The term “detoxification” is often used synonymously with “purification” and has become something of a fashion trend. Many dietary supplements are still advertised using the term “detox”, even though this is legally prohibited. Since this term is not clearly defined, there is a whole hodgepodge of ingredients included - and it is often difficult for the customer to understand what exactly the "detoxifying" effect of the respective preparation is supposed to be.
Therefore, we would like to introduce at this point what conventional medicine means by “detoxification” and which organs in our body are primarily responsible for this.
Detoxification in conventional medicine
The absorption and release of substances from or to the environment is called metabolism. The body also consumes harmful substances that it converts or must be eliminated. This process is called “detoxification” and takes place primarily.a takes place in the liver, kidneys and bile. In addition, metabolic products are also excreted through the skin and breathing.
The liver is the body's main detoxification organ and is involved in the entire metabolism of fats, carbohydrates and proteins. Toxic substances, which are often fat-soluble, are broken down in the liver with the help of a variety of enzymes and programmed for excretion by making them water-soluble (so-called biotransformation). Water-soluble substances go back into the blood and reach the kidneys, where the harmful substances are filtered out and excreted via the urinary tract. Poisons that are particularly poorly soluble in water and large substances such as Heavy metals that cannot be excreted through the kidneys are stored in the gallbladder and ultimately excreted through the intestines.
Only when the body's own detoxification options have been exhausted can it be necessary, according to conventional medicine, to intervene with "detoxification therapies"; e.g.b in case of kidney failure (à dialysis) or poisoning (à activated carbon to bind toxic substances, gastric lavage or induced vomiting).
“Slag” does not exist according to conventional medical understanding. However, it also knows harmful residues, which are defined differently in a biochemical sense. These include: Fat deposits (cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL), increased uric acid in the blood and tissue (leads to gout), long-chain sugar-protein compounds (are associated with aging processes, arteriosclerosis and damage in existing diabetes), excess antigen-antibody complexes, v.a in autoimmune processes (e.g.b Lupus erythematosus, glomerulonephritis), lactate (lactic acid) or metabolites of medications and drugs (e.g.b Marijuana residues in fatty tissue).
Detoxification in Western naturopathy
The belief that internal cleansing is good for the body and mind is widespread in many cultures and religions around the world. Fasting is an integral part of Ramadan in Islam - and Christianity also knows, for example. the forty days of Lent before Easter.
Proponents of detoxification diets are of the opinion that our bodies in the modern world are exposed to so many poisons and pollutants that the body's own detoxification is overwhelmed, so that so-called waste products are deposited in organs and in the body Connective tissue comes. These pollutants include:a unhealthy diet with lots of fat and sugar, nicotine, alcohol, environmental toxins and stress. Regular detox treatments are intended to rid the body of these toxins.
In Western naturopathy, a detox treatment i.e.dR someone understood a juice cleanse. This is the idea of the so-called “Alkaline fasting” is the basis, in which acid-forming foods are avoided. To start such a treatment, the bowel is first emptied. On the following juice days, only fruit and vegetable juices are drunk, which is intended to stimulate metabolism and digestion. Such treatments are usually accompanied by massages, baths, saunas and long walks, which are intended to enhance the detoxifying effect.
Detoxification in Ayurveda
When it comes to the Ayurvedic understanding of “detoxification”, you have to deal with the concept of “Ama”, which translates as “Undigested”. If the digestive fire Agni is not strong enough, food is not fully metabolized and Ama is formed. Ama is white, sticky, malodorous, cold, heavy, unclean and is most comparable to the “waste substances” in the understanding of Western therapeutic fasting or the toxins in conventional medicine.
According to Ayurvedic understanding, almost every illness can be traced back to an accumulation of Ama and can be felt as exhaustion or heaviness and can be recognized by a thick coating on the tongue. Depending on where in the body the Ama accumulates, illnesses occur. For example, if Ama sits down stuck in the lungs, this can be the cause of chronic bronchitis.
Accordingly, Ayurveda uses “detoxification” to strengthen the digestive fire Agni and eliminate Ama.
The “supreme discipline” for detoxification in Ayurveda is the so-called “Panchakarma” treatment. Agni is first strengthened so that Ama can be burned - ideally with the so-called “Triple spiciness” (trikatu) of ginger, black and long pepper. With oil therapies, the doshas are released from the tissue and liquefied with heat treatments so that they can be transported to the nearest possible place of digestion. Finally, the collected doshas are removed with vomiting, laxatives and enemas.
After such a “detox” treatment, according to Ayurvedic understanding, so-called “rejuvenating” measures are introduced – the so-called “Rasayanas”. These are said to increase vitality and stimulate the immune system. For Vata constitutions, Vata is particularly suitable as a rejuvenating agent.a Ashwagandha, for Pitta types Shatavari and for Kapha constitutions Punarnava.
Detoxification in TCM
In TCM, all foods consumed should follow either the path of Yang or that of Yin. In the path of Yang they are burned and converted into heat and movement; in the path of Yin they are converted into substances that nourish and regenerate our body. The part of the food that cannot be used is excreted via urine, stool and sweat.
While from a Western perspective v.a The liver and kidneys are responsible for detoxification, in TCM it is particularly important.a the spleen. If the body is overwhelmed with detoxification and excretion or if the spleen is weakened, then it deposits in the body what it cannot convert or excrete. In TCM we speak of “moist heat” in this case. Whereby “heat” in TCM means that the yang (i.e.a for warmth) in relation to Yin (stands, among other things...a for cold) dominates. And this internal heat gradually simmers the body fluids, causing dryness. The trigger for many illnesses.
For “Heat therapy” (i.e.H In the figurative sense “detoxification therapy”) are, according to TCM, v.a The spring months are recommended, as this is the time when the liver and gallbladder, which are important organs for detoxification, are assigned.
