In this increasingly toxic world, we all need to take care to cleanse our system of the poisons. Blood cleansing herbs are a great way to undo some of the damage wrought by our contaminated environment. Blood cleansing improves circulation, removes toxins from the bloodstream, helps neutralize excess acidity and may reduce certain types of cancer.
Blood Cleansing Herbs
I will start by describing the qualities and contraindications of each of the herbs.
In traditional herbal medicine, yellow dock is thought to be a general health tonic. Yellow dock is thought to benefit the digestive tract, liver, and skin. One of its primary uses by herbalists is for skin conditions associated with poor digestion, poor liver function or “toxicity”. It’s great for acne and other congestive skin conditions, which is why it’s become my all-time favorite cleansing herb.
Yellow dock has a mild laxative effect, due to constituents called anthraquinone glycosides. It appears to stimulate the release of bile and digestive enzymes. Yellow dock may cause mild diarrhea in some people. Call your health practitioner if you experience abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting.
Yellow dock should not be used by people taking drugs that decrease blood calcium, such as diuretics, Dilantin, Miacalcin, or Mithracin. Yellow dock should also not be used by people with kidney disease, liver disease, an electrolyte abnormality, or pregnant or nursing women.
Excessive use of yellow dock can cause a blood disorder called metabolic acidosis and life-threatening calcium deficiency in the blood. Call your health practitioner if you experience signs of low blood calcium, such as fatigue, seizures, confusion, muscle spasms, and numbness around the mouth.
Oregon Grape Root
Herbalists use Oregon grape root in the treatment of bacterial diarrhea, intestinal parasites, and eye infections. It has a sedative effect on the smooth muscles lining the digestive tract and can relieve stomach cramps and abdominal pain.
Oregon Grape can be used in skin washes to deter the overproduction of skin cells that occurs in plaque psoriasis. One of the advantages to using preparations of the whole herb, as opposed to using products that only contain berberine extracts is that Oregon Grape Root contains tannins that ease inflammation, irritation, and itching of the skin.
Herbalists consider Oregon Grape an excellent alternative to the now endangered Goldenseal. They are not botanically related, but they both contain the immune-stimulating, infection-fighting, antiseptic constituent berberine. Herbs that contain berberine are scientifically proven to protect against bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
Warning: Do not use Oregon Grape Root when chronic gastrointestinal irritation or inflammation is present, such as irritable bowel. The herb is not a problem for nursing mothers unless the baby has jaundice, however, it should not be used while pregnant. Limit use to no more than 7 consecutive days for adults, 3 for children, exercise caution when using in children. Taking vitamin B6 supplements can give infectious bacteria resistance to the antibacterial toxins in the herb. So, deep six the B6 until you have completed your treatment.
Red clover blossoms are anti-inflammatory and contain beta-carotene and vitamin E. Red Clover purifies the blood because it acts as a diuretic and helps cleanse the liver, which otherwise circulates toxins through the bloodstream. Read ‘Red Clover for Health & Beauty’ to learn more about the many benefits of Red Clover.
Chaparral leaves contain a powerful antioxidant and are an effective herbal antibiotic. Chaparral cleanses the lymph system, clears heavy metals from the blood and may be able to drive tumors into remission. Chaparral is a powerful blood purifier, but consumption could be harmful to the liver. If you already have a liver disorder you may be wise to avoid Chaparral. If you are in good health, you should still take care not to overuse this herb. Read ‘The Health Benefits & Dangers of Chaparral Herb’ to learn more about Chaparral.
Traditionally herbalists all over the world use Burdock Root as a blood purifier. Burdock has proven beneficial in the treatment of a variety of skin diseases such as abscesses, acne, carbuncles, psoriasis, and eczema. Burdock can be either taken alone or combined with other herbal remedies, such as Yellow Dock and Sarsaparilla.
Burdock’s skin benefits are likely due to its ability to increase circulation to the skin, helping to detoxify the epidermal tissues. Furthermore, Burdock Root has been reported to destroy bacteria and fungus cultures. Also, by promoting perspiration, Burdock Root eliminates toxins through the skin.
“Burdock Root contains inulin, a carbohydrate that strengthens the liver. The high concentration of inulin and mucilage aids in the soothing effects on the gastrointestinal tract. The high concentration of inulin is helpful for individuals that are afflicted with diabetes and hypoglycemia as it provides helpful sugar that does not provoke rapid insulin production. Inulin, which is very high in Burdock, is a resinoid or camphor-like hydrocarbon that is aromatic, stimulant, expectorant, tonic, stomachic, and antiseptic. … Burdock Root contains polyacetylenes that gives the herb its antibacterial and antifungal properties. It is used as a mild laxative that aids in the elimination of uric acid or gout. It is classified as an alterative, diuretic and diaphoretic. It helps the kidneys to filter out impurities from the blood very quickly. It clears congestion in respiratory, lymphatic, urinary and circulatory systems. Burdock releases water retention, stimulates digestion, aids kidney, liver and gallbladder function. It also functions as an aperient, depurative, and antiscorbutic. … Decoctions of Burdock have also been historically used for soothing the kidneys, relieving the lymphatic system, rheumatism, gout, GI tract disorders, stomach ailments, constipation, catarrh, fever, infection, fluid retention and skin problems. An article in Chemotherapy identified the chemical arctigenin contained in Burdock as an “inhibitor of experimental tumor growth.”1
Burdock root is rich in many minerals, including iron, which makes it a valuable restorative herb for the blood. Burdock root can be ingested cooked or raw, as a tea infusion or tincture. To make a tea infusion, simmer whole Burdock Root in hot water, or use cut and sifted dried herb. The standard tincture dose for Burdock Root is 30 drops twice daily.
