Category Archives: Liver Detox

7 Detox Tips for Successful Colon Cleansing

colon cleansingMany people greet the New Year with a burst of enthusiasm and a new resolve to start their health and fitness on a new footing. That's why Gyms start their year jam packed and only in February see who is there for the long run.

For some it's the Gym and for others their focus is on…the bathroom! Colon cleansing has received lots of attention over the last few years and has spread from circles of Naturopathy and herbal geeks to be much more mainstream.

Much of the writing though has been done without the benefit of expertise or experience so here I am pulling lots of useful info together – gathered from my experience of doing this stuff for 30 years and professional training in Nutritional therapy and Naturopathy.

So if Colon Cleansing is one of Your New Year Resolutions this is what you need to know

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Castor Oil Magic For Detox and Healing

organic castor oilCastor Oil has a big reputation as a home remedy and very long usage in India where the Castor plant grows and from there spread to the West. In time, healers, Naturopaths and herbalists all picked up on the power of Castor Oil to help healing along in many different ways.

All the same there are many misconceptions about the oil and I graduated from several professional level Natural Health trainings without any lessons or even mention of Castor Oil and only learned about it in an unofficial apprenticeship with an experienced Polarity Therapist who was working in Sydney at the time.

So I've condensed a lot of good advice down to these 6 points so please ask me any questions I have not covered here.

Seven Tips To Help You Make the Most of Castor Oil

 

  1. Do not swallow it and never, ever take Castor Oil by mouth!

    All of the power of Castor Oil is obtained by topical use – straight on to the skin.

    If you are silly enough – as I was once – to swallow some then you will have to spend some extra time in the bathroom. I took a sip of what I thought was water and realised quickly what I had done. It was only a sip but it still made a difference to my bowel movements over the next day or so.

    Why this happens is because there is one natural chemical in the oil which irritates the inner lining of the gut. To deal with the irritation the body moves water into the gut to dilute and expel the cause.

    This is how the body deals with parasites. Yes this does produce bowel movements but it also irritates a vital tissue and produces dehydration. Neither of these is good and so please never take Castor Oil by mouth!

    Ever!

    And to cure constipation we should take extra vitamin C – at least 1 gram a day. Many Naturopaths and Nutritionists take about 5 grams a day and have done so for decades. It is very hard to get constipated if you get the proper amount of this vital vitamin!

    Cleaning up the diet will also cure constipation. Eating more vegetables and more fruit daily does the trick. Government advice is to take 5 a day and much better advice is 9 a day.

     

  2. Castor Oil for the skin.

    Now we're talking! Castor oil is a wonderfully safe and effective skin oil. You can use it on cuts and scrapes and wounds of just about any kind. Wash the wound first of course but then Castor Oil will help the healing.

    It is also great for the hair and can be used as a massage oil with a punch!

    It has real power to increase the drainage in the area covered. So if you have painful or arthritic joints a massage once or twice a day with Castor oil is simple easy and effective. If that does not give you the relief you want then boost your vitamin C, add more veggies to your diet and get to see a Naturopath to get 1 on 1 help.
     

  3. The Castor Oil Pack This is the most powerful way to benefit from the healing power of Castor Oil. It is simple to put together and use although a little messy – you are using a skin oil after all! And although Castor Oil is wonderful for the skin it will mark cloths and towels and bedding so some people use old sheets and towels used exclusively for their Castor Oil packs.
     

  4. Now for the “How To”

    Warm Castor oil is poured onto a wool or cotton cloth. You can use any clean scrap of cloth or tea towel or buy a new one! The gentlest way to warm the oil is to stand the castor oil bottle in a dish or hot water. Do not heat the oil directly!

    The cloth with Castor Oil on it is placed on top of a sheet of “Cling film” / Plastic wrap or similar. The only purpose of this is to keep the oil where you want it.

    A big towel is the final layer of the pack. Once the warm oil has been applied to the cloth all 3 layers are picked up and wrapped around the area to be treated.

    That is usually the lower abdomen – around and below the navel or can be around a knee joint or shoulder or the neck. I know that many place the pack near the liver but this is not sensible in my view. The pack works on the lymphatics and they focus on the colon!

    A heat pad or hot water bottle is generally used to help the process along. Whatever source of heat you use, do take care not to use uncomfortable levels of heat and to use equipment safely.

