4 Herbs for Detoxing

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January 4, 2016

Four botanicals to look for when choosing detox teas!

Teas have become on trend in the past few years. I remember my mom drinking tea back in the 90s and thought it was an old-person’s drink. Fast forward to naturopathic college where everyone carried around a thermos and 5 different flavours of David’s Tea. Don’t get me wrong, I love gourmet teas, but now that I’m well versed in botanicals I like to drink teas for their medicinal properties too. Since we all want to detox after the holidays (think: wine and lots of food), here are four botanicals to look for when choosing detox teas!

Milk Thistle

Also known as Silybum marianum, this botanical has affinity for the liver. Compounds called flavanolignans, protect the liver cells from damage (like all of the toxins you come across on a daily basis). Various studies have shown that milk thistle can restore liver function which may have been affected by disease and toxins. Since the liver is the most important detoxification organ, it’s incredibly important to support it’s function – otherwise the toxins in our bodies may not be effectively eliminated.

Did you know that the beets help support liver function? Try out this hot-pink smoothie. I swear by it!

Dandelion Root

Also known as Taraxacum offincinalis, the root is used to aid in liver detoxification. It acts as a choleretic and cholagogue. Choleretics stimulate the production and excretion of bile from the liver, while cholagogues stimulate contraction of bile from the gallbladder. The gallbladder holds bile that was previously produced by the liver, and releases it when needed to digest foods.

Learn more about botanical actions here!


Also known as Galium aparine, this botanical has affinity for the lymphatic system. Lymph fluid travels through the body collecting toxins and introduces them back into the bloodstream. Nettle also acts as a diuretic and alterative. Alteratives help restore the functioning of the body, and help promote waste elimination via the kidneys, liver, lung and skin.

Another way to boost lymphatic system function? Moving your body or dry brushing!

Burdock Root

Also known as Articum lappa, it has many functions – alterative, diuretic, and a bitter. As a bitter, it help stimulates bile flow which is important because the liver eliminates toxins through bile secretion (which then travels through both intestines and to the colon).

Another way to promote bile function? Eating leafy greens!

Final Thoughts

Before including any of these herbs into your diet, it’s best to consult a healthcare practitioner (like a ND who is trained in botanical medicine) to see if they’re right for you!

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