Herbal Detox has lately come into it’s own, rapidly becoming a popular choice for treating a variety of modern ailments. At the same time, our eating habits, weight issues and stress level have created a plethora of intestinal complaints. There are more antacids, acid reducers, stomach pain relievers, nausea controllers and whatnot than ever before. If you don’t believe me, just watch about an hour of TV. One commercial after another. And this is not because people aren’t buying.
So what about detoxing the gut? What would it take to restore the balance in your digestive system so that you would not be bloated like a balloon, sick to your stomach most of the time and dealing with non stop heartburn? Do you feel way too full after eating a normal meal? This is likely gas. Does your stomach start to burn at odd times, whether you’ve just eaten or not? Acid indigestion. Do you have a sore throat and a feeling of fluid that seems to rise up into your mouth when you sit up after laying down? Acid reflux. And so the disease litany can go on and on. None of this is life threatening (in and of itself) but it is very debilitating and can keep people from living their lives. But has this always been the case? Did grandpa and grandma spend the evening belching and running to the toilet? Or is this something new? Something we can change?
Well, there’s no doubt about it, diet is a factor. Bolting down greasy fast food on your way to a stressful meeting in a car packed into frustrating traffic with the radio blaring is not conducive to the type of balancing your body needs. Under these conditions, it’s a wonder you are able to digest anything at all. And your body will rebel; if not at the moment, then over time. And as time passes, it gets harder and harder to get the edge back. You just get tired out, you gain too much weight, you feel muddy in the head and you strain in the bathroom. It’s a perfect scenario for a stroke or heart attack or a perforated ulcer. Which will it be?
Hopefully none of the above if you have the sense to make an effort to get a grip. There are things you can do to change this disaster in the making. First of all is diet. You will have to start eating slower food, making smarter choices, taking your time when you do eat. You have to slip out of the grips of the day to day madness just long enough to care for your gut. And then there is detox. You should not take on a detox program unless you are ready to watch your diet to the extent that you can eat more natural, slower food. Where the food you eat is causing you misery, the theory of detox is that you can take in other food and fix it. So starting with the diet is basic and necessary. So, when you are ready to do at least that, then move on to the plan I will give you now.
The first step is to try to eat more natural foods like fresh vegetables, fruits and homemade meals. Set aside a day when you are not at work and prepare some food you can heat up later. Make up grains, vegetables and the meats or dairy products of your liking and pack them up for heating later. This gives you access to more natural, slow foods using a “fast food” method. You can also buy ready made heat up meals that provide a balanced meal. Most diet type dinners are made with less salt and fat and have lots of vegetables or fruit. Heat these up when you are in a hurry. On the days you are not in a hurry, either go to a high quality restaurant that serves freshly prepared meals or make a meal at home. This switch to less fast food and eating it under less stressful conditions will start the healing process. And do not skip meals. Eat something healthy for breakfast, heat something up for lunch and then sit down for a prepared meal at dinner.
The second step is to add supplements. Certain herbs will help the body eliminate toxins and chemicals. If you add these herbs to your diet you can get control over various symptoms over time. Combine them with the proper diet, and detox will occur and your gut will regain it’s balance.
Indigestion: For this problem, start your detox with tea. Use either peppermint, lemon verbena, dill seed or wild celery. Use peppermint exclusively if the indigestion is accompanied by heartburn. If the problem is indigestion with a hard time digesting the food, add papaya enzymes. These break down complex proteins, reduce stress on the digestive tract and make the food move through your system more smoothly. If the indigestion is accompanied by gas, then take some fresh fennel seeds along with the peppermint tea. Continue using the remedies for several weeks while remaining in control of your diet. Over time, your body will find balance.
Constipation/ Diarrhea: If your digestive problem centers around elimination, then you should start your detox with 10 days of yogurt consumption. The probiotics in the yogurt will get your intestinal flora moving in the right direction. Add black pepperto all of your food. If you have IBS, with alternating diarreah and constipation, the start a regimen of self healtea; drink it every day, twice a day for 10 days.
And then, for constipation alone, the first order to get more exercise. You must add roughage to your diet, which can include natural foods like dried plums, whole wheat and fresh fruit. Over time, you should chew fennel seeds twice a day. This should be about a tsp at a time. If this does not get things moving over time, then make up a syrup out of figs and use a tsp a day. Make the syrup by cooking figs in corn syrup until they are a thick liquid. An infusion of crushed flax seeds in hot water will help flush your system out quickly; drink a cup once at night and again in the morning. As you advance through the detox and your body starts to flush itself, switch to rose hiptea. Make a mild tea and sip it several times a day. You can drink this indefinitely, even after the detox is successful. When the problem resurfaces, which it sometimes will, nip it in the bud by chewing licorice root several times a day until things start moving the way they should.
