Let’s talk “DETOX”

Now that spring is here, all of us are busy cleaning up our houses, closets and some of my health conscious friends are also engaged in cleaning up themselves. Yup!!  This is called “Detoxification”.

Detoxification is a process of eliminating toxins from our body system. It is a process of reducing our exposure to toxins, removing accumulated toxins, improving the function of our main eliminating organs (GI organs and Liver), as well as clearing up mucus and congestion. We get many of these toxins externally from diet, different medicinal drug use and environmental exposure and internally from free radicals, oxidized fats and cholesterol and other irritating molecules (Haas and Levin,2006; Frawley and Ranade,2007).

I call these guys “Pain Guests”. They live in our body and pay us by causing several health problems. But, after all they are “guests” and they have to leave one day.

Reasons for toxin accumulation in the body:

  1. Most of our food is old, over processed and contain various additives and contaminants.
  2. Our water is chemically treated.
  3. Our air contains many chemicals and industrial wastes.

When these three main life supports are contaminated, how will our bodies be spared? This artificial civilization has damaged our biosphere (Frawley and Ranade, 2007).

1.Our bad eating habits.

  • Very few people today cook their own meals.
  • Meals are irregular, hurried and eaten with little attention.

2. Lack of exercise and proper sleep.

  • We waste our energy through various forms of indulgence and distractions.

3.We pollute our minds through mental and emotional toxicity brought upon by wrong relationships, stressful jobs and lifestyles, greed, lack of spiritual orientation etc. Such psychological strains also trigger physical malfunctioning (Frawley and Ranade,2007,pg 212).

All of us suffer from toxin accumulation. This accumulation of toxins may not always result in diagnosable disease but they do impair our functioning and reduce our longevity. Toxins are shown to be  the ones behind the chronic increase of conditions like allergies, immune system disorders, arthritis, chronic fevers and chronic fatigue. They also contribute to nervous and psychological disorders including insomnia, irritability, anxiety, depression etc (Frawley and Ranade,2007).

Importance of Detoxification:

  1. Improve digestion and elimination.
  2. For health and vitality.
  3. Promote rejuvenation
  4. Alleviate constipation
  5. Helpful in weight loss
  6. Overall lifestyle and dietary transition
  7. Overcome addictions
  8. Help eliminate disease and prevent future problems

Time for Detoxification: (Haas and Levin, 2006)

1.Seasonal changes are the most stressful time in nature and the times when we most need to lighten up. Spring is the key time for detoxification but detoxification in autumn is also important.

 2.   Detoxification is recommended whenever symptoms like cold, congestion, fatigue, constipation, bloating are felt.

Steps of detoxification process: (By Dr. Elson M. Haas, MD)

  1. Dietary and lifestyle changes to reduce toxin intake and improve elimination.
  2. Avoidance of chemicals from foods and other sources.
  3.  Drinking extra water.
  4. Increasing fiber intake by consuming more fruits and vegetables in the diet.

Dietary approach to “Detoxification”- Experts recommend shifting from the most congesting foods to the least congesting foods like fruits and vegetables, nuts, grains and legumes with fewer baked goods, fried foods, sweets and refined foods. According to the experts, making these dietary changes improves elimination and lessens toxin buildup. Drinking more filtered water, herbal teas and eating fruits and vegetables while reducing fat intake including red meat, milk products and fried foods, has shown to help detoxify. It is also recommended to eat seasonal fruits and vegetables. High fiber diet helps in proper elimination of toxins. A vegetarian diet is recommended for those with congestive problems. Ayurvedic experts recommend eating warm, lightly cooked food as well as drinking warm fluids rather than cold ones as cold drinks can impede proper digestion and cause accumulation of more toxins. It is also recommended by ayurvedic experts to eat a stewed apple 1st thing in the morning as it is said to kick start the digestion and keep bowel movements regular and to eat the main meal at noon and try and eat at the same time every day (Haas and Levin,2006; Frawley and Ranade,2007).

Lifestyle approach to “Detoxification”- According to ayurveda, going to bed before 10:00 pm is highly recommended.  It is said that the optimum time for the body to purify itself is between 10:00 pm and 12:00 am and plenty of rest is required at the time of this purification process. Gentle exercises like yoga and walking everyday has also shown to help release toxins. Massaging daily or whenever time permits is also shown to help detox. Massaging the body with warm, rejuvenating massage oil is known to loosen impurities in the skin thus it detoxifies and nourishes the skin. Taking a warm bath or shower after massaging helps cleanse these toxins (Frawley and Ranade,2007).

Herbs for Detoxification: (Haas and Levin,2006;Shrma, Mishra and Meade,2002).

Turmeric, ginger, garlic, dandelion root and cayenne pepper are known to be useful detox herbs. Turmeric is shown to stimulate glutathione S-transferase (GST), an enzyme that carries out detoxification. It is recommended to use the whole turmeric herb rather than the extract as extract can have opposite effect. Ginger, garlic and cayenne are helpful during winter detox.

Herb properties:

Cayenne: Blood purifier, increase fluid elimination and sweating.

Garlic: Blood cleanser, lowers blood fat and natural antibiotic.

Ginger root: Stimulates circulation and sweating.

Dandelion root: Diuretic, liver and blood cleanser, tonic properties and filters toxins.

 Detoxification helps rejuvinate and recharge “MIND, BODY AND SOUL”.

Yours in health,

** The above information is for educational purposes only. There is absolutely no intension to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure any health problems or diseases. Consult your doctor for specific medical advice, diagnosis and treatment, advice on diet, herb and exercise.**



1. Frawley, D, DR, Ranade, S, DR. (2007). Ayurveda-Nature’s Medicine. Delhi, India: Motilal banarsidass Publishers PVT.LTD.

2. Sharma, H., Mishra, R.K., & Meade, J.G. (2002). The Answer To Cancer. New York: Select books, Inc.

3. Haas, E.M, Levin, B. (1992).  Staying healthy with Nutrition. Berkley: Celestial Arts.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Nimesh Mehta on April 29, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    Great Article once again. Some natural remedies for healthy leaving. Please keep it up.


  2. Posted by Jeetendra Dharewa on April 30, 2010 at 2:13 am

    Hi radhika,
    Informative article…looking forward for more such info…rather i am very keen to read about the nutritional benefits and healing properties of different kinds of food products…any suggestions for books or articles?


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