage with the plants is done by cures, in general of a few weeks. Of course, it is necessary to adopt, at the same time, a diet low in toxic substances and substances that are difficult to digest. It is good to follow some rules of hygiene of life favoring the elimination. All this is described in our detox guide.
It is also good to know that many draining plants are in fact common foods such as fennel, artichoke, black radish…
Which detox product to choose to drain the body?
It is true that purely natural cures are rare, there are many brands that promise you an effective draining product and we do not really know what these substances contain or whether the cure is suitable. A detox cure adapted must stimulate your organs of elimination which need it the most. You can thus eliminate your toxins effectively and naturally, without exaggeration.
Liver and bile duct detox
The liver is considered the main detoxifying organ. It constantly filters the blood of our body (about 1.5 liters (i.e. 20 to 25% of our circulating blood) per minute. It is responsible for eliminating toxins through the digestive tract or making them soluble in the urine.It has a vital detoxification function with 2 phases.These require the presence of numerous amino acids, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and vitamins (especially of the B group) to take place well.
When to detoxify the liver?
When he seems “tired” or overwhelmed in his work. The liver is primarily useful for the elimination of toxic substances absorbed in our environment (pollutants and xenobiotics). Alas, poor eating habits and the frenetic pace of our modern societies will add a heavy workload for our liver.
The signs of hepatic congestion are mainly digestive disorders due to insufficient bile secretion: heaviness after meals, easy nausea, constipation, fatty stools, bloating and drowsiness after eating, but also: disgust in the morning for cooking smells, coated tongue, white or yellow, the whites of the eyes slightly yellow, very dark urine, skin rashes, itching…
How to help the liver eliminate toxins?
Certain amino acids are known to help the liver in its work: arginine, cysteine, betaine.
Plants have proven their action at this level. We call ” cholagogues » those that activate the production of bile by the liver and its elimination by the gallbladder. Several are used in the development of drugs, such as milk thistle used against hepatitis. It is also mainly Desmodium, Chrysantellum, Artichoke, Dandelion, Boldo, Black Radish in the West and Guduchi, Turmeric and Neem in Indian medicine, for example (it is also very interesting to see how Ayurvedic medicine considers detoxification as a way of regeneration).
These plants for the liver are very often used during detoxifying cures in different medicines. Some are eaten as they are, others are used in extracts, tinctures or powders… Among cholagogue foods and liver stimulants: eggplant, avocado, celery, chicory, cabbage, lettuce, green beans, apple, grapes (organic!)…
Bowel drainage and purging
With age, the transit is often slowed down but certain causes can be fought:
- maintain good abdominal muscles,
- engage in physical activity (walking, jogging),
- drink plenty,
- maintain a good intake of dietary fiber by eating a lot of vegetables…
When to drain the bowel?
The intestine eliminates badly when the transit is slowed down (constipation), but also: in case of imbalance of the intestinal flora. The symptoms are: irregular, fatty stools, excessive fermentation or putrefaction with very strong odors, sensitive intestines, irritable colon, colic, spasms, etc.
Which plants to activate the intestine?
Some plants can activate the transit and the function of intestinal elimination gently: Dandelion, Flax, Aloe vera, Triphala, Milk Thistle… All vegetables and fruits are rich in fiber which helps transit and are capable of absorbing certain toxic substances on their own. Whole grains are too, but their fibers can be a little more irritating to sensitive intestines.
From foods that help transit : agar-agar, prunes, oat bran, beets, persimmons, leeks, courgettes, aubergines, plums, onions, blueberries, raspberries and currants…
Some plants have a frankly laxative effect and should only be used for short courses of drainage (purges), and with caution: Senna, Cascara, Casse, Bourdaine...
Avoid strong laxatives that irritate the intestine. Instead, try to re-educate the intestine with a high fiber diet, good chewing (which we don’t have, eating too quickly most of the time), and regular walking.
