Whether it feels like it or not, spring is on its way people! There are so many things to love about spring – warmer weather, longer days, flowers blooming, and nature coming back to life. The change of season is also the perfect time for a detox or clean up.
During a detox it is important to support two pathways: the liver and our digestive system. Our liver is our body’s natural detoxification system, but when it’s over-exposed to external factors it needs some help. Our digestive system is also important because if our liver is effectively removing toxins, they can’t leave our body unless we’re having regular bowel movements.
Now I know the word ‘detox’ can be overwhelming, but I want to share gentle and simple ways to help you detox as we transition into a new season. What’s even better is that you probably already have most of the herbs I’m suggesting in your kitchen. Here we go!
My Top Detox Herbs
Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is best known to protect the liver from ongoing toxins. You can use milk thistle in a few ways – the leaves in a salad, you can eat the seeds, or use a powder to make a tea (my personal favorite).
As a general rule, you either love or hate cilantro, and I hope to convince you to give it another chance. Cilantro is another detox-friendly herb that can be used in just about any dish and is especially rich in vitamin K. In terms of detoxing, it will help bind heavy metals and remove them from the body.
Like I said before, our digestive system is one way our body detoxifies. If we are constipated, the toxins we are trying to get rid of are sitting in our large intestine and can be reabsorbed. Parsley helps improve our digestion, especially increasing our gastric juices and can help to encourage regular bowel movements.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinalis) as a health food has been making headlines the last few years and for a good reason. The leaves can be used as any other type of leafy vegetable, either cooked or in a salad. The root on the other hand has more of the liver-loving properties. It’s especially useful when your liver is being overworked to help the body’s natural detoxification process along. Because of this action, it will also help with constipation and skin issues caused by a sluggish liver. Having a cup of dandelion root tea is the easiest way to use this detox herb.
You may have already used nettle (Urtica dioica) if you’ve had seasonal allergies. I like to include nettle into a detox to promote urination, another form of detoxification. Nettle is most often used in a tea.
Thymol, one of the main compounds found in cumin seeds, will stimulate the release of digestive enzymes and stomach acid to aid in digestion. Remember, regular bowel movements = regular detox. What I love about cumin is that you can chew on the seeds when you feel digestive upset or you can add the seeds to hot water and make a tea.
You probably already use rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) quite often whether on your meat, fish or potatoes. Although it may be best known to enhance memory, it’s also one of my top herbs for a detox. Rosemary also has anti-inflammatory properties, which will help an inflamed liver during the detox process.
I love detoxing with these herbs because I can either cook with them or infuse them into a tea. It’s something we can do pretty well every day to improve our hormone metabolism and digestion. As we move closer to springtime, I challenge you to test your green thumb and plant one of these herbs. That way you’ll have unlimited access to a gentle detox potentially all year long.