When we hear about detoxing, it usually refers to a detox diet or product – for example, detox teas or juice cleanse. Unfortunately, that’s not how detoxing works. Read along as we discuss what detoxing means and how to detox your body naturally without compromising your health.
The Body’s Detox Process
Toxins build up in the human body, and they need to be expelled regularly. The good news is, our body naturally detoxes all by itself via three primary organs:
- Liver: The first line of defence against toxins. Filters toxic substances to prevent them from entering the bloodstream.
- Colon: Flushes out toxins through bowel movements.
- Kidneys: Filter your blood and eliminate toxins in the form of urine.
Other organs responsible for disposing of toxic substances are the skin and lungs. The skin releases excess water and waste products through sweat, while the lungs remove waste gas (carbon dioxide) from the body.
Sadly, natural detoxification has become more difficult for most people, especially those who live in big cities. Lifestyle factors that cause this issue include consuming unhealthy food, lack of exercise, and workplace stress.
How to Detox Your Body Safely
Both modern medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) share the same views on letting our body detox naturally. Generally, it all comes down to leading a healthy lifestyle that includes:
- a well-balanced diet comprising fresh and whole foods
- exercising several times a week
- getting enough sleep
- taking time to rest
- spending time in nature
- keeping yourself hydrated throughout the day
- limiting the intake of alcohol and junk foods
- quitting smoking
Be cautious of detox methods that restrict certain foods or require you to consume only juices or teas throughout the day. These may lead to imbalances within the body, which can cause liver or kidney damage. Also, talk to your doctor before trying any new diets or detox products.
A Holistic Way to Detox
In TCM, detoxification is a holistic approach involving toxin elimination and resting, as well as cleansing and nourishing the body inside out. This process happens naturally and usually doesn’t require any intervention beyond ensuring a healthy lifestyle.
However, when your organs experience problems in detoxing naturally, they must be revitalised through external means. There are eight TCM methods that help to restore your internal detoxification systems:
Cooling herbs or cooling tea can clear toxins in people with high fever, dry mouth, sore throat, and similar symptoms.
For people with numb limbs or feeling weak because of toxin accumulation, TCM recommends specific herbs to replenish the blood and qi (vital life energy) while simultaneously harmonising the yin (passive energy) and yang (active energy).
These herbs include Dang Gui (Angelica root) to boost blood circulation; and Dang Shen (codonopsis) and Huang Qi (astragalus) for tonifying the spleen and lung qi. Gan Jiang (dried ginger) and Rou Gui (cinnamon) help restore yang, while American ginseng is a good herb for boosting yin.
TCM physicians may prescribe a mix of herbs that bring back balance in the body. This is recommended when you have the flu, a dry mouth, a dry throat and giddiness.
Exercise, warm soups, hot water, and a few minutes at the sauna can encourage sweating, which helps to expel toxins through your skin.
In some instances, vomiting is induced using medication to force toxins out of your mouth.
People with spleen, stomach and gastrointestinal deficiency caused by toxin build-up are advised to place a hot water bottle on their abdomen or eat warming food.
Bowel movements are an excellent way to purge toxins in the stomach and intestines.
Herbs are also prescribed to eliminate toxins in people who experience indigestion, feel bloated, or overeat.
Remedies like TCM herbs can effectively assist with removing toxins from your body. However, always consult a TCM physician to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan before trying any herbs.
While our internal system already knows how to detox itself, it still pays off to learn how to detox your body naturally. Detoxing is more than just about eliminating toxins from your body. Above all, you need to be careful with what you put into your body.
This is an adaptation of an article, “8 Ways to Detox Using TCM”, which first appeared on Eu Yan Sang website.
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