I don't know about you but I started my "health kick" the day after boxing day. I'm lucky in many ways because I don't have any food sensitivities so I can eat most things without any trouble. But the constant barrage of sugar, carbohydrates and meat over Christmas is too much even for me.
January is detox season, and with good reason. It's totally natural to want to clear your kidneys and liver with bitter digestive herbs in response to the heavy feeling all those Christmas meals leave you with. But really, this is still winter! It's far too cold for heavy duty detoxes like living off lemon and water for days or even most juice cleanses. The cold weather requires us to detox in quite a different way.
We should be loading up on complex carbohydrates like Sweet potatoes and tonnes of root vegetables. We should be kicking our feet up with some Bone broth not restricting calories. Now is not the time for extreme weight-loss programmes. Our metabolisms are in fat-storing mode. So turn to the healthy fats like fish oils and nuts instead. Shun the cheese and put down the dark meats.
Having said all that, here are some herbs to kick start the liver if you're still feeling sluggish after all the partying.
Chickweed or Stellaria media is a luscious green herb that grows low to the ground. I look out for it in the grass against trees in parks and other public spaces because it will grow where the grass is left to get a little longer. Chickweed is an antiinflammatory herb which people usually turn into a cream for eczema.
Cleavers is sometimes better known as sticky weed. Anyone with a cat or dog will know it because the seeds stick to them when they go outside and get entangled with their fur. You can also pull bits off and chuck them at people to see if they stick. This herb reminds me of a bottle brush and that helps me remember that it goes through the body cleaning out the lymphatic system. It's nice in colds to help reduce lymphatic swellings like swollen glands in the throat.
Oregon Grape Root
This herb is all over my local park. I'm not really into stealing plants though so I've never managed to get the root when out foraging ;). It's a bitter herb which activates the liver to produce more bile and break down foods more effectively. It also helps the liver with excretion waste products faster than it normally would. In fact, it's because of this that bitter herbs are best avoided if you're on medications as it will clear from the system faster than normal and potentially reduce the effectiveness of your medications.
Dandelion is a brilliant detoxer. The leaf helps the kidneys and bladder but the root helps the liver. Usually Autumn and Winter is when to harvest the root and the Spring is best for the fresh green leaves. I chose to combine Cleavers, Dandelion leaf and Chickweed with some lemon juice to make this incredible herbal green shot to have each day to get my body rocking every morning since Christmas. I'm in love.
To make the detox juice below I took a handful of Cleavers, Dandelion leaf and Chickweed fresh from outside. I gave it a wash with cold water then bashed it into a pulp with my pestle and mortar (you can use a bowl and rolling pin). Then I covered it with cold water over night just enough so it's floating. Then I strained it in the morning and added the juice of half a lemon and have kept it in the fridge. I have a shot of it each morning. It's yummy.