    During the Castor Oil pack relaxation and snoozing or at least sitting still is advised. The packs are used for an hour or so at a time then the parts can be stored away. Only a little oil is used each time so a bottle will give several treatments.

    Very busy people who cannot find time during their day for a Castor Oil Pack go to bed with Castor Oil packs on but remember my caution about marking towels and sheets!

    It is fine to use 2 Castor Oil packs at once to treat different areas of the body at the same time.
     

  5. Lymphatic Drainage

    Half of the body's circulation gets all the limelight and that is the Cardiovascular system. The other half is largely ignored and that is the lymphatic circulation.

    The people who do pay attention to it are the Naturopaths and herbalists and doing so is one of the secrets to healing fast and fully.

    The main power of the Castor Oil Pack and all applications of Castor oil works through the lymphatic system. By encouraging drainage from inflammations and fresh blood to the inflamed area healing is accelerated.

  6.  

    Castor Oil Powers

    Whether you apply Castor Oil to the skin by hand or via a Pack you are using the fact that Castor Oil is anti-biotic, anti-viral and anti-fungal and you have a very powerful natural remedy with a very wide range of uses.

  7. Buy Organic! Whether you want to have a bottle at hand for everyday scrapes or to use in Castor Oil Packs as part of a healing or Detox Programme it is best to use Organic Castor Oil. Even though Castor Oil should not be taken internally by mouth – see point 1 above – you still want a pure oil for your skin. The photo opening this post is the Castor Oil I use and is available in local shops here in the UK. I have also used Heritage brand Castor Oil and that is distributed in the US and via Amazon.com

Heritage organic castor oilSo that is my seven point summary of the uses and benefits of Castor Oil. Please do chime in below with your experience and questions.

 

Where to Start My Detox? Part 3 – After Colon Cleansing

Detox - step b y Step Where to Start My Detox? Is such an excellent question that it has taken 2 blog posts so far to answer it.

Part One is here and Part Two is here

We start Detox by raising the quality of our diet. We do this by increasing the number of Superfoods in our diet and decreasing the number of junk foods – by choosing to exclude junk foods such as sugar, sodas, fries and burgers.

So far, so good!

Then we focus on preparing ourselves for the Detox by healing the gut with a simple combo of gut healing foods, nutrients and herbs.

Only then can we successfully get down to detox.

We started in Part 2 with detoxing or cleansing the colon. My first choice for colon cleaning is the Robert Gray Colon Cleansing Programme.

Suppose you spend 2 months or longer doing that – what's next?

After Colon Cleansing…..

After detoxing the colon or even before – you decide how thoroughly you want to detox.

If you want a simple procedure that is easy to follow then you can just use a general detoxer such as Capra cleanse which is the simplest detox formula I have found with a credible combination of detox nutrients and herbs.

But if you want a thorough detox of the colon in particular then you start your detox with a colon cleanse and then move on to a detox of the Kidneys and Liver.

So you could decide to use the Robert Gray Colon Cleanse and then use Capra cleanse to detox your kidney and Liver.

Or you could use the extremely thorough detox programme designed by Jon Barron which has a number of detox teas and tinctures which focus in turn on the colon, then the kidney and then in the liver.

You don't often see these options spelled out like this because these decisions are generally made in a 1 on 1 with a Naturopath.

There are other options too – which I have discussed in my detox books.

There are some people who just want the most thorough, deep and far reaching detox they can get and there are other people who want the simplest option they can find.

I have tried to find a way of providing the way forward for each type but it gets a little complicated sometimes that's for sure.

If you have never done a detox before I'd suggest you consider doing the Robert Gray and follow it up with Capra cleanse.

And if you have extra questions about Detox feel free to ask them in a comment at the end of this post.

And if you have a Detox method that you think I should have covered do share it!

 

How To Detox Your Liver

cross section X ray showing the liverDetoxification or Detox for short, is a life saving process that your body does daily as it deals with the toxins it encounters. 

Some of the toxins are the exhaust fumes of vehicles – especially diesel engines, some toxins come with the food we eat either as chemical sprays used by the farmer or additives used by the food processor. Some even occur in our intestines provided by bacteria or fungi and some in the liver itself as it battles mightily to handle, to detoxify and render harmless all this toxic mess!

