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Detoxifying the body has been my clinical focus for almost 20 years. I have realized that it is toxicity that produces the sluggish liver/gallbladder which blocks the free flow of qi throughout the body. We have all been taught not to give a lot of tonic herbs until the qi stagnation in the body has been resolved. Yet the toxic load that so many people carry keeps the liver/gallbladder so stagnant that it is crucial to detoxify prior to and alongside introducing tonics for the spleen/pancreas and the kidneys/adrenals. Today we need to detoxify in ways that were not necessary when TCM was developed centuries ago. The purpose of this article is to show how to integrate naturopathic remedies into the TCM practice to aid in detoxification.

I had the opportunity to study Western herbal medicine and acupuncture before I studied Chinese herbalism. When I first began my practice, I depended on my Western herbal pharmacy and about a dozen popular Chinese patent formulae. With the diagnostic elements of both traditions, I noticed that all the clients I saw seemed to need certain organ systems cleansed, or they needed overall detoxification.

Over the years I have studied aromatherapy, flower essences, homeopathy and naturopathic remedies, such as amino acids, vitamins and minerals, green foods, enzymes, and natural hormonal creams and glandulars. I have found these essential to my practice; and I feel other TCM practitioners could benefit from integrating some of these ideas as well.

Typical American clients have been exposed to toxic chemicals in hundreds of ways throughout their lifetimes. Unfortunately, many of these chemicals are introduced to us through food and pharmaceutical drugs. Beginning in infancy, our bodies have been given toxic vaccinations, over-the-counter and prescription toxic chemical medications, and over-processed, factory farmed "foods" full of toxic chemicals. We take toxic synthetic vitamins and minerals, use toxic body care and cleaning products, and drink water full of toxic chemical residues. So many foods and liquids are microwaved, a process that changes the molecular structure into toxic foreign substances.

Many people grow up in our culture never getting healthy food, water, and medicine. Babies start out on microwaved formula and move on to processed fast foods and sodas as they become older children and adults. Obesity and diabetes are epidemic.

Detoxifying the body is the basis for curing all chronic disease. Detoxification allows the body's cells to release waste products and absorb nutrients properly, and it creates a balanced pH. Most Americans have very acidic, chronically inflamed bodies. This leads to all kinds of chronic problems, such as allergies, arthritis, cancer, chronic pain, diabetes, heart disease, immune system disorders, migraines...the list could go on and on. These are all things that allopathic medicine cannot treat successfully because "treatment" involves giving the client toxic chemical "medication" which may mask the symptoms in the short run, but make the body so much worse in the long run.

Sources of Chronic Stagnation

I have noticed three main reasons for chronic liver/gallbladder qi stagnation: chemical toxicity, emotional toxicity and electro-magnetic field (EMF) radiation. This article will focus on how to rid the body of chemical toxicity. However, before discussing chemical toxicity, I feel that it is important to say a few words about emotional toxicity and EMF radiation as sources of chronic stagnation.

Emotional Toxicity

Over the years I have treated many cancer patients. I have found that unless there is a primary genetic component or a severe exposure to chemical toxins or radiation, almost all cancer patients share a common problem - emotional toxicity. Usually, this manifests as unresolved anger and resentment toward someone, perhaps a parent or a current or ex-spouse.

Regardless of diagnosis, most people are holding on to some form of emotional baggage. Sometimes I see clients who are so unhappy with a job or relationship that they are in a state of constant anger, rage, resentment, frustration, or depression. Until these issues are resolved, the free flow of liver/gallbladder qi is not possible.

Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Radiation

All of us are continuously exposed to EMF radiation, and most are not even aware of it. This radiation comes from close proximity to electrical equipment that is plugged into an outlet, from cell phones, wireless technology, mp3 players, traveling in cars, trains, buses and planes, even from dimmer switches in our homes. EMF radiation creates chaos in the body's electromagnetic field, which includes the acupuncture points and meridians.

EMF radiation creates severe liver/gallbladder qi and blood stagnation. I have my clients fill out an EMF questionnaire as part of their medical history so I can limit their exposure and offer solutions for protecting themselves. I will lend them a gauss meter to test their home and work environments for unsafe levels of EMF radiation.