The central component of such a therapy are grain cures, in which you spend 10-14 days, for example. is just cooked rice and is intended to remove moisture and heat. Yin and Yang are brought back into balance. Also physical therapies such as Cupping massages help to stimulate metabolism and remove harmful substances. Finally, acupuncture can help move liver Qi and tone the spleen.
In addition to the grain treatment, the following things should also be taken into account in everyday life to avoid heat problems in the long term:
- Dandelion tea – is cooling and has a particular effect on the liver and stomach organs
- Eat cooling vegetables such as tomatoes, zucchini, asparagus, eggplant, mushrooms, celery etc; On the other hand, avoid warming things such as leeks, garlic and onions
- Cooling raw foods such as: Leaf salads and cooling fruits (berries, lemons, organs, melons, etc.) eat
- Reduce stress and alcohol, don't smoke
- Regular exercise to prevent Qi stagnation
- Soy products, algae and grains such as rice, spelt, millet, quinoa, legumes and lentils reduce moisture and heat
Finally, it should be noted that detoxification, fasting cures, diets, etc. are viewed rather critically in TCM. And this is v.a based on the two main types of life energy Qi: The prenatal Qi (also called “Jing”), which is formed from the energy of the parents and is finite (if the prenatal Qi is exhausted, the person dies) . And the postnatal Qi, which develops v.a from food, breathing air and exercise. So if you don't feed your body enough food over a longer period of time while fasting, it has to fall back on the precious and finite Jing.
Important nutrients for our detoxification organs
Choline contributes to maintaining normal liver function and supports its enzyme system. Choline is also of great importance for metabolism and fat transport, because it is necessary for the transport of triglycerides and other fats from the liver into the tissue.
Calcium contributes to the normal function of digestive enzymes and normal energy metabolism.
Guduchi extract is said to have a strong detoxifying and purifying effect in Ayurveda, especiallya the liver should be supported in its detoxifying effect. In addition to its rejuvenating and circulatory-strengthening effects, Ayurveda also uses it for:a also attributed to blood purifying and detoxifying effects. According to Ayurvedic writings, Guduchi also has a balancing effect on all three doshas and strengthens digestive power.
Triphala extract consists of equal parts Amalaki (myrobalan tree), Bibhitaka (Belerian myrobalan) and Haritaki (Chebulian myrobalan) and is said to balance all three doshas. According to Ayurvedic understanding, Bibhitaki removes Ama from the fatty tissue and optimally influences fat metabolism. According to Ayurveda, Amalaki helps with detoxification through its strong digestive effect.
Maitake is used in TCM to maintain health and strengthen the liver and bile.a placed on the maitake (Grifola frondosa). Two animal studies on rats from 2019 and one on mice from 2018 have shown a positive effect of maitake on fat metabolism and in particular on fatty liver disease: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29873587/, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31653116/, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30403219/
Dandelion contains bitter substances that cause more saliva and stomach acid to be released. At the same time, they promote the release of digestive hormones and enzymes and stimulate bile production. Through these effects, dandelion stimulates the appetite and gets digestion going. The medicinal plant can also help if your stomach bloates after a high-fat meal and you feel unpleasantly full. Other ingredients in the plant such as flavonoids and plenty of potassium can have a slightly diuretic effect. Dandelion is therefore often found in so-called blood purification and detoxification teas. In addition to the bitter substances known for their healing effects, the dandelion plant contains carotenoids and plenty of vitamins B, C and E. The medicinal plant also contains minerals such as potassium, calcium and iron, but also flavonoids, coumarins, triterpenes and omega-3 fatty acids. That's why many people use the medicinal plant in spring cures and fasting cures to cleanse the liver and purify or detoxify the body. Dandelion promotes the release of waste products from the tissue and supports the liver in breaking down the toxins so that they can be transported out of the body. The blood is purified by the herbal remedy and liver diseases such as liver cirrhosis or hepatitis can be alleviated and liver dysfunction can be improved.
A rat study published in 2017 shows that dandelion protects against lead poisoning prenatally when dandelion is given to the mother rat: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28364786/
This 2018 rat study shows that mulberry and dandelion extracts do may have potential to improve some of the pathologies associated with excessive alcohol consumption https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30105955/
A study published in 2017 shows that the polysaccharides of dandelion root may be useful in preventing liver damage caused by paracetamol: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28841174/
Cinnamon promotes and stimulates intestinal activity and can prevent digestive problems such as flatulence and a feeling of fullness. In addition, certain ingredients in cinnamon are believed to influence blood sugar levels. Laboratory tests show that cinnamon increases the release of the hormone insulin.
The Milk thistle comes from the Mediterranean region and has been used as a medicinal herb for the treatment of liver diseases for centuries (scientific evidence for this is lacking). The active ingredient in milk thistle is silymarin, which is composed of various natural phenols. The suspected protective effect on the liver is explained by a stabilization of the cell membrane of the liver cells thanks to silymarin, which prevents cell toxins such as alcohol from penetrating the liver cells.
A 2017 study concludes that high-dose silymarin is a good choice for improving liver biochemical profile and quality of life in patients with chronic HCV liver cirrhosis. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29135373/
This study published in 2017 concludes that silymarin has positive efficacy in reducing transaminase levels in fatty liver patients. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29245314/
Legal consumer information
German and European case law wants to protect consumers from supposedly misleading claims about effectiveness. The statements made here refer to the original Ayurvedic and TCM texts. This ancient knowledge, which is thousands of years old, is based on experiences that are passed on from generation to generation. It is not intended to claim that the products described here have an effect in the sense of western medicine. All products are nutritional supplements; they are not medications and have no medical effect. If you are sick and need medical care, please contact your doctor or pharmacist.