Plants That Remove Toxins From The Body

Written by: Pard Bharaj

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Time to read 11 min

Introduction:


Unfortunately, pollutants are all around us‚ÄĒin the air, water, prescription medicines and even our food‚ÄĒmaking it inevitable that some will enter our bodies. Managing this accumulation of toxins is important for maintaining a healthy immune system.


The human body has a natural detoxifying system, with the liver, colon, and kidneys. The liver prevents toxins in food from entering the bloodstream, the colon expels toxic chemicals, and the kidneys filter the blood, removing toxins through urine.


However, the body's detoxifying system can become overwhelmed by the volume of toxins and sometimes it needs a helping hand. Fortunately, several plants may assist in detoxification. In this article, I will discuss eight plants, review the scientific evidence on their effectiveness in removing toxins, and explain the mechanisms by which they are believed to achieve this.


I encourage readers to review the "references and further reading" section at the end of the article where I have provided summaries of relevant scientific studies.

Types of Toxins and Associated Health Risks:


Heavy Metals:


  • Examples: Lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic

  • Health Risks: Neurological damage, kidney dysfunction, developmental delays, cardiovascular issues


Pesticides:


  • Examples: DDT, glyphosate

  • Health Risks: Hormonal imbalances, reproductive issues, cancer, neurological disorders


Industrial Chemicals:


  • Examples: Benzene, formaldehyde, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

  • Health Risks: Respiratory problems, skin irritation, liver damage, cancer


Air Pollutants:


  • Examples: Particulate matter, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide

  • Health Risks: Respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, aggravation of asthma, lung cancer


Food Additives and Contaminants:


  • Examples: Artificial colourings, preservatives, bisphenol A (BPA)

  • Health Risks: A llergic reactions, hormonal disruptions, increased risk of chronic diseases


Mycotoxins:


  • Examples: Aflatoxin, ochratoxin

  • Health Risks: Liver cancer, immune suppression, kidney damage, neurological impairment


Household Chemicals:


  • Examples: Phthalates, parabens, volatile organic compounds (VOCs)

  • Health Risks: Endocrine disruption, reproductive toxicity, respiratory issues, cancer


Plastics:


  • Examples: Microplastics, plasticisers (such as BPA and phthalates)

  • Health Risks: Hormonal imbalances, reproductive issues, digestive problems, increased risk of chronic diseases

7 Plants That Remove Toxins From the Body:

1. Spirulina:


Spirulina, a cyanobacterium commonly known as blue-green algae, is well known for being one of the world's most nutrient dense foods. It is Packed with vitamins, minerals, and powerful antioxidants, it holds a well earned position at the top of the superfood category. 


Spirulina's ability to chelate heavy metals and assist in their removal from the body is well-documented through various preclinical studies. This detoxification property is primarily due to specific compounds within Spirulina that have a strong affinity for binding heavy metal ions, as well as improving liver health.


Limited other studies show that it can also be effective and counteracting the toxic effects of various environmental pollutants, including arsenic, cadmium, carbon tetrachloride, deltamethrin, fluoride, hexachlorocyclohexane, iron, lead, lindane, and mercury and  mycotoxins - although more research is required to confirm these findings.

Plants That Remove Toxins From the Body - Spirulina

2. Chlorella:


Chlorella is a single-celled, green algae that has been well researched for its health benefits, particularly in detoxification. It is rich in nutrients. Chlorella supports liver health and the body's ability to flush out harmful toxins. Its unique properties allow it to bind with heavy metals and other contaminants, facilitating their removal from the body.


  • Heavy Metals: Chlorella has a high affinity for heavy metals such as lead, mercury, and cadmium, effectively preventing their reabsorption and aiding in their expulsion from the body.

  • Radiation and Chemotherapy: Chlorella is beneficial for cancer patients undergoing radiation or chemotherapy. It protects against ultraviolet radiation treatments and helps eliminate radioactive particles. Studies indicate that chlorella can also help maintain immune system function, reducing the frequency of respiratory infections and flu-like illnesses during such treatments.

Plants That Remove Toxins From the Body - Chlorella

3. Wheatgrass:


Wheatgrass, a nutrient-dense superfood, has a number of studies showing its efficacy for detoxification and better blood. 


One of the key components of wheatgrass is chlorophyll, which has a molecular structure similar to hemoglobin. This high chlorophyll content can help cleanse the liver and bloodstream by neutralising and binding to toxins, and facilitating their removal from the body. Additionally, wheatgrass contains a range of antioxidants such as flavonoids and phenolic acids, which combat oxidative stress and protect cells from damage. This detoxifying effect is further enhanced by wheatgrass's ability to boost the activity of liver enzymes responsible for detoxification processes.


Wheatgrass can improve blood health by enhancing hemoglobin production and increasing red blood cell count. This is particularly beneficial for conditions like anemia and thalassemia.


Plants That Remove Toxins From the Body - Wheatgrass

4. Barley Grass:


Barley grass, a young shoot of the barley plant, is a nutrient-rich superfood known to be packed with essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants.


Scientific studies highlight barley grass's ability to detoxify harmful substances. Research has shown that its antioxidants, including superoxide dismutase (SOD) and flavonoids, combat oxidative stress and protect cells from damage. Also, barley grass's dietary fibre content supports gastrointestinal health by promoting regular bowel movements and expelling waste products.


Furthermore, barley grass has been found to help eliminate mycotoxins, harmful compounds produced by moulds, and other environmental pollutants. Its comprehensive nutritional profile, including beta-glucans and phenolic acids, contributes to its potent detoxifying properties.


Plants That Remove Toxins From the Body - Barley grass

5. Cilantro:


Cilantro is a herb traditionally used to aid digestion, reduce inflammation, and treat gastrointestinal issues.


Studies show that coriander can potentially enhance mercury excretion, especially after dental amalgam removal, and decreases lead absorption in bones by mitigating the inhibition of the delta-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase (ALAD) enzyme. Rich in antioxidants, coriander supports liver health and combats oxidative stress, crucial for detoxification. However, a trial with children exposed to lead found coriander extract as effective as a placebo in increasing renal excretion of lead, with improvements attributed to better diet during the intervention.


There is evidence that using cilantro with chlorella can enhance heavy metal detoxification. In summary, coriander shows promise as a natural detoxifying agent, particularly for mercury and lead. While results are promising, some evidence suggests otherwise, indicating the need for more research to verify coriander's effectiveness. 

Plants That Remove Toxins From the Body - Cilantro

6. Dandelion:


Dandelion, scientifically known as Taraxacum officinale, is valued in traditional medicine for its potent detoxifying properties. This herb supports the liver and kidneys, vital organs in the body's natural detoxification process.


Dandelion has hepatoprotective effects which can enhance liver function by increasing bile flow, which helps eliminate toxins from the body. Dandelion's diuretic properties facilitate the removal of toxins by increasing urine output, thus supporting renal function and the overall detox process.


A study from Poland found dandelions to be pure and free from heavy metals and other toxins, but they did contain a significant amount of biological contaminants. This emphasises the importance of thoroughly washing dandelions before consumption, especially those collected from busy areas, to reduce health risks.

7. Milk Thistle:


Milk thistle, known scientifically as Silybum marianum, is a herb traditionally used for its liver-protecting benefits.


  • Liver Protection: The active compound in milk thistle, silymarin, and its component silybin, are potent antioxidants which aid in detoxifying the liver. They help reduce liver enzyme levels and improve insulin resistance, which is beneficial for overall liver function and recovery.
  • Anti-inflammatory and Antioxidant Properties: Silymarin has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce liver inflammation and oxidative stress, further supporting liver detoxification and protection from environmental toxins.

Milk thistle potentially offers benefits for liver detoxification and protection, supported by its therapeutic compounds. However, the potential risk of mycotoxin contamination in supplements calls for vigilant quality checks and more rigorous research to fully establish its safety and efficacy in detoxification.

References and Further Reading:

1. Preclinical antitoxic properties of Spirulina (Arthrospira)


Summary: This review article explores the preclinical antitoxic properties of Spirulina (Arthrospira), focusing on its ability to counteract the toxic effects of various environmental pollutants, including arsenic, cadmium, carbon tetrachloride, deltamethrin, fluoride, hexachlorocyclohexane, iron, lead, lindane, and mercury. The study highlights Spirulina's significant antioxidant capacity, which is attributed to its high content of compounds such as C-phycocyanin, carotenoids, and phenolic acids. These antioxidants play a crucial role in reducing oxidative stress and enhancing detoxification processes. The review concludes that Spirulina has potential as a coadjuvant agent in clinical practice for treating poisoning from these contaminants.

Authors:  Elizdath Martínez-Galero, Ricardo Pérez-Pastén, Angélica Perez-Juarez, Luis Fabila-Castillo, Gabriela Gutiérrez-Salmeán, German Chamorro.


2. The Role of Spirulina (Arthrospira) in the Mitigation of Heavy-Metal Toxicity


Summary: This review evaluates Spirulina (Arthrospira) in mitigating heavy-metal toxicity, focusing on cadmium, mercury, lead, and arsenic. The review covers 58 preclinical studies showing Spirulina's alleviative effects on these toxicities and five clinical studies demonstrating its protective effect against arsenic toxicity in humans. The studies attribute these effects primarily to Spirulina's intrinsic antioxidant activity, suggesting it as a promising agent for heavy-metal toxicity mitigation, particularly where conventional chelating agents fall short.

Author:  Sanjib Bhattacharya


3. Multitude potential of wheatgrass juice (Green Blood):An overview


Summary: The study titled "Multitude potential of wheatgrass juice (Green Blood): An overview" highlights the significant therapeutic benefits of wheatgrass juice due to its high chlorophyll content and rich nutritional profile, which includes vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and enzymes. Key benefits include its antioxidant, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and detoxifying properties, as well as its ability to improve blood health and manage conditions like thalassemia and hemolytic anemia. The study concludes that wheatgrass juice shows promise as a natural therapeutic agent for various chronic diseases and overall health improvement.

Authors: Swati Padalia*,Sushma Drabu, Indira Raheja, Alka Gupta, Mamta Dhamija


4. A pilot study on wheat grass juice for its phytochemical, nutritional and therapeutic potential on chronic diseases


Summary: The pilot study on wheatgrass juice highlights its significant therapeutic potential due to its high content of chlorophyll, amino acids, minerals, vitamins, and enzymes, showing benefits in anti-cancer activity, anti-ulcer and anti-inflammatory effects, blood building capabilities, and strong antioxidant properties, making it effective in managing various chronic diseases.

Author: Mukul Chauhan


5.¬†Living Life the Natural Way ‚Äď Wheatgrass and Health


Summary: The study titled "" highlights wheatgrass's extensive health benefits, including its rich nutritional content, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, detoxification capabilities, anti-cancer potential, improvements in blood health and digestion, and cardiovascular support, making it a valuable natural supplement for overall well-being and management of chronic conditions.


6. Preventive and Therapeutic Role of Functional Ingredients of Barley Grass for Chronic Diseases in Human Beings


Barley Grass Benefits: The study highlights that barley grass is rich in functional ingredients such as GABA, flavonoids, saponarin, lutonarin, superoxide dismutase (SOD), various vitamins (A, B1, C, E), minerals (K, Ca, Fe, Mg), chlorophyll, and dietary fiber. These compounds collectively contribute to its therapeutic potential in preventing and treating chronic diseases, enhancing immunity, improving gastrointestinal function, regulating blood pressure, protecting the liver, and offering antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, hypolipidemic, and detoxifying effects.

Authors: Yawen Zeng, Xiaoying Pu, Jiazhen Yang, Juan Du, Xiaomeng Yang, Xia Li, Ling Li, Yan Zhou, and Tao Yang.


7. Barley phytochemicals and health promoting benefits: A comprehensive review 


Summary: comprehensive review" highlights the significant health benefits of barley grass, focusing on its rich composition of functional ingredients such as beta-glucans, phenolic acids, flavonoids, lignans, tocols, phytosterols, and folates. These compounds contribute to barley grass's detoxifying, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and cholesterol-lowering properties. Barley grass helps in the detoxification of toxins like mycotoxins, and heavy metals, and supports overall health through its wide-ranging therapeutic potential.

Authors: Rahul Raj, Rafeeya Shams, Vinay Kumar Pandey, Kshirod Kumar Dash, Poornima Singh, Omar Bashir.


8. Morphohistometric analysis of the effects of Coriandrum sativum on cortical and cerebellar neurotoxicity


Summary: The study investigates the effects of Coriandrum sativum (coriander) on lead-induced neurotoxicity in rats. It finds that coriander significantly reduces lead levels in blood and brain tissues, decreases oxidative stress markers (MDA), and increases antioxidant enzyme activities (SOD, CAT, and GPx). Morphohistometric analysis reveals that coriander improves the thickness and nuclei density of the cerebellar cortex and somatosensory cortex, suggesting its potential as a protective agent against lead-induced neurotoxicity due to its chelating and antioxidant properties.

Authors : Hesham N. Mustafa


9. Chelation: Harnessing and Enhancing Heavy Metal Detoxification‚ÄĒA Review


Summary: Cilantro (leaves of Coriandrum sativum) has gained attention for its potential to enhance mercury excretion following dental amalgam removal, although evidence is limited. In animal studies, cilantro has been shown to decrease lead absorption into bones and reduce the inhibition of the delta-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase (ALAD) enzyme associated with lead toxicity. However, a recent trial in children exposed to lead found that cilantro extract was as effective as a placebo in increasing renal excretion, with improvements attributed to an improved diet during the intervention.


10. Heavy metals detoxification: A review of herbal compounds for chelation therapy in heavy metals toxicity


Cilantro's Detoxification Benefits: The study reviews the detoxification properties of various medicinal herbs, highlighting that cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) can help improve mercury clearance in patients and prevent the localization of lead in bone tissue in animal models. However, cilantro shows weaker binding to heavy metals compared to garlic and milk thistle, suggesting it may be less effective than these herbs for detoxification.

Authors: Reza Mehrandish, Aliasghar Rahimian, Alireza Shahriary.


11. Overview of therapeutic potentials of taraxacum officinale (dandelion):

Summary: The study highlights dandelion's hepato-protective and diuretic properties, which enhance liver function and increase urine output, respectively, aiding in the effective detoxification of harmful substances from the body.

Authors: The study was conducted by C. Jalili, M. Taghadosi, M. Pazhouhi, F. Bahrehmand, S. S. Miraghaee, D. Pourmand, and I. Rashidi.


12. Dandelion (Taraxacum Genus): A Review of Chemical Constituents and Pharmacological Effects 


Dandelion Detoxification Properties : The study emphasizes dandelion's historical and contemporary uses as a detoxifying agent, particularly in traditional Chinese medicine. It is praised for its ability to clear heat, remove toxicity, and induce diuresis, which supports its role in detoxifying the body and treating various ailments.

Authors : Min Fan, Xiao Zhang, Huaping Song, and Yakong Zhang.


13. A comprehensive analysis of chemical and biological pollutants (natural and anthropogenic origin) of soil and dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) samples


Summary: The study analyzed chemical and biological pollutants in dandelion samples from Poland, confirming their chemical purity regarding heavy metals and other toxins, but identifying significant biological contamination with 95 pathogenic bacteria species and 14 pathogenic fungi, highlighting the need for careful washing before consumption (especially from heavily trafficked areas) to mitigate health risks.


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK541075/


14. Milk thistle 

Summmary: Scientifically known as Silybum marianum, is widely used for its hepatoprotective properties, particularly in treating liver conditions such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The active compound, silymarin, and particularly its component silybin, have shown potential in reducing insulin resistance, fasting insulin levels, and liver enzymes, which are beneficial for patients with liver disorders. Additionally, silymarin is being researched for its anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties, which contribute to its role in liver detoxification by protecting the liver from environmental toxins and aiding in the recovery of liver function.


15. The evidence report titled "Milk Thistle: Effects on Liver Disease and Cirrhosis and Clinical Adverse Effects"

Summary: Clinical studies of milk thistle (Silybum marianum), which has traditionally been used to treat various liver diseases and protect against liver poisons. The systematic review focuses on milk thistle's impact on liver diseases from different etiologies, including alcohol, viruses, and toxins, and assesses its clinical adverse effects. Despite some evidence suggesting potential benefits, especially in improving liver function tests, the clinical efficacy of milk thistle is not conclusively established due to varied study designs, dosing, and the quality of reporting. The report highlights the need for more rigorous research to better understand the effectiveness and safety of milk thistle in treating liver conditions.


Author: Pard Bharaj

I am a dedicated researcher with nearly a decade of experience in investigating health best practices. 

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