Detoxification: New Year's Resolutions

Posted to Subscribers on 29 December 2009


Dear Subscribers,

This email will be about detoxification, but first I want to call your attention to the Patrick Henry Caucus. It is a movement in Utah to resist mandatory health care insurance based on several constitutional issues. If successful, it would be illegal for state agencies to enforce the federal mandate:


In the last few days alone, there have been dozens of emails about "help" but the problem on my end is that I rarely have enough information to respond meaningfully so let me start with some simple concepts and build on this foundation. Some of these threads are very well developed on

First of all, detoxification implies the presence of something undesirable that ought to be removed. On a physiological level, it stands as an "opposite" to tonification which suggests a lack that needs to be addressed through nutrients. Though it is not impossible to detoxify and tonify simultaneously, it is not really that easy to develop a program that addresses both needs adequately, more or less for the same reasons that you cannot build up the fire and water elements without some neutralization occurring. This is not 100% true but it is more or less true since there are principles at work that require deep understanding before you can make progress on all fronts at once.

The first matter to resolve in any sensible detoxification effort has to be what one is trying to accomplish. People are using the word "detoxification" in so many contexts that I nearly always have to write back and ask for more clarification.

At the top of the list of toxic exposures, we have various military-industrial pollutants ranging from exposure to radioactive materials such as depleted uranium or medical diagnostic procedures or perhaps fallout from nuclear power plants. This is a very specific problem and requires really thorough understanding if anyone hopes to be successful. In most cases, the main symptom is enervation. In very advanced situations, there may be secondary consequences such as cancer or deformity in the growth of some part of the body, usually in tissues that replicate quickly such as blood cells. However, the primary initial symptom is fatigue without any accompanying pathology, at least none that is easy to determine.

The best book I have read on this subject was written quite a number of years ago: Fighting Radiation & Chemical Pollutants with Foods, Herbs & Vitamins by Stephen Schechter. I have bought many used copies on to send to doctors in Afghanistan and the Middle East. This is a big subject that could be affecting almost anyone on the Planet, but it definitely has taken its toll in war torn areas of our precious Earth. Obviously, I could not do justice to the book by summarizing but one of the key strategies is nutrient rich food, especially food that is high in trace minerals because the body is then given the option of substituting a wholesome and natural mineral for a radioactive one.

YarrowThe problem here, of course, is that even if one were not exposed to blow back from war, there are similar but less severe effects from nearly all radiological exams and even from flying in high altitude. The body truly needs help with these issues, but not all consequences are purely physical because radiation is faster vibrating than anything used to create a physical body so the primary effects are felt in the aura and only the secondary effects are physically measurable which may be why people can talk about safety without actually discussing risk. The first step in the right direction for those trying to heal from this type of exposure would be to do something very grounding, especially out in Nature and far from the madding crowd. Though most of the herbal work has focused on yarrow and its capacity to balance the aura, I suspect most plants with delicate aerial parts would have similar potential. This would include dill and fennel and other plants that not only billow in the breeze but are aromatic and vata reducing. I happen to like fennel in salads and stir fries, not just the seeds but the whole plant. It grows a bit like celery but has a much more interesting taste and if you believe in the doctrine of signatures, then the structure of the plant is a clue to its physical benefits. The elongated stalks of celery and fennel are thus good for the bones.

Connecting the dots is a game I enjoy so my recent gardening experiences have taught me a lot. Neither my dill nor fennel thrived but the yarrow did marvelously. I planted the "medicinal" Achillea millefolium from seed and bought other varieties at the local farmer's markets. By the end of summer, I had paprika, moonshine, burgundy colored, and even a peachy one growing. Yarrow is supposed to improve the soil so what has me curious and thinking ahead is whether as I work on restoration of the soil, what thrives and what doesn't will change. For the moment, let me simply note that yarrow appears to have more growth potential than false dandelions and this is remarkable if you take the time to think about it.

Yarrow Paprika

Chemical Toxicity

Thanks to pollution, fertilizers, pesticides, chemtrails, junk medicine, food additives, and various contaminants in consumer products, the odds of exposure to some form of industrial pollution must be close to 100%. We have all heard of lead in pottery, bisphenol-A in plastics, red dye in food, mercury in vaccines, and countless other aggravating chemicals in our modern civilization. The number of exposures is so constant and ongoing that no one could possibly draw a line between car exhaust or smog and off-gassing of paints or plastics. Suffice it to say that some of the pollutants are inhaled and some are ingested. All are egregious. For instance, upholstery, carpets, and practically all new clothing off-gas formaldehyde. As just stated, the list of potentially irritating, carcinogenic, or outright lethal toxins is long. It could conceivably contain hundreds of thousands of entries and for many people starts with their drinking water.

