WHAT IS DETOXIFICATION?
Detoxification is the process of removing harmful toxins, chemicals, and other substances from your body.
Often people will go on a detox or cleanse in an attempt to reset their body after an indulgent holiday, weekend, or as a way to kickstart new habits.
As well, detoxification has become very trendy. This has resulted in a wide-range of misleading and unfortunately incorrect information about detoxification. It’s important to understand that you don’t need to do anything radical to detox naturally.
The month-long juice fast, water fast, or no-sugar, no-gluten, no-dairy, no-carbs, no white foods detox diet – are not what you need.
In fact, these kinds of trendy detox diets can be very dangerous, resulting in actual damage to your physical and mental health – rather than helping you support it naturally.
How does detoxification work? Basically, detoxification means cleansing the blood. This is done by removing impurities from the blood in the liver, where toxins are processed for elimination. The body also eliminates toxins through the kidneys, intestines, lungs, lymphatic system, and skin.
So many people don’t realize that our bodies come with the best natural detox system possible – our organs.
The liver, kidneys, lungs, lymph, colon, and skin are all involved in removing the excess waste that is produced by the body’s natural metabolic processes.
When these organs are working at their peak abilities, your body is able to naturally detoxify – removing harmful substances that can result in feelings of sluggishness, bloating, weight gain, fatigue, and a general sense of not feeling well.
Each of these 6 organs is responsible for a different detox process in your body:
The liver is responsible for cleaning your blood and getting harmful toxins ready for excretion. Your liver filters and cleans you blood, by metabolizing all chemicals (good and bad) in your body.
Once your liver has metabolized and processed the waste and toxins in your body, your kidneys take over – converting this to urine.
Every time you breathe, your lungs filter out CO2, mold, allergens, and any other airborne toxins. Your lungs are constantly working to filter and clean the air you breathe.
Your lymphatic system works with your blood circulation to eliminate harmful bacteria, viruses, infection, and other pathogens. Often before you get sick, your lymph nodes can become swollen and sore due to the infection or bacteria being eliminated.
Your colon or large intestine is responsible for removing solid waste from your body. This is important to ensure that harmful toxins are not reintroduced and circulated into your bloodstream. Your colon is also home to your microbiome, which scientists have recently learned is critical to how well your body, including your immune system and digestion function.
When you sweat, your skin is working to remove toxins from your body. Your skin is your largest organ and it functions to both absorb and eliminate toxins.
Drink Lemon Water
Besides being a zesty, refreshing start to your day, lemon water has some natural detox perks as well.
Lemon water “can help stimulate the digestive process, including bile production, which aids the liver in removing waste products,” says Ragno.
In other words, if you suffer from constipation, drinking lemon water can help move things along.
Ragno recommends drinking the juice of half a lemon to one full lemon in a glass of warm, filtered water first thing in the morning.
While water is the perfect go-to for sipping all day, herbal teas are great aids for detoxing.
“Stay hydrated to help flush out toxins,” says Ragno. “Try incorporating herbal teas that support liver and blood cleansing, such as dandelion root, milk thistle, burdock root, red clover and nettle.”
Good thing fall and winter are the perfect seasons for curling up with a hot mug of tea!
When you support your organs with natural and simple healthy living habits, you’re giving these organs the extra support they need to keep you feeling and looking well.
Instead of trying to get rid of those lawn and garden weeds, harvest them for free homegrown meals.
All too often, homeowners and gardeners wage war in their lawns and gardens against the plants that grow incredibly well there, but that aren’t intentionally planted. And many times, the justification for these battles all comes down to the words we use to describe them.
When we buy and plant packets of common flower, vegetable, or herb seeds, we spend a lot of time, energy, and water in our efforts to get those seeds to germinate and grow, and take pride in our green thumb and homegrown food supply.
But when a plant that we identify as being a weed is found growing in our lawn or garden, out comes the trowel and hoe (or for the ruthless and impatient gardeners, weedkillers such as RoundUp), and we may spend the entire growing season keeping these opportunistic and resilient plants at bay, in order to have neat and tidy garden beds and uniform lawns. And it’s too bad, really, as many of the common garden weeds are not only edible and nutritious, but can be a great homegrown (and free) addition to our meals.
Part of the resistance to eating plants that we believe to be weeds, in my opinion, is that we are conditioned to only consider the items we find in the grocery store as food, and not things that the rest of the neighborhood sees as unwelcome invaders in lawns and gardens. And unless we’ve been exposed to eating plants that are seen as common garden weeds, and had them prepared for us, we’re probably not likely to try to eat them on our own. Once in a while, we might come across dandelion greens or purslane for sale in the produce section of the grocery store, or the farmers market, but for the most part, many common edible garden weeds aren’t available anywhere else except for our lawns or garden beds. And that’s a shame.
