Reviving Health through Gentle Detoxification

Often when one thinks about detoxification, images of a rigid three-day juice fast or grueling days of drinking nasty pre-packaged concoctions come to mind. Detoxification is the physiological removal of metabolic waste and exogenous toxins from the body. It is in fact a process, and not an event.

Detoxification is an ongoing function carried out by the numerous emunctories of our very complex body. Emunctories are organs of elimination; the word has its origin in the Latin emungere which means “to cleanse” and refers to tissues and organs that excrete toxins from the body. These organs include the liver and gallbladder (bile excretion), the kidneys (urination), the lungs (carbon dioxide), the colon (defecation), and the skin (perspiration).1 Our sovereign organ for detoxification is the liver.

The liver is the chief organ responsible for breaking down both endogenous and exogenous toxins every second of our lives. It works in concert with the kidneys and colon as well as the lungs and skin to ensure that toxins leave the body as quickly and efficiently as possible. The liver filters blood, removing chemicals, excess hormones, viruses and bacteria. Additionally the liver is called upon to metabolize drugs and chemicals and to break down alcohol. It also plays a key role in the digestion of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, and acts as a storehouse for vitamins, minerals and sugars.

In this article we will take a three-pronged approach to aiding gentle detoxification. The three principles we will focus on are nourishing the body, protecting the body and supporting the body. In each of these categories we will touch on simple steps in everyday life to enhance the body’s ongoing vital task of detoxification. These steps involve both the inclusion of those things that encourage ongoing detoxification and the removal of those obstacles to proper elimination and cleansing of the body. Before we step into the three principles, let’s look at the challenges we face in this modern world.

While civilization has brought many gifts to mankind, it has also increased our challenges in the area of disease due to toxicity. Industrialized countries continue to lead the world in attention deficit disorder, allergies, anxiety, autoimmunity, arthritis, bowel disorders, cancer, heart disease, and neurological illnesses. Heart disease and cancer now rank as the two leading causes of death in America. Heart disease claims about 787,000 deaths annually.2 The condition is primarily the result of calcification of the arteries, which leads to plaque buildup (the body’s attempt to patch arterial lesions). As Tom Cowan, MD, explains, “. . .we have an epidemic of congestive heart failure in the recent era of lowfat diets.” Dr. Cowan goes on to suggest that we return to a diet high in superior animal fats and that we walk regularly.3

It is understood that the root causes of 90 to 95 percent of all cancers are linked to diet, tobacco, stress, radiation and infection.4 These are all factors that can be altered by our daily choices through proper nourishment, avoidance of toxic exposures, and gentle supportive therapies.


There is no better way to ensure optimal detoxification than to nourish the body properly. In order for the liver to function at optimum levels, a diet rich in nutrient-dense, unadulterated, non-genetically modified real food must be consumed. This diet should be high in fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K2 from pastured animals, highlighted by mineral-rich full fat, raw dairy products, homemade bone broths replete in minerals and amino acids, and an abundance of organically grown vegetables, some fruits, and properly prepared soaked or fermented grains. The diet taught by the Weston A. Price Foundation is the ideal diet for optimal detoxification and revival of health.

Over the past fifteen years I have found the short-term therapeutic use of the Gut and Psychology Syndrome DietTM (GAPS DietTM) developed by Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD, to be the best diet for those desiring gentle detoxification of the gut, liver, and brain. The principles of the GAPS Diet are perfectly in line with those of the Weston A. Price Foundation. While the GAPS Diet eliminates the use of properly prepared grains, it allows most people to benefit from their inclusion upon completing the GAPS Diet. The GAPS Introduction Diet, with its emphasis on meat stock, offers a balanced, food-based approach to gently cleanse the body for those serious about using food as their medicine. Upon progressing to the GAPS Full Diet, bone broth is introduced and used to continue the gut-healing process.

All processed, refined, and denatured foods and beverages must be eliminated from the diet. This includes pasteurized lowfat dairy products, refined grains and flour products (not properly soaked or fermented), most vegetable oils, and commercial meats from animals raised in confinement and fed an unnatural diet. I suggest you use Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon Morell as your guide to transitioning your diet. Reading the first five chapters will give you a plethora of information to establish a diet that will be optimal for a lifetime of gentle detoxification.

