Detox diets have become increasingly popular. Many alternative medical providers hold that the body needs to be cleansed, or detoxified, periodically in order to maintain optimum health in the face of today’s processed diets and sedentary lifestyle.
But detox diets can be hard on the body—most severely restrict caloric intake. Many are hard to stick to for any length of time, and most can push your willpower to its limits.
If you want to rid your body of potentially toxic chemicals and pollutants, there are other options. Herbal methods can be gentler, kinder to the body, and allow for a continually healthy diet without major caloric or nutritive restrictions. Here are a few of the best, most widely used alternative remedies for “detoxification”.
- Detox baths: A hot bath with added herbs or essential oils is thought to open the pores and remove toxins through the skin.
- Bowel cleanses: Colonic irrigation techniques (enimas) made with clean water or astringent herbal teas are thought to help clear the intestines of toxins. These techniques are some of the most invasive of all alternative medical remedies, and are not recommended by most physicians.
- Herbal supplements: Herbal combinations that support the liver, kidneys, and lungs can help the body perform its natural detox functions. Teas, powders, or capsules can be effective.
- Oil pulling: Thought to be an effective remedy from Ayurvedic medicine, oil pulling is a mouthwash technique using natural oils (usually sesame oil, olive oil, or a similar variant). A tablespoon of oil is swished in the mouth for ten to twenty minutes in the morning on an empty stomach.
- Apple cider vinegar: A tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar (ACV) stirred into water and drunk daily can help to support liver function and, supposedly, flush toxins out of the system. ACV can also improve the function of the lymphatic system, encourage good digestion when taken before meals, and thus help to eliminate waste more quickly and effectively.
In the long run, healthy detoxification should be less about purging mysterious and unknown toxins from the body and more about using medicinal foods and techniques to help the body work at its best. Support the liver, kidneys, adrenal glands, lungs, and digestion. With proper nutrition, rest, and herbal supplements, and you’ll be well on your way to feeling and looking your best.