How can we expect to get the best results from acupuncture if clients leave our clinics and return to high EMF radiation environments, such as sleeping with an electric blanket or using a laptop directly on the lap?

Thermography

I ask my clients to avoid X-rays, ultrasounds, MRIs, and similar scans unless they are absolutely necessary. Women are told to get regular mammograms, yet research shows that the radiation from these can actually cause breast cancer. I educate my clients about thermography and offer them a list of local practitioners who offer this service.

Thermography is an imaging method that measures variances in infrared heat emission from breast tissue, revealing conditions such as fibrocystic disease, cysts, infections, benign tumors, and breast cancer. In comparison to other technologies, thermography has shown greater success in identifying women under the age of 55 with breast cancer. Not only can thermography detect breast cancer years earlier than mammograms, but it is also much more accurate. Best of all, breast thermography is radiation free, non-invasive, painless, and FDA approved.

The Basics: Clean Food and Water

The first step in detoxification is to stop the exposure to toxins.  Of course, we cannot eliminate toxins completely, but we can work to minimize these negative influences as much as possible.

The person’s environment must be examined and changes made where needed.  This includes evaluating foods and liquids, medications and supplements, body care and cleaning products, as well as addressing toxic emotions, reducing EMF radiation exposure and other possible chemical exposures in both the home and work environments.

The most basic factor is clean water.  Most people do not drink enough water; and, when they do, it is usually toxic tap water or toxic water from plastic bottles, and they are drinking it ice cold.  I recommend my clients invest in a good reverse osmosis water filter for their home sinks.  I also suggest water filters for the bath and shower.

So many people take synthetic vitamins and minerals without realizing how toxic they are.  Instead, they really should take plant or natural mineral based supplements.  In addition, I work to help my clients get off as many over-the-counter and prescription medications as possible.  I have found natural supplements to replace almost all chemical medications. 

There are also a number of products we use every day that can either contribute to or detract from our wellbeing.  I suggest that clients replace all their cosmetics, body care, cleaning, and laundry products with natural alternatives from the health food store.  If needed I suggest a good HEPA air filter, or even a vacuum with a HEPA filter, for a person’s home or work environment.  I ask women to switch from regular pads and tampons, which are full of toxic bleach and perfumes, to 100% organic cotton pads and tampons, or Diva Cups.  Diva Cups are silicon-based, non-absorbent menstrual cups that simply collect menstrual flow.  They are inserted into the vagina and rest at the lower end of the vaginal canal.  The Diva Cup is soft and smooth, cannot be felt, and will not leak when inserted properly.

After educating my clients to limit their exposure to synthetic chemicals and EMF radiation as much as possible, I start them on a detox program.  This begins with diet.  I focus on a plant based diet with beans, nuts, and seeds as the primary protein.  I ask my clients to have only organic animal protein and limit it to no more than one 4oz. serving 2-4 times a week.  I suggest 4-5 cups of vegetables a day consisting of 75% cooked and 25% raw, 1-2 pieces of fresh fruit a day, as well as replacing simple carbohydrates with soaked or sprouted whole grains and complex carbohydrates.

I ask my clients to wean off coffee, caffeine, refined sugars, and refined salt, and to avoid any cold foods and liquids, anything microwaved, artificial sweeteners, hydrogenated oils, and all simple carbohydrates.  I suggest that they drink only purified water, herbal teas, fresh squeezed vegetable juice and kombucha tea, and avoid any fruit juice, sodas or carbonated drinks, coffee, milk, or excessive alcohol.  I encourage organic, whole unprocessed foods as much as possible.

I educate clients about food combining.  There are several food combining systems out there, some more complex than others; but I have found that a few basic rules can make a considerable difference in a person’s health. 

  • I suggest eating fruit on an empty stomach (such as first thing in the morning), and then eating protein and/or complex carbohydrates 30-45 minutes later to balance the blood sugar.

  • I stress the need for protein at breakfast and lunch.  It is ideal to make lunch the largest meal of the day and eat lighter at dinner.  I encourage only plant proteins at dinner.

