Time to detox!
After all the indulgences of the holiday season one needs to gently detoxify one’s system, using herbs that help the liver, kidneys and skin to flush away the toxins, and then to build up a general level of health. Ordinary herbs from your veggie garden can do this because they are rich in easily absorbed natural mineral salts and vitamins. Blueberries, which are high in antioxidants, can also be included in the detox plan.
● Hyssop, lemon balm, yarrow, fennel and celery can be used to strengthen the functioning of the liver and cleanse the blood.
● Yarrow and parsley support the kidneys and urinary system, and chillies (which cause you to break a sweat) and peppermint act as diaphoretics, which promote perspiration.
● Mint also aids the digestive system, as does sage, which helps to break down fatty foods.
● Herbs like parsley, chamomile, hyssop, lemon balm, yarrow, thyme and pennywort also have tonic properties that revitalise the body’s organs.
● Thyme and pennywort have a reputation as ‘longevity herbs’, and it is believed that pennywort especially improves one’s memory.
Using detox herbs
Incorporate these herbs into your detox diet, or use them in a daily healthy eating plan by adding them in fruit drinks, smoothies and salads, and by drinking herbal teas made with the fresh leaves. Parsley, fennel, pennywort, celery and mint can all be used as regular ingredients in a green salad.
A healing and cleansing tea can be made from any of the detox herbs, or a combination of them. Use two teaspoons of fresh herbs per cup of boiling water. Allow to steep for 10-15 minutes before drinking. You can sweeten your healthy herbal tea with honey.
This is a delicious, fresh-tasting and cleansing salad that is also great for slimmers.
- 2-3 Granny Smith apples
- 40 g seedless grapes
- 150 g celery
- 40 g walnuts
- 3 tablespoons low-fat yoghurt
- Lettuce of your choice
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
- A little salt and pepper
Core and dice the apples, thinly slice the celery, half the grapes and chop the nuts.
Mix the yoghurt with lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
Toss the apple and celery in the yoghurt dressing then spoon it onto a bed of lettuce.
Sprinkle the walnuts and grapes on top and garnish with a layer of parsley.
Pennywort (Centella asiatica) is regarded as one of the finest of all the herb tonics, and is incredibly nutritious. It is particularly rich in the mineral magnesium and it is also rich in chlorophyll and vitamins A, B, C, G and K. The leaves can be added to salads or made into tea.
Pennywort is a low-growing perennial that has rounded leaves. Like mint, it can be invasive and so it is a good idea to grow it in a pot or in a hanging basket, where it can cascade downwards. It needs moist, fertile soil and should never be allowed to dry out. It grows in sun but will thrive in shade.
Blueberries, so good for you
Blueberries are known as a super food and are very high in antioxidants, making them one of the healthiest fresh fruits to eat. You can use them in salads or mixed into yoghurt and breakfast cereal, added to fruit juices or as toppings for various desserts. Blueberry plants prefer cold winters, and need full sun and acidic soil (pH 4-5). Use lots of acidic compost when planting them. Mulching afterwards with pine needles is beneficial to keep their shallow root systems cool and moist. The plants should never be allowed to dry out completely. Fruit is produced on the side shoots during December and January. After harvesting, or during winter when the plants go dormant, prune the whole bush back by about one third.