Spring cleaning isn’t just for your home – our bodies need it too! Think about what happens if you don’t clean your air filters; they become bogged down and less efficient at removing the pollutants in the air of your car or home. We can think of certain organs in our body as filters that require a similar kind of maintenance to be effective at eliminating daily toxin exposures.
The reason this is so important is because contact with environmental toxins and cellular waste products from normal metabolism are not only inevitable, but they also may contribute to an increased risk for chronic disease. The organs of elimination are the kidneys, intestines, liver, lungs and skin, but the liver is the leader of it all.
The following teas work in a multitude of ways, one of which is to support your body’s natural ability to clear out cellular “junk.” A side benefit of incorporating more herbal teas in your routine is that you will also be increasing your fluid intake, another important part of detoxification.
Top Detox Teas for a Spring Cleanse
The benefits of green tea and matcha are numerous, but the polyphenol compound responsible for much of its detoxification properties is called epigallocatechingallate (EGCG). EGCG along with other compounds in green tea have been studied for their antioxidant effects and are thought to encourage optimal levels of glutathione, which is your body’s own “master” antioxidant that scavenges for free radicals that damage cells. In addition, detoxification in the liver works in two phases, and green tea is especially helpful for the second phase.
Matcha consists of powdered green tea leaves, so the active compounds (and caffeine) are more concentrated than in brewed green tea. Matcha also has a stronger, grassier flavor, which some people enjoy in latte form with frothy milk and a touch of honey. Not sure which to choose? You can get all the benefits by choosing a tea that includes green tea leaves and matcha.
Dandelion root may increase bile acid production, which can help usher both environmental toxins and byproducts from hormone breakdown out of the body. It is also thought to be protective to liver cells. Dandelion root also contains inulin, a prebiotic that encourages “good” gut bacteria. Recent research shows that there may be a strong relationship between a balanced community of microbes in our gut and our ability to metabolize and eliminate toxins.
Try swapping out a cup of coffee with dandelion root tea and splash of non-dairy milk; with its dark, rich taste, you might even start to prefer it to that cup o’ joe!
Similar to green tea, research shows that turmeric can stimulate detoxification enzymes including glutathione and exert antioxidant activity. It may also protect the liver, our powerhouse detoxification organ, against damage. Some teas pair turmeric with bright citrus flavors that lend themselves well to pouring over ice.
You may have also heard of golden tea, also known as golden milk, which combines warming spices such as ginger, cinnamon and sometimes cardamom and ashwagandha and then mixed with milk. It is a great way to add some turmeric into your morning routine. Opt for a blend with black pepper to improve absorption!
Rosehips and hibiscus are both extraordinarily high in vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that we must consume through food since we cannot make it ourselves. Besides being an antioxidant itself, Vitamin C also supports the regeneration of other antioxidants and of glutathione production. Rosehips and hibiscus tea has a delightfully tart flavor (that’s the Vitamin C talkin’!), which is delicious served over ice with fresh mint and honey.
Along with dandelion root, milk thistle is one of the most common herbs included in formulas for liver health. That’s because milk thistle contains silymarin, a flavonoid compound that can support the liver in the detoxification process by enhancing regeneration of liver cells and protecting them against damage. You can actually eat the whole seeds by grinding them up and putting them in oatmeal, chia pudding, or smoothies, but the tea offers a no-fuss, convenient way to get more milk thistle in your life.
Reap the benefits of multiple herbs in quality detox blends! Good options include combinations of herbs such as fennel, burdock, artichoke leaf, rooibos and peppermint. For instance, artichoke leaf may increase bile acid production, which can help trap and carry toxins out, while burdock root may offer protective benefits to liver cells. There is a wide selection of flavors when it comes to herbal blends, including lemon and berry, so find the one that you enjoy best or even create a rotation!
While spring is a good time to remind us of the importance of cleaning up our internal filters, our organs of elimination, remember that this is an everyday process. Other diet and lifestyle measures, such as daily movement, adequate sleep and a whole foods and largely plant-based diet can also support efficient detoxification processes.
†These statements have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.