  • Animal protein is better consumed with low starch leafy green vegetables and should not be combined with carbohydrates.  This allows the food to get easily digested and absorbed into the cells.

If foods are not properly combined, they can sit in the stomach, rotting and fermenting for hours.  For example, the stomach needs to secrete acid when consuming animal protein to break it down.  Carbohydrates, on the other hand, need an alkaline environment for digestion.  Mixing the two food groups causes the resulting acid and alkaline components to create a neutral pH, preventing the food from being digested properly.  Unfortunately, this is the typical American diet for three meals a day.  This is just one of the reasons so many are overweight, but undernourished. Our cells are starving for nutrients, but the food we eat often cannot be digested and absorbed properly.  Fruits should be eaten alone because they break down in the stomach in 20-30 minutes whereas other foods take at least 2-3 hours.  If fruit is not eaten alone, it starts to ferment the food mixture, which then cannot break down properly.

A few simple ways to decrease the body’s acidity and create a more alkaline pH are to add fresh lemon juice to drinking water or to mix 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of unpasteurized apple cider vinegar with an equal amount of raw organic honey and warm water, 1-3 times a day.  Vinegar makes people feel better if they generally suffer from a lack of hydrochloric stomach acid.  However, if they have too much stomach acid, they will get acid reflux from the vinegar and honey; a pinch of baking soda on the tongue can instantly neutralize the effect.

In TCM we work to change the diet and lifestyle first, and then focus on herbs and acupuncture.  In centuries past, diet and lifestyle changes may have been enough to establish optimal health.  In today’s toxic world almost everyone needs herbal detoxification.  The most basic herbal formulae to detox the body include plants that address the liver/gallbladder and others that address blood/lymphs and skin.  These herbs are found in most health food stores.

Cleansing Chemical Toxicity

Liver Cleansing

The most popular liver detox herb is milk thistle seed, which I combine with bupleurum, chrysanthemum, coptis, cornus, cypress, dandelion root, dong quai, fennel seed, ginger, green citrus peel, Jerusalem artichoke (sunchoke), jujube, lobelia, licorice root, moutan root bark, Oregon grape root, peppermint, phellodendron bark, rhemannia, scutellaria, Turkey rhubarb, turmeric, white peony root, wild yam rhizome, and uncariae ramulus.

I recommend at least 2-4 oz. of room temperature kombucha tea a day.  Kombucha is a fermented beverage made from the kombucha “mushroom,” a symbiotic culture of yeast, bacteria and other microorganisms.  The culture is placed into a jar with an organic green tea and raw sugar mixture, along with a starter of kombucha tea from the previous batch.

The kombucha culture uses the sweet tea as food.  During the fermentation process it makes many nutritional compounds such as amino acids, antibiotic substances, glucon acid, glucuronic acid, lactic acid and vitamins. This tea has been found to help detoxify toxic chemical residues from liver tissue and from the body.

For more severe cases I will add in homeopathic remedies for liver/gallbladder detox, such as Hepeel by BHI/HEEL or GUNA Liver.  Both of these preparations feature a combination of various homeopathic remedies to be taken sublingually.

If clients have gallbladder pain, or are known to have gallstones, I start them on Li Dan Pian.  This Chinese formula begins to soften and dissolve stones in the liver and gallbladder.  I use Mayway’s Plum Flower brand which contains scutellaria, aucklandia, lysimachia, lonicera, artemesia capillaris, bupleurum, isatis leaf, and rhubarb.

Skin, Blood, Lymph & Cellular Cleansers

If I have a client with any skin problems, lymph issues, or abnormal cell growth like dysplasia, cysts, or tumors, I will add in remedies to detox the blood, lymphatics and skin.  The most popular herb for this is red clover blossoms, which I combine with black walnut hulls, burdock root, calendula flowers, chaparral, cleavers, chrysanthemum flowers, dandelion root, echinacea, elder flowers, forsythia fruit, gentian root, goldenseal root, gotu kola, honeysuckle flowers, licorice root, lyceum, moutan root bark, myrrh, Oregon grape root, pau d’arco, peppermint, pinellia, sarsaparilla, turmeric, white peony root, and yellow dock root. 