Phytotherapy drainage of the kidneys and urinary tract
The kidneys mainly eliminate nitrogenous waste from the transformation of proteins: urea, uric acid, creatine, but also drugs, toxins and pollutants (xenobiotics). These are water soluble substances.
The kidneys atrophy from the age of fifty and their work of elimination is affected. This is all the more marked if one has been in contact with renal toxins (certain drugs, industrial solvents, etc.) or in the event of diabetes, arterial hypertension, etc.
When to drain the kidneys?
In the event of an increase in acid waste in the blood (urea, uric acid, lactic acid, oxalic acid, etc.), in the event of fluid retention (edema of the feet, legs, fingers, marked dark circles and swollen eyes, etc.).
Many people believe that draining the kidneys is important for losing weight. It is not so, and taking diuretics for this is useless and perhaps dangerous (see more explanations in detox in weight loss: draining to slim down)
How to detoxify through the kidneys
By drinking enough water for the kidney to dilute its waste. Water little mineralized are the best for this (Volvic, Abatilles, Mont-Roucous…). They have a greater toxic dissolving power.
Classical kidney-stimulating herbs have a mild diuretic effect. Those are : mouse-ear, orthosiphon, meadowsweet, birch bark and, in Ayurvedic Indian medicine, Guduchi (tinospora), Triphala…Foods that activate kidney function are dandelion, fennel, asparagus, garlic, beets, celery, cucumber, green tea, lettuce, lemon…
Drainage of the lungs and airways
The lung permanently eliminates carbon dioxide but it can also reject other waste and undesirable substances such as alcohol, certain drugs and solvents, volatile fatty acids, acetone, etc.
When to drain the lungs?
When the respiratory mucous membranes secrete too much phlegm: persistent sinusitis, persistent stuffy nose, more or less permanent secretions and/or bronchial congestion…
How to detoxify the lungs?
Some plants promote this elimination function: Marshmallow, Coltsfoot, Pine and in Ayurvedic medicine, garlic, holy basil (Tulsi), mullein (“white broth” in Europe)…
Lung tissue tends to lose its suppleness and elasticity with age, especially if glycation is high (binding of sugars to structural proteins in the body). I’physical exercise maintains this flexibility while atmospheric pollutants and tobacco aggravate it.
Drainage through the skin and sweat glands
Cutaneous drainage is an activation of the functioning of the sweat glands. The skin can eliminate heavy metals (lead, mercury, arsenic…), salts and minerals, crystals and colloids… Useful plants here are the Burdock, Soapwort, Nettle… In Ayurvedic medicine, the Neem (clarified butter) is widely used.
When to drain the skin?
When the liver, kidneys or intestines are overwhelmed by the quantity of toxin to be eliminated and the skin takes over, with heavy perspiration or even dermatoses, eczema, acne, etc.
Also note that the sweat glands generally decrease with age. The skin becomes drier, its vascularization tends to be reduced. Poorly drained skin often secretes an acidic and unpleasant odor. It may also become too rough or scaly.
How to increase skin detox
It can be stimulated by sweating (sauna, sweat chambers, long infrared, physical exercise, etc.), the massage, friction and brushing but also with certain plants such as burdock, horsetail, meadowsweet… Ayurvedic massages use large quantities of oils to drain or nourish the skin. These oils are different according to the constitution of each person.
Detox in a “integral” way
In integral anti-aging medicine, drainage (or detoxification) most often requires addressing several emunctories, and is done with draining plant-based products to which antioxidants and amino acids are combined to be more effective. (especially at the level of liver).
Drainage (or “purgative”) phytotherapy is part of detoxification in integral medicine (widely used in Ayurvedic medicine). It is readily associated with physical techniques for cleansing certain organs (sweating, massage, enemas, etc.), moderate exercise, and above all an adequate hypotoxic diet.
A knowledgeable doctor will be able to choose the products and techniques best suited to your case.
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