Once the GAPS Diet has been completed, a lifetime commitment to the WAPF diet will ensure provision of the nutrients so essential for healthy liver function and overall optimal detoxification. Dr. Price spoke extensively of the disease-free elders of the primitive communities he studied where the diets were very high in animal fats and void of refined sugars and denatured oils. These wise people enjoyed life to the fullest without the suffering so prominent in the aging populations of industrialized countries.


Prudent avoidance of unnecessary pharmaceuticals, vaccines, toxic dental materials, chemicals, known or suspected toxic personal care products, household cleaning products, clothing, and furnishings is another key aspect of supporting your body’s ability to carry out its most important task of daily cleansing.

Synthetic hormones in the form of the birth control pill, patches and hormone replacement therapy, including testosterone, deplete the liver of vital nutrients while adding to its toxic load and upsetting the delicate balance of the body’s natural steroidal hormones. Other pharmaceutical drugs, including synthetic hormones, disrupt the vital gut flora leading to digestive insufficiency and a poorly guarded mucosal barrier of both the digestive and respiratory tracts.

Perhaps there is no more common source of toxicity than personal care products. These include make-up, skin care, sunscreen, and hair products. Keep in mind that whatever goes on the skin or scalp ends up in the bloodstream and passes into the liver for elimination. The Food and Drug Administration requires no testing of ingredients used in personal care products. Most ingredients used in skin care contain estrogen-like compounds and other hormone disruptors. Many of the chemicals allowed in personal care products are known carcinogens and mutagens.

Our world is inundated with literally thousands of environmental toxins that affect our food, water, air, personal care products, cleaning products, clothing, and furnishings. It is important that we learn to identify major sources of carcinogenic chemicals and eliminate or minimize our daily exposures. There are numerous organizations and sources such as the Weston A. Price Foundation’s “Shopping Guide for Finding the Healthiest Foods in Supermarkets, Health Food Stores and by Mail Order” (available through, the “Find Real Food: the WAPF Shopping Guide for the Highest Quality Foods Available” app, which can be found on iTunes App Store, and the Environmental Working Group ( for chemicals in skin care products. You may also go to my website, and receive “Our Favorite Non-Toxic Products List” at no charge.


In a study spearheaded by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) in collaboration with Commonweal, researchers at two major laboratories found an average of two hundred industrial chemicals and pollutants in umbilical cord blood from ten babies born in August and September of 2004 in U.S. hospitals. Tests revealed a total of two hundred eighty-seven chemicals in the group. The umbilical cord blood of these ten children, collected by Red Cross after the cord was cut, harbored pesticides, consumer product ingredients, and wastes from burning coal, gasoline and garbage.6 Clearly we have unavoidable exposures due to air pollution and products used throughout our communities. Let’s now take a look at practical ways we can support the body’s natural detoxification mechanism.


Movement is perhaps the most simple and easily available therapy for encouraging gentle detoxification. Movement need not be exhausting. In fact, if your exercise routine leaves you wiped out, you are working too hard and taxing your adrenal glands. Exercise should be exhilarating. Gentle stretching, brisk walks, deep breathing, jumping rope and rebounding are all forms of movement that stimulate the lymphatic system, which is part of the circulatory and immune systems. It is an open system, acting like a pump to move toxins to the liver for processing and elimination as well as distributing lymphocytes and other white blood cells for immune support. A stagnant lymphatic system is a sure way to slow down the body’s ability to properly and efficiently detoxify.


Another traditional remedy for supporting the lymphatic system is the castor oil pack. The first recorded use of castor oil packs (expressed from the castor bean, Oleum ricini) was among the ancient Egyptians, and was commonly used in Europe during the early Middle Ages as well. Due to its powerful healing properties, the early Romans called the plant the Palm of Christ.

The constituents of castor oil that are responsible for its therapeutic effect are ricinoleic acid, comprising 89.5 percent of the oil, and oleic acid, making up three percent. These substances have been studied for their antimicrobial properties and are very effective against several species of bacteria, yeasts, and molds.7 As a pack placed over the abdomen, usually with heat applied, the oil is absorbed into the gut-associated lymphatic tissue and circulates, providing a soothing, cleansing, antimicrobial, and nutritive treatment.