For more severe cases I will add combination homeopathics such as Lymphomyosot by BHI/HEEL or GUNA’s Lympho, Cell and Matrix.  These formulae detox the lymphatic system, cells and the matrix (space between cells) respectively.

Exercising on a trampoline or rebounder also helps in detoxifying the body at the lymphatic, cellular and matrix levels. The up and down movements provide a positive benefit to every cell in the body, helping them to eliminate waste and take in nutrients.

Epsom salt baths can be excellent for detoxing the skin, blood, and lymph.  Epsom salt is a mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate, both of which are easily absorbed by the skin.  Magnesium regulates over 325 enzymes in the body; it increases the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) to help mitochondria in the cells produce more energy; it relaxes the nerves and muscles and lowers blood pressure; it regulates electrolytes, improves blood circulation, prevents blood clots and protects the elasticity of the arteries; it reduces inflammation; it lowers the negative effects of too much adrenaline (one of our stress hormones); and it helps to produce serotonin (one of the brain’s feel-good chemicals that help us relax.)

Sulfates help flush toxins and heavy metals from the cells, improve the absorption of nutrients, and reduce muscle pain and migraine headaches.

Magnesium sulfate also helps support the efficacy of insulin in the tissues and helps to reduce high blood sugar.

I have my clients use a large container of Epsom salts in a hot bath and soak for 20 minutes.  Adding essential oils to the bath can help with detoxification as well as address other health issues. Lavender oil aids in detoxifying; and it also calms the nerves, increases energy, and lifts the spirits.  Chamomile is great for dry skin.  Juniper, eucalyptus, and rosemary are good for muscle aches.  Eucalyptus also helps with respiratory problems.  I recommend about 40 drops of essential oil per bath, added after the tub is filled with water. Be sure to mix them in well.

Skin brushing can also help detoxify the skin, blood, and lymph.  Skin-brushing is done with a dry vegetable bristle skin brush that you can buy at any health food store.  Start with the lymph areas of the armpits; then brush the chest, head, and neck, and up the arms toward the armpit area.  Next brush the lymph areas of the upper thighs, followed by the abdomen, then the feet and up the legs toward the upper thighs.  The upper body is done before the lower; and brush from the extremities toward the lymph areas and the heart.

“Variations on the art of skin brushing have been known for thousands of years. Loofa sponges were used by the Japanese prior to their hot baths and skin-scrapers were used by the Greeks after physical training. Among Native Americans, the Cherokees used dried corncobs, and sand from river bottoms was the choice of the Comanches. Even animals rub themselves vigorously against rough surfaces.”

Hot and cold hydrotherapy helps detoxify the lymphatic system and is also a great natural remedy for pain relief.  Cold water constricts the lymph and blood vessels, and hot water relaxes and expands them. I recommend taking a shower using 30 seconds of hot water on the lymphs or painful areas of the body, then switch to 15 seconds of cold.  Go back and forth between hot and cold 4-6 times.  Always start the process with hot and end with cold.

Chelation

Many people have heavy metal residues in their tissues which can cause a host of chronic health issues.  I use hair mineral analysis through Analytical Research Labs (ARL) to check for heavy metal toxicity, as well as to gain valuable information on mineral imbalances which can signal endocrine disorders.

There are several heavy metal cleansers and chelators available that contain a blend of natural supplements. Chelation agents bind with heavy metal deposits found in the body and help to remove them through the stool and urine. The most common chelator is EDTA—a synthetic amino acid approved by the FDA to remove lead, mercury, aluminum, and cadmium.  However, EDTA can interfere with the absorption of important nutrients and cannot be used alone, as it can cause kidney failure when it binds with mercury.  Usually calcium is added to EDTA formulae to ensure that calcium levels do not become too low. Other common chelators include alpha-lipoic acid, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), bentonite clay, bladderwrack, chlorella, cilantro, garlic, Irish moss (carageenan), kelp, L-arginine, L-lysine, L-methionine, N-acetyl cysteine, sodium argenate, spirulina and zeolite. 

