By: Alison Cullen
We spend lots of money and heaps of effort keeping our houses, clothes and children clean and tidy. We worry about germs getting into our food and beasties burrowing into our beds.
Who, though, is worrying about how to make sure our internal waste disposal systems are cleaning up inside us? What if we have glistening external surfaces and heaps of gunge inside?
One thing you can be sure of – if you are mucky inside, sooner or later it will show outside. Read on to find out why.
There are two main sources of toxins inside the body:
These exit routes then are of prime importance. If any of them are not working properly the toxic burden in the body will rise. A particularly common problem is a sluggish bowel!
The body has a couple of ‘emergency exits’to use if the main exits are blocked or sluggish; it can push toxins out through the skin, the mucous membranes and, in women, the menstrual blood. The lymphatic system will also have to deal with more toxins than usual and may become sluggish, causing recurrent swelling of the glands. Thus, people whose exits have become bottlenecked are more likely to have skin problems, catarrhal congestion and heavy periods. They will also get cystitis and other urinary tract infections (UTIs) more easily, and feel lethargic and run down as their liver, one of the organs in charge of energy production, struggles to cope with the recycled toxins.
Keeping yourself sparkling clean on the inside will therefore enable you to present a pristine exterior to the world.
What do I do to undertake a little internal spring cleaning?
When attempting to lighten the toxic burden within the body, it is vital to open the exit routes first. Many detox programmes come straight in with big changes to the diet and cleansing regimes that cause an outpouring of toxins, without ensuring that these toxins can leave the body. This type of programme makes you feel terrible, for no eventual benefit. All pain, no gain.
First we must open the exit routes and encourage plentiful emptying of toxins into the outside world…
Let’s be gentle about all this though – detox doesn’t have to be a penance.
Start by drinking 1.5 litres of still water every day, to flush out the urinary tract. You may also like to introduce nettle tea into your daily routine. Nettles have a beneficial blood-cleansing action and make you feel energised and refreshed. If you really hate the tea or want a stronger effect, you can take nettle (Urtica) tincture, 20 drops twice a day before meals.
Improve your diet, cutting out the obvious rubbish such as take-away food, white flour, white sugar, coffee, fried food and alcohol. (Not easy, I know, but you will have to cut out all alcohol for a while. Still, it’s worth it.)
Start getting a blast of fresh air every day. It need only be a brisk ten minute walk around the block, but it needs to be regular, to get your lymphatic system (which depends on muscle movement) and your lungs working. An hour once a week in a stuffy gym is just not the same as a daily trot around outside!
If your bowel is particularly stubborn, start using Lepicol, or a mild laxative containing herbs such as of Frangula and Cascara or a mixture of Linseed and Senna (depending on the degree of stubbornness) to get it moving. The latter is a strong remedy for a sluggish bowel, and needs to be taken cautiously to start with, in case an over-enthusiastic dose glues you to the loo…
The milder laxative is likely to be in tablet form and is designed to get that bowel going if the gentlest option (Lepicol) doesn’t work. If your bowel is already quite obliging, you would only need to take the lowest dose. If this proves too powerful for you, cut it out completely. Do bear in mind that if you are used to going to the loo once every two to three days, having two to three bowel movements per day may feel excessive; but actually it is ideal, so don’t panic.
Milk Thistle, especially when combined with other herbs such as Dandelion and Cynara, is a fantastic remedy for an overworked, hung-over liver, struggling with the toxic burden placed upon it daily. Indications that the liver is not in peak condition are bad periods, bad skin, a metallic taste in the mouth, unfair weight gain especially around the abdomen, lethargy, problems with temperature regulation, and anaemia.
Solidago is a tonic for the kidneys. If your diet revolves around crisps, chocolate, coffee and pop, you may well feel some kidney symptoms, such as puffy bags under the eyes in the morning, lower back pain, swollen fingers or ankles, thinning hair and fatigue. You may also get panic-attack-type symptoms due to dehydration.
Calendula is traditionally known as having a very positive effect on congested lymphatic systems, so it can help improve adult acne and bad periods into the bargain. Remember that the lymphatic system works best if you manage to get some sort of physical activity into your day. T
These herbs can provide an excellent Detox programme. Use them together with the dietary advice for at least ten days, more if you feel like it. It is especially good to do in the spring and autumn, when the body is contemplating detoxing anyway.