Blood Cleansing and Liver
There is no consensus as to whether
cancer is a local or systemic disease, but the fact that
the tumor is highly toxic suggests the need for blood and
liver detoxification. There are many products of an
herbal nature that assist this cleansing. When successfully
carried out, patients will feel clearer.
From my observations, toxicity is attended
by a multitude of symptoms. On an emotional level, people
may begin by feeling more apathetic and later be irritable
and sometimes quite angry. It is tempting to hypothesize
that repressed fire inclines
people to look backwards rather than ahead. This is often
accompanied by a feeling of being lost in time and space.
In theory, one could arouse the fire and begin to see ahead.
In actuality, most people do not change so quickly.
Toxicity can be caused by chemical irritants,
those that are ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the
skin; it can also become elevated by die off of the tumor
and/or other morbid cells. The primary symptoms of toxicity
are itchiness and irritability. We might say that toxicity
is red. When the normal eliminatory organs are overburdened
by toxicity, the skin becomes a major organ of elimination.
It will then tend to exhibit patches of red and sometimes "appearances" that
may be either flat or elevated. These may also blister, ulcerate,
and exude various substances.
Many people with whom I have contact celebrate
these appearances as "healing crises," but in my
opinion, these developments are indications that the primary
eliminatory channels are at their limit so that the body
has to designate secondary ways to rid itself of poisons.
Stages of Toxicity
There are stages of toxicity. When the
heat is repressed, people are usually gray. They feel the
blahs and their skins are dull or decidedly ashen (as happens
to many who have chemotherapy.) Not everyone goes from
gray to red and a few people start with the red and never
experience the gray. Interestingly, the treatment is essentially
the same for both types. They need detoxifying herbal bitters.
The difference is that those with redness need to be more
careful of foods that aggravate what is called in Ayurveda
the pitta dosha. As many people
know, both Ayurveda and traditional Oriental systems of
medicine use a system of three main pulses. In Ayurvedic
and Tibetan medicine, these translate to wind, bile, and
phlegm. Bile is a "derangement" of the fire energy.
It is not healthy. It means that the body is not properly
pH balanced and that it favors acidity that in turn will
lead to tissue breakdown.
Doctor: Taste and the Elements
The Ayurvedic system of taste and the
elements is presented in a way that anyone interested
can immediately begin applying the ideas so as to further
constitutional balance through diet.
Four 90-minute audio cassettes
With a proper program of detoxification,
gains are almost immediate. Many people report increased
clarity and alertness on the very first day. Some also describe
a reduction in pain, increase in energy, and improved digestion
and elimination. Philosopher that I am, I would see the toxins
as major irritants. While toxins can attack nerve sheaths,
it would be too simplistic to attribute improvement solely
to a reduction of nerve irritation. Herbal detoxifiers are
not nervines much less pain relievers: they are cleansers.
While some improvement is usually evident
early on with detoxifiers, there are phases in which progress
is more gradual. In my experience, discontinuing use of the
herbs or increasing the dosage in an effort to get faster
results are neither correct. This is a situation in which
slow and steady is preferable to dramatic and urgent. Patients
who are frightened or panicky sometimes have difficulty accepting
that quantum leaps towards health may be interspersed with
Every health foods store carries detoxifying
herbal formulae. The common denominator of these products
is that most are comprised predominantly of herbal alkaloids,
anything from the humble dandelion to seriously anti-infective
herbs containing berberines (barberry, Oregon grape root,
and goldenseal.) The proper use of each products as well
as quality differs considerably as does the capacity of each
individual patient to assimilate the herbs. Consultation
with an experienced herbalist may be money well spent.
There are some interesting variations on
the toxicity issue. Many cancer patients suffer from localized
itchiness, often worse at the time of the full moon. There
are herbs that can be made into fomentations (a sort of strong
tea) that can be applied externally to reduce this itchiness.
Coptis (another berberine) is one that most patients report
being helpful and pipsissewa, a Native American herb, is
Some detoxifying formulae contain liver
protective and regenerative herbs such as milk thistle. I
have a recipe for a smoothie using
this herb. Hildegard of Bingen used yarrow in a manner similar
to how some people use milk thistle. She gave some recipes
that I reprinted in my book.
She said that yarrow prevents metastasis, and I assume she
said this on the basis of her astounding clairvoyance rather
To judge a formula correctly, one should
look for enhanced acuity and vitality, more often gradual
than overnight. Eventually, the skin will look clearer and
more radiant. In other words, both grayish and reddish hues
will in time turn to what is called "luster" in
Ayurveda. Emotionally, people will feel less irritable and
angry. Then, on a more subtle level, people will start feeling
more oriented in time and space. Finally, they will begin
to look ahead and make plans, something many patients deny
is possible during the more critical stages of their illness.
When life seems to be getting one down,
it is easy to imagine that it will never get better. However,
the truth is that many people recover from their illnesses,
including cancer. One of the more gratifying experiences
in my own life is to hear from former patients who are rebuilding
their lives. Initially, it may be almost inch by inch, but
then it seems very decisive and swift. In my heart of hearts,
I know that people are well when they start making plans
that they can really fulfill. There is an enormous difference
between dreaming and creating a future. Fantasy is a kind
of escapism, probably harmless in moderation but challenging
when it interferes with one's grip on reality. Building a
new life takes vision and it does not occur unless the energy
to accomplish one's plans is available. I therefore see decisiveness
as positive fire, the opposite of the acidic and threatening pitta.
Though there are many products that
are capable of assisting detoxification, they do not all
work the same. The Sacred Medicine Sanctuary historic
re-creation of the old Eclectic trifolium
compound has most of the properties of both an herbal
alterative (blood cleanser) and lower intestine stimulant. It
is available in a liquid form. One of the more general
ones that has been found effective for many people is Planetary
Formulas Red Clover Cleanser. It is available in tablet
form. Banyan Botanical's formula is new, based on
traditional Ayurvedic principles, but I have no clinical
experience with it nor feedback from persons who are using
it. Rainbow Light's Milk Thistle Plus is somewhat more
supportive of the liver than the blood; it is also milder.
Longer use is therefore probably advisable. Most such products
work better if combined with something that aids elimination.
In general, blood detoxifiers are not
needed long-term. However, they may be needed in higher
than recommended dosages in the early stages of treatment,
perhaps for some weeks or months. Usually, the dosage can
be reduced as the symptoms of toxicity subside. If in doubt
about how much to take and for how long, consult a health
Detoxifying herbs can also be valuable for
those suffering from the side effects of chemotherapy as
well as die off caused by successful use of a holistic anti-cancer
program that works internally. It is extremely important
that patients self-prescribing such herbs understand both
the actions of the herbs as well as the cytotoxic protocols.
According to some oncologists, chemotherapy
is supposed to bring patients close to the edge of death.
If there is merit to this strategy, then it has to be factored
into choices that may protect the quality of life but perhaps
interfere with the drug actions. Since the oncologist is
unlikely to understand the correct use of herbs and herbalists
are not usually familiar with the specifics of different
chemotherapeutic agents, patients are advised to understand
the choices they are making and to observe carefully how
the different protocols are affecting them.
While most patients benefit
from the use of detoxifying herbs for the first two to six
months, usage can be tappered off when there is a significant
reduction of symptoms. Unlike some prescription drugs for hormone
replacement and such, herbs are generally intended to restore
balance so there are often diminishing returns or contraindications
for use once the problem for which the herbs are taken has
been corrected. This said, periodic maintenance, such a Spring
and/or Autumn three-week detoxification program, is not a bad
idea for most people.
Prolonged use of detoxifying herbs might
be compared to dieting beyond one's ideal weight until one
is underweight or emaciated. Adapting a protocol to
the current need means assessing progress and evaluating
what is appropriate at each stage of the healing.
Since the herbal alkaloids in detoxifying
formulas can stimulate an increased flow of bile, diarrhea
is a potential side effect of exceeding the recommended dosage. Excessive
and prolonged use can also result in weight loss and/or debilitation. These
symptoms may indicate that
(1) the patient is not really
benefiting from the excessive dose (i.e., more is not necessarily
better) or that
(2) the need for such herbs no longer exists.
In most cases, reducing the
dosage results in almost immediate correction of the symptoms
of overstimulation. Do not confuse cachexia with the symptoms
of overconsumption of detoxifying formulae.
For more information related to blood
and liver cleansing, click here.
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Copyright by Ingrid Naiman 2000, 2001, 2005