Detox is natural, even if most of the toxins nowadays are not. As we evolved our detox abilities got better and better to allow us to deal with the toxins in the natural environment.

 Remember…..

Not so long ago most humans lived as hunter gatherers. How much of their diet came from gathering wild fruit and berries and digging up roots and how much came from hunting is unknown but toxins faced our ancestors at every step. 

"Is that fruit edible?" And "how about these leaves?" and "This root?"

For us, plants are important foods but plants have their own life cycle and will defend themselves against attack just like we do. Plants also evolved and they produced a dazzling array of self defense mechanisms – toxins being the biggest weapon in their armoury. 

Most plants make toxins to defend themselves against being eaten.

We adapted to handle the toxins they produced. And that brings us to the liver. 

The liver is the major organ of detoxification and is where most of the lifesaving work of detox takes place.

And to ram home the importance of detox consider this quote from Drs. Murray and Pizzorno, "Up to 90% of all cancers are thought to be due to the effects of environmental carcinogens." 

That means that if our detox systems work efficiently they protect us from cancer. And if we do what we can to boost our ability to detox and remove toxins from our body we give ourselves the best chance of health in the future.

How do we boost our detox ability? By eating foods that provide the liver with the natural nutrients it needs to do its job!

Liver Detox – Step by Step

Step 1 The Filter in the Liver

I filter my drinking water, millions of people do. The water from the tap often has toxic chemicals and sometimes life forms too. Best to block the biggest and most obvious offenders then.

The liver does that too. Every minute 2 quarts of our blood flows through the liver and it does a superb job of grabbing 99% of bacteria and various clumps of debris picked up somewhere along the way – on the first pass of the blood through the liver! 

Step 2 Bile Production

Bile is a liquid made by the cells in the liver which flows down the bile duct carrying toxins with it and into the small intestine where it can be safely absorbed by the fibre in your diet and carried out of the body when you have bowel motion. 

Step 3 Enzymes in the Liver

When you chomp into some lovely crunchy French bread, enzymes get to work almost immediately. Right there in your mouth as you are biting and chewing and enjoying the taste and aroma of the bread, enzymes in your saliva are working on the bread to digest it and make it available as nutrition for your body. 

The Liver does that with enzymes too – in 2 steps of its own.

First of all the toxins coming into the liver in the bloodstream are of 2 types. Not natural and manmade but water soluble and fat soluable!

 Some of the toxins themselves are fatty substances and they need a detox process of their own.

The liver has to work differently depending on whether the toxin it gets to work on dissolves in water or whether it is oily and needs something extra to help it dissolve. 

In Phase 1 of this enzyme process- the toxin is turned into a water soluble form –which can be handled easily or it is turned into something which may be less dangerous which makes a lot of sense or if that can't be done it is turned into something that is more dangerous – which seems not to make sense at all.

If that sounds a bit scary it is because you understand what's going on! 

What then?

The liver has grabbed a toxin and rather than detoxify it has, well, retoxified it! Phase 1 of Detox often produces very dangerous chemicals which are then handed over to ….. 

Phase 2 of Liver Detox

In Phase 1 specialist enzymes try to chomp away at the toxic molecules to break them up and make them safe for us and easy to detox. This does not always work and so the "big hitters" of Phase 2 slot onto the toxin and give the body a handle to get hold of to help it throw the toxin out. 

The technical word for this fixing a handle on is conjugation.

So the body needs a whole store of "handles" and it gets them from your diet. The handles might be sulphur from garlic or Vitamin B from whole grains or magnesium from greens.

And if your diet does not include the foods that help the liver with its detox then the toxin cannot be detoxified and it stays in a highly reactive form and does damage to all the tissues it comes across.

The liver itself gets damaged by eating a junk diet and so does the whole body since the liver is the main detox organ of the body.

Detox is daily, detox is natural and detox depends on eating a good healthy liver detox diet. We cannot detox by drinking water and we cannot detox by juicing since neither water nor fruit juices have all the detox nutrients we need for the liver to do its transformations of toxins into safe chemicals.

Detox in 3 Steps

That is why in my Detox book I talk about a Detox programme taking 3 steps with Step 1 concentrating on eating a nutritious liver detox diet and step 2 devoted to healing the gut.

