Nature is filled with herbs that have a wide range of health-promoting properties, many of which are perfect for detoxification. You've probably heard of a lot of great detox herbs like parsley, dandelion or Hibiscus. This article won't be covering these commonly known detoxification herbs, but instead will dive deep into ancient herbs that are being investigated by science for their powerful health-promoting and detoxification properties.
1. Picrorhiza Kurroa
Picrorhiza kurroa is a popular perennial herb exported from the Nepalese Himalayas. It’s used as a substitute for Indian gentian (Andrographis paniculata), which is a flowering plant that produces seeds that are both detoxifying and protective against infectious diseases.
Picrorhiza kurroa is rich in phytochemicals, antioxidants, is anti-inflammatory and contains “picrosides”, a compound that regulates detoxifying enzymes. Many of the health-promoting properties of Kurroa are due to the presence of 22 active iridoid glycosides. Picrorhiza kurroa is particularly well known for its role in detoxifying and protecting the liver and respiratory system.
2. Andrographis Paniculata (Green Chiretta)
Andrographis paniculata, more commonly known as, “Green Chiretta” is a medicinal herb native to Southern and Southeastern Asia. Filled with rare health-promoting phytochemical compounds such as curvifloruside and noriridoids, Andrographis Paniculata/ Green Chiretta is a heal-all herb, and as such, it is perfect for a detox program.
All parts of the Green Chiretta plant are used to support health, from the roots to the leaves and stems. In Chinese medicine, Green Chiretta is used as a cold property plant, to cool the body when the internal temperature is high.
3. Eclipta alba (False Daisy)
Eclipta alba is commonly known as False Daisy, and also goes by the names Eclipta prostrata, Yerba de Tago, Karisalankanni, and Bhringraj. Interestingly, in its native land of Bangladesh, False Daisy is considered a weed by farmers.
Filled with health-boosting phytonutrients such as wedelolactone, eclalbasaponins, ursolic acid, oleanolic acid, luteolin, and apigenin, Eclipta alba is used in Asia for respiratory tract support, gastrointestinal support, and growing of hair, liver and skin health. Eclipta alba has several other properties such as - snake venom neutralizing, support of healthy inflammatory pathways, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties.
4. Berberis aristata (Citra)
Berberis aristata DC (Berberidaceae), commonly known as "Dāruhaldi" or “Citra,” is a traditional medicinal herb found in the Northern Himalaya region. Berberis aristata is used in Indian medicine and also Ayurveda as a promoter of healthy microbial balance. The root, stem, and leaf have been extensively studied for their pharmacological properties.
5. Tinospora cordifolia (Heart-leaved Moonseed)
Tinospora cordifolia is fondly known as Heart-leaved Moonseed, and also goes by the names gaduchi, and giloya. Heart-leaved moonseed is native to the tropical parts of Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka. Tinospora cordifolia is a climbing shrub with pear-colored flowers. There is great interest in the health-promoting properties of Tinospora cordifolia due to the fact it contains compounds such as - alkaloids, steroids, diterpenoid lactones, aliphatics, and glycosides.
The medicinal properties of Tinospora cordifolia are vast, and include support of healthy inflammatory pathways, fostering microbial balance, gastrointestinal health, anti-periodic, antioxidant, promoting a healthy stress response, hepatoprotective, and immunomodulatory activities.
6. Silybum marianum (milk thistle)
Milk Thistle is an herb with a multitude of names, such ascardus marianus, milk thistle, blessed milk thistle, Marian thistle, Mary thistle, Saint Mary's thistle, Mediterranean milk thistle, variegated thistle or Scotch thistle. Silymarin is the active compound that is extracted from the Milk Thistle plant, making it an effective herb in the detoxification of the liver. In a wide range of studies, Milk Thistle has been found to be a potent antioxidant; it enhances protein synthesis and supports healthy inflammatory pathways.
7. Boerhaavia diffusa (Punarnava)
Boerhavia diffusa is commonly known as Punarnava, but also goes by the names Red Spiderling, Spreading Hogweed, and Tarvine. Although Punarnava has many health-supporting properties, it's used widely in culinary dishes in India.
Boerhavia diffusa promotes healthy inflammatory pathways, is an antioxidant and also performs lipid peroxidation. Boerhavia diffusa helps support healthy inflammation in part due to the inhibition of human sPLA2. Boerhavia diffusa also protects the body against oxidative stress and enhances mitochondrial function.
8. Indian Barberry (Tree Turmeric)
Indian Barberry is also known as Berberis aristata, Chutro or Tree Turmeric. Berberis aristata has been used for over 2500 years and is native to the Himalayan region. The root bark has been scientifically proven to promote healthy microbial balance and exhibit antagonistic activity towards 13 pathogens.
Other parts of the plant (root, stem, bark, and fruit) and different species of the Berberidaceae family have been used in healthy detoxification programs due to the abundance of the phytoconstituent, Diterpenes.
Overall, these eight lesser-known herbs help support the body’s natural detoxification abilities.
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