I’ve seen many patients who tell me they have already done a detoxification program, but it didn’t help their symptoms. In fact, it may have made things worse.
It may have been a quick herbal powder for a few days, or a more involved program that included diet. Either way, they wonder why the program did not deliver its promises.
A perfectly balanced and healthy human body must have well functioning organs of elimination. These organs are the emunctories and they must all be working properly before you attempt any program of detoxification!
The Emunctories or Organs of Excretion
The emunctories are defined as,
an organ or part of the body that carries off body wastes (source)
These organs are the lungs, large intestine, kidneys/bladder and skin. Secondary emunctories include the lymphatics and the liver/gallbladder/bile complex.
The emunctories are the main players in detoxification and drainage.
We Need to Detoxify
We are exposed to much higher levels of toxins than the generations before us. Low-level, long-term exposure to toxins such as heavy metals ( lead, mercury, aluminum and cadmium), pesticides, industrial compounds and pollution is associated with many chronic illnesses. These conditions include chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple chemical sensitivities, fibromyalgia, autoimmunity, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s just to name a few.
If you are still not healing from a chronic disease in spite of having a great diet, you have to look to the organs of elimination.
Difference Between Detox and Drainage
While there is a difference between detoxification and drainage, there is also an interaction between the two as the body clears toxins and waste.
Detoxification is the pulling out of toxins and chemicals, such as heavy metals.
Drainage is the opening up of the pathways of elimination.
There is much information about detoxification programs, but many do not take into account the health status of the individual. This missing piece of information can make or break the program.
In any healing program, it is critically important for the body to be ready for this difficult process. Many people just starting on their healing journey are not nourished enough to withstand the rigors of detoxification and will have a very rough time of it.
Detox is one of the last thing to do in a healing protocol, because the pathways of elimination have to be open.
If drainage pathways are clogged, the debris cannot be eliminated and this creates inflammation and symptoms.
Symptoms When Drainage Pathways are Clogged
When drainage pathways are clogged, symptoms may include, head pressure, memory problems, cognition problems, slow processing, migraines, headaches, brain fog, anxiety, etc.
Lymphatic symptoms would include feeling swollen or having swollen lymph nodes.
Digestive problems would include reflux, GERD and SIBO or any vague digestive symptoms.
The Liver/Gallbladder/Bile Complex
The liver/gallbladder/bile compex is the detox lifeline of the body and one of the most important areas to clear. The liver detoxifies through the phase 1 and Phase 2 pathways – metabolic processes which reduce the toxicity of waste products for safe elimination.
Phase 3 is more of a drainage process because this process causes excretion of all the products of detoxification metabolized by the liver. The liver processes the toxins and they get dumped into the bile.
Bile is released from the gallbladder when you eat fat. The bile emulsifies the fat and neutralizes stomach acid and moves digestion forward.
Sometimes the bile gets thick and sluggish. This can happen due to parasites, pathogens or toxicity.
In the human body, bile is recycled because it is difficult for the body to make. If there are toxins that have not been excreted – the bile – along with the toxins will be reabsorbed into the body.
This is why is it critical to make sure the emunctories are clear. If the bile is thick it will block up the lymphatic system.
The Lymphatic System
Lymphatic system is reliant on the bile system. Brain lymphatics dump into the systemic lymph system. (See more about the newly identified lymphatic system in the brain.)
We need brain drainage and this is dependent upon the lymph drainage, which is dependent on the bile drainage.
Symptoms come from blockages in any of these systems.
When bile gets clogged, it cannot neutralize the stomach acid and so the body (in order to retain homeostasis) makes less stomach acid.
Most people with GERD and reflux actually have low stomach acid – possibly due to blockage of the bile flow. This is how the digestive system becomes altered.
It is dangerous to have low stomach acid because stomach acid is one of the first defenses against pathogens.
Treatments for Drainage
Treatment facilitates opening the liver/gallbladder/bile Complex.
If you have had your gall bladder removed this makes it a bit more difficult, because you do not get the large release of bile when you eat – your body still makes bile, but it is trickling out all the time.
1- Ox bile is something to take when you have had a gallbladder removed. This is also good to take if you feel that you do not digest fats well. Take it with each meal.
2- Dandelion Root Tea helps with kidney drainage and helps with movement of bile. You can drink the tea daily.
3- Activated carbon charcoal from coconuts or bamboo is a great way to bind toxins. You must take it on an empty stomach. The carbon charcoal will bind to the bile – the body will not reabsorb that bile – it will make new bile (without toxins). So the charcoal will pull the toxins out of the body because it will remove the bile that is bound to the toxins.
You can also get the powder and switch it around in your mouth to reach the oral digestive tract as well.
4- Coffee enema will help move the bile and helps the liver increase bile production. Along with activated charcoal it will help new bile to be produced.
5- Castor oil (hexane free) will help pull toxins out of the liver area. Make a castor oil pack and put it on the liver area with heat.
6- Milk Thistle helps open up and support the liver.
7- Dry Brushing the skin can also help with movement of the lymphatics.
Beware of the quick detox programs out on the market and in health food stores. Detoxification should come after you make sure your emunctories are open and working well! This is a process and can take months to accomplish.
Have you done a detox and gotten no results, or gotten worse? Leave a comment and let me know!