You should never start any kind of detox program too suddenly. Preparation is the key to getting the most out of any detoxification plan, as you need to get your body ready for the release of toxins it is about to experience. By following a gentle step by step approach, it's very simple and easy to get started.
If you've never tried natural detoxification before, and need a few tips about how to detox, here are some pointers to help get you started.
Any healthy detox diet you embark on will be much less effective if you smoke. If you are ready to quit the evil weed, there are dozens of organizations, books, tapes, herbal remedies and complementary therapies that can be of use. Oat straw, a concentrated source of B vitamins which is available from health food shops and alternative chemists, can help reduce cravings and quell the irritability that often accompany the first nicotine-free days.
If you regularly consume more than two units of alcohol a day (for women) or three (for men), or if you ever drink more than six units in one session, you are putting your health at serious risk. One in three heavy drinkers will die in middle age because of drinking, even though they and their friends might not consider themselves to be 'alcoholics'.
Cut out alcohol completely at least seven days before you plan to detox. Your liver will start to recover straight away, from the first alcohol-free day. If you have trouble cutting out alcohol, you may need help. Talk to your doctor or call Alcoholics Anonymous. A Chinese remedy called kudzu, which is available from alternative chemists or TCM centers, is useful for combating cravings when you give up alcohol.
An estimated 30,000 people in the UK alone are addicted to OTC medications, with painkillers at the top of the list and cough medicines second. There are many side effects of this kind of dependency. One study, for instance, found that the regular use of ibuprofen doubles your risk of suffering a heart attack and substantially increases your risk of stroke.
The long-term misuse of painkillers can lead to physical and psychological dependency, chronic constipation, headaches, nausea, liver dysfunction, all kinds of gastrointestinal disorders, depression, mood swings, chronic lethargy and restless limbs, to name but a few.
The warnings on packets state that patients taking these drugs for longer than three days should see their doctor so do heed this and get treatment for any underlying illnesses that are causing your symptoms. Talk to a herbalist, homeopath or naturopath if you would like to investigate a holistic path to a healthy detox, and to start feeling well enough so that you no longer need OTC drugs.