The Top 8 Herbs To Support Cellular Health
The cells of our body are often referred to as the ‘’building blocks of life.’’ You have over 200 different types of cells that, when combined together, make up the different areas of your body including your muscles, bones, and organs. They are responsible for taking in and converting nutrients into energy and keeping your body functioning properly.
Your body contains close to 37.2 trillion cells – not including the bacteria in our microbiome – and produces 25 million new cells every second. Needless to say, the health of your cells is extremely important if you want to be healthy and thriving.
Therefore, it’s important to do all that we can do ensure the optimal health of our cells and protect them from damage. This damage can happen through the production of free radicals from oxidative stressed caused by lifestyle factors we come across on a daily basis. Everything from a poor diet, to toxin exposure, to chronic stress can contribute to oxidative stress.
And while you might not think toxin exposure is an issue for you, you’d be surprised at how many toxins are hiding in the food you eat and the products you use on a daily basis, including:
- Makeup, perfumes, and other cosmetics
- Household cleaners
- Candles and air fresheners
- Plastic containers
- Conventionally grown fruits and vegetables
You can certainly do your due diligence and choose toxin-free products and organic food whenever possible, but it is impossible to avoid toxins altogether. This is why it is necessary to also naturally support our body’s own detoxification process to help support cellular health. As a functional medicine practitioner, I’ve seen firsthand the power natural herbal medicines can have on targeting cell damage by supporting these detoxification pathways in your body. These 8 herbs have shown time and time again their ability to support detoxification and cellular health.
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1. Burdock root
This root has next-level detoxifying abilities, especially when it comes to heavy metals. It has natural diuretic properties so it can flush fluids and toxins from your body which is very stimulating for your lymphatic system. One study showed (1) its ability to also protect brain cells from oxidative stress by increasing free radical fighting enzymes.
2. Sheep sorrel
Another diuretic sheep sorrel can further help flush out toxins. It can also help lower inflammation and swelling throughout the body.
3. Slippery elm bark
Slippery elm has a natural laxative effect in addition to acting as a mild diuretic to really flush out toxins from the body. Because of this, slippery elm is commonly found in many natural liver detox products. Research also supports it ability to fight free radicals involved in inflammation (2).
4. Blessed thistle
Not to be confused with milk thistle (which is part of the same plant family and has its own detoxification abilities), blessed thistle is so powerful it used to be used as a treatment for the bubonic plague. Now, it is commonly used as a digestive aid due to its ability to stimulate gastric acid.
High in antioxidants, this cruciferous vegetable is part of the same family as broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Antioxidants are essential for cellular health since they fight free radicals produced from excess oxidation. This oxidative stress also depletes our body’s own antioxidant levels causing these free radicals to run rampant, making antioxidant intake essential. Watercress is also a sulfuric vegetable which supports methylation – your body’s biochemical superhighway that controls a variety of pathways including detoxification.
6. Red clover
This herb is made from the flower of the red clover plant. Personally, it is one of my favorites as it works to rid toxins from your lymphatic system, liver, and spleen.
7. Rhubarb root
Rhubarb root is another herb high in antioxidants and has a calming effect on the digestive system and conditions like diarrhea, constipation, heartburn, and stomach pain.
Kelp is a rich source of magnesium which is the fourth most abundant mineral in our bodies and is responsible for over 300 biochemical reactions including supporting detoxification pathways.
Instead of taking multiple different supplements, I love to find ways to more effectively incorporate these herbs into my daily life as well as make it easy for my patients. Flora has made this possible through their Flor-Essence tea that contains all 8 of these power herbs.
Designed as a full body cleanse, their 8-herb formula works to synergistically support multiple elimination pathways for a cleanse at the cellular level. Just add 2 oz. of tea with 2 oz. or more of hot water in the morning. So instead of another capsule supplement, I can enjoy these herbs as a tea – and if you know me, you know just how much I love tea. Plus, it is organic, gluten-free, kosher, non-gmo, and vegan so I can feel confident that what I am putting into my body will only elevate my cellular health not damage it further.
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- Tian, X., Guo, L., Hu, X. et al. Protective Effects of Arctium lappa L. Roots Against Hydrogen Peroxide-Induced Cell Injury and Potential Mechanisms in SH-SY5Y Cells. Cell Mol Neurobiol 35, 335–344 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10571-014-0129-7
- Langmead, L., Dawson, C., Hawkins, C., Banna, N., Loo, S. and Rampton, D.S. (2002), Antioxidant effects of herbal therapies used by patients with inflammatory bowel disease: an in vitro study. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 16: 197-205. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2036.2002.01157.x
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BY DR. WILL COLE
Dr. Will Cole, IFMCP, DNM, DC, leading functional medicine expert, consults people around the world via webcam and locally in Pittsburgh. He received his doctorate from Southern California University of Health Sciences and post doctorate education and training in functional medicine and clinical nutrition. He specializes in clinically researching underlying factors of chronic disease and customizing a functional medicine approach for thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders, and brain problems. Dr. Cole was named one of the top 50 functional medicine and integrative doctors in the nation and is the best selling author of Ketotarian and The Inflammation Spectrum.