If your liver is feeling fragile, reach for some herbs!
As we get towards the end of the festive season, herbal remedies may not be a “quick fix,” but it could set you on the path towards using herbs for a longer lasting sense of wellbeing. Why not make that your first New Year’s resolution?
Get going with a delicious daily smoothie that uses tonic and cleansing herbs to help the liver get back into shape.
For a power-packed smoothie juice up one grated carrot, 1 chopped pineapple (apple or mango), 1 chopped stalk of celery and 1 tbs each of parsley and chives.
Mangoes and papayas are in season and well known herb expert Margie Frayne makes a ‘smoothie’ for herself every day using these in combination with herbs. Watermelon is another delicious alternative.
1/2 cup peeled and chopped fresh mango or papaya
1/2 tsp kelp powder or 2 crushed kelp tablets
1 tablespoon chopped lemon balm/fennel leaves
1 tablespoon parsley
1 chopped stalk of celery
Place all ingredients in a blender and liquidise. Add extra water (or herb tea) to thin down.
The herbs used in these smoothies help the liver, kidneys and skin, help to flush away the toxins and then build up a general level of health because they are rich in easily absorbed natural mineral salts and vitamins.
Growing your own detox herbs
Many of the cleansing and healing herbs are common herbs that grow easily and aren’t hard to find.
Lemon balm, yarrow, fennel, and celery strengthen the functioning of the liver and cleanse the blood.
Parsley supports the kidneys and urinary system and cayenne (or any other capsicum that causes you to break a sweat) and peppermint function as diaphoretics that promote perspiration. Mint also aids the digestive system as does sage which breaks down fatty foods.
Herbs like parsley, chamomile, lemon balm, and yarrow also have tonic properties that revitalise the body’s organs.
- Parsley grows in full sun or semi-shade, in fertile moist soil. Water regularly and pick often to stimulate its growth.
- Peppermint or Garden mint can be invasive; grow in a large pot, in fertile potting soil, water and fertilise regularly.
- Fennel is an aromatic perennial, growing up to 2m. Plant in full sun, in well drained to sandy soil. It does not always survive very wet or cold winters.
- Lemon Balm is a low growing perennial grows easily in moist rich soil with filtered shade. Tends to die down in winter so cut back hard in spring to encourage new growth.
Using detox herbs
An easy way to get into the habit of incorporating these ‘detox’ herbs is to make them part of your regular eating habits so that the herbal actions are ongoing.
Besides ‘smoothies’ use fresh herbs to make herbal teas and add to salads.
How to make herbal tea:
Place the herb or a combination of different herbs in the plunger.
Use 2 teaspoons fresh herbs per cup boiling water. Add the water that has just come to the boil and let it stand for 10-15 minutes before straining and drinking. Add honey to sweeten, if desired, and drink immediately.
Herbal detox salads:
Parsley, fennel, pennywort, chives, celery, and mint can used be regular ingredients in a green salad, on sandwiches or in a mixed salad.
* Compiled by Alice Coetzee