Over 80,000 synthetic chemicals are currently in use in industry and find their way into our air, water, food, cleaning products, personal care products, cosmetics, and other substances we regularly use, according to Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald, author of The Detox Solution. That’s not the worse part of the situation: according to the National Research Council, no toxicity data are available for 80 percent of the chemicals currently in commercial use while 95 percent have not been tested for their long-term effects on human health.
Chemicals used in everyday household products have been found to cause health problems such as asthma and other respiratory ailments, birth defects, heart disease, and cancer, among other serious concerns. Most popular brands of cosmetics are loaded with artificial colors, synthetic fragrances, petroleum products, emulsifiers, preservatives, and solvents. Over 850 toxic chemicals are used in makeup alone. Ninety-five percent of the chemicals used in perfumes and colognes are derived from petroleum (learn more in my book The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan). Additionally, the food supply contains rancid oils, trans fats, food additives, pesticides and herbicides, fillers, colors, excessive amounts of sugar, artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors, and other substances that are toxic to the body. Check out my article “8 Things Every Woman Needs to Know about Feminine Hygiene Products.”
The good news is that using natural remedies you can boost your liver’s ability to detoxify these harmful substances. The liver is arguably the most important detoxification organ in the body. With over 500 functions including: filtering the blood, reducing xenoestrogens from plastics, and elimination of almost all toxins, it is also the most overworked. Fortunately, giving your liver a boost using natural herbs helps your body elimate toxins more efficiently.
Here are some of my favorite natural remedies to boost the body’s ability to handle environmental toxins (of course you should still make an effort to minimize your toxic exposure):
Oregon Grape Root is an excellent herb to help the body eliminate harmful toxins as well as harmful bacteria and yeasts that may find their way into our body through food, water or air. Oregon Grape Root also contains several potent antioxidant substances that destroy free radicals caused by toxins in the body. (Check out The Scientific Validation of Herbal Medicine for more information).
Burdock Root boosts the liver’s ability to purify the blood. It not only cleanses the liver, it has a restorative effect on the organ. It also kills harmful bacteria and fungi.
Sarsaparilla also has antibiotic properties, is full of important nutrients, and helps to provide the body with the energy it requires to eliminate harmful toxins, while supporting overall health and energy levels. (The Herbal Medicine Maker’s Handbook).
Licorice Root has the reputation of being “The Great Detoxifier” due to its potent anti-inflammatory, laxative, antibacterial, antiviral, antimicrobial, and antitoxic properties (The Scientific Validation of Herbal Medicine).
Cascara sagrada is a gentle laxative to ensure that the toxins that are “stirred-up” in the bloodstream are removed from the body via the intestines. Not specifically a liver remedy, it is still important to ensure that any toxins circulating in the blood are eliminated through the bowels. Cascara sagrada helps with the removal of existing waste matter that may have accumulated. Research also shows that it is helpful in the prevention of liver conditions (The Scientific Validation of Herbal Medicine).
Here is an easy way to use the herbs:
Obtain approximately 50 grams of each of the following botanicals: Oregon Grape Root, Burdock Root, Sarsaparilla, Licorice Root and Cascara Sagrada; however, use only 25 grams of each of the dried herbs for each decoction. This will enable you to prepare two batches.
An herbal decoction is similar to an herbal tea except that the herbs are boiled for a longer period of time to extract the medicinal properties from the roots.
To prepare the decoction, start by placing 25 grams of the herbal blend into a pot with 500 mL (about half a quart) of purified cold water and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat and allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Pour the mixture through a sieve lined with cheesecloth into a Pyrex container. Once the herbs cooled (and using clean hands) wring out the remaining liquid and top it up with pure water until it reached 500 mL and keep refrigerated (The Herbal Medicine Maker’s Handbook).
To use, drink about 90 mL of the completed decoction, three times per day for three weeks to boost your body’s ability to eliminate environmental toxins. Of course, always consult your physician or herbalist prior to using herbs if you are taking pharmaceutical drugs or if you have a serious health condition.