Poke Root is found throughout the United States, Southern Europe, and Northern Africa. Like Yellow Dock, Poke Root is a powerful blood and lymph cleanser. It has proven beneficial for glandular disorders because it cleanses the tissues and purifies the lymphatic system.
Poke Root has long been used by Native Americans for a number of conditions including rheumatism, arthritis, dysentery, cancer and more. Poke Root is widely recognized as an effective treatment for pain and swelling caused by rheumatoid arthritis, and it’s currently being studied for its anti-cancer properties. Poke Root contains PAP (pokeweed antiviral protein), proteins with anti-tumor effects. Some studies have found that Poke Root may inhibit the expression of some cancer genes.
“Maybe even more notable are the studies of the herb for use as a possible anti-HIV treatment. The plant may have certain properties that both help strengthen the immune system by interacting with the proliferating T-cells and by inhibiting production of HIV viral proteins.”2
Taken in large quantities, Poke Root can upset the stomach and intestinal tract. Carefully follow directions when using this herb.
Sheep sorrel is loaded with vitamins, chlorophyll, and iron. Chlorophyll helps promote healthy liver function, while the mineral iron and vitamins cleanse and replenish the blood. Additionally, Sheep Sorrel is a diuretic, which helps to cleanse the blood and the entire system. And, according to Dr. Marilyn Tucker (formerly of drmarilyntucker.com), “[Sheep sorrel] helps to clear the system of poisons and is also good for skin problems of all kinds”.
Historically, Sheep Sorrel has been used to treat everything from inflammation and diarrhea to scurvy and cancer. And every single part of the plant can be used as medicine.
Reneé Caisse considered Sheep Sorrel the most active cancer-fighting ingredient in her Essiac tea formula. Dr. Chester Stock, of Sloan-Kettering in New York, would probably agree. Dr. Stock studied Sheep Sorrel for three years and concluded that the herb could destroy cancer cells in the body ad inhibited metastasis by somehow causing cancer cells to return to the original tumor site.
Sheep Sorrel is also useful for improving the flow of urine, treating fevers, kidney and urinary tract diseases, intestinal parasites, maintain normal blood sugar levels and more.
Blood Cleansing Tea Infusion
Now that you are familiar with the innate qualities of each herb, you can wisely choose the ones that will best serve your detox needs. To get you started, I’ve included one of my favorite blood cleansing herb recipes below.
½ Tsp. Oregon Grape Root
¼ Tsp. Yellow Dock
¼ Tsp. Red Clover
8 oz. Boiling hot water
Pour boiling hot water into a cup and immediately add herbs, in an infuser or tea bag. Let steep for at least 10 minutes, but I prefer 20 or until the water is cool enough to drink. The longer the herbs steep the stronger the infusion.
Note: Only use measuring spoons to measure the herbs. DO NOT use dining utensils!
During the first week, you should drink only one cup of blood cleanser a day; the following week, you may drink two cups a day. In the weeks thereafter, you may consume up to three cups of the tea each day, but no more than three. You may remain on a blood cleanse for as long as three months at a time. Then you should take a break of at least two months before cleansing again. I always wait three to six months, depending on how I feel.
There is another great Blood Cleansing recipe in our video – Blood Cleansers: Why? What? How? Click the link to view it. But these recipes are just to get you started.
Experiment with herbs
Don’t be afraid to experiment with herbs. Just be certain to research any herbs you intend to use. You need to understand what the herb does, how much is needed, and its side-effects and contraindications before consumption.
Herbs can greatly benefit our health but when used improperly, or by those whose systems simply can’t handle them – for whatever reason, they can also be dangerous. Be mindful of dosages and precautions. Not everyone can use every herb.
If you have any questions or comments regarding this topic, comment below or tweet me on Twitter.
1 Light, Marilyn. “Burdock”. Dr. Christopher’s Herbal Legacy, n.d. Web. 2012
2 Barron, Jon. “Poke Root: A Closer Look”. Baseline of Health Foundation, n.d. Web. January 2018
Group, Edward, MD. “What are the Benefits of Yellow Dock Root?” Global Healing Center, December 17, 2012. Web. 2012
“Yellow Dock: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, and Warnings”. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, 2009. WebMD, n.d. Web. 2012
“Oregon Grape Mahonia Aquifolium”. Annie’s Remedies, n.d. Web. 2012
“Benefits of Grape Root | Herbal Library”. Baseline of Health Foundation, n.d. Web. 2012
Ehrlich, Steven D., NMD. “Red Clover”. University of Maryland Medical Center, (last updated) March 24, 2015. Web. 2012
“Chaparral: Chaparral Side Effects & Safety”. WebMD, 2009. Web. 2012
Adams, Mike. “Chaparral is natural medicine for treating cancer”. Natural News, October 5, 2009. Web. 2012
Barron, Jon. “Sheep Sorrel: A Rich Sources of Vitamin C, Beta-Carotene, and Other Carotenoids”. Baseline of Health Foundation, n.d. Web. January 2018