A “medicinal” tea is a strong concoction of botanicals prepared specifically for therapeutic purposes. All seven of these herbs are known for their liver-supporting and detoxifying effects. Both roots and leaves are used, so special preparations must be made to accommodate both. (See cooking and nutrition tips below.) If you are taking a prescription medication, check with your physician before using herbs to rule out any drug-herb interactions.
Cooking Tip: Find dried bulk herbs at a local herb store or natural foods store. You can even do a search online. In the least, you can purchase a pre-packaged liver detox tea at your natural foods store. Most detox tea blends will contain some combination of the below herbs.
Cooking Tip: It’s best to decoct (boil) the roots first before steeping the leaves. Most roots need to be boiled for 30 or so minutes to extract their nutritive qualities. To make this easy, the roots and leaves should be bagged separately.
Nutrition Tip: For medicinal purposes, it’s best to prepare smaller batches of a medicinal tea for consumption that day. Get in the habit of preparing and steeping your tea at night, so it’s ready for sipping the next day.
Nutrition Tip: Milk thistle is a very effective liver detoxifier, but you will NOT get any of its benefits by drinking it in tea-form (that’s why it’s not included in this tea). It’s best when extracted in a tincture. Buy Milk Thistle tincture and place several droppers into the tea before drinking.
2 parts dandelion root
1 part burdock root
2 parts alfalfa leaf
2 parts plantain
1 part fennel seed
1 part catnip herb
Milk Thistle tincture
Mix the roots in one storage container, the leaves in another. Use 1 tablespoon total for each cup of tea (1/2 tablespoon roots, 1/2 tablespoon leaves).
To make 1 quart of tea: Bring 1 quart of water to a boil in a medium sauce pan. Add 2 tablespoons of the root mixture. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the roots for 30 minutes. Place 2 tablespoons of the leaf mixture into a quart-sized container (any glass container will do). Remove the root water from the heat and pour over the leaves (roots included). Add enough fresh water to make 1 full quart. Let steep overnight for a medicinal-strength liver tea. Add several droppers of the milk thistle tincture into the quart jar before drinking.
From Healing Herbal Teas, by Brigitte Mars:
Dandelion: A blood purifier; aids in the process of filtering and straining wastes from the bloodstream. Treats obstructions of liver, gall bladder pancreas and spleen.
Milk Thistle: Liver protective; supports liver function. Used for hepatitis and cirrhosis of the liver. May protect against aspirin and ibuprofen use, as well as alcohol and other drugs.
Alfalfa Leaf: High in chlorophyll, it helps remove excess uric acid, and is a nutritive tonic for general health.
Plantain: Reduces inflammation, clears toxins. A supreme drawing agent in that it helps draw toxins from the body.
Burdock: Improves the elimination of toxic metabolic wastes through the liver, lymph, intestines lungs, kidneys and skin, making it an excellent choice for a detox or fast.
Fennel Seed: Improves the body’s energy by enhancing digestion and assimilation of food. It clears phlegm, decongests the liver and clears stagnation.
Catnip: Moves chi, relaxes the nerves and relieves inflammation. It also improves digestion.