Dry skin brushing is a gentle therapy which stimulates the skin and, to a certain degree, the underlying lymphatic system. Aside from being one of your organs of detoxification, your skin has the second largest surface area in your body. It often appears to be the first to show degeneration or imbalances and the last to heal. It weighs almost twice as much as the brain and receives one third of the body’s circulation of the blood.9

The skin assists the body in eliminating toxic waste from the body by allowing it to pass through the pores via perspiration. Conversely the skin absorbs toxins from the outside world via these same pores. Eventually these toxic substances, such as chemicals from skin and hair care products (including sunscreen), work their way into the bloodstream or lymphatic system and must be neutralized by the liver and kidneys and then eliminated via the urinary tract or colon. When the liver and kidneys are overburdened, skin eruptions may ensue as toxins overwhelm the skin.

Chronic exposure to chemicals through toxic skin and hair care products, make-up, and work place chemicals, to name a few, will create a constant burden to your body’s emunctories and the entire detoxification process.

Here are instructions for dry brushing:

• Use a natural bristle brush or natural loofah sponge. The brush or sponge should be washed every couple of days using plain soap or Branch Basics and warm water.
• Using a circular motion, gently brush the entire surface of your body, excluding your face. Start with the soles of your feet, always moving towards the liver, and end with the palms of your hands. Pay special attention to your inner thighs, neck, and armpits. The head may be brushed but not the face.
• Brush for approximately sixty seconds, ideally before bed.


My favorite liver tonic is beet kvass, a traditional tonic that was very popular in Russian and Ukrainian cultures dating back to the Middle Ages. It was known to offer protection against infection and to help one deal with hangovers. Beet kvass is also a probiotic and a digestive aid. Containing many liver-supporting properties, it is a perfect addition to any detoxification program.

Beet kvass can be safely used prior to conception by women for cleansing and toning the liver. This may help minimize future morning sickness, which is so common in the first trimester of pregnancy, as the liver is working overtime to clear excess hormones. Beet kvass can be safely consumed throughout pregnancy. Beet kvass assists in cleansing the blood and is also an excellent support for kidney stones and gallstones. Many report that its regular consumption eventually eliminates liver spots that have formed on the skin.

Beet kvass provides valuable enzymes and lactic acid, which is a natural means of preserving food and making food less likely to harbor pathogenic bacteria. Lactic acid bacteria are the chief beneficial bacteria found in Bulgarian yogurt.

The following recipe for beet kvass is from Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon Morell, and makes two quarts.

3 medium beets, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup homemade whey (optional)
1 tablespoon Celtic sea salt
(double if no whey is available)
purified non-chlorinated water

Place beets, whey, and salt in a two-quart sterilized glass jar. Add purified water to fill the jar. Stir well and cover tightly. Place in pantry or cupboard at room temperature for two days or longer. Colder, drier climates will require longer for fermentation; in hot and humid climates the beet kvass will be ready in two days. Refrigerate after fermentation period and enjoy a glass each day!


Enemas are one of the most ancient medical treatments known to man. The oldest known medical text, the Egyptian Ebers Papyrus (1500 BCE), records the use of enemas. Enemas were in use throughout the ancient world in Samaria, Babylonia, India, Greece, Africa and China. Greek literature is filled with references to the therapeutic use of enemas.

American Indians, as well as pre-Columbian South Americans, crafted enema bags from animal bladders, latex and bones.10

The use of coffee enemas began in Germany during World War I. The following story is an excerpt from the Townsend Newsletter told by Dr. Jerry Walters:

During World War I, Germany was surrounded by the allies’ military forces, and many imported materials were short or missing for the German citizens. Among other things, morphine was running very low in supply. Also there was hardly any coffee available to drink. Moreover, painkillers, anesthetics, and other drugs were lacking too. When soldiers were sent back from the front lines, severely wounded, and in need of surgery, there usually was just a bit of anesthesia available—perhaps only enough to get them through the surgical operation.

Upon the anesthesia wearing off, obviously the pain set in for the wounded soldier. In many cases, after the doctors finished operating, they ordered plain water enemas for the patients. But the nurses were desperately looking for something more to help the soldiers deal with their pain. It happened that there was always coffee brewing, available only for the surgeons to drink. They often had to work around the clock, and needed to keep awake by caffeine in the beverage. Sometimes, a little of their black coffee was left over. Apparently, some nurse had the idea that, since the coffee was doing the surgeons good, perhaps it would also help the soldiers. So, the nurses poured a quantity of the leftover coffee into the soldier’s enema buckets. The soldiers receiving coffee enemas reported that such ablutions were doing them some good, and that their pain was much relieved.11

Upon hearing of the nurses’ observations, two researchers at the German University of Göttingen College of Medicine, O.A. Meyer, MD, and Martin Heubner, MD, decided to study the effects of caffeine administered rectally to rats. They published their findings in the German medical literature, explaining that the coffee enemas actually opened the bile ducts of the rats. This enhances liver function.

