Natural health: the benefits of detoxing

I have a friend who tells me detoxification is a load of bunk, and that if we were to truly store all of these toxins in our bodies then we would die from poisoning at a young age.

This makes sense, but I am confused because I feel much better when I do a detox. Is it just a placebo effect as he suggests, or is there some benefit to detoxing?

Your friend is correct in that we don’t store every toxin that we consume or absorb in our bodies; this is why we have organs of elimination. There are four main channels of elimination in the human body: respiratory, digestive, urinary, and skin.

The blood and lymph systems help to move waste, with the liver, kidneys, lungs, skin and colon being key organs in human housekeeping. What we are achieving when we undergo a detoxification programme is to relieve the burden on these organs so that they can perform the elimination process without additional stressors.

In a nutshell, putting in pure fuel/food leads to high energy and little waste, whereas low-grade fuel/food leads to low energy and a lot of waste, placing a significant burden on the channels of elimination.

Often when the body tries to eliminate toxins (bacteria, viruses, food additives, or environmental chemicals), we work against our body by using ‘cures’ which simply work by stopping the much-needed elimination process. We have medicines, natural and pharmaceutical, to stop all the symptoms so that we believe we are ‘better’, when it is often just driving the original issue deeper into our systems, creating more problems in the long term.

If the body tries to eliminate via one of the common channels and finds it to be clogged up, then a different elimination path will be found.

Diarrhoea or vomiting via the digestive channel, bladder infections and kidney stones via the urinary channel, acne or eczema via the skin — all of these are strong indications that the body is trying to eliminate toxins.

Often, natural health practitioners encourage the body to eliminate more effectively, rather than simply treating or blocking symptoms.

Detoxification protocols are frequently at the foundation of the healing process, including the use of enemas, cleansing, and fasting to ensure that the colon is clear and the toxins and waste are free to be eliminated through the bowels.

This makes sense, since the colon is thought of as the primary organ of elimination, and a clear bowel eases the workload of the other organs of elimination.

Fasting for as little as two days has been shown to kick-start the immune system, with promising results for people suffering with autoimmune disorders and even cancer. A short fast kills off the older and damaged immune cells, and the body generates new ones.

This changes the signalling pathways of stem cells responsible for the generation of blood and immune system cells, triggering regeneration.

Researchers are looking at fasting in helping with arthritis and supporting the body to tolerate chemotherapy.

It is important to nourish the body with pure whole foods following any cleanse or fast, putting that good fuel back in so that the body can do what it was designed to — heal and repair. Think of cleansing and nourishing your system as being a little like defragging and rebooting your computer.

I was wondering if you had come across Thieves Oil? It’s an essential oil blend, which is supposed to prevent cold and flu.

I have indeed, and make up my own blend using the following recipe: 40 drops clove bud oil, 35 drops of lemon oil, 20 drops of cinnamon bark oil, 15 drops of eucalyptus oil, 10 drops of rosemary oil.

Simply combine the oils in a small dark glass bottle and store in a cool, dark cupboard. You can dilute the oil in a carrier oil to massage into the skin (soles of feet, lower back, behind the neck), use it with a diffuser or oil burner, or add it to water and use as an environmental spray (I use tea tree hydrosol as a base).

The story of the four thieves tells of oils being used to protect spice traders and perfumers against the Black Death so that they could rob the bodies of plague victims in France. Researchers in Utah found the oil blend highly effective in killing airborne bacteria.


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