Digestion and elimination are the most important functions of our body. When these are not functioning properly, disease can easily overtake our system. When you feel heavy, bloated, irritable, mentally foggy and stiff in the joints; your elimination is slow and slight; you retain fluid around your abdomen and your skin is breaking out, it is time to cleanse your system and get a fresh start.I have created an herbal formula that can help to cleanse your whole digestive system.
A key component in a cleanse is to assist the liver in detoxifying. One of the most important organs in the digestive process is the liver. This is not only the toxin processing hub, but it regulates your bile production and in so doing, is key to breaking down your fats and keeping your cholesterol in check. When the liver gets bogged down, or is affected by toxins from pesticides, preservatives, excessive alcohol and red meat, or diseases like hepatitis, your digestion, assimilation and elimination suffer.
Artichoke leaves are one of the best natural sources for detoxifying the liver. The main properties of artichoke are: hepatic, biliary fluidifying, cholagogic, diuretic and antirheumatic. It is also an anticholesterol and fat reducer (Tierra, 1998, p. 88). These properties can aid the body in addressing ailments like sluggish bowels, elevated cholesterol, bloating and joint stiffness. Artichoke leaves are a primary ingredient in my formula.
Dandelion root is a close second in its ability to detoxify the liver. However, it also is one of nature’s best diuretics and also detoxifies and clears build-up in the spleen, pancreas, gallbladder, kidneys, stomach and intestines. The properties of dandelion are: alterative, cholagogue, diuretic, stomachic, aperient, and tonic (Tierra, 1998, p. 127). These properties make dandelion a must have ingredient for a general cleanse, detoxifying many organs and tonifying the system. It is also a primary ingredient in my formula.
Cleavers is a fantastic blood and lymph cleanser and widely used for skin problems. It is a powerful herb and has many other common uses, particularly for urinary and reproductive organ inflammations. But as a blood cleanser, it is great for clearing the skin of breakouts and eruptions, and as a diuretic, it helps release fluid retention. The properties of cleavers include: alterative, diuretic and astringent (Tierra, 1998, p. 119). Cleavers can be quite strong to the system. Although it is a primary herb in my formula, the amount is less than the other two.
Chamomile is a very well known herb for its calming and stomach soothing effects. It is also effective at relieving irritability, menstrual cramps and back pain. The main properties of chamomile are: calmative, nervine, antispasmodic, diaphoretic and carminative (Tierra, 1998, p. 110). This herb can be beneficial for relieving gas, aiding digestion, and improves bad mood and snappiness. As an antispasmodic, chamomile is an important secondary ingredient in my formula to balance the strong effects of the previous herbs.
Ginger is famous for it digestive abilities and nausea relief, but it is useful for so much more. It is a stimulating herb that can jump start your stomach, intestines and circulation. Another great aspect of ginger is that it enhances the effectiveness of other herbs without interfering with them. Its properties include: antispasmodic, carminative, stimulant, and digestive. Aside from its use in my formula, ginger can be eaten fresh, cooked with or enjoyed as a candy for any stomach upset, cramps and even morning sickness.
Aniseed is a great digestive aid that expels gas, relieves belching, abdominal pains and warms the abdomen. Anise is also sweet and tastes good, which helps to make formulas more palatable. The properties of Aniseed are: stimulant, carminative, antispasmodic and diaphoretic (Tierra, 1998, p. 87). Chewing on the seeds themselves can be a good reliever of gas and the tea can soothe children with colic.
The synergy of all these herbs in a formula is an important aspect. The primary herbs in this formula are cooling and bitter (artichoke especially). It is important to balance this with the spicy and warming ginger and anise. It not only improves the flavor and palatability of the formula, but also protects the body from too many cooling agents, and throwing it into imbalance. Anise is chosen over licorice, another warming, good tasting digestive aid often used in formulas for this reason. However, licorice encourages a tendency toward retaining fluid, so I do not recommended it for this formula (Tierra, 1998, p. 231).
General Cleanse Formula
Artichoke leaves- 3 parts
Dandelion root- 3 parts
Cleavers- 2 parts
Chamomile- 2 parts
Ginger- 1 part
Anise- 1 part
The above formula is most easily consumed internally as a tea. The dried herbs and crushed seeds should be prepared as an infusion, steeping in boiling water for thirty to sixty minutes. Because the dandelion root is harder than the leaves and flowers, I recommend the powdered root over dried pieces to extract the full properties in an infusion. Taking the tea just before meals will have a digestive affect, but taking it away from meals will have a more potent detoxifying affect on your liver. Generally, making one ounce of herbs per quart of water, or one tablespoon of herbs per cup of water, and taking three to four cups per day is recommended (Gladstar, 2008, p. 381).
When the main processing and filtering organs are cleansed, they are freed up to function optimally, restoring good digestion and assimilation of your food. However, no herbal formula, cleanse, or pill can replace the importance of a healthy, balanced diet. Food should be unprocessed and organic whenever possible, and fresh vegetables and legumes should make up the major portion of your diet.