Americans on average ingest about 10 pounds of food preservatives every year, at least 10% of which are quite dangerous. Some people are able to kick out some of the toxins but many have poorly functioning eliminatory systems. The main channels of elimination are, of course, the kidneys (urine) as well as the intestines. The major organs have both discharging and assimilating functions so the kidneys recycle some minerals and prevent these from being eliminated. Likewise both the small and large intestines assimilate nutrients as well as eliminate waste. The lungs and skin are also dual functioning and very stressed by overload.

Many people have deposits of toxins. In its mercy, the body chooses mainly non-vital places like joints as reservoirs but some toxins are in circulation and some are sort of tucked away or buried. If more are circulating than is tolerable, people become irritable and sometimes they are also flushed. They might also have eruptions on their skin. Such developments are severe warning signs and ought to be taken seriously.

Chinese medicine uses "liver dredging" herbs which means that toxins are dislodged from the liver, moved into circulation, and then hopefully eliminated. The problem is how to calibrate this well because if more is dislodged than eliminated, some toxins will be reabsorbed and the discomfort of the circulating toxins will not have seemed worthwhile. Moreover, we cannot be sure that a toxin will go back where it was. Something that was in a knee or the liver may go into the lungs or brain and this might not be fun.

Opening up the channels of elimination and pacing detoxification are the keys to success. For instance, Banyan Botanicals, which, for the record, tends to produce subtle formulations that have gradual effects, has organ support formulas for the liver, lungs, and kidneys as well as a Blood Cleanse formula which is intended to relieve toxicity conditions that are spilling over into the skin. Vadik Herbs on the other hand tends to make very concentrated formulations with dramatic punch. They have similar preparations to aid the organs as well as a formula for environmental detoxification called Detox.

The common denominator of toxins is that they tend to be acidic so the herbs used in detoxification have alkaloids to neutralize the acids. Rain Forest and other herbs are all similar in this regard. For instance, Amor Rico is widely used in South America to detox from environmental pollution, including heavy metals. There is a classic western herbal formula called River of Life that is based on red clover and made by countless companies under different names. I carry the Red Clover Cleanser from Planetary, but the rule is not to push detoxification faster than you can manage the elimination so combining the detoxifying formulas with the intestinal cleansing ones tends to be gentler and safer.

Toxic Metals

Many people write me about mercury, either amalgams or vaccines or a combination of the two, but dangerous as mercury is, it is but one of the prevalent toxins. For instance, I recently spent quite a few hours looking for a new computer (not decided yet) and had pushed a button on the Lenovo site that said "help me decide" and for the first time in my life realized that there is mercury in many LCD screens. I was obviously horrified. We know of the horrors being committed in Africa because of desire for metals used in high tech products, but I truly had no idea that mercury could be in an LCD screen. Of course, it is now in light bulbs, water, and fish. In addition to mercury, we have lead, aluminum, cadmium, and many, many exposures to other toxic metals, all of which should be chelated out to prevent loss of quality of life. Some people have one amalgam and some have 30. Some have "tattoos" on their gums and teeth from the leeching of the dental materials, but if the truth be known, mercury is an industrial waste from the mining industry. It is highly poisonous and not suitable for any consumer use in any form whatsoever.

The problem with toxic metals is slightly similar to that of chemicals in that dislodging the metals without eliminating them is truly a game of roulette and it could have unpleasant consequences if not handled properly. Therefore the place to start is nearly always with the organs of elimination. Bring these organs to an optimal level of functioning and there is a far better chance of reducing the load of toxic chemicals and metals in the body.

The difference between chemical and metal toxicity is that chemical toxicity produces symptoms of deranged fire (pitta dosha) whereas metals cause more vata derangement, disturbance of the air element.


Today many people have fungal infections, either yeast or mold. The most common yeast infection is Candida albicans and it is truly an epidemic. Mold infections are also epidemic and rarely diagnosed. Because fungi are viable, these infections are not self-limiting nor commensurate to exposure. In plain language, this means that with inorganic toxins or chemicals, there is a measurable exposure and toxic load that does not continue to grow if the exposure is discontinued. In short, changing jobs or moving or throwing out a few dangerous pieces of furniture or cans of paint might reduce risks in the same way that cleaning up a toxic landfill would reduce risk to the surrounding environment. However, with fungi, even a tiny exposure could be potentially fatal, not only because of the risk of anaphylactic shock but due to colonization of the fungi within the body. This is a big topic and requires a lot of time in order to cover it well.


Antibiotics are just what the name suggests: drugs that kill life. Though intended to limit the proliferation of bacteria, they do not necessarily discriminate between friendly and pathogenic bacteria so they destroy the good with the bad and often deplete the body of bacteria needed to maintain health. Probiotics can sometimes alleviate the imbalance but a tremendous amount of education is necessary to make wise choices here. Suffice it to say that there is competition and a reliable balance is what is sought.

In the meantime, it helps to keep in mind that we are passively exposed to all of these toxins through food, water, air, medications, and even soil. Moreover, what all of these toxins have in common is that they impair the functioning of the immune system. They consume the resources of the immune system and destroy white blood cells so that there is stress on the body to produce more white blood cells to replace the dead ones and stress on the lymphatic system and eliminatory organs to get rid of the debris. In fact, the plasma of people with these toxins is full of dead white blood cells.