Intestinal Cleansing

Intestinal detoxification is something most everyone can use.  A healthy person should have 2-3 bowel movements a day.  Ideally, one should have a separate bowel movement for each meal eaten.  I encourage all of my clients to do an intestinal detox if they are having any kind of digestive problems.  If they have only one bowel movement or less per day, I suggest clients start this program immediately.  I have tried many brands of herbal intestinal cleansers over the years and have stayed with the American Botanical Pharmacy’s (ABP) Intestinal Formula 1 & 2 by Dr. Richard Schulze. 

Most intestinal cleansing programs incorporate two different formulae—one that acts as a laxative and another that performs as a clay mask for the inside of the gastro-intestinal tract.  Many laxative formulae contain only harsh cathartic herbs that can cause the intestinal peristalsis to atrophy and can cause dependency on the formula for bowel movement. One of the great things about the ABP program is that the laxative formula is designed for long term use if necessary. 

ABP’s Intestinal Formula ##1 contains curacao and cape aloe leaf, senna leaves and pods, cascara sagrada aged bark, barberry root bark, ginger rhizome, garlic bulb and African bird pepper.  This lower bowel tonic cleanses and strengthens the whole gastro-intestinal tract.  It stimulates peristalsis and helps the colon to work better by itself over time.

“This herbal tonic also improves digestion, relieves gas and cramps, increases the flow of bile which, in turn, cleans the gallbladder, bile ducts and liver, destroys Candida albicans overgrowth and promotes a healthy intestinal flora, destroys and expels intestinal parasites, increases gastrointestinal circulation and is anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal.”

Formula ##1 pills are taken with food.  Start with one pill after dinner for 3-4 days and keep increasing by one pill as needed every few days until you are having 2-3 bowel movements a day for 3-4 days or you get loose stool.  Then start on Formula ##2.  If a person already has 2-3 bowel movements a day or more (as in the case of a patient with irritable bowel syndrome, colitis or chronic diarrhea) you can start to use ABP’s Intestinal Formula ##2 first and only use ##1 pills as needed.  Formula ##2 comes in both capsules and powder and contains flax seed, apple pectin, pharmaceutical grade bentonite clay, psyllium seed and husk, slippery elm inner bark, marshmallow root, fennel seed and activated willow charcoal.

“This formula is a strong purifier and intestinal vacuum, drawing old fecal matter off the walls of your colon and out of any bowel pockets. It will also draw out poisons, toxins, heavy metals such as mercury and lead, and even remove radioactive material such as strontium 90. This formula will also remove over 3,000 known drug residues. Its natural mucilaginous properties will soften old hardened fecal matter for easy removal and also make it an excellent remedy for any inflammation in the stomach and intestines.”

When you are ready for Formula ##2, begin with one dose (10 pills with 16 oz of water or 1 rounded teaspoon shaken together with 8 oz of water and followed by an additional 8 oz of water) for  3-4 days. You need to continue to take Formula ##1 at the dose that gives you 2-3 bowel movements a day, and you may need to increase this by one or more pills for every dose of Formula ##2 that you take, if you are not having 2-3 bowel movements a day or if you feel backed up.  Make sure you take Formula ##2 on an empty stomach at least ½ hour before eating or before taking any other herbs or medicines.

Every 3-4 days increase Formula ##2 by 1 dose until you are taking it 5 times a day for one week.  Then decrease it in a similar way (4 times a day for 2-3 days, 3 times a day for 2-3 days, etc.)  You will gradually decrease your dose of Formula ##1 at the same time; and only take Formula ##1 if needed in order to keep having 2-3 bowel movements a day.

Please note that Dr. Schulze has directions for this program that move at a faster pace than the guidelines I give.  However, I have found that this can be too harsh for many clients, and so I have tailored a slower, gentler approach that I find to be even more effective and enjoyable.

If the patient is not willing to take the time to do this cleanse, I will suggest just using Formula ##1.  If the Formula ##1 pills prove to be too harsh, I suggest taking one drop of rhubarb tincture 3-4 times a day to help with chronic constipation.

