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Herbal Support for Environmental Toxins

Jul 31, 2020 07:00AM ● By Kathleen Gould and Madalyn Johnson
We have all heard about environmental toxins, but they may be a bigger problem than many realize. These silent killers accumulate in the body over time as a result of our toxic and chemically saturated environment. One of the many environmental toxins we hear about with regard to dental health is fluoride, which is added to water supplies and touted as a boon to healthy teeth and gums. However, fluoride is also linked to cancer, mottling of the teeth, impaired fetal development, and lower IQ (intelligence quotient) scores in children.

We all have access to the internet and can, therefore, find the extensive list of these toxins and how they can affect our physical and mental health. Instead, let’s examine some herbs, foods and other measures we can implement to help our bodies deal with these toxic substances.

Medicinal herbs are amazing gifts from our blessed Mother Earth that help protect us from the damage of environmental toxins. They contain a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals (including trace minerals), antioxidants and free radical scavengers. They are the building blocks our bodies can use for whatever vitamisns and minerals we need.

Given that the liver is the body’s master detoxifier, and, as such, a critically important organ to keep nourished and healthy, we will list a number of herbs and foods designed to do just that. In addition, these herbs and foods help keep the immune system strong and vital, which is so important, especially during a pandemic.

Dandelion root is rich in inulin, which is a wonderful liver cleanser. It stimulates enzyme production and bile secretion, so it is an important herb for digestive system balance. It is also rich in bioflavonoids, potassium, iron, magnesium, zinc and many other minerals, as well as vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C and E.

Burdock root is a powerful liver-purifying herb with particular value for the endocrine system and skin. It is also very rich in minerals and vitamins, including iron, manganese, zinc and vitamins B and E.

Chlorella and spirulina are micro-algaes that tone and rejuvenate the whole body, build resistance to disease, and are blood builders and a liver tonic. They are rich in chlorophyll, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. They are also a good source of protein (great for vegetarians).

Bladderwrack is a thyroid tonic that is rich in healthy iodine. It is anti-arthritic, anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory. In addition, it is useful in weight-loss formulas due to an underactive thyroid.

Milk thistle seed is one of the most powerful liver protectors known; it detoxifies, tones the liver, and protects the liver from environmental pollutants and carcinogens. In addition, its antioxidant properties prevent free radical damage.

Tumeric root alkalizes and cleanses liver and blood, and is an anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial. Turmeric is also used for some skin cancer and pain relief and is a wound healer.

We could go on and on, as most herbs help with inflammation and help balance an imbalanced body, which is what these toxins cause. Along with these herbs, there are a number of foods that can be incorporated to help keep the body clean, including the following:

Greens are some of the most powerful cleansing foods, mainly because of the chlorophyll they contain. Chlorophyll works with the liver to detoxify; it builds blood and increases oxygen levels. There are so many good reasons to work chlorophyll into your daily regimen.

Beets play an important role for liver and detoxing. Beets are full of vitamins, like B3, B6 and C, and minerals, like magnesium, calcium, zinc and iron. These help the liver to break down toxins. If you don’t enjoy eating beets, there are several powders on the market that you can put in drinks, like smoothies, or buy as capsules, so you can get these in your diet daily.

Garlic and onions contain sulfur, which helps the liver to detoxify. Garlic encourages the liver to produce detoxification enzymes, which help to filter toxins from the digestive system. For many herbalists, garlic and onions are a recurring theme. They are nutritive, cleansing, anti-bacterial, help reduce blood sugar and blood pressure, inexpensive and always available—and delicious!

In addition to incorporating these herbs and foods into our diets, here are a few additional steps to remember along the way to help keep our systems free of chemicals:

Buy organic as often as you can afford; cut out processed foods—your pancreas will love you; wash your food; read labels so you know what you are eating; drink more clean water; lose those toxic chemical cleaners and opt for a more natural way (think essential oils); and take more vitamin C, as it is one of the most affordable anti-toxins available.

One of the best benefits of all is how great you will feel when these environmental toxins are eliminated and your body is a lean, clean, healthy machine.


Kathleen Gould, registered herbalist, and Madalyn Johnson are proprietors of SW Herb Shop and Gathering Place. Gould has been an herbalist for 30-plus years and has extensive experience in herbal medicine. For more information, call 480-694-9931, or visit or