Parasites are a little different from the other types of infections and toxins that people discuss in their emails to me. Clearly, like fungi, they are organic and viable. They also mate and reproduce. One DVD I bought said that parasites mate for life. Some live for 30-50 years. I honestly don't know how they know all this, but we are obviously exposed to the risk of infection through food, water, insect bites, and contact with people who are carriers, including the things the carriers have touched, like the pen at the bank or post office or silverware in the restaurant. Parasite infection is therefore also an epidemic. This is clearly the case with malaria but I believe it is another silent problem since hardly any doctors will check for parasites. Worse, they tend to write off patient queries. I have lots of emails from doctors saying that what I am writing about is delusional parasitosis. So, should we put people in mental institutions or check for creatures?

The spectrum here is very broad. In addition to malaria and other tropical illnesses, there is Lyme disease, Morgellon's, and probably countless other conditions that could be related to parasites or spirochetes which most people call bacteria even though they behave more like parasites. As I have written before, parasites are different from toxic metals in that they tend to work out a relationship with the host that while compromising is not immediately life-threatening. Obviously, they have decided to take up residence so if they destroy the host, they would lose their home. They are not stupid nor lacking a survival instinct. In fact, they are rather perfectly adapted to their home. They like it nice and moist and dark.

At the farmer's market, I stopped to chew cud with someone selling red wigglies for compost piles. I was very interested in her stories, one of which included a tale of a breeder who kept the worms in her basement, with the light on because the light kept the worms from venturing out of their bins. Someone unfamiliar with this capitalist venture went down to the basement and automatically turned off the light when leaving. By the time the owners returned, worms were crawling on the ceiling of the second floor, clearly not accustomed to the alternation of day and night and therefore inclined to hide in the closet or drawers.

Okay, you get the picture and it's a tad upsetting, but it is not true that because parasites work out an accommodation with the host that they are harmless. They are sneaky. They produce lots of hormones to make people crave what they enjoy and when they are hungry, they do not limit themselves to your dinner but they eat red blood cells and cause anemia and they take ammonia-rich dumps, and, well, it's gross. Besides, some of these creatures are dangerous. I have mentioned before that they have different favorite foods, different hunting patterns, and apparently some have a capacity to secrete poisons. At least this is what it looks like in the microscope.

Where to Start

People write me that they have all the above conditions, but the likelihood that parasites would survive massive toxicity is actually rather low so one of the curious problems that arises during detoxification is that the parasite population could actually increase. It therefore makes sense to include some anti-parasitic herbs with the detox formulas or to start with the parasites lest they proliferate in the absence of inhibiting toxins. Otherwise, ironic as it may seem, high levels of one type of toxicity does not necessarily translate to low of another. Even fungi will somehow manage to survive because they devour even the most lethal radioactive waste. Unfortunately, this is feeble grounds for welcoming a fungal infection.

I think it's easiest to tackle the parasites or chemicals first and in most cases, this can be accomplished in 2-6 months. In rare cases, it might take longer. Sometimes chemical toxicity is related to work, such as those who are exposed to paint or the chemicals used in the printing business. Sometimes, it is environmental, like what was covered in the film Erin Brockovitz; or toxicity could relate to the diet or a combination of many factors.

The more evidence there is of pitta derangement, the more important it is to detoxify of chemicals. The chief symptoms of pitta involvement will be redness, maybe even fever or skin eruptions, and irritability to temper. Believe it or not, fire can chill out and this is accomplished by removing the toxic fire and allowing the agni to remain. Toxic fire is impulsive and usually feels unpredictable, rash, unreliable, and dangerous to others. It can be bossy or even tyrannical. There is, however, another kind of fire, one that is far-sighted and often visionary and that can lead. You don't see this often enough, but I think I see glimmers of it in Ron Paul, quite a bit more than a glimmer most of the time.

When there is more nervousness and exhaustion, it might be better to start with the metals because these are vata symptoms. For some people, there might be a fine line between nerves and temper, but let's make it as clear as possible by saying that vata tends towards fear and could end up motionless because of the paralytic effect of fear whereas pitta has anger and the potential to become explosive. One rarely sees this sort of volcanic activity with vata. There is, of course, also a kapha component: congestion, blockage, mucus, and even weight gain, but these are usually secondary to the primary problem, meaning that die off and dilution of toxins through water retention appear to be kapha problems but they would probably resolve if the primary issues were addressed.

In Sum

Some of the material in this email is addressed in more depth on The work underlying Kitchen Doctor began in the 80s so it is time to complete it. The material is in two parts: Taste and the Elements and Mid-Life Tune Up Program. The rest is about specifics such as a particular herb or recipe or health issue, like xenoestrogens or candida. My resolution for 2010 is to archive and develop a subscription plan for




Herbs for Detoxification


Detoxification || Detoxification: New Year's Resolutions || Toxic Air








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