For diarrhea alone, to get the intestinal tract under control, start the detox with peppermint tea. This will help slow the spasms in the colon and reduce any burning or discomfort. Follow this with a week of chamomile tea with lemon. Follow this with a week or two of agrimony tea; drink a cupful three times a day. Over the long haul, you must eat foods with cinnamon, ginger and cloves in the mix, trying not to make them fiber foods. Use myrrh oil/a>and oil of neroli as aromatics.
Slow Digestion or Loss of Appetite: Most herbs and spices are effective at getting the digestive juices flowing; in fact, that is their general purpose. Too many of us have become dependent upon dessert with it’s quickly assimilated sugars to move food through our system and then leave us with insulin hunger an hour later. Sugar will clear your stomach.. but it will leave you starving again in no time. This is why so many of us are fat. But without the sugar shot we are so dependent on, the food just sits there and takes it time moving along. There is nothing worse than an overly full stomach hours after a meal. So how do you get the process to move along?
Rosemary, fennel and horseradish are fantastic for the digestion. So over the long haul, if you have slow digestion, you should add these herbs to your meal. But to start your detox, start with 1 tbsp of ground aniseed boiled in one cup of milk. Drink this twice a day to start things moving. If loss of appetite is present then make up an infusion of 1 tbsp of cardamon in a cup of boiling water and drink this one hour before mealtime. Do not stop eating during the detox, but you should add easily digestible foods to your diet. This would be fresh starchy vegetables like potatoes and parsnips or white rice. Do not load up on fiber or bulky food. After every meal, drink a cup of hot peppermint tea. Chew caraway seeds both before and after you eat.
Flatulence: If your main digestive disorder is gas, you know how it feels to be a balloon. The amount of gas that can get trapped in the digestive system is enormous and if you also have IBS or Crohns Disease, you know how thorny the situation can be. Nobody likes to fart all the time, especially at work or among friends. Gas is the hardest of digestive imbalances to get a handle on. You can finish a detox and then in short time have it back. It will often depend on whether you can get control over whatever other digestive issues you have. Often, gas comes with every other stomach disorder there is. If you have one issue or another, it is likely you also have gas.
You should start your detox with a special infusion of herbs. Crush aniseed, caraway and fennel seeds into a powder and make a tea out of it, drinking one cup of it a half hour before eating. Drink the tea really slowly. Crush up 1 tsp of each seed and use the powder in a tea bag or strainer. Drink this tea before every meal every day for two weeks. Do not eat fibrous foods or foods that create gas. This includes foods like cabbage, brussels sprouts, dried fruits, whole grains or beans. Avoid these foods until you get your body back on track and the gas stops forming. After two weeks of the first tea, then you can start chewing fresh cloves and allspice seeds in the morning and at night. Chew a tsp of these seeds every day for a week and at the end of the week, add another tea. This would be an infusion of dill and fennel seeds and if you drink this for another week, twice a day, the detox regimen will be over.
At this time, add back in the foods that give you gas. Start eating your cabbage again. Add a shot of star anise infusion before each meal for 10 days or so. Make up the star anise into a strong tea and then fill a shot glass. Shoot it down. While eating, use a tsp of powdered angelica root along with the meal. Eat it off the spoon or add it to the food. Do all of this for the 10 day period and by then you should be back to normal. If you do have spasms of gas that creep in, knock them back with lemon balm tea. Just a cupful should do the trick. And, then, if the gas returns even for a day and is painful at that time, chase off the pain with infusion of powdered ginger, coriander and cardamom. This tea will stop the painful spasms and put you back on track. But you have to finish the detox first to get this much control over the problem.
Nausea: If the problem is simple nausea and does not also involve heartburn or digestive problems, the solution is a regimen of ginger ale or ginger tea. Chewing ginger root or cinnamon bark is also a swift solution. There is no getting over nausea for good because it is not an overall balance disorder of the system. It is a temporary reaction to a bad diet.
Heartburn: If the problem is persistent heartburn you are probably also dealing with an ulcer. Heartburn, like nausea, is usually a temporary reaction to an unagreeable meal and not a long term balance disorder. If heartburn is a continuous problem then a change in diet is in order. Also, if an ulcer is forming then seeing a doctor is the most intelligent choice. Do not attempt detox if a stomach ulcer or cancer is present. Save detox for after a firm diagnosis and a clear analysis of all the options available to you.