Tired, sluggish and stressed out? It might be time for a detox and a de-stress.
Editor Jane Garton tells us how to recover your glow from the inside and out with the help of these herbal heroes.
Giving yourself an inner cleanse can really help your body to refresh, rejuvenate and renew for the months ahead. It’s also a great idea to address the stresses in your daily life at the same time: too much stress can drain energy levels, leading to exhaustion and further anxiety and this can become a vicious circle.
So what are the best herbs to help you to detox and de-stress?
DETOX WITH MILK THISTLE, ARTICHOKE AND TURMERIC
We all tend to overdo it during the festive season, eating richer foods and drinking more alcohol that we perhaps normally do. This can quickly lead to an inefficient digestive system, but a daily dose of Milk thistle can really help.
Milk thistle contains something called silymarin, which appears to help protect the liver from toxins as well as boost the re-growth of liver cells, replacing those damaged by disease or toxins such as alcohol. It also helps stimulate the gall bladder, which in turn aids digestion of fatty foods.
Another herb which will support your detox journey is artichoke. Its leaves contain compounds including cynarin, which helps support the liver. Cynarin can also help stimulate bile production in the gall bladder, which in turn supports a healthier digestive system. This means that artichoke helps relieves the symptoms of nausea, bloating and indigestion caused by insufficient bile production. Maintaining a healthy digestive system is the key to a successful detox. As artichoke also helps the body eliminate fat-soluble substances stored in the liver, this herb really is a great addition to any detox plan.
Finally, if your digestion is playing up, turmeric may provide the answer. With records dating back to 600 BC, turmeric has a vast array of uses alongside being an important ingredient in Asian cooking. The healing secret is a component called curcumin, found in the turmeric root Turmeric can soothe the stomach and balance an upset digestive system. Just add a small spoonful of turmeric into a cup of yogurt at lunchtime, add to your Asian stir-fries, or simply look for a turmeric supplement at your local health food store.
DE-STRESS WITH PASSION FLOWER, VALERIAN, GINSENG & RHODIOLA
Start the year as you mean to go on. Work out exactly how much stress you can cope with both at home and at work and try to keep it within these levels. However, this may be easier said than done so support is at hand from these two herbal relaxants – Valerian and passionflower.
These restful herbs aid relaxation and also help combat insomnia and symptoms of anxiety. Passionflower and valerian are also good for helping to reduce the physical effects of stress, such as tense muscles and digestive problems. At times of fast-onset high anxiety, for example if you experience panic attacks, valerian and hops can be very beneficial.
GINSENG AND RHODIOLA
Members of the ginseng family can help improve your resistance to stress. These herbs have an invigorating and enlivening effect, stimulating the nervous system, which in turn improves concentration and reasoning skills. They also help to boost your resistance to infection – another bonus especially when you are working so hard to destress.
Finally, if you are stressed, tired and generally feel pretty wiped out, rhodiola is the herb for you. It appears to have anti-fatigue and anti-stress properties – all of which are important factors in decreasing your stress levels and increasing your ability to cope with the day to day. Traditionally used throughout Eastern Europe and Asia for stimulating the nervous system, decreasing depression, eliminating fatigue and even preventing high altitude sickness, several studies have also shown it can help improve mental and physical performance under stress.