This info on herbs that you can use for detoxification came from a website on Gulf War Syndrome. It was interesting reading - hope this is useful to some people! Ali -------------------------------------------- Dandelion root (Taraxacum officinalis), an excellent blood purifier, assists in many ways to boost the detoxification process. While dandelion root enhances the performance of the liver, dandelion leaves have a diuretic action, pulling toxins and excess water from the body. Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), though from a different herbal family than dandelion (licorice from Leguminosae and dandelion from Compositae), is also regarded as an alterative. Licorice protects the blood supply by defending the liver, the detoxification plant of the body. In fact, so strong is licorice's contribution toward detoxification that Mowrey (1986) reminded us that the Chinese have dubbed it the "The Great Detoxifier." Licorice is best used as part of a complex containing various other herbs and is usually well tolerated in this application. Licorice contains estrogenic properties and could elevate blood pressure or heighten adrenal expression, if administered in large amounts. Pau D'Arco (Tabebuia heptaphylla) is an effective blood purifier, extracting toxins that lead to blood toxicity. Pau D'Arco also protects the liver, while the liver is aggressively involved in neutralizing poisons. Yellow dock (Rumex crispus) primarily affects liver function, enhancing the detoxification mechanism, increasing straining of contaminants and purification of the bloodstream. Ritchason (1995) reports that yellow dock is regarded as a favorite alterative among many individuals, sometimes using it against arsenic poisoning. Yellow dock attains tonic status by increasing energy and vitality throughout the body, with particular emphasis upon the muscular, nervous, and digestive systems. Eclectics commonly used yellow dock when they perceived blood-borne toxins instigated the appearance of skin diseases, e.g., a rash. Sarsaparilla root (Smilax officinalis) attacks and neutralizes microbial substances in the blood stream through its antibiotic activity. By acting as a diuretic and diaphoretic (promotes perspiration), sarsaparilla encourages excretion of toxins and waste materials and acts as an antidote for various poisons. Heavy metallic contaminants in the blood can be extracted from the system with the judicious use of sarsaparilla. Sarsaparilla exerts strong power over fibers and tissues of the nervous system which may be particularly beneficial to the Gulf War veteran. Stillingia root (Stillingia sylvatica) has the nature of an alterative and is beneficial in disease states that affect the skin, i.e., psoriasis and eczema. Stillingia, though extremely beneficial in blood purification, is best used in small amounts, complexed with other herbs such as prickly ash (Zanthoxylum americanum). Prickly ash bark is a diaphoretic, assisting in the discharge of toxins. Burdock root (Arctium lappa), according to Santillo (1984), is a traditional blood purifier, or alterative, with diuretic and diaphoretic activity. Burdock is considered an appropriate herb for eliminating long-term impurities from the blood stream. It can neutralize most poisons, relieving kidney and lymphatic systems. Hepatic functions are influenced by burdock, barberry (Berberis vulgaris), and Oregon grape root (Berberis aquifolium), preparing the liver for more efficient detoxification. Cascara Sagrada bark (Ramnus purshiana) is regarded as a reliable laxative herb, contributing to the elimination of toxic debris from the colon. It usually accomplishes this task without the miseries associated with laxatives. Buckthorn bark (Rhamnus frangula) is also considered a laxative, having an energetic, evacuative effect, stimulating bile production from the liver. Buckthorn is regarded as a bitter herb, capable of expelling impurities. Ritchason (1995) regards echinacea (Echinacea augustifolia) as one of the premier alteratives, echinacea having been called the "King of Blood Purifiers." It appears to stimulate the elimination of waste products, by stabilizing the relative percentage of neutrophils to other leukocytes in the blood. Historically, echinacea has been used to purify the blood after noxious exposures, i.e., venomous wounds and blood poisoning, by improving lymphatic filtration and drainage. Echinacea often benefits a toxic headache, with vertigo and a confused mental state, when the condition is predisposed by toxemia. Kelp and algin appear important adjuncts to any cleansing program since they bind radioactive barium, cadmium and zinc in the gastrointestinal tract, hindering absorption. Kelp appears to reduce the risk of environmental poisoning by acting as a nondigestible fiber, increasing fecal bulk, while enhancing the immune response. A factor found in kelp, sodium alginate, binds with radioactive strontium-90 in the intestines and carries it out of the body. (Findings reported at the Gastrointestinal Research Laboratories of McGill University in Montreal.) NOTE: Some herbalists regard Norwegian kelp freer of impurities, and, by various standards, the preferred form to use. McCaleb et al. (2000) report that red clover (Trifolium pratense) has a long history of usage as a blood-cleansing herb that thins the blood, aids digestion, and stimulates detoxification, through the liver and gall bladder. It has merit when used as a single herb, or if complexed with other purifying herbs. The user should be aware, however, that red clover possesses estrogenic activity and since it thins the blood, it may be inappropriate for some supplemental regimes. Cayenne (Capsicum annum) is added as a catalyst to many herbal complexes to enhance the effectiveness and delivery of other herbs. It, also has a diaphoretic action, encouraging the expulsion of toxins through perspiration. Because large stores of toxins are liberated during herbal detoxification, it is advisable to advance slowly to this dose. Begin with one capsule two or three times per day, gradually increasing the amount until the suggested dosage is reached. It is essential to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day, particularly while detoxifying.