Another area of intestinal detox is parasite removal.  For clients who have traveled out of the country and return with chronic diarrhea, I automatically recommend anti-parasite herbs.  I use a formula that consists of black walnut hulls, blue cohosh, chaparral, cloves, elecampane, dioscorea, garlic, gentian, ginger, goldenseal, helonias, juniper berries, magnolia bark, olive leaf, turmeric and wormwood.

Controlling Candida

Detoxing from excess candida is another important focus for proper intestinal functioning.  Overuse of antibiotics, sugar and refined carbohydrates has increased the imbalance of yeast in our bodies. Chronic yeast infections, fungal skin infections, gas, bloating, fatigue and spaciness are common symptoms of excess candida. 

There are two parts to my candida control protocol.  First I supplement with probiotics.  Because there are hundreds of different kinds of healthy bacterial flora normally residing in the intestine, I like to use fructooligosaccharides (FOS), instead of a few live cultures. Several companies manufacture this product, but I use the one available from Pure Encapsulations.

“Derived from the Jerusalem artichoke and the Aspergillus niger enzyme, FOS selectively promotes the growth of ‘friendly’ bacteria within the intestines. Your body is unable to digest FOS.  Instead, it is utilized by colonies of friendly intestinal flora, such as bifidobacteria and lactobactillus.  Friendly bacteria help your intestinal tract to remain healthy by making it slightly acidic, which makes it less hospitable to potentially harmful bacteria, like clostridium and salmonella which produce a variety of undesirable substances such as volatile amines.  When the intestinal ecology is restored, excess candida will naturally subside.”

I counsel my clients to avoid yoghurt and kefir as sources of probiotics because the cold temperature and damp nature of these dairy products can actually promote an environment favored by candida.  Candida thrives in a damp heat environment.

The second part of the candida control protocol consists of rotating natural anti-fungals.  Yeast can build a resistance to these, so I have clients switch to something else each time they finish a bottle.

Common anti-fungal remedies include black walnut hulls, caprylic acid, garlic, grapefruit seed extract, lomatium, olive leaf, oregano oil, and pau d’arco.  Tea tree oil vaginal suppositories are very effective for symptoms of a yeast infection.  Another anti-fungal remedy I use is Candisol.

“Parasitic and fungal organisms can flourish only as long as their cell walls remain intact.  The enzymes in Candisol break down these cell walls, and thus help control yeasts and other fungi in the body.  Candisol works gently, causes no ‘die off’ reaction, and will not harm healthy intestinal flora.”

Cleansing the Kidneys

Kidney detox begins with using clean water – either pure spring water in glass bottles or reverse osmosis filtered water.  I have all my clients do a kidney flush once a month or even weekly depending on their condition.  The kidney flush (or master cleanse as it is sometimes called) consists of 1 gallon distilled water, the juice of 2 lemons and 2 limes, 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (or to taste), and 1 tablespoon of organic grade B maple syrup.  Drink over 48 hours.  This flush has become a popular Hollywood fast, but I tell my clients not to fast while using this.  Instead, they can replace their normal drinking water with this over the two days of the flush.

For clients with a history of or who currently have kidney stones I will use herbs to help the stones dissolve and pass easily.  My formula consists of achyranthes root, chamomile, cleavers, cornsilk, dandelion leaf and root, gravel root, hawthorne berry, horsetail, hydrangea root, juniper berry, uva ursi and yellow dock root.

Cleansing the Lungs and Sinuses

People need to detoxify the respiratory system if they have a history of chronic sinus or lung infections, smoking, or chronic mucous such as post-nasal drip or incessant throat clearing.  I recommend the use of a neti pot, a technique that originated with yogi practitioners to help in breathing exercises. 

A saline solution is prepared using lukewarm water and a fine grain sea salt to gently open up and moisturize the nasal passages. I recommend adding 1-2 drops of eucalyptus essential oil to the neti pot solution.  A full neti pot is used in each nostril. This releases any excess mucous in the sinus cavities and can often prevent allergies and infections. When used at the first sign of an infection, it can help to get rid of it before it becomes full blown.

