The quintessential cleanse

Detox the right way.

If you’re looking at detoxing, there are some complicated and drastic approaches out there. We checked in with NAT KRINGOUDIS to get her thoughts on simple (and effective) methods to refresh and cleanse our bodies.

Caveat detoxer

Cleanses and detoxes have at times gotten a bad rap, mostly because methods are so varied. We’ve been told it’s not necessary to cleanse and, in a perfect world, I’d have to agree. But our world is far from perfect and we can’t live our lives in a bubble, so it’s important that we look at ways to eliminate the toxins that build up from daily exposure – from chemicals in our environment to those that make their way into our foods and body products. Cleanses have also fallen in the spotlight for the wrong reasons, perhaps because they have been harsh or drastic. I want to share with you some sensible additions you can add to your regime that help your body eliminate toxins in a gentle but supportive way. 

The traditional way

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) doesn’t specifically draw on the idea of detoxification as we know it in the West; however, it recognises when specific symptoms indicate that the organs aren’t working at their best and inadvertently helps to move out toxins – often referred to as heat, cold or damp. For example, excess heat in the body can lead to issues including skin rashes, thirst, loose bowels and headaches – not too dissimilar to the symptoms we would associate with a build-up of toxins. What’s more, while TCM isn’t specifically calling on treatments to ‘detox’, many of the herbal ingredients we use have amazing cleansing properties. 

Try it: Our bodies can respond in different ways to cleansing and it can be normal to feel a little headachy or nauseous when beginning any cleansing routine. It is best to consult your healthcare professional if you are in doubt, but know that these symptoms should only last a few days at maximum.

Focus on the spleen and stomach 

Cleaning out the digestive system is one of the most essential elements of cleansing. I suggest patients create a ‘cleanse mix’ by combining two parts psyllium with one part each chia, slippery elm and flaxseed. This creates a little mix that you can start the day with by adding one heaped teaspoon to some diluted apple juice each morning to kick-start digestion. I find this mix also helps to gently sweep out the gut and support healthy bowel movements.

Flush the liver 

The load we place on the liver is quite epic with modern lifestyle and, for this reason, helping it along every once in a while can make a massive difference in helping with purification and healthy cell function. My best fix to flush the liver is dandelion tea (or pu gong ying in Chinese medicine). It’s readily available and helps to clear the liver, head and toxins. Using the tea bag variety found at the health food store or supermarket means you can easily purchase and reap the benefits.

Support the heart 

I’m not necessarily talking heart from a Western perspective here but TCM recognises that each organ pertains to a particular emotion. Complete cleansing for me means we need to tick the box on not only the physical but the emotional aspects of health too, so for this reason adding in a little tender, loving care for the heart can be just what’s needed. Many patients report that, while cleansing, they feel particularly vulnerable and emotional. And since our emotions can absolutely drive our health (think about a time when you received bad news and you immediately felt sick in your stomach – it’s a real feeling), it makes sense to take care of the master emotion controller: the heart. Rose is a TCM herbal ingredient used to support healthy heart function. I personally love to draw on the benefits of aromatic herbs; using the essential oil in a burner or having a beautiful fragrant bunch of roses in your house while you are cleansing will do the trick.

Although cleansing isn’t necessarily a part of TCM theory, I’ve recognised for my patients an absolute change in health when we begin our treatment with a short cleanse. The benefits are amazing and the best part of all, you feel lighter, brighter, clearer and you glow. There’s everything to love about cleansing.  

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The information presented on this website is not intended as specific medical advice and is not a substitute for professional medical treatment or diagnosis. Read our Medical Notice.