The purpose of the coffee enema is to support the liver in eliminating toxins and to cleanse the blood. In 1984 Dr. Peter Lechner from Graz, Austria stated, “Coffee enemas have a definite effect on the colon which can be observed with an endoscope.”12 “Dr. Lee Wattenberg and coworkers were able to provide [evidence] in 1981 that the palmitic acid found in coffee promotes the activity of glutathione S-transferase and other ligands by manifold times above the norm. It is this enzyme group which is responsible primarily for the conjugation of free electrophile radicals which the gall bladder will then release.”13,14

Coffee enemas appeared in the medical literature at least as early as 1917 and remained in the Merck Manual until 1972. German scientists discovered that coffee was able to open the bile ducts and increase the production of bile by the liver. Max Gerson, MD, began using coffee enemas with his patients suffering from tuberculosis and then later, with his cancer patients.

Dr. Gerson found that the physical root cause of cancer among his patients was toxicity and nutritional deficiency. He used raw fresh juices and raw liver to address nutritional deficiencies as well as assist in cleansing the kidneys. As toxins were forced out of the tissues, it became necessary to support the liver in its ability to eliminate toxins adequately. Dr. Gerson understood that the liver becomes overburdened by the continuous onslaught of toxins, as well as the release of toxic metabolites as the liver breaks down toxins, and that it was necessary to find proper support for detoxification. He found that detoxification could best be facilitated through the caffeine in coffee enemas, absorbed from the descending colon via the hemorrhoidal vein, which carries the caffeine to the portal vein and the liver. The caffeine stimulates the liver and biliary ducts to open for release of waste products and toxins into the intestinal tract for excretion.15

Later, Dr. William Kelley, learning from Dr. Gerson, implemented the use of coffee enemas first with himself during his two-year battle with pancreatic cancer starting in 1967, and then with his cancer patients until his death in 2005. Both doctors noted remarkable healing in those patients using coffee enemas.

Keep in mind that coffee enemas are given for the purpose of detoxification of the liver and blood, not for emptying the bowels. The substances found in coffee, kahweol and cafestol palmitate, promote the activity of a key enzyme system, glutathione S-transferase, above the norm. This system detoxifies a vast array of electrophiles from the bloodstream and, according to Gar Hildenbrand of the Gerson Institute, “must be regarded as an important mechanism for carcinogen detoxification.” This enzyme group is responsible for neutralizing free radicals. It is believed that kahweol and cafestol palmitate increase the liver’s production of glutathione by as much as seven times.

As previously mentioned, the coffee enema works by dilating the bile ducts. As hemorrhoidal veins and bile ducts are dilated, they neutralize and excrete toxins, toxic metals, excess hormones, gallstones, parasites and carcinogens from the liver and gallbladder. The coffee travels through the left hemorrhoidal vein to the portal vein, which delivers the coffee to the liver. As stated by the editors of Physiological Chemistry and Physics, “Caffeine enemas cause dilation of bile ducts, which facilitates excretion of toxic cancer breakdown products by the liver and dialysis of toxic products from blood across the colonic wall.”16

“In addition, theophylline and theobromine, two other chemicals in coffee, dilate blood vessels and counter inflammation of the gut; the palmitates enhance the enzyme system responsible for the removal of toxic free radicals from the serum; and the fluid of the enema then stimulates the visceral nervous system to promote peristalsis and the transit of diluted toxic bile from the duodenum and out the rectum.”17

The coffee enema is typically retained for fifteen minutes and then repeated again for fifteen more minutes. Each molecule of blood in the body passes through the liver every three minutes. During a coffee enema session all the blood cells of the body experience detoxification. 18 Coffee enemas have been used for over one hundred years as a generalized detoxification procedure and are perfectly safe when taken as directed. They stimulate the liver and gallbladder to release stored toxins, increase the liver’s production of the powerful antioxidant, glutathione, and enhance liver function. As an added bonus, many report noticeable improvement in skin, clearing of liver spots on the hands and face, and a brightening of the eyes. To receive complete instructions on how to administer a coffee enema at home, visit my website,


