The New Year Detox

After the excesses of the festive season many of  us feel sluggish, lethargic and, let’s face it, overweight. In this month’s  regular column, Dee Atkinson MNIMH, Medical Herbalist,  Helen Gestwicki,   
Nutritional Therapist
  and Dawn Leuchars,  Colonic Hydrotherapist  
from Napiers the Herbalists take a look at  the dreaded ‘detox’ and give advice on how to do it safely and painlessly. 

Dee Atkinson MNIMH   
Medical Herbalist  
The concept of periods of time where we reduce consumption of certain foods, and deny our selves luxuries is not a new one. Usually  for political or religious reasons such as Lent, these were useful times health wise as they gave the body a chance to rest. Cleansing drinks and tonics were common accompaniments to times of fasting. Nettle, Dandelion and Cleavers  drunk as a tea or brewed as a light beer was a popular spring cleansing  tonic.

In recent years we have devised the idea of ‘detox’, which is really just a new spin on an age old idea. Nowadays with the year round availability of most foods and with the highly processed diets that many people eat, few people eat seasonally,  giving their body a time of rest. Caffeine and alcohol are a regular part of most people’s diet, and we rarely take ‘food holidays’ to give our bodies a chance to recover.

I have developed a simple routine of herbs and diet that helps the body to cleanse gently from the inside. Napiers Detox formula is a blend of Seaweed (bladderwrack), burdock, dandelion, prunes, artichoke and lemon. This mix will support the liver, help to speed up the metabolic rate and get the bowel working regularly. 10mls is diluted in a litre of water and drunk each day for a 10 day period.  Combine this with a cleansing diet and a teaspoon of Betonite Clay and Psyllium husks in fresh juice each day.

Boost the process by spending the 10 days looking after yourself. Start each day with skin brushing and a big glass of hot water and lemon. Do some gentle exercise each day, and try an Epsom salt bath to relax and detoxify.
A simple detox can be done at home, and is a great way to re energise and re tune your body. Many people find they sleep better, skin and joint problems clear up, and energy levels improve.

Check Napiers web site for more information on Detox.

Helen Gestwicki   
Nutritional Therapist

In Naturopathic Nutrition, detoxification is a  technique used to help the body clear out toxins which could have a negative  effect on our health. It is also a means of giving the digestive system a break from stodgy, unhealthy food, and frees up energy for the body to heal and repair itself.

When people come to me wishing to do a ‘detox’ the  first thing we look at is their diet. I think of it as a great way to get rid of some unhealthy habits, so out go all the foods which can irritate the digestive system or are difficult to digest – these include all processed  foods, dairy products, wheat, meat, sugar, alcohol and caffeine. Instead, we  work on a diet based on vegetables, fruits, fish or vegetarian proteins, and  easily digested grains such as rice, quinoa, millet and buckwheat.     
I recommend drinking plenty of water and herbal  teas, as well as vegetable
juices as a way to get extra vitamins and minerals  into the body quickly.
Juices of apple, carrot, beetroot, green vegetables and  melon are really  detoxifying and taste great, and they’re quick and easy enough  to do every day. If you don’t have a juicer, try my super green smoothie for  breakfast or as a snack:    
Super Green Smoothie    
Half a cucumber   
1 avocado    
1 cup of spinach    
Whizz up in a blender and add water to make more  liquid.    

Alongside a ‘detox diet’, I usually recommend  taking a good multivitamin and mineral, some probiotic capsules to support the  digestive system, and using psyllium husks and soaked linseeds daily to keep  the bowels moving and help remove toxins. Normally 7-10 days are enough for a  thorough detox, but if you don’t have that much time, even doing it for a  weekend every couple of months is helpful.    

Dawn Leuchars    
Colonic Hydrotherapist

Colonic Hydrotherapy can be used to greatly improve the results of a Detox.  The large bowel (colon) is where unwanted toxic matter sits in preparation for elimination.

When the bowel does not function efficiently, the stool remains too long inside the colon, toxins re-enter the bloodstream and are transported to all areas of the body causing problems such as poor skin, lethargy, headaches, cloudy mind, etc. The longer the stool remains in your colon, the more water is drawn out of it, making it harder and more constipated and therefore more difficult to pass.

If we overindulge in food and alcohol (especially around Christmas) the body will struggle to cope to eliminate these toxins. During a detox the aim is to aid the processes of elimination. The liver is the organ which processes these toxins and if it is under strain, then it may need a helping hand.
During Colonic Hydrotherapy (or Irrigation) warm water is gently introduced into the bowel to help loosen old material, remove gases, toxins, mucous, bacteria and parasites.  Hard faeces on the colon wall can inhibit muscle action (peristalsis) causing sluggish movements. Colonics re-educates the bowel to work more efficiently and help tone these sluggish bowels. The water helps empty pockets of old material which can build up over time which may form a plaque on the gut wall preventing proper absorption of nutrients. The aim of Colonics, is to empty the bowel more fully, allowing it to function more efficiently and cleanse the colon wall. Because the bowel is cleaner and emptier, ‘good bacteria’ will proliferate leading to a healthier environment. The treatment will leave you feeling lighter, more energised, your stomach flatter and a greater ability to lose weight.
The course of four treatments, which have a cumulative effect (results improve with each treatment) helps constipation, IBS, bloating and wind, foul smelling faeces and gas, headaches and lethargy. A proper functioning bowel, that fully empties, enables weight loss far more readily, especially around the waist.
During Colonic treatments advice will be given. To aid the detox and gain excellent results, the use of Aloe Vera Juice is recommended to calm and heal the gut wall and aid movement. Milk Thistle helps to cleanse the liver. Psyillium husks are a plant fibre which absorb toxins like a sponge, adding ‘bulk‘ to the stool and making elimination easier. Also recommended is dry body brushing to stimulate the lymphatic system to carry toxins out of the body. The use of Epsom salt baths will also help the detox process.
Colonic treatments are not painful and full dignity and discretion are of utmost importance. Treatments are carried out by a registered nurse (who continues to work in hospitals) with full insurance.

Dee, Helen and Dawn are all available for consultations at Napiers the Herbalists. Call 0131 315 2130 for an appointment.

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One Response to The New Year Detox

  1. alessandra harper says:

    Hello there,

    I’ve recently stumbled on ‘bladderwrack’ and I was wondering where I can purchase it, either in tablet or seaweed form. I am a resident in The City of Edinburgh, so if anyone knows where I can get my hands on this hidden gem then I would be very grateful.


    Alessandra Harper

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