By: Sarah Grace Powers – Confluence Daily is your daily news source for women in the know.
If you’ve visited the supplement section of a natural foods store lately, you were likely confronted with a huge display featuring a dizzying array of products that promised to cleanse and detox your system.
One reason for this is—as I explained in last week’s post on seasonal detoxing—the changing of seasons to Spring or Fall is a traditional time to cleanse and detox the body to clean out sludge from the winter or summer parties.
And, the advent of Spring is a time when many people feel even more determined to start eating healthier and lose those extra pounds. Marketers know this and many companies run sales on detox and diet products at the beginning of Spring, just like they do at New Year’s Resolution time.
There’s nothing wrong with this – except that if you’re a newbie to the whole idea of detoxes, you can get a wee bit overwhelmed about which is the best formula for you.
As I wrote in last week’s post, there’s no easy answer to this question. Every individual body is different and we all need different foods, supplements and lifestyle plans in order to thrive. But I thought I’d offer up a few important considerations to keep in mind if you’re wanting the aid of herbs and supplements for internal cleansing.
Most detox plans do recommend drinking cleansing herbal teas. It’s always preferable to brew your herbal teas from whole leaves rather than teabags – but sometimes that’s just not practical.
There are tons of boxed teas on the market – and many of them are pretty decent. If you choose to drink the more instant variety of herbal teas, make sure the company uses organic herbs. Yogi Tea makes a nice assortment of detox teas in various flavors. You can find these at most natural foods stores, online, and even some supermarkets.
If you’ve got the time and inspiration to purchase dried herbs in bulk and make your own blends, I’ve included a couple of recipes to try. Be sure to purchase your herbs from a company that is dedicated to high quality and sells mostly organic or wildcrafted herbs. You could try Moonrise Herbs.
There are many herbs to choose from when blending a cleansing herbal tea. Roots like dandelion (raw), burdock, licorice, yellow dock and Oregon grape are detoxifying to the liver and blood. Fennel, fenugreek and caraway seeds help with gas, bloating and digestion. Nettles remineralize the body and reduce water retention. Sage eliminates mucus in the stomach and respiratory passages. Peppermint stimulates digestion and soothes the tummy. Red clover flowers are tasty and cleansing.
Try these tea blends to assist your body’s natural detoxification process.
Christopher Hobbs’ Polari-Tea
I’ve enjoyed this tea during many a cleanse. The herbal ingredients work to flush the liver, clear the lymph and aid digestive elimination.
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 teaspoons flax seeds
1/2 teaspoon burdock root
2 teaspoons fenugreek seed
1/2 teaspoon licorice root
2 teaspoons peppermint
Simmer the first five ingredients in 5 cups of water (covered pot, very low heat) for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, add peppermint and let steep for another 10 minutes. Should make about one quart of tea. Can be drank warm or room temperature. I like to heat it up and drink it warm.
Nutritive Tea for Inner & Outer Beauty
Drink this tasty nutritious tea throughout the day hot or cold. It’s rich in replenishing vitamins and minerals. Mix all herbs together and store in a jar. Use four teaspoons of herb blend per quart of water. Steep for 20-30 minutes.
1/2 cup peppermint
1/2 cup nettles
1/4 cup oatstraw
1/4 cup alfalfa
1/4 cup sage
I started this post talking about the huge and confusing array of different supplements available to the would-be detoxer. There’s no way I could evaluate even a fraction of them on this one post, so I will just tell you about a few that I personally like.
Most of my personal favorites work to assist my body in dropping fat while detoxing.
Frankly, the teas listed above go a long way to gently detoxing your system, and you may not need to tax your digestion with supplements.
If you are doing a full fast, you should lay off the vitamins and supplements during the days that you are not consuming any solid food. They are just too tough on your empty stomach and the whole point is to give it a break from digesting. Possible exceptions would be pysllium husks (see below) and similar herbs that gently support healthy elimination.
This is the basis of many over the counter natural laxative drink mixes such as Metamucil. You can purchase psyllium husks in bulk at health foods stores or online – for a fraction of the price of a commercial drink. It has a gentle action and basically works by changing the consistency of your stools, making them softer and easier to pass. (Kind of clinical terminology, but couldn’t think of any other way to say it without saying ‘poop.’)
To use psyllium husks, simply stir a tablespoon into a cup of water or juice and drink quickly. When combined with water psyllium quickly takes on a soft, gelatinous texture. That’s why it works so well inside your colon. However, if you stir in the husks, and then leave the cup of water sitting there for five minutes you will have a rather disgusting jello-like mess waiting for you. So, stir and drink immediately.
It’s important to continue to drink plenty of water throughout the day, so that the psyllium can work its magic. If it doesn’t get enough moisture it can just turn into a rock in there – producing the opposite of the desired effect!
Essential Fatty Acids
These can be in the form of fish oil, evening primrose oil, borage seed oil, or a number of others. Any supplement high in Omega-3 fatty acids will work to flush water from your kidneys and raise your metabolism. Many of these supplements also contain omega-6 fatty acids stimulate the thyroid and also work to burn off fat.
I used to take 1300 mg. of evening primrose oil (contains both omega-3’s and omega-6’s) every day and up the dosage while cleansing to stimulate the flushing and fat burning. Lately I’ve added fish oil, so I just take both.
EFAs have so many more benefits – particularly for women, and new studies show up just about every week. They are an important addition to any supplement regimen.
Kind of a health nut’s secret, this stuff (conjugated linoleic acid) is a more recently discovered fatty acid. It is produced by grazing farm animals from the linoleic acid in the grass they eat. So – not one for vegetarians, sorry!
Studies have reported numerous benefits for various conditions, however far and away the most exciting have been the results about its efficacy in weight control. Some scientists have postulated that it works by reducing the body’s ability to store fat and promotes the use of stored fat for energy. It’s been shown to convert fat to lean muscle tissue.
That all sounded good to me, and since I’m not a veggie I tried it out and have been pleased with the results. Like the evening primrose, I take one (1,000 mg) gelcap a day, and up the dosage to 2-3 when cleansing with the specific goal of dropping some fat.
This is an essential mineral that has been shown to increase muscle mass. Since increased muscle takes the place of fat – and increases metabolism – I’ve used this one while I’m cleansing. It’s also an excellent supplement when you want to pump up your weight lifting program. Chromium has the added benefit of increasing the ‘good’ cholesterol in your body, while decreasing ‘bad’ cholesterol.
There are many more! Plus, adding the right essential oils that assist in detoxing and weight loss. But any or all of the supplements and teas listed above are a great start.
Also read: Part 1 in this series, Spring Into the Season Feeling Fresh and Renewed
Sarah Grace Powers is a Holistic Life Coach and the creator of The Ageless Body Blueprint. She works with women over 40 who want to embrace ageless living and who are ready to release the weight—physical or emotional— that holds them back from achieving their dreams and making their impact in the world. She is a certified herbalist and certified life coach with decades of experience. Download her free report: Five Surprising Mistakes That Sabotage Your Weight Loss Efforts When You’re Over 45.
Or, go HERE to book your free personalized Weight Release Assessment Session.
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