Lastly, but certainly at the top of my list of personal favorites, is the dry sauna. The use of the sauna therapy dates back to ancient Rome. Of the Roman saunas, Sidney Licht writes, “Although the baths were used largely for cleansing and pleasure, physicians did prescribe the various forms of available heat for hygiene and in illness.”19 The Finns understood the healing power of saunas as early as 1112. There is an old Finnish proverb that says “the sauna is Finland’s medication . . . and a poor person’s apothecary.” Native American Indians have also been using saunas, aka sweat lodges, for thousands of years.

When the body is in a state of chronic sympathetic dominance (stress), our detoxification processes slow down or in some cases come to a halt. When in sympathetic dominance, our organs receive a signal that we are in a state of flight or fight. This is no time to eliminate toxins. All hands are on deck for survival mode. Unfortunately, many of us living in modern, industrialized cultures live in a frenzied state of constant sympathetic dominance. Rather than enjoying long periods of rest dominated by the parasympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system, people today live in constant “fight or flight” mode.

One of the benefits of sauna therapy is that you are able to easily shift into parasympathetic dominance, unless of course you sit in the sauna with a cell phone engaged in an intense conversation or play loud music. In that case all bets of benefit are off. The autonomic nervous system stays in sympathetic dominance, limiting the ability of the body to detoxify.

While the skin holds the second largest surface area of all the body’s organs (with the small intestinal tract having the largest surface area), it is not the only organ that benefits from dry sauna therapy. All internal organs detoxify during a sauna while the body is in a rested, parasympathetic state. In actuality we eliminate more toxins while relaxing and sweating in a sauna than we do working out on a treadmill or (foolishly) running up a steep grade in the middle of a hot summer day. Sympathetic nervous activity, as in stress, inhibits toxin elimination, according to Larry Wilson, MD, who specializes in detoxification.20

Sweating in a rested state encourages the body to eliminate chemicals from body care products; toxic metals (copper,21 mercury,22 and other metals23) accumulated from exposure to certain medications, vaccines, dental materials, polluted air, and commercial fertilizers; residues from pharmaceutical drugs; DDT, PCBs, DDE, dioxin (found in Agent Orange), and other pesticides. 24 Additionally, heat therapy increases circulation drawing the blood toward the skin.25 As the body sweats toxins are eliminated. Drugs such as methadone,26 amphetamines,27 methamphetamines, and morphine28 have been measured in human sweat.

D.C. Roehm reported in 1983 the results of a Vietnam veteran who had been exposed to dioxin and DDE, a persistent metabolite of the pesticide DDT, and who underwent a managed detox program, which incorporated sauna therapy. After two hundred fifty days, the DDE was measured to be 97 percent reduced.29

The humanist scientist René Dubos stated twenty-five years ago that “The greatest danger of pollution may well be that we shall tolerate levels of it so low as to have no acute nuisance value, but sufficiently high to cause delayed pathological effects and despoil the quality of life.” Four million distinct chemical compounds have been identified since 1965. As many as seventy thousand of these compounds are in current commercial production, with more than three thousand chemicals added to food and seven hundred chemicals found in drinking water. A huge concern is the fact that a good percentage of these toxic chemicals are fat-soluble, ending up stored in the body’s fat tissues. More than four hundred chemicals have been identified in human tissue, with forty-eight in adipose tissue, at least forty in breast milk, seventy-three in the liver, and over two hundred fifty in blood plasma.

David Root, MD, MPH, and his colleagues have found that the most effective way to lower the body’s burden of lipophilic (fat-loving) chemicals is through exercise (movement), sauna therapy, and the use of niacin. They have seen that these combined factors mobilize fat-soluble chemicals and a notable portion of the toxic chemicals will be excreted via the sweat.30

An interesting study in Germany compared twenty-two kindergarteners, all of whom were taking a weekly sauna, with a control group of children who took no saunas. The study lasted eighteen weeks, and researchers carefully recorded incidences of ear infections, colds and upper respiratory conditions. As it turned out, the children who took no saunas experienced twice as many sick days as those kindergarteners taking a weekly sauna. The researchers concluded that regular sauna therapy improves resistance to infection.31

