Herbal Detoxification: Going Beyond The Symptoms
Detoxification is the mental and physical symptoms, that generally occur when you alter your lifestyle by like changing your diet or exercising, or breaking a bad habit, like giving up smoking or drinking.
Why should I detox?
Detoxification is the first step towards leading a longer, healthier life. It is the human body’s way of cleansing itself of toxins that may be hindering its ability to complete natural processes. This happens when a person significantly alters their lifestyle by abandoning a harmful or unhealthy habit. The body’s response to the detoxification may seem negative, but it is natural to experience adverse physical or mental symptoms during this process. It simply means that your body is doing its job and preparing for a healthier, more efficient lifestyle!
Symptoms of detoxification can include headaches, upset stomach, rashes, sinus infections, fever, fatigue, and irritability. If you are experiencing these side effects during a withdrawal period from a certain habit or activity, you may wonder if your detox was a wise decision. After all, it would seem a bit peculiar if a healthier lifestyle left you feeling worse than you did before. It is important to understand that these symptoms do not mean that you are worsening your condition; they are simply the result of your body adjusting to your new routine.
For example, if a person were to smoke a pack of cigarettes a day for twenty years, his or her body would become accustomed to the constant intake of nicotine and tar. If he or she suddenly stopped smoking out of the blue, the body would become confused, and would have to quickly adjust to the lack of chemicals entering its system. During the detoxification period, the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal are extremely difficult to bear, the reason being that this is the first chance the body has gotten to expel the chemicals without simultaneously taking in more. It is working to restore its natural balance without the nicotine, and is learning to move forward without it. While the immediate symptoms may seem unhealthy, the long-term benefits of ridding your system of these toxins are unmatched. A detoxification like this can add years onto your life, and can ensure an overall healthier lifestyle moving forward.
Why do these symptoms occur?
Whether we realize it or not, we accumulate toxins in our body every day. Toxins come from ingesting processed foods, working and living in an urban, smog-filled environment, using harmful substances, etc. When a change is made in a person’s lifestyle, whether it is a dietary change or a lifestyle change, the body works to eliminate toxins from its systems in order to perform cell processes in a cleaner and more efficient way. When the cells release the toxic materials into the body for elimination, this may result in mild headaches, digestive issues, or breakouts on the skin. You may also experience fatigue if you are eliminating stimulating foods or substances from your day-to-day life. If you are incorporating exercise into your routine for the first time, you may find that you are more tired than usual. These symptoms will pass as you continue on your journey to a healthier lifestyle, and you will end up feeling better than you did before.
How severe can I expect the symptoms to be, and how long will they last?
These two factors completely depend on your state of health and your lifestyle before your decision to detox. If you have been a carnivore your entire life and suddenly decide to go the vegan route, you can expect an extreme drop in energy, increased headaches, digestive issues, and hunger that will last anywhere from one week to a few months. Younger people may have an easier time adjusting to a new lifestyle, as they haven’t had as much time to become set in their bad habits, and their bodies will be able to adjust at a faster rate. The symptoms may not start right away after the change, and may come in waves. As the detoxification progresses, the symptom cycles will become shorter and you will feel better and better after each one.
What are some of the most common symptoms of detoxification?
Some of the most common symptoms are changes in the digestive cycle, headaches, fatigue, flu-like symptoms, and fever. Additional symptoms that you may experience during your withdrawal are sinus infections, sore throat, irritability, and rashes. The symptoms and their severity differ on a case-by-case basis, and depend on a variety of factors, including the health of the person, their age, their lifestyle before the detox, and the changes in behavior that they have made to cleanse their body of toxic substances.
What is the best way to detox?
When you are going through a detox, make sure that you are caring for all of your organs at the same time. You will want to pay extra attention to the areas of the body that have been affected the most by your unhealthy habits. For example, if you have recently given up drinking, make an extra effort to care for your liver, kidneys, and other elimination organs. Some people choose to use herbal remedies during this time to aid in the eradication of toxins. There are hundreds of different herbs that benefit the body in various ways. For example, dandelion leaf is known to be an effective diuretic, and Echinacea has been recognized for its antimicrobial qualities. Regardless of how you choose to detox, remember to treat your body right during this time, and allow it to get enough rest. There is nothing more important to a detox than giving your body the time it needs to cleanse and rejuvenate itself so that you can start living a healthier, happier life!
Swope, Mary Ruth, Ph.D. 1990. Green Leaves of Barley. Phoenix, AZ: Swope Enterprises, Inc. Pp. 199-202.
Matsen, Jonn N.D. 1987. The Mysterious Causes of Illness. Canfield, OH: Fischer Publishing Co. Pp. 134-157.
Information provided in this journal is derived from the writings of doctors and research scientists and is not meant to replace the services of your physician, but only to offer educational information.