Although the edible weeds that you can find in your yard might be different ones than the ones I find in my yard, due to weather, soil conditions, and geography, here are some of the most common garden weeds that can be used for both meals and medicine.
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Dandelion Root Naturally Aids Detox
The quintessential garden and lawn weed, dandelions have a bad reputation among those who want grass that looks as uniform as a golf course, but every part of this common edible weed is tasty both raw and cooked, from the roots to the blossoms. Dandelion leaves can be harvested at any point in the growing season, and while the youngest leaves are considered to be less bitter and more palatable raw, the bigger leaves can be eaten as well, especially as an addition to a green salad. If raw dandelion leaves don’t appeal to you, they can also be steamed or added to a stir-fry or soup, which can make them taste less bitter. The flowers are sweet and crunchy, and can be eaten raw, or breaded and fried, or even used to make dandelion syrup or wine. The root of the dandelion can be dried and roasted and used as a coffee substitute, or added to any recipe that calls for root vegetables.
A recent Korean studyTrusted Source suggests that dandelion could have similar effects on the body as the weight loss drug Orlistat, which works by inhibiting pancreatic lipase, an enzyme released during digestion to break down fat.
Testing the impact of dandelion extract in mice revealed similar results, prompting researchers to recommend further study on the possible anti-obesity effects of dandelion.
When you think of dandelions, you likely think of those straggly yellow flowers that speckle your lacky neighbors’ unkempt lawn.
It certainly makes me think of my most hated summertime childhood chore: weeding.
But it turns out one of the most common weeds, the bane of idyllic suburbia landscaping — the dandelion — is actually an herb that greatly assists the body’s natural detoxification processes.
“Dandelion is a sunny, subtle, yet incredibly healing plant used for thousands of years in China and mentioned in traditional Arabian medicine in the tenth century C.E. It has been used for centuries, in traditional medicine practices all over the world, as a restorative tonic, edible food, and in herbal wines and beers. The root is a favorite amongst traditional herbalists as it supports the healthy functioning of the liver, kidneys, spleen, and gallbladder and is considered to be a reliable detoxifying agent.”
And to think we’ve disregarded it for so long! Time to make friends with those lacky neighbors…
Dandelion root naturally aids detox:
1. Dandelion root stimulates the liver and gallbladder, promoting the release of bile, which carries toxins out of the body. Stagnant bile can cause the liver to become congested, impairing its overall functioning, as well as painful gallstones (no fun).
2. A digestive bitter, dandelion root aids digestion. Bitters stimulate the digestive system, especially the secretion of gastric juices, helping to properly digest food. Improper digestion can cause leaky gut, which allows undigested food particles, bacteria, and toxins into the bloodstream. This places a burden on the liver, which now must work overdrive to cleanse the blood of these invaders.
3. Dandelion contains inulin, which acts as a prebiotic — essentially the “food” healthy gut bacteria needs to thrive. These healthy gut bacteria play a number of vital roles in the body, one of which is to help breakdown and eliminate toxins in the intestines.
4. Dandelion root contains vitamin A, C, and D as well as the B vitamins, iron, magnesium, zinc, potassium, manganese, copper, choline, calcium, boron, and silicon. Many of these vitamins and minerals function as important antioxidants, protecting the cells from toxic invaders, which can then be properly eliminated.
5. Dandelion root is a diuretic that helps the liver and kidneys flush excess water and wastes.
It Could Have Future Anti-Cancer Applications
Recently, dandelion root has been studied for its cancer-fighting potential, and so far the results appear promising.
A Canadian study Trusted Source showed that dandelion root extract induces cell death in melanoma cells without impacting non-cancerous cells.
How to Make It
Perhaps one of the most important facts about dandelion tea is that it’s easy to find and make. Just make sure the plants have not been treated with any chemicals before harvesting them.
Also, harvest the plants when they are young, preferably. After cleaning and preparing the plant, pour hot water over the top of greens or roasted and ground roots, steep, strain, and enjoy!
If your garden is already flooded with dandelions, you don’t need to rely on store-bought tea (just make sure you or someone else hasn’t treated your lawn with chemicals):
Flowers and Leaves: Wash, then let steep in hot water for 15-20 minutes.
Roots: Wash very thoroughly, chop into fine pieces, and heat on high in an oven for about two hours. Steep 1-2 teaspoons in hot water for about 10 minutes.
The premise is that many modern day medicines work on the basis that they treat the symptoms and not the cause, but contained within The Lost Book of Remedies are a number of tinctures and tonics made from plants and leaves that will treat the cause of the illness, thus eradicating the disease altogether.
The book is a direct copy of the little notebook carried around by the author’s grandfather when treating his patients. However, the illustrations of the plants have been updated to photographs so that they are easier for you to identify.
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