Tools of the Tox



Let's talk about detox. Detoxification is a process by which your body removes or neutralises harmful compounds in the body. Our bodies detox by themselves 24/7. How amazing are our bodies?! However, due to the high toxic exposure we experience in our world today, your body's detox pathways being blocked or any number of other reasons, we often need extra help to support detox at certain times. 

Even with our body's incredible detox abilities, slow detox pathways or just an overload of toxins can often make us feel blotto or unwell. This is called a die-off reaction. Die-off reactions happen when nasty waste-products are released by dying pathogens that create an extra burden on the liver resulting in general side effects that come from stirring up a whole heap of toxins! Luckily there are natural resources and tools that we can use to mop up those detox symptoms and get those toxins out of our system! 

When it comes to detoxing, there’s many options available: cold pressed juices, Chlorella supplementation, cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage etc.) and protein (from quality sources) to name a few. Over the years I have researched and tested a lot of liver detoxing strategies, and I’ve decided to share with you the three that have had the best results for me. I like to think of them as “tools for the tox” – things to consider when you’re dealing with serious, and often debilitating, die off reactions.

How do you deal with the toxins that you release, while rebalancing and healing your gut, so that your liver doesn’t give up altogether?

Activated charcoal

I was sitting at home one night, worried about the the serious toxic by-products being produced in my son's and also my own gut while we were in the process of rebalancing. I knew that chronic exposure to toxins can have long-lasting effects such as cellular damage, allergic reactions and compromised immunity. My husband is a nurse, and throughout our gut adventures his clinical knowledge and experience has been instrumental in helping us make steps towards good health. When he mentioned that in the hospital charcoal is used when someone comes in with an overdose or a child has ingested poison, I decided to investigate this mysterious black powder.

Sure enough, activated charcoal is one of the world’s oldest detoxing remedies, having been used for over 10,000 years in Chinese, Ayurvedic and Western medicine, as an absorbent agent to many poisons and intestinal issues. I couldn’t believe how well the charcoal worked. It was like a sponge, absorbing toxic substances.

Activated charcoal is a highly absorbent material with millions of tiny pores that can capture, bind, and remove up to 100 times the charcoal’s own weight in toxins.

It is a must-have in your tool kit for the sometimes uncomfortable die off phase. Remember that it absorbs everything, so be sure not to have any medication or supplements 2 hours before or after taking the charcoal. It also makes an awesome toothpaste! You can read more about the benefits of activated charcoal here.

Bentonite clay

Once again, traditional cultures knew the power of another powerful detoxing tool, bentonite clay. This swelling clay has been highly valued by many cultures around the world, having been woven into the daily practices and rituals of Indigenous Australians, Native Americans, Andean natives, and ancient Chinese and Egyptian societies. Clay has been used as a remedy for all types of conditions of toxicity, and was applied to the skin as a mud pack, bathed in, and used internally to sweep away irritants in the gastrointestinal tract.

The clay swells up and absorbs toxins like a porous sponge. It has also been known to absorb and expel pathogenic virus’, which has been the experience of my family and also my clients. Because the clay is undigested it literally sweeps through and takes dead pathogens and bacteria with it.

However, clay can be very dehydrating so it is important to make sure that you drink plenty of water and do not have any medication or supplements 2 hours before or after taking it. As well as helping to clean out your insides, a clay facial mask is great for removing dead skin and rejuvenating your skin. Check this link out for more uses of bentonite clay.

Coffee enemas

Before you run off and say, no thanks, I think I’ll just have a coffee in my cup please, let me explain. I have included coffee enemas in my top three detoxing tools because they have been the single most effective treatment I’ve tried in dealing with the awful feelings of die off, including an extremely bloated stomach, aching muscles, a pounding headache and a complete inability to function in the world. And for many people, especially those with impaired methylation or those who lack the ability to detox effectively, one can remain here as their gut bugs release toxins at a faster rate than the body can expel them, resulting in a build up of gas and toxins that just can’t get out! This is when the poor liver closes up shop, and it’s a horrible pickle to find yourself in. Sometimes it really is necessary to pull out the big guns when you’re desperate enough to give anything a go - even flushing some expresso up where the sun don't shine!

While clay and charcoal can help sweep out toxins in the gastrointestinal tract and bind to gasses in the body, they won’t help to release toxins from the liver. During an enema, the coffee travels along the haemorrhoidal vein and the portal system to the liver, opening up the bile ducts and allowing the liver to release toxin-containing bile. The caffeine in the coffee also activates an enzyme system in the liver called glutathione S-transferase by 600-700% above normal activity levels. Glutathione is one a “big gun” when it comes to assisting toxins, hence why the coffee enemas are so effective in staying on top of your toxic load. You can read more of the science of coffee enemas here.

Coffee enemas are not something to be afraid of, and certainly are not a fad. I suffer from very slow detox capabilities and really struggle with toxic build up, and I have seen an acceleration of my own healing using coffee enemas, which have been a game changer for me. At times when I have felt an overwhelming and often debilitating struggle with toxic build-up, coffee enemas have helped me be strong enough to continue on my healing path while being a mum to very young kids. These days the enemas are still a part of my healing regime.

So there you have it, my top three “tools for the tox”, to help you navigate die off and the toxic burden that it brings. Without these, I wouldn’t have gotten through my own gut healing adventure.

Have you tried any of these and did they work for you?

Happy cleansing,