Oh how I love a steaming mug of herbal tea! I’ve been known to throw all kinds of odds and ends into my tea, but there is a method to my madness. Depending on how I’m feeling, I will concoct an herbal brew to address my current ailment or mood. Herbal tea can be very healing as it draws out the powerful properties of the herbs and coats our innards in a soothing, medicinal bath.
But teas are just one way of taking herbs. We can take herbs in the form of tinctures, powders, capsules, water- and oil-based topicals. We can also add them to soups, smoothies, pesto, vinegar, oatmeal, desserts, hummus and more. Certain forms are more suitable for certain herbs. For example, dandelion makes a good tea while rosemary is great for cooking.
If you missed last month’s blog on signs that you might need detox support, check it out here to see if you need to incorporate some detoxifying herbs into your life!
For simple changes you can implement right now to alleviate your toxic burden (and score a free detox guide), click here.
In the meantime, I’d like to acquaint you with a few herbs you might already be familiar with and how they support the cleansing process.
Cilantro is my favorite culinary herb. Studies show it can help reduce the effects of heavy metal exposure, such as mercury and lead (1).
There is also some evidence that cilantro may reduce the absorption of heavy metals if consumed while being exposed to heavy metals (2).
It really adds a lot of flavor to pesto and salsas. You can use it to top off salads, tacos, soups, or a veggie bowl.
There’s a whole lot of hype around turmeric because of its bountiful health benefits. This spice comes from a root and is popular in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. It is a powerful antioxidant that protects the heart, joints, and liver. It is also anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and anti-cancer. My favorite ways to use turmeric are in curries and Golden Milk (recipe below). I’ve even made a Golden Milk Exfoliating Scrub to cleanse my skin!
Ginger is very effective at improving digestion as well as easing diarrhea, nausea, and upset stomachs. It also promotes circulation and soothes menstrual cramps, making it my hero (3). A spicy mug of ginger tea is wonderfully warming in the wintertime.
The root of dandelion supports liver function and digestion while the leaf supports the kidney and helps relieve water retention. It has historically been used to treat liver-related ailments by Native Americans and is popular in traditional Chinese medicine. It can ease heaviness after eating, promote peristalsis, and support a sluggish liver. Dandelion root can act as a mild laxative though, so be cautious if you have a weak stomach (4). Dandelion greens make a nutrient dense salad. Dandelion is also used for herbal coffees. For my dandelion root latte recipe, click here.
Green tea contains compounds called catechins (these are phytochemicals, the active components in plants), which, in addition to their antioxidant properties, have been said to modulate detoxification enzymes. Green tea can help cleanse the body of chemical carcinogens, which are compounds known to cause cancer (5, 6).
I bet you’re thinking – does it taste like milk? Sort of. But the name comes from the milky sap that the leaves produce when crushed. Milk thistle helps to protect the liver against toxins. Many studies attribute liver health to milk thistle and even suggest that it has anti-cancer properties. Milk thistle’s active ingredient is silymarin, which is a flavonoid thought to aid in repairing liver cells damaged by toxic substances (7).
Milk thistle tea is a great addition to any cleanse or detoxification protocol, but it is also helpful to support the daily detoxification process that your body normally carries out.
One thing I get really excited about is making my own healthy beverages. Try turmeric in Golden Milk below and check out our FREE Detox Guide for even more DIY detox drinks!
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- ½ tablespoon ghee or coconut oil
- ½ teaspoon turmeric (fresh or powder)
- 1 inch knob of ginger
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch of black pepper*
- ½ tablespoon raw honey
- Heat milk on stove over low flame for 2 minutes.
- Add ghee/coconut oil, turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon for another minute.
- Pour into a mug (maybe one that you don’t mind staining yellow J), straining out the ginger.
- Add a pinch of black pepper – not too much!
- Stir in honey. Sit back, relax, and enjoy your soothing Golden Milk!
*Black pepper helps the body absorb turmeric better!
We’d love to hear from you! What are your favorite ways to use herbs?