The formula I use for sinus congestion includes angelica, asarum, birthroot, bupleurum, chrysanthemum, cinnamon, cnidium, ephedra, ginger, horehound, kudzu, licorice, magnolia bark, mullein, pinellia and aged and green tangerine peel.

To clear excess mucous in the lungs, I use angelica, asarum, atractylodes, birthroot, chapparal, coptis, elecampane, ephedra, fennel, ginger, goldenseal, horehound, hyssop, licorice, lobelia, magnolia bark, monarda leaf, mullein, pau d’arco, pinellia, polygala, poria, psoraleae, aged and green tangerine peel and thyme.

If the whole body is excessively damp, I will use alismatis, astragalas, atractylodes, cinnamon, ephedra, poria, magnolia bark, perilla, pinellia, polygala root plus aged and green tangerine peel.  This formula can purge phlegm and mucous from every orifice of the body.

When I have a client with excess damp, I suggest the following dietary changes: no cold or fried food, dairy, sugar, wheat, alcohol or refined carbs.

For tobacco addiction, I use a formula that consists of avena sativa (milky oat seed), damiana, licorice, lobelia, mullein and skullcap. This lessens the desire for nicotine, supports the nervous system and adrenal glands and cleanses and restores the lungs and bronchial tubes. The main herb in this formula is lobelia, which has chemical components that actually fit into the nicotine receptors of the brain.  It is like a natural form of the popular drug Chantix.  Lobelia is a natural bronchodilator.  I have helped dozens of patients use lobelia tincture to replace their asthma inhalers with just 1-2 droppersful as needed. I will have people use this before physical activity if they have exercise-induced asthma symptoms.

Liver Flush

After clients have made the necessary dietary and lifestyle changes, done the detox programs I prescribe, and are having 2-3 bowel movements a day, and I feel that chemical toxicity has been thoroughly addressed, then I will begin a series of liver and gallbladder flushes.  This is the deepest detox and will rid the liver/gallbladder of stones and any remaining chemical residues in the liver.  If chemical detox has not been completed first, this flush can make them sick.

Ideally, clients will have detoxed from their chemical medications months before.  However, even if they are on long term medication, such as an HIV/AIDS drug cocktail, they can still do a liver/gallbladder flush.  I have had many clients who have already had their gallbladders removed do this flush successfully, even with a bile duct reconstruction.

Almost everyone has stones come out.  Some people throw off 1-2 cups of stones or more over the course of several flushes.  One of my recent clients has eliminated 3-4 cups of stones and is still going.  He was having constant gallbladder pain previously.  Now he feels so much better that he is telling everyone he knows about detoxing.

 I will have clients do this flush every 2-3 weeks until there are at least two flushes in a row without stones and until I feel they have cleaned out everything.  I have researched many liver/gallbladder flush recipes and put together a program that is very effective.  Similar flushes have people consume a gallon of apple juice the week before the flush because the malic acid in the apples helps to break down gallstones.  We have replaced this with Standard Process’s Phosfood, a liquid phosphorus supplement.

The liver/gallbladder flush is as follows:

  1. One week before beginning the program, take Lidan pills following directions on the bottle.  Lower the dose if you develop loose stools.  Otherwise, continue these through day 4 of the flush.

  2. Day 1 to 3: drink 45 drops of Phosfood in a glass of water three times per day in addition to regular meals and any supplements that may have been prescribed. 

  3. On day 4 you should eat a normal breakfast and lunch.

  4. Three hours later, take two teaspoons of Epsom salts dissolved in 1 oz of hot water.  This must be followed by a little freshly squeezed citrus juice.  Make sure you use lemon, but feel free to mix it with orange, grapefruit, tangerine or lime.

  5. Two hours later, repeat step 4.

  6. You may have 1-3 citrus fruits for your evening meal.

  7. At bedtime, you must take one of the following:

  • ½ cup of unrefined olive oil followed by a small glass of citrus juice mix.  Unrefined olive oil may be obtained at most health food stores.  If you cannot find unrefined, get first cold pressed extra, extra virgin oil of a dark green color, or

  • ½ cup of unrefined olive oil blended with ½ cup of citrus juice mix

  1. Following step 7, you should go immediately to bed and lie on your right side with your right knee pulled up close to your chest for 15 minutes.