Saunas provide the benefit of assisting in the breakdown of toxins stored in the fat. According to Dr. Michael Schmidt, co-author of Beyond Antibiotics, “Sweating it out reduces chemical stress on the body and generally leads to improved health.”32 It is important to sweat at a temperature low enough that an inordinate amount of electrolytes are not lost. It is advisable to follow a sauna session with a glass of purified water and a pinch of Celtic sea salt or Quinton Original Isotonic or QuintEssential minerals. Always rinse in clean water immediately after a sauna to prevent the skin from reabsorbing what has been drawn out in the sweat. Remember, the sweat contains toxic residues from past exposures to a wide variety of toxins. I have had clients report to me after a couple of months of sauna therapy that they are smelling chemicals coming out through their pores and in their sweat. Everything from the smell of marijuana, which was reported to have not been used for twenty years, to nail polish and acrylic nail chemicals to metallic scents.

Sauna therapy should begin slowly. There is no need to rush. Allow your body to get used to the heat gradually. Start with twenty-minute saunas, gradually working up to thirty to forty minutes over several weeks. Stay hydrated by drinking electrolyte-rich water or bone broth after your sauna. Always shower off after the sauna. It is important that you are showering in filtered water so as not to absorb chloramine or chlorine after your pores have opened up from the sauna. You may call my office to discuss the water filters we carry or you can visit If you take a sauna in the evening, follow with a shower and then a quick dry brush session. Many people find that a sauna before bedtime assures them a nice, restful sleep.

When it comes to choosing a sauna, there are endless options in today’s market. I highly recommend the near-infrared lamp saunas. These saunas use incandescent red heat lamps for heating. Most far-infrared saunas use metallic, ceramic, or black carbon elements for heating that mainly emit in the far-infrared range. The electric heating elements are spread around the sauna space. Unfortunately, these far-infrared saunas give off stray electromagnetic fields that may be extremely harmful. Please avoid these types of far-infrared saunas for this reason. To learn more about near-infrared lamp saunas and how to make your own, go to Cedarbrook Saunas ( in Woodinville, Washington makes near-infrared lamp saunas in a cedar frame as well as a more economical tent sauna. The tent sauna is low profile and a wonderful option. Also SaunaSpace in Columbia, Missouri offers a nice range of options. Check them out at Another great source is Country Ray Saunas in Pennsylvania owned by Ben Lap, an Amish furniture maker. Ben can be reached at (814) 349-5212.

It is very important to understand that if you are challenged by low blood pressure or hypoadrenia/adrenal fatigue, you must be advised by a qualified health care practitioner, prior to beginning sauna therapy. The rewards of sauna and other detoxification therapies are abundant but wisdom should be used before implementing any detoxification therapies if you have any health concerns.

Now that you have a few options for gentle detox therapies that can be done in the comfort of your own home, start with nourishing yourself with a proper Weston A. Price diet and pick one simple therapy to begin incorporating into your lifestyle. Keep in mind that detoxification is a process, not an event. Small, consistent steps will keep you on the path to reviving your health and achieving optimal wellness.



Another important aspect of nourishing the body and removing obstacles to optimal detoxification is eliminating coffee from the diet. Before I lose you, consider the facts: coffee has been demonstrated to dehydrate the body as well as deplete the adrenal glands (and the epinephrine and norepinephrine neurotransmitters).5 A well-hydrated body is essential for proper kidney function. Additionally, coffee increases the heart rate and blood pressure.

To avoid uncomfortable side effects of stopping coffee cold turkey, wean off your coffee habit gradually over a four-week period. Reduce coffee intake by 25 percent every seven days. If, for instance, you are used to drinking eight ounces of coffee each morning, reduce this to six ounces each morning for the first week; 4.5 ounces the second week; 3.4 ounces the third week; 2.5 ounces the fourth week, and then you should easily be able to drop coffee altogether after the fourth week.

Increase water intake to 50 percent of your body weight converted in ounces of purified water, lacto-fermented beverage, or broth daily. A pinch of Celtic sea salt may be added to your water to increase its ability to hydrate your cells. Herbal teas to consider as coffee substitutes include rooibos, chicory root, dandelion, and herbal combinations such as Dandy Blend and Teccino.

