Virginia Ahearn, BS CPM PCD
Virginia Ahearn, B.S. CPM PCDCertified Professional Midwife • Practitioner of Herbal Medicine • Certified Postpartum Doula
Herbal Cleanses? Spring Cleanses? Part II
In a previous article, I talked about some of the functions of the liver, and how it can help our whole digestive system run more smoothly with dandelion root.
I am now going to talk about the lymphatic system. This system is really the key to what many call ‘cleansing’. The lymphatic system helps carry pathogens, cellular ‘debris’ and all kinds of waste out of our system.
I am not a fan of cleanses. I think they are misunderstood by a lot of people and really, the term ‘cleanse’ is misused. I think people want to feel better. Who wouldn’t? ‘Cleansing’ sounds good—it has become a cultural buzz word, but it may not help with what most people want. When I talk to clients about what they mean by a cleanse, they say “I want more energy”, I want less fatigue, less depression, more focus…. There are herbs to help with all of these things, but these herbs are not ‘cleansers’. Cleansing usually won’t solve the “I want more energy” problem, unless you are exposed to a lot of toxic chemicals, or eat fried food constantly.
For the “I want more energy” “I want less fatigue” “I want more focus”, you would look to herbs that nourish the whole endocrine system, that nourish brain function and circulation, that are loaded with vitamin and minerals, for example. There are many herbs to help with these issues, and many, including me, have benefitted. I will talk about some of them in a follow up article.
For now, there ARE some lovely spring herbs and roots that help the lymphatic system carry out waste and cellular debris, that can sometimes help us feel ‘lighter’. They probably won’t solve the “I want more energy and less fatigue’ problem, but they are a nice way to start. Here is the first of three favorites:
Burdock Root- can be eaten fresh by chopping and adding to soups or stir fry, or used dried in a tea, or as a tincture. Burdock helps the lymphatic system jump into action, so if you have been curled up all winter, exercising less, eating richer foods, burdock will get your system in gear. It is mildly bitter so has the added benefit of helping the liver. It can help with constipation, sugar cravings, edema mononucleosis. It is often used in anti-cancer formulas, especially breast cancer. It can help nourish and build gut flora!
As a spring tonic to ‘tune up’ your lymphatic system, I would drink 2-3 oz of the simmered dried root each day, for several weeks. Or drink it every other day. Or take the tincture twice a day. If you have an advanced illness like cancer or mono, you would want a whole program of herbs and healthy living.
Here is a link to a list of some of my favorite herb companies and stores, to buy high quality herbs.