Choosing Your Best Cleanse

article-new_ehow_images_a05_e7_vb_medicinal-roasted-dandelion-root-tea-800x800When I am away from work on holiday, I begin to dust the cobwebs out of the corners of my life – I organize my desk, clean behind the fridge, and perform minor feats of home maintenance I normally don’t have time for.

Cleansing is like a holiday; it gives the body a break, a time when it can do more than just keep up with the toxic burden – a time of rejuvenation. Detoxing is about allowing your body to heal and repair. It starts with the digestive tract, but benefits all the cells of the body by providing a chance to throw off toxins, mucus, excess water and other sludge.

I’m assuming that since you are here, you are thinking about your health and are ready to make some changes, if only for the length of your cleanse. Let’s focus on how to choose a cleanse that will best serve your needs and provide a comfortable detox with optimal benefits to you.

Considerations when choosing a cleanse:

Why are you Cleansing? Often people have a particular goal or expectation for their cleanse: lower cholesterol or triglycerides, lose weight, improve an existing health condition, alkalize the body, or change eating habits for the better. Other goals for cleansing involve the healing of a current mild/chronic health situation (ie. low immunity, lack of vitality/energy, high yeast or parasite levels). Having a goal can help you choose the type of cleanse that is best for you.

Generally, a cleanse stimulates the systems of elimination (colon, lungs, kidneys, liver) to increase their output, moving toxins out of the body. This stimulation improves the ability of blood and lymph to carry nutrients and wastes to and from cells, resulting in a cleansing of the body’s tissues.

Removing toxins from the body can be as simple as adopting a healthy diet, or as strident as a month-long juice fast. There are literally hundreds of cleanses on the market to choose from, and thousands of variations based on personal preferences.

Many pre-packaged cleanses in stores focus on a specific organ or goal: kidneys, liver, lungs, weight-loss, or quit smoking, to name a few. Before embarking on these specific types of cleanses, it is best to prepare the elimination channels of your body with a general purpose detox. Attempting to cleanse while your channels of elimination are blocked up is like neglecting to open the window before you throw out the night-waste. Toxic material needs an escape route from your body, and plenty of water or fiber can help to carry it out. If your channels of elimination are blocked, your immune system will have to deal with the extra toxic load by storing it again; you don’t want that extra junk from your kidney cleanse ending up in your gallbladder!

dandelion loves to help you cleanse!

Another benefit of preparing the body with a general purpose cleanse is increase the efficiency of your cleanse, or to cut your cleansing time down, sometimes by as much as half! This is why we often recommend a 12-day detox or similar cleanse before a candida program, to prepare the body and improve the effectiveness of all that hard work and will-power we exercise during a cleanse!

Is this an appropriate Time to Cleanse? Don’t start a cleanse during an infection, injury or other acute health problem. When you are sick, your body needs all its energy to heal. In fact, sometimes being sick is a mini-detox in itself, when the body chooses to throw off toxins – Yay, free cleanse! Let the process happen naturally and don’t push it. Put off your program until you are infection-free or all healed-up.

Maybe you want to cleanse to improve a pre-existing chronic health condition? Hey, awesome! Chronic conditions often respond best to gentle, slow cleanses because they allow the most time for healing without overtaxing your resources. A healthy diet full of plant foods that is low in sugar and processed foods is the best cleanse for those with chronic health conditions. You have probably already read up on your condition; it is important to have enough information so you can recognize your limits and have a safe, comfortable cleanse.

A time to avoid detoxing is during pregnancy, and most cleanses are not appropriate for breast-feeding mothers either, because toxins can be excreted in breast-milk. A healthy, plant-heavy diet is always an acceptable program during pregnancy or lactation, to benefit mother and baby.

One last time-based reason to put off a cleanse is an imminent holiday or event where you will be expected to partake in feasting and merry-making. Weddings and cultural holidays usually involve a high level of temptation in terms of tasty foods. This is why January is a good month to cleanse, since it is after the Winter Holiday Season.

How Deeply do you want to Cleanse?  Have you cleansed before?  If this is your first cleanse, I recommend going easy. There is nothing like an overly-powerful, stomach twisting, bowel-cramping first cleanse to make a person swear off detoxing for life! Always go for a gentle cleanