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Q. I have been cleaning up my diet and would like your advice as to what herbal supplements I can add to help support detoxification and my goals of living clean and in harmony with the planet.
A. First and foremost, I applaud you on your holistic commitment to both yourself and our planet. I just completed a presentation to health care providers and my last slide I stated, “Time to Rid our Body and Planet of Pollution,” so this concept is being planted in the medical community as well.
You are correct, eating smart is essential. In fact, there is a list of the Dirty Dozen Foods published by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group each year that serves as a great shopping reference for the conventionally produced foods that we should avoid due to their pesticides and herbicides levels. By avoiding these foods, you are voting with your dollar and not supporting harmful farming practices.
The same applies for the botanical herbs and spices that you consume. If you were to come to my office, you would see that Oregon’s Wild Harvest certified organic products dominate my offerings to my patients. As a physician of natural medicine, I must also vote with my decisions of how to optimize my patients’ health and do no harm.
In your question your goal was stated beautifully, a desire to “live clean and in harmony with the planet.” I have known Oregon’s Wild Harvest co-founder Randy Buresh, R.N. for 25 years. Randy is committed to sustainable farming, collecting and protecting seeds for the next generation and tending to the organic farm land with the understanding it is a prerogative to nurture soil as it nurtures us back in return. Last year I toured the company’s amazing certified biodynamic and organic farms. The composting, cultivating and hand-harvesting of many of the herbs they grow was awe inspiring. I left with that realization we are one with the land, and that connection sustains the trillions of cells in our body.
You asked a specific question, so allow me to answer it as I do for my patients. Below are three botanicals that I use for patients looking for sustained support and detoxification of their bodies. My guess is you are likely losing some weight on the healthier diet and this means you are releasing toxins. My patients who are mobilizing fat are encouraged to support liver and kidney health to help ensure safer liberation and expulsion of toxins.
Milk Thistle – It’s rich in antioxidants, liver supportive silymarin and other phytonutrients. It is my go-to for patients on medications that can be hard on the liver.
Burdock - This herb grows in rich soil and thus confers properties that have been used in traditional herbal medicine for nurturing the body’s detoxification pathways including liver and kidneys via is diuretic qualities. It has also been used in ancient cultures to support cleansing the blood, and topically to help with skin health.
Dandelion –Dandelion root is valued in many cultures for its effectiveness as a bitter, helping to improve appetite and support normal digestion. Dandelion is also a tonic herb containing a rich source of vitamins and minerals, helping to support sluggish liver function.
Over the last 25 years of clinical practice, I have experienced the beneficial properties and synergy of herbs for well-being. So, for the liver, the detoxification support of Dandelion combined with Milk Thistle, along herbs like Burdock and Artichoke generally deliver the best results.
P.S. I encourage you to learn about biodynamic farming. Biodynamic farming goes beyond organic by treating the farm as its own ecosystem, focusing equally on clean crops as well as the soil in which they grow. It often surprises me that patients work hard to cleanse their body of toxins, but don’t fully realize that by consuming nonorganic foods and botanicals they are increasing the disharmony and toxin burden in their body. Together, as a human race we need to collectively be agents of clean living for ourselves and the planet. Learn more about biodynamic farming at https://www.oregonswildharvest.com/biodynamic/
Dr. Chris Meletis, N.D., has 24-years of experience practicing as a Naturopathic Doctor in Portland, Oregon. He is dedicated to using his vast knowledge about alternative medicine to help his patients and generously give to those in need. He has written over a dozen books and 100's of national articles, and was named Naturopathic Physician of the Year in 2003 by the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. Read more about Dr. Meletis here. Or, visit our "Ask Dr. Meletis, N.D." page for additional articles.
*Statements herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, and are not intended to treat or diagnose any disease or health condition. The information on this website, and provided by Dr. Chris Meletis, N.D., is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is recommended that patients check with their doctors before taking herbs, to ensure that there are no contraindications with prescription medications. There is additional information linked within this site to HealthNotes®, a third party educational source, containing the latest research on health and supplements. Oregon's Wild Harvest will not be held accountable for this information and consider it an education reference only.