The castor oil pack is specific for non-cancerous thyroid nodules, uterine fibroids and ovarian cysts. Other conditions that appear to benefit from castor oil packs include constipation, liver congestion and cirrhosis, cholestatis (sluggish bile flow), gallstones, migraines, intestinal disorders, urinary tract disorders, arthritis and joint inflammation, as well as global detoxification.

A word of caution: Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding or experiencing heavy menstrual bleeding should not use castor oil. Those persons with intestinal blockage, internal bleeding, acute inflammatory intestinal disease, appendicitis or abdominal pain should be under the guidance of a trained health care practitioner before implementing castor oil packs.

Materials needed:

• organic castor oil
• piece of cotton flannel, preferably organic
• hot water bottle, preferred, or heating pad
• hand towel
• small sheet of plastic
• pillows
• baking soda

1. Fold flannel into three layers to fit over entire abdomen. May also cover breasts/chest and thyroid gland.
2. Soak flannel with castor oil. Fold flannel in half and squeeze excess from pack. Unfold.
3. Lie on your back with feet elevated; a pillow under your knees may be used. Place oil-soaked flannel over abdomen, cover with a small sheet of plastic and then an old hand towel. Place a hot water bottle or heating pad on top.
4. Leave pack on for 45-60 minutes. Practice relaxation breathing by placing one hand on your diaphragm and the other on your lower abdomen. As you breathe in, allow your lower abdomen to swell like a balloon. With each breath out, relax your jaw and shoulders. Allow all muscles in your body to relax. You may even fall asleep and wear the pack all
5. To remove the oil, wash with a solution of 2 tablespoons of baking soda or 1/2 teaspoon Branch BasicsTM to one quart water.
6. Store flannel in a large zip-lock bag. Add more oil only as needed to keep the pack saturated. Replace the pack after it begins to change color.
7. For maximum effectiveness, apply the pack as often as possible—at least four consecutive days per week for at least 4-6 weeks. Daily use provides the most beneficial effects.

