Looking out of my living room window on this early March morning, it's a heart-lifting surprise to see the garden radiating in golden Spring sunshine. The grass, the herbs, the flowers, the trees - all the life crammed into our tiny corner of Surrey seems to stretch and luxuriate in empathy with Scraggy, our scruffy, sleepy cat, as he welcomes the new season on the lawn.
Things are finally getting warmer after a long winter. Which means that now is the best time to think about a New Year detox - odd as that may sound.
The downsides of a winter detox
Most people who plan regular periods of detoxification pencil one in for 1st January or thereabouts. Which is perfectly logical: "new year, new you" and all that. The only problem with this timing is that 1st January is slap bang in the middle of winter in the UK. That means cold, wet, windy, dark and generally unfriendly.
It takes a lot of energy just to keep warm in winter. Winter is when we crank up the central heating systems in our homes so that they're on for most of the day, just to keep a pleasant, liveable temperature on the inside. Your body is a bit like that: you need more energy to keep yourself warm and to carry on the activities of daily living during winter. It's why we naturally tend to eat more stodgy, warming or energy-rich foods like stews, casseroles and soups in the winter months.
Just as naturally, we start to think about a 'clearout' as the sun peeks out once more in Spring. The natural world around us recognises and responds to this need by bringing cleansing and detoxifying plants within easy reach at this time of year: herbs like the diuretic and lymph-cleansing cleavers (Gallium aperine) and the classic liver tonic, dandelion (Taraxacum officinalis), are there to be gathered and used come Spring.
Detox is best at the change of seasons
Detoxifying requires a lot of energy, however, and is an energetically very 'cold' process. So diving into a full-on detox programme the second the calendar clicks over onto 1st January isn't necessarily the best idea. Far better to wait until Spring, when the weather is warmer and the calendar of the seasons is in synch with our natural cycles.
Of all our detoxifying organs - liver, kidneys, skin, lymph and bowel - the liver is the undisputed heavyweight champeen, ladies 'n' gennelmen. Keep your liver happy and content and you'll go a long way towards living a long, healthy and, yes - happy and contented life yourself. Which is where the second part of my ebook, The Detox Download, comes in. The first part dealt with the kidneys, and the second part focuses on the liver.
The Detox Download: Liver edition
To get your free ebook, just click on this link and sign up to the HerbSmith mailing list with your email address. I promise not to bombard you with mailouts - just to keep you updated with interesting information, useful health tips and health-boosting recipes!
Just as with the 'kidney edition' of The Detox Download, the 'liver edition' is meant only as a brief primer on detoxification, containing some simple tips that everyone can employ in their daily life. One of the beauties of herbal medicine is that it can be tailored to develop a detoxification programme unique to each individual, depending on their needs - and many people will require a more structured detox programme to reach their health goals. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or via the contact form if you think you might benefit from such a programme.
Media articles bashing detoxification are becoming a yearly tradition to rival Christmas. The truth is, not only is it possible to boost our bodies' ability to detox – it's crucial for anyone seeking optimum health. And what's one of the best ways to boost your detox system? Herbal medicine! Grab a copy of my free ebook to learn more about why detox is crucial for your health!
Detox: smeared by association
Rather than spend a couple of thousand words picking apart articles like a recent Guardian piece that described detox as "a myth", here are two facts that the anti-detox crowd conveniently overlook.
One: pointing at questionable products like detox foot pads and dodgy 'colon cleanse' tablets in order to heap ridicule on the entire concept of detoxification is simply a trick. There are plenty of great products out there, just as there are plenty of questionable ones. Such 'guilt by association' tactics serve to obscure what detoxification is all about: supporting the body's naturally existing processes to help it get rid of poisonous substances, or toxins. This is best done on a daily basis, through the use of herbs, foods and the right high-quality vitamin and mineral supplements.
Ensuring proper detox is a central part of herbal medicine
If you want to learn more about detoxification and why it's so important in the 21st century, along with some simple, everyday tips and tools to boost your own detox capacity, download my first, free, ebook. All you need to do is provide your email address and sign up to the HerbSmith mailing list. The ebook is called 'The Detox Download', and the first of several parts focuses on the kidneys – one, or more accurately two, of your most important detox organs.
'The Detox Download: Kidney edition' is only meant as a brief primer on detoxification, however. Many people will need a more comprehensive approach to detox on the road to true vitality, often as part of a structured wellbeing programme. If you feel you'd benefit from personalised advice like this, please get in touch.
Yours in health,
Adam (The HerbSmith)
An irregular blog
I'm Adam Smith, a Herbalist and Naturopath practising in the Surrey/West Sussex/Kent border area. Although I hope it will change, I don't currently post here regularly.