In order to address inflammation and chronic disease, we must remove obstacles to cure. For some, that may be food sensitivities or stress. But health is not simply about removing or avoiding things; it is about nurturing and optimizing the processes of elimination. The body’s main organs of elimination (“emunctories”) often become congested, toxic, and function less efficiently. We need to keep these routes of detoxification “open” and cleansed for proper function and prevention of dis-ease.
1. Gastrointestinal Tract (digestion)
a. FOOD AS MEDICINE. Fiber and beneficial bacteria are necessary to restore and repair the gut lining. Do this by eating as much of the following: ground seeds, oats, root and leaf vegetables, figs, apples, and fermented foods such as tempeh, kefir, kombucha, and sauerkraut. When increasing your fiber, drink more water to help bind and move things through efficiently.
b. Apple cider vinegar encourages an adequate amount of stomach acids as well as proper enzyme release for digestion. Take 1-3 tsps in water 15 minutes before meals every day. This allows for optimal absorption of vitamins and minerals.
c. Eat in a calm, quiet atmosphere. Look at your food, smell it, prepare it yourself.
2. Liver (major organ for generalized detoxification)
a. FOOD AS MEDICINE. Eat foods that love the liver such as dandelions, beets, beet greens, lemons, artichokes and root vegetables.
b. Castor Oil Packs over entire abdomen for 45-60 minutes daily.
c. Alterative teas with herbs such as taraxacum (dandelion root), rumex (yellow dock), arctium (burdock), andberberis (Oregon grape) are some of my favorites.
a. FOOD AS MEDICINE. Eat or drink cranberries (juice) but watch out for added sugars. Also load up on
cilantro, parsley, celery, asparagus and watermelon.
b. Hydrotherapy. Contrasting hot then cold water applications encourage cleansing circulation.
c. Drink half your weight in ounces of water every day!
a. FOOD AS MEDICINE. Eat lots of cold water fish and oils! Skin health is a manifestation of liver and digestive health so load up on foods herbs listed above.
b. Dry Skin Brushing before bed moves lymph and circulation stimulating detoxification.
c. Sweat! Exercise for 30 minutes daily and use saunas to encourage elimination. Don't mess with deoderants if you don't have to. Think about it, the body is trying to rid itself of wastes, don't inhibit the natural process! If you must, go for natural deoderants that don't have toxic heavy metals added to them (aluminum!).
a. FOOD AS MEDICINE. Eat lots of garlic, ginger, onions, and radishes.
b. Take 100 deep belly breaths into and out of your nose every day.
c. Steam inhalations over a pot of boiling water removed from stove. Add a few drops of thyme or eucalyptus essential oil for added antimicrobial benefit.
a. FOOD AS MEDICINE. Omega-3 oils benefit the nervous system and brain (fish, seeds).
b. Talk Therapy or Journaling. Negative thoughts and emotions become toxic to the body if not processed and eliminated efficiently.
c. Exercise! Cross-crawl movements have shown to be effective for processing emotions through the brain.
Questions? Contact Dr. Alicia Birr at Origins Natural Medicine for more ideas and to see how you can support your organs of elimination for optimal wellness!
Dr. Alicia McCubbins is a naturopathic physician who strives to educate, motivate and inspire. Please feel free to share your thoughts or questions so that we may collectively grow through knowledge.