Happy Spring 2016!
It has definitely arrived! Yes, and we all want to feel great! Detox, Detox, Detox …Wait a minute, perhaps we are being too harsh. Here is the good news, we do not need to be so tough with ourselves, lets be gentle! The body naturally responds better to a gentle approach. Changing our unhealthy habits is in fact the best and cheapest detox program. Better health is not about doing a detox program every so often, it is about changing unhealthy habits into healthy habits. One should have such a life that is not conducive to a toxic body in the first place. Yes, it is true that many toxins in the environment are unavoidable but if we reduce our exposure to only those toxins we can still have a pretty healthy existence. It is also true that the Winter Season in this country is gloomy and wet, and we can feel like indulging in comfort drinking and eating. When the Spring arrives our bodies might be a bit sluggish and clogged up and a gentle nudge to improve metabolic processes is often just what we need.
Who Needs a Nudge?
The liver plays a key role in most metabolic processes, especially detoxification, and it is the major organ involved in this process. It carries out hundreds of functions on a daily basis provided it is in a good state of health. The liver needs a broad range of amino acids, vitamins and minerals to be able to carry out all these metabolic processes. It is not with a couple of detox programs in the Spring and Summer that we can best care and look after our liver. These programs can potentially lack in key nutrients that the liver needs. It is in avoiding poor diet that is based on refined, processed junk food, devoid from all its nourishment, coupled with excesses such as alcohol, caffeine, starches, dairy, wheat and so on, that we can best assist the liver to drive these complex metabolic processes. However, it is not only junk food, and all the excesses that are detrimental to our wellbeing. The quantity we eat at each meal, the number of meals we eat per day, the snacks in between meals, the food combination, the gaps between meals, the last meal before bedtime – all these play an equally important role in our wellbeing. The sum of all unhealthy habits contribute to a congested liver. A congested and sluggish liver increasingly fails to remove toxins from our blood circulation, leaving them to potentially impact every organ in our body.
These toxins circulating in our body have adverse effects on our health and it is then no wonder that we start to feel dull or develop all kinds of chronic diseases. We have forgotten about many important good health habits and rules that ancient cultures followed – and the exhilarating sense of wellbeing that follows from these. Our bodies need rest, but not only the physical rest we get from sleep; we also need “rest” from food. Fasting on just liquids one day a week is one of the “golden” keys for good health and longevity. (It’s worth looking into how to do this properly.) We only wash ourselves on the outside but do not give the body a break for it to be able to clean itself on the inside. How then can we expect to be healthy?
Bile: the most overlooked detoxifier
Medicinal plants that have the potential in assisting with metabolic processes and elimination.
This is a term used in Herbal Medicine to classify a group of herbs that have a specific action of stimulating the production of bile by the liver. They increase the amount of bile secreted by the liver and at the same time can also act as choleretics, meaning they also increase the amount of bile being released by the gallbladder (where it is stored having been generated by the liver).
Most medicinal plants that have a bitter taste act as cholagogues, and are called hepatic herbs in Herbal Medicine. A whole range of plant constituents will have this action on the liver tissue, but without it being forced or damaging. The secretion of bile is of great help to the whole digestive and assimilative process, and as we are what we eat – we are what we digest. The role of bile is primarily that of facilitating fat digestion, but also being a natural laxative, and thus cleansing to the system. Without exploring the vast complexities of liver function, it is worth noting that bile formation and flow are fundamental to all of us for health. The herbs listed below have a much deeper value than simply the release of bile, they help ensure a strong and healthy liver and so enliven the whole being.
Herbal examples that are classified as cholagogues:
Artichoke (Cynara scolymus)
Dandelion root (Taraxacum officinale rdx )
Turmeric (Curcuma longa)
Burdock root (Arctium lappa)
Barberry (Berberis vulgaris)
Oregon grape (Berberis aquifolium)
Herbal examples with specific actions on the Kidneys and Lymphatic system.
Nettle leaf (Urtica dioca fol)
Dandelion (leaf) (Urtica dioca fol)
Cleavers (Galium aparine)
These three herbs will soon be at their best to be picked in the wild. They will be fresh and juicy and are the perfect trio to to be used to gently assist the kidneys and the lymphatics and to help the body release accumulated toxicity. It is good practice to use these herbs in conjunction with the liver herbs as they can assist the detoxifying process of the liver.
Note: Do not pick these herbs in the wild unless you are 100% sure you are picking the right plants.
Our next newsletter should reach you in the Summer/ Autumn. Enjoy the Spring!
Disclaimer: The content of this newsletter is for general interest only. You must always consult a medical herbalist before taking any herbs or supplements mentioned in this newsletter.
Dipl. CNM, MURHP
The Natural Pharmacie
iria(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)thenaturalpharmacie.co.uk
Tel.: 01225 723 894