Spring is in the air and with that some spring-cleaning! After de-cluttering and vacuuming the house make sure to spend some time detoxing your body as well! We are constantly bombarded with toxins and pollutants in the air, food, and water. Luckily our bodies are primed to deal with these sorts of burdens but it is critical to help support it. Like any running machine our bodies need to be supported and cleaned out once in a while to make sure all the parts are working efficiently.
The organs that deal with processing and removing toxins on a daily basis include the liver, kidneys, colon, lungs and the skin. Collectively these organs are emunctories- that is they help filter and clean our bodies! Here are some ways you can support them while doing your spring cleanse:
Castor Oil Packs for your Liver!
Castor oil is a thick oil that comes from the seed or beans of the Ricinus communis plant. Orally, castor oil is a strong purgative and I would advise not to use it this way. Topically however, castor oil has some amazing health benefits and helps support detox. The oil is very anti-inflammatory, increases circulation locally to where it is applied, helps break down fibrotic or scar tissue and increases detoxification. The best way to use castor oil is to apply it over the liver, which is found on your right side, under your rib cage. Many people talk about making a castor oil pack, which is juts a way to apply castor oil using a wool cloth. I like to make it easy so here is what I do. 1.) Start with a quarter size amount of the oil in your hand. 2.) Massage it over the liver in little circles. 3.) Cover by wearing an old tee-shirt ( it does stain!) 4.) Add a heating pack over it to help drive the oil in. (this step is optional). I like to apply mine before bed and then in the morning wash off any residue. If you don’t like to sleep with it then make sure to leave the oil on for 20-30 minutes before washing it off. You should be consistent with your castor oil packs for the best results so I suggest doing 3-4 nights on and taking 3-4 nights off.
Herbal Infusions for your Kidneys!
Kidneys help us to flush out toxins through filtering our fluids and producing urine. So a great way to support kidneys is through drinking herbal infusions. Herbal infusions although technically teas, have a much greater health benefit when used the way I’m about to describe. These infusions should be a large amount of herb brewed for a long time. That is about 1 cup of herb brewed for 4-10 hours! Brewing the herb this way allows for more bio-available forms of vitamins, minerals, proteins, polyphenols, and bioflavanoids (antioxidants) to be released by the plant and easily absorbed by our bodies. Infusions do not need to be digested. Nutrients from the herbs are so bio-available that they are electrically drawn into the bloodstream, bypassing digestion. The herbs to use for kidney support are those that are nutritives or high in minerals. Some include: Stinging Nettles leaf (Urtica dioica), Oat Straw (Avena sativa) Dandelion leaf (Taraxicum officinalis), Dog Couch (Elymus repens), Corn Silk (Zea mays- infuse in cold water).
To make an infusion:
• place one ounce (1 cup) of dried herb in a quart jar
• fill to the top with hot (not boiling, but almost) water
• cap tightly and let steep for 4-8 hours (or overnight)
• strain and drink throughout the day
Coffee Enemas for your Colon!
Coffee enemas can be used to help support your colon and elimination of solid waste. As we detox we want to make sure the toxins are actually leaving our body. If you suffer with constipation or are experiencing some then the toxins can be re-circulating in your system. Try a few coffee enemas a week to get things moving. Check out this site for more and how to do it http://healthybliss.net/how-to-do-a-coffee-enema-at-home/
Air filter for your Lungs!
Our air is riddled with toxins from pollutants in factories, from cars and airplanes as well as from chemicals found in cleaning products, beauty products and on our furniture. A great way to clear the air in your homes and help support the lungs is to get an air filter. This not only helps clean the air in your home, but can help reduce allergens that cause stuffed up sinuses, runny noses and pressure in your head. A good option is to get a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter. These filter are able to trap the smallest airborne particles that cause health issues. Some of the more popular brands include: Oransi Finn, Oransi Max, BlueAir 450E and Austin Air Healthmate.
Dry Skin Brushing for your Skin and Lymph!
The skin is our biggest organ of elimination and actually the biggest organ of our body in general! It is responsible for opening its pores and allowing us to sweat our toxins out, as well as creating a barrier to prevent un-wanted invaders from entering. Our lymph is a clear to white bodily fluid that contains white blood cells and runs through its own network of capillaries along side our blood vessels. The lymphatic systems role is to collect excess and used fluid from the tissues, filter it and transport it back into the blood. In a sense lymph is essentially recycled blood plasma. It acts a filter and is a key component in our immune system. Unfortunately lymph does not have a heart to pump it through the body and so it only moves when we move. To support both the skin and the lymph try dry skin brushing! Dry skin brushing has many benefits like exfoliating the skin, removing dead skin layers that block pores, strengthens the immune system and most importantly opening the pores to aid in detoxification and increasing lymph flow to help cleanse our blood.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Use a natural bristle lymph brush that you keep dry
2. The body should be dry-best to do before showering
3. Use long gentle but firm strokes always in the same direction- towards the HEART for the upper body and towards the THIGH CREASE for lower body
4. Start at your hands and brush up your arm towards your arm pits
5. Brush along the top of your chest towards the center of your body
6. Brush around the breasts (starting under the arm pit and wrap towards the middle of your body and up to the center)
7. Brush from the bottom of your head down your neck
8. Brush from your belly button up towards your heart
9. Brush bellow the belly button down towards the crease of your thighs
10. Brush up your back and buttocks
11. Brush around your upper thighs towards the crease of your thighs
12. Brush from your feet up both legs towards the crease of your thighs
13. Rinse the lymph brush, to allow to dry for next use, and jump in the shower!
Other Ways to Support Detox
Adequate Clean Water – You should be drinking 8-10 glasses of water per day or ½ your body weight in ounces per day and even more when you are doing a cleanse. Try adding lemon essential oil to your water to further boost liver support and detoxification.
Epsom Salt Baths – Epsom salt is a form of magnesium sulfate which can help reduce muscle cramps and pain. It also can help increase circulation by dilating blood vessels and allow for enhanced detoxification. Use ½-1 cup of Epsom salt in warm to hot water. Start at 5 -10 minutes and don’t exceed 20-30 minutes. Remember to always start slowly and work your way up! Add some relaxing essential oils like lavender and eucalyptus or oils to help detox like lemon, and grapefruit
Binders, Fiber and More – Binders can help by mop up the toxins that are floating around as you detox and prevent them from re-circulating. Some binders include: activated charcoal, bentonite clay and chlorella. Once you’ve got them bound then you have to get them out. To make sure you are going to the bathroom regularly try adding in more fiber like psyllium husk and bran. Other ways to promote bowel movements are by using magnesium, chia seeds and flax seeds.
Here is a recipe for a great binder cleanser to make at home:
o 1 tablespoon food grade diatomaceous earth (can order on amazon)
o 1/2 tablespoon bentonite clay
o 1 heaping tablespoon of psyllium husk
o Mix with plain yogurt or yogurt alternative, apple sauce, etc and follow with a large glass of water. Start with half the dose of each for the first day or 2 and ease into it!