1. For a more detailed understanding see Radical Medicine by Louisa L. Williams, M.S., D.C., N.D. Rochester, Vermont: Healing Arts Press, 2011.
2. – Heart Disease Facts. American Heart Association – 2015 Heart Disease and Stroke Update, compiled by American Heart Association, Center for Disease Control, and the National Institute for Health.
3. Cowan, Thomas, M.D. The Fourfold Path to Healing. Washington, D.C. New Trends Publishing, Inc. 2004, pg. 146.
4. Anand, Preetha et al. “Abstract.” Pharmaceutical Research 25.9 (2008): 2097-116. National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 15 July 2008
5. Williams, Louisa L. Radical Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2011, pg. 176
6. “Body Burden: The Pollution in Newborns.” Environmental Working Group. 14 July 2005. Web.
7. Novak, Arthur, Gladys Clark, and Harold Dupuy. “Antimicrobial Activity of Some Ricinoleic and Oleic Acids Derivatives.” Journal of the American Oil Chemists Society. June 1961. Volume 38, Issue 6, pp. 321-324. Print.
8. Thom, Dickson. UNDA Numbers: An Energetic Journey to Homeostasis and Wellness. Scottsdale, AZ. JELD Publishing. 2013.
9. Ibid.
10. Moss, Ralph. “The Royal Flush.” Cancer Chronicles #6 and #7. August 1990.
11. Walker, Morton. “Liver Detoxifications with Coffee Enemas as Employed in the Gerson Therapy.” Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients. July 2001.
12. Lechner, Peter. Proceedings of the Oesterreicher Gesellschaft fur Chirurgie, June 21-23, 1984.
13. Hildenbrand, Gar. “The Coffee Enema: What Does it Do? How Does it Work?” Healing Newsletter, NL #13, May-June, 1986.
14. Wattenburg, Lee, Luke Lam, and Velta Sparnins. “Isolation and Identification of Kahweol Palmitate and Cafestol Palmitate as Active Constituents of Green Coffee Beans that Enhance Glutathione S-Transferase Activity in the Mouse.” Cancer Research. April 1982. 42; 1193.
15. Gerson, Max A. Cancer Therapy, Results of Fifty Cases. San Diego, CA. Gerson Institute, 2002, pages 190, 191, 194, 247, 409, and 418.
16. Gerson, M. 1979. Physiological Chemistry and Physics 10(5): 449-464, 1979. The Cure of Advanced Cancer by Diet Therapy: a Summary of 30 Years of Clinical Experimentation.
17. Moss, Ralph. “The Royal Flush.”
18. “A Coffee Enema? Now I’ve Heard Everything.” Gerson Healing Newsletter by Gerson Institute, NL #13 May-June 1986.
19. Licht, Sidney. “History of Therapeutic Heat.” Therapeutic Heat and Cold. New Haven, CT. Elizabeth Licht Publisher, 1972, pg. 203.
20. Wilson, M.D., Larry. Sauna Therapy for Detoxification and Healing. Prescott, AZ: L.D. Wilson Consultants, Inc. 2011.
21. Sunderman Jr., FW, D.C. Hohnadel, M.A. Evenson, B.B. Wannamaker, and D.S. DahI. “Excretion of copper in sweat of patients with Wilson’s disease during sauna bathing.” Annals of Clinical and Laboratory Science 4:407. 1974.
22. Stopford, W. Industrial exposure to mercury. In: The biogeochemistry of mercury in the environment, Amsterdam: Elsevier/North-Holland Biomedical Press, pp. 367-397. 1979.
23. Hohnadel D.C, F.W. Sunderman, M.W. Nechay, and M.D. McNeely. “Atomic absorption spectrometry of nickel, copper, zinc, and lead in sweat collected from healthy subjects during sauna bathing.” Clinical Chemistry 19:1288-1292. 1973.
24. Root, David, M.D. and Michael Wisner. “Chemical Exposure in the Workplace” California Medical-Legal Alert.
25. Seba, DB. “Thermal chamber depuration: A perspective on man in the sauna.” Clinical
Ecology, 7:1 -12. 1990.
26. Henderson, O.L. and B.K. Wilson. “Excretion of methadone and metabolites in human sweat.” Res Comm Chem Path & Pharmac 5:1-8. 1973.
27. Vree T.B., A. Muskens, and J.M. Van Possum. “Excretion of amphetamines in human sweat.” Arch. Int. Pharmacodyn. 199:311-317. 1972.
28. Ishlyama, I, T. Nagai, T. Nagal, E. Komuro, T. Momose, T., and N. Akimori. (1979) “The significance of drug analysis of sweat in respect to rapid screening for drug abuse.” Z Rechtsmed 82:251-256. 1979.
29. Root, M.D., David E. and Michael Wisner. “Chemical Exposure in the Workplace.” California Medical-Legal Alert.
30. Root, M.D, M.P.H., David. E., David B. Katzin, M.D., PH.D., and David W. Schnare, M.D., M.S.P.H. “Diagnosis and Treatment of Patients Presenting Subclinical Signs and Symptoms of Exposure to Chemicals which Bioaccumulate in Human Tissue.” Presented at the National Conference on Hazardous Waste and Environmental Emergencies, Cincinnati, OH, 1985.
31. Schmidt, Michael A., Keith W. Schnert, and Lendon H. Smith. Beyond Antibiotics. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books. 2009.
32. Ibid.

This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Spring 2015

Kim Schuette, CN, a Certified GAPS Practitioner, has been in private practice in the field of nutrition for over twelve years. In 2002 Kim established Biodynamic Wellness, located in Solana Beach, California, which now staffs four additional nutritionists whom she has mentored. Kim offers private consultations specializing in nutritional and biotherapeutic drainage therapy to address gut/bowel and digestive disorders, male and female hormonal imbalances, ADD/ADHD challenges and a myriad of other health concerns. Visit her websites and

2 Responses to Reviving Health through Gentle Detoxification

  1. Laurel says:

    I’m confused because this article describes perspiration as one of the body’s ways of eliminating toxins, while the other article about detox myths said that toxins are not eliminated in the sweat. Which is true? If I had to guess, I would say that some toxins are probably eliminated through the sweat, but the skin is clearly not among the main organs of detoxification. My experience has been that as I have cleaned up my diet and made it more nourishing and supportive of natural detox processes, the smell of my perspiration has dramatically improved, to the point where I can get by with a bit of coconut oil as deodorant.

    BTW, I’m so glad that the comment function has been enabled again!

  2. Brett Bauer says:

    The article mentions the use of niacin and saunas to detoxify. This detoxification method has been around and professionally used for 49 years. There is a Facebook group that teaches this protocol. Search for Sauna Detox with Niacin.

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