I am going to write in more detail about detoxification in future blogs, particularly about how you can increase detoxification through various approaches. In the meantime here are some simple ways to help you detoxify on an ongoing basis in your daily life:
Eat natural, whole, healthy foods whenever you can
Exercise three or four times a week to perspiration level
Drink plenty of good, clear, clean water
Have a massage occasionally on a regular basis
Eat plenty of fibre in your diet from fresh fruits whole grains, and vegetables
if you work in a polluted environment take precautions to prevent inhalation of toxic substances when you can.
For the most part - our liver, kidneys lung and skin are the organs that remove toxins. If they are functioning well, then avoiding toxins is the best choice. To increase the liver detox. system the herb Silymarin can be helpful. Vegetables that have natural detoxifying agents are: the Brassica family vegiies like Cauliflower, Broccoli, and Brussel sprouts and cabbage becasue they contain natural glucosinilates or substances that solubilize toxins. Stay away from chronic alcohol use.
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I'd like to second Dr. Leyton's advice. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, we tend to take a moderate approach. Rather than trying to quickly purge accumulated toxins, we prefer to see a patient reduce exposure and adhere to the kinds of basic healthy living standards that permit your own natural detoxification functions to work. That means a balanced diet of real, whole foods and regular exercise (both in moderation), combined with a healthy physical and mental/emotional environment.
If you have some specific signs of illness, herbal medicine or nutritional supplements (or possibly even pharmaceuticals) may be an approprate treatment, but I am highly skeptical of trying to micro-manage the body's biochemical balances through high dosages of herbs or supplements on an ongoing basis. I simply don't believe we have the knowledge to fully understand the consequences of manipulating these systems.
The word "detox" has become one of the hottest terms in the natural products marketplace. It has resulted in the single largest upswing of any "hot" trend that I've seen in more than twenty years of watching this product category. Your local health food store has huge stocks of products that are meant to "detoxify" the body -- they range from expensive to very inexpensive, and they use that term on their packaging in hopes of attracting the consumer's eye. Personally, while much of the advice you get from my colleagues above is right on target, I believe that manufacturers have pushed WAY too hard on this buzzword. It's currently a fad to "detox" and I don't think it will last. There are some very dangerous products out there that use this label.
One reason that manufacturers can use this term and get away with it is that it really doesn't fit into the FDA's guidelines for a drug claim. In other words, if it were a claim like "cures AIDS" or "kills cancer cells," than the manufacturer making the claims could get shut down or face huge fines. But these claims of detoxification are much more subtle, so for at least the time being, the FDA and the FTC are not clamping down. Some of these herbal detox products simply give you a bad case of diarrhea -- other products, if taken too often, can drain your body of vital nutrients.
There are indeed some herbs that can protect the body from toxins. The herb Rhodiola rosea, also known as Golden Root (trademark name Arctic Root), has been shown in studies to protect organisms against toxins. For example, scientists put sea slugs in a bath containing toxins that would kill most everything, and those that had been eating Rhodiola survived. Not only that, they were able to reproduce, which the other slugs could not do after the toxin bath. So, it is logical that if you take this adaptogen daily you can keep pollutants and toxins at bay.
Other than adaptogens, I think the best advice is to eat natural whole foods, drink plenty of water, and exercise (as one of my colleagues says above). Good luck to you!
Dave Jensen, publisher Sham vs. Wham (http://shamvswham.blogspot.com/)
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