Only after that is the body ready for the Detox. If you charge into Detox without preparation you might find a lot of symptoms like headaches, aches and pains and breaking out into rashes.

Don't be put off by this, rather take some encouragement and plan to give your body and your health the biggest gift of all – a proper step by step Detox.

You might be delighted and surprised by the extra energy and clarity of mind you get after the detox. And you may get some extras like clearer skin and weight loss too!

Would that be OK?

photo credit wiki

Detox and other Functions of the Liver

a graphic with a quote from the wiki...the liver is a vital organ which has a wide range of fiunctions including detoxificationIn the Liver Detox Part 1 we took a bird's eye view of the process of detoxification in the liver.

Like the very best water filters have several stages, the liver has different ways to purify the liquid flowing through it. And since blood is a lot more complicated than water the liver is very sophisticated in the way it deals with the toxins it processes 

So yes the liver acts like a filter for the blood. It also produces a special fluid, called bile and dumps a lot of toxins in the bile which takes them out of the liver to the gall bladder and then down to the large intestine.

After filtration, specialist liver enzymes with the rather odd sounding names, the "cytochrome P450" enzymes get to work on the remaining toxins in the blood and take them through several stages of transformation in order to detox them. 

What is vital in all these parts of liver detox is preparation.

Let's look at the first stage first where the Liver acts like a filter 

Filters get a lot wear and tear and the filter function of the liver works every second of every day like the heart does. Bacteria and debris hit the liver and it must be able to cope.

The physical structure of the liver must be intact for the filter function to work and it must be able to resist the inflammatory actions of the bacteria it handles.

Vitamin C is vital in both functions – vitamin C strengthens collagen which maintains the mechanical structure of the liver and vitamin C also acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory protecting the liver against damage by bacteria and inflammatory chemicals.

The functions of the liver depends on the health of the membranes in the liver through which the filtration take place. 

If there is a history of alcohol abuse or a high intake of fructose the liver may well have fatty tissue formed by the side effects of the detox of alcohol and fructose.

Fatty acids are important to cell membranes so Essential fatty acids help to keep the liver healthy. 

Cholesterol is another essential fat in the function of the liver. On a low fat diet the liver has to work harder to regulate blood cholesterol and has to make extra cholesterol to make up for that missing from the diet.

On a traditional diet with an adequate cholesterol intake the liver can take a well deserved rest and scale back its cholesterol production. 

Finally for the energy flow of the liver – the liver is a very hardworking organ and it gets the energy for the work it does from the mitochondria in the liver cells.

Mitochondria act like tiny power plants and they need protection against their own power! 

That inner protection is provided mostly by a vitamin like substance called  CoQ10.

So far then we have vitamin C, EFAs and CoQ10 as important for the health of the liver cells. 

Then we get to look at the alchemy going on in the liver!

Alchemy is the mystery of turning substances into something else and the liver does that by turning toxic molecules into nontoxic molecules – a bit like the Police disarming a gunman! 

Well all this alchemy comes at a cost. The liver needs a long list of materials to do its job and they come from your diet and supplements

Here is a short list of some of the inputs needed by the liver….. 

  • Minerals such as copper, zinc and magnesium
  • Vitamins such as B complex and vitamin C
  • Foods like cabbage, turmeric, citrus (excluding grapefruit)
  • Amino acids which are mostly provided by proteins in the diet. This does not mean that you need to be on high protein diet. In fact such a diet gives the liver more work to do by detoxifying the extra ammonia from the protein which has to be eliminated from the body as urea.

I've kept the list short, really. The point is that liver detox needs the liver itself to be healthy and well fed! 

And for the whole body to be in a reasonable state of health and low levels of stress.

Why? 

Because detox is a resource hungry activity and if you are in need of healing and destressing then get that done first and when you are ready you can focus on the detox and take your health to a higher level.

Detox is part of a healthy life but so is nurturing and so is healing. A healthy life has all 3.

We've looked at some of the functions of the liver – filtration, detox, cholesterol regulation amongst others and seen some of the complexity.

I hope that helps to clear away some of the myths about detox and helps you to admire the power and intelligence of the liver. Doing a liver detox is very worthwhile and may be a life changing event because afterwards you can find yourself feeling very much healthier and energetic.