With the warmer weather the urge to melt away some extra body fat and shake off tiredness and lethargy is a powerful drive to undertake a seasonal detox.

The silly season also comes with temptation to indulge in treats and alcohol over and above normal levels. At this time of year, detox diets and miracle products spring up like brightly coloured daisies. Many of them promise quick weight loss and eternal youth at the drop of a hat, or a pill.

It is easy to get swayed by enticing marketing when trying to find an approach to rejuvenate or drop those annoying extra kilos.

However, most of these products and fad diets are neither successful nor sustainable, and their harsh, artificial composition can strip the body of essential nutrients resulting in a worse state of health.

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Detoxification is essential as it protects your health and improves your overall wellbeing. When I say the word "detox" I refer to the detoxification function that your liver and kidneys naturally undergo each day as they process and flush everything that you eat, drink, absorb and breathe.

There are many health benefits when your body is able to detox properly:

• more energy
• improved digestion
• a boost in metabolism (required for weight management)
• improved immune system
• better circulatory and lymphatic function
• better sleep and mood
• better hormonal output
• clear skin
• reduce toxic load

But how can we support the cleansing of our bodies, beyond fad products, for a long-term positive outcome resulting in robust health, vitality and a positive mind?

The first step is to not collect toxins in the first place:

• Eat fresh food/say no to fast food
• Eat organic food
• Quit smoking
• Buy cleaning and personal care products with no nasty chemicals
• Reduce pharmaceutical drug intake

Add to this nourishing medicinal plants and wholesome foods consumed on a daily basis, which support your detoxification organs. This is a much more sustainable and effective way to cleanse the body of normal metabolic waste as well as unwanted body wastes, irritants and toxins.

It is essential that proper elimination takes place daily as toxins that aren't processed are stored into fat tissue and generate free radicals which cause damage, some of which is irreversible.

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Specific cleansing herbs are known in traditional medicine to tone the main detoxification organs, the liver and kidneys, and support the body's natural ability to create an internal environment where it can naturally repair and restore - they are best integrated into a daily routine.

At the turn of every season a short burst of concentrated consumption of cleansing herbs and foods enhance detoxification and allow the body to eliminate hidden toxins stored in fat cells.

In more serious health issues it is advisable to follow a targeted cleansing regime for a minimum of eight weeks, as this is the minimum time it takes for the liver to restore and cleanse deeper layers. By the end of that time most people find it easy to incorporate better choices into their daily lives for long-term health.

The easiest way to support your body's daily detoxification is to take a medicinal tea with bitter liver herbs before breakfast. Liquid plant medicine is perfect for detoxification since water has additional flushing benefits over and above the therapeutic ingredients of the tea.

The period before breakfast is physiologically the most effective time for detoxification.

St. Mary's thistle, globe artichoke, dandelion root and calendula provide specific nutrients that support the liver in detoxing fat-soluble metabolic wastes, as well as clearing taxing substances such as alcohol, spent pharmaceutical drugs, food additives and environmental toxins. Bitter herbs stimulate all digestive enzymes in the body, activate the gut and cleanse the liver from aforementioned toxins metabolised overnight.

Follow this with a kidney cleansing medicinal tea mid-morning to complete the flush by removing the released water-soluble toxins. Golden rod, horsetail, birch leaves, nettle and raspberry are traditionally used to improve kidney function and help clear the body of water-soluble metabolic wastes and toxins, excess sodium, uric acid and inflammatory by-products. I call this combination your daily 'internal shower'.

All mentioned medicinal plants are recognised for their longstanding healing benefits in international regulatory pharmacopoeias.

Detox should not be considered a program or a diet. It is a way of life, something you do every day to look after your health and protect yourself as best as you can. Medicine is at its best when it lives on your kitchen bench as part of your daily routine.

- nzherald.co.nz