Spring has traditionally been the season for detoxification and cleansing. Throughout the ages, humans and animals have emerged from their winter dormancy to find themselves malnourished. Having gone months without any vegetables, they needed to seek the remedies provided by nature, many of which blossom in spring. Certain plants and compounds greatly increase the productivity of the internal organs and thus help to restore optimal health. This article summarizes the top 10 products that assist the body`s natural healing and rebuilding processes.
The Top Ten
1) Milk Thistle (seed) – Silybum marianum (Compositae)
Milk Thistle is a thorny, purple-pink flower that is commonly found growing by the roadside. Used as a liver tonic for centuries, milk thistle seeds contain the active ingredient Silymarin. By exerting a protective effect on the liver, silymarin prevents damage from compounds that are normally highly toxic, such as Poison Death Cap Mushrooms. Milk thistle flowers can be boiled and eaten like artichokes. A mild laxative and natural antidepressant, milk thistle is used to treat cirrhosis and hepatitis. Milk thistle both increases breast milk production and stimulates bile production.
2) Cascara Sagrada (bark) – Rhamnus purshiana (Rhamnacea)
Cascara sagrada is one of the safest laxatives that normally induces peristaltic action within 8-12 hours. The “sacred bark” has been used for over 1000 years. During a fast, cascara sagrada is essential, as it assists detoxification by helping the body to remove large amounts of impurities from the intestine and colon.
3) Psyllium (seed husks) – Plantago (Plantaginaceae)
Psyllium seed husks contain fiber and can absorb remarkable amounts of water. One tablespoon of psyllium will make a cup of water become as thick as pudding within one minute. Psyllium acts as a bulk laxative and provides moisture to areas commonly chapped due to digestive acids. Psyllium has soothing properties and is used to treat stomach ulcers and hemorrhoids.
4) Bentonite (clay) – Aluminium Phyllosilicate (Montmorillonite)
Bentonite clay is available in two forms: sodium bentonite and calcium bentonite. Bentonite clay is a form of volcanic ash that has the ability to physically remove 25 times its weight in impurities from the body through a process called adsorbtion. Bentonite has laxative properties and contains high levels of iron, magnesium and silicon.
5) Burdock (root) – Arctium lappa (Compositae)
You are likely to have once found Burdock burrs stuck to your clothing after walking through a field. A potent blood purifier, burdock root removes heavy metals such as mercury and aluminum, along with other toxins. Containing up to 45% inulin along with arctiopicrin, arctiin, tannins and volatile oil, burdock is used to treat skin conditions such as acne. Burdock helps to purify the liver and is used as a natural cancer treatment. Burdock has antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-tumor properties.
6) Licorice (root) – Glycyrrhiza glabra (Leguminosae)
Licorice contains glycyrrhizic acid, which is 50 times sweeter than sugar. Licorice is used to treat discomfort and arthritis. Licorice is an expectorant, demulcent, adrenal agent, and has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Note that some black licorice candy still contains real licorice extract.
7) Yellow Dock (root) – Rumex crispus (Polygonaceae)
A powerful cleansing herb and safe laxative, yellow dock is a bitter herb that contains anthraquinones. While the leaves of yellow dock contain oxalates (which can cause kidney stones in high doses), the oxalate level in the root is safe for consumption. Yellow dock is used to treat many conditions of toxicity, including acne, eczema, constipation and arthritis. Yellow dock is a bile stimulant that has purgative effects on the colon.
8) Sarsparilla (root) – Similax (Liliaceae)
Sarsparilla contains 1-3% steroidal saponins, phytosterols, and starch. Sarsparilla has anti-inflammatory and cleansing properties. Sarsparilla is used to relieve skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis, rheumatism, and gout. An aphrodisiac, sarsparilla helps produce testosterone and increases muscle mass. Used to treat impotence as well as premenstrual problems and menopause, sarsparilla is a natural antidepressant and a key component of (real) Root Beer.
9) Dandelion (leaves and root) – Taraxacum officinale (Compositae)
A bitter herb with diuretic properties, dandelion contains sequiterpene, lacotones, coumarins, taraxacoside, potassium and calcium. Dandelion is used to alleviate fasting symptoms such as headaches, and to treat hangovers, high blood pressure, coughing, constipation, and gallbladder problems. Most consider it to be a weed, but dandelion greens can be added to salad and are best picked before they flower.
10) Blue Green Algae (cyanobacteria) – Anabaena sphaerica (Cyanophata)
Blue green algae contain chlorophyll, a deep green antioxidant. “Bad” bacteria such as Fecal Coli cannot coexist with chlorophyll, which helps keep fresh water clear. Algae not only contain nearly every required vitamin and mineral, but also have the effect of increasing oxygen while reducing nitrogen and carbon.
While these natural products have powerful effects, they rarely cause unpleasant side effects. Some are available in seed form, and many can be found growing in the wild. Most are recommended to relieve the symptoms of (or provide an alternative to) chemotherapy. Herbal supplements are highly concentrated, have a long shelf life, and most will provide several months worth of doses in one container.
Editor’s note: Milk thistle heads Kirk’s list of herbs to use for detoxification and cleansing. Silymarin, the active ingredient in milk thistle, heads the list of compounds in Liver Cleanse. Taken as a spring tonic, silymarin strengthens the liver, protects liver cells from incoming toxins, and allows it to process and release toxins stored up over the winter. Silymarin is a wonderful mood lifter and energizer, helping to move stagnant liver energy. Silymarin soothes and moistens mucous membranes, and offers a remedy for kidney and bladder irritation, as well as inflammation of the skin.
In fact, milk thistle is so good for the liver that it is approved by the German Commission E Monographs for the treatment of alcoholic cirrhosis, chronic hepatitis, drug and alcohol induced liver damage, and other diseases such as acute viral hepatitis.
Silymarin is an extremely effective antioxidant, fighting the destructive processes of oxidation in the body. Studies have shown silymarin can prevent free radicals from damaging liver cells. Silymarin is also an active agent against cancer, with both in vivo and in vitro studies documenting its role in cancer treatment and prevention.
Signs of a liver that needs attention are fatigue, headaches, chronic allergies, chemical sensitivities, skin problems, and neurological issues.
The advantage of getting silymarin from Liver Cleanse is the mixed carotenoids included in the formulation. Carotenoids are a class of powerful antioxidants that work best when taken as a group. In addition to boosting liver function, they offer protection against several types of cancers, macular eye disease, and cardiovascular problems. Carotenoids work with silymarin to rejuvenate the body by promoting the growth of healthy cells and inhibiting the growth of unhealthy ones.
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants – Dorling Kindersley and Andrew Chevallier