  2. The next morning, one half-hour before breakfast, take two teaspoons of Epsom salts dissolved in 1 oz of hot water.  Follow this with the citrus juice mix.

10.  Be sure to continue with your normal diet and any nutritional supplements and herbs that have been prescribed for you.

Some patients have occasionally reported slight to moderate nausea when taking the olive oil/citrus juice; this nausea will slowly disappear by the time you go to sleep, especially if you chew on small pieces of raw ginger.  If the olive oil induces vomiting, you should not continue the procedure at this time.  This occurs only in rare instances.  This flushing of the liver and gallbladder stimulates and cleanses these organs as no other method can.

The stones come out in about 4-6 loose bowel movements that morning.  They can be beige, yellow or light or dark green in color and float at the top of the toilet water.  They can be irregular in shape, gelatinous in texture, and vary in size from poppy seeds to kidney beans.  The largest stones my clients have released were the size of a peach pit, as well as a thumb-sized clump of stones, but I have also read accounts of releasing stones as large as a golf ball.  The larger stones are often clumps of smaller stones that have been compressed together.

By the time my clients have completed the series of liver/gallbladder flushes, they are feeling much better physically and emotionally, and most acute and chronic problems are gone.  At this stage of treatment I can focus more on chronic diseases that need more long term herbal support like deficient spleen/pancreas, deficient kidney/adrenals and other endocrine imbalances such as thyroid or ovarian issues. 

Restoring Balance

Spleen Tonification

To help tonify the spleen I recommend digestive enzymes with each meal.  These are also an effective remedy for any kind of indigestion or acid reflux.  While many pharmaceuticals for acid reflux actually stop the production of stomach acid, which we need to break down the proteins we eat, the enzymes help the stomach break down nutrients for proper absorption.

Another supplement I use to tonify the spleen and help build deficient Liver blood are green foods.  We use Dr. Schulze’s Superfood which consists of spirulina, blue-green algae, chlorella algae, barley, alfalfa and wheat grass, purple dulse seaweed, beets, spinach, rose hips, orange and lemon peels in a base of non-fermentable saccharomyces cervisiae yeast.  This product actually has 250% more protein than meat ounce per ounce.  It also helps keep the blood sugar stable, does not need to be broken down by the digestive system, and is easily assimilated by the cells.  It gives the body extra plant protein and vegetables and even offers a natural chelation effect.

Endocrine Balance

It seems that endocrine imbalance is an epidemic in our culture.  The endocrine glands are drastically affected by chemical toxicity.  Many chemicals act like synthetic hormones in the body.  Most people do not have a balanced spleen and pancreas due to a poor diet, and many have deficient kidneys/adrenals due to stress.  These glands are in a delicate balance with each other.  I like to use a metaphor of a table to signify the endocrine system.  The legs of this table consist of the adrenals, pancreas, thyroid and ovaries/testes.  If one of these legs becomes unbalanced it can eventually bring imbalance to the whole table.  I recommend saliva tests for adrenal and ovarian hormones.  Rather than the conventional single blood draw, which samples merely a small window in time, saliva tests show the full day/night cycle of adrenal hormones and provides a more complete picture of monthly changes in ovarian hormones. 

Synthetic hormones are very toxic for the body so I encourage my clients to use herbs first for hormonal balance.  If herbs alone are not enough, then I recommend glandular supplements, bio-identical hormones, or plant-based hormonal sublinguals or creams.

Conclusion

Adding these remedies based in Western herbal medicine, naturopathic medicine, homeopathy and aromatherapy to detoxify the body can help TCM practitioners get faster and more lasting results with our clients.  Detoxification provides a more holistic approach to treatment that is common sense for living in today’s toxic environment.  These cleansing programs energize and empower clients to be in control of their bodies, their diets, and their environment.  They allow people to take responsibility for their own health and make them better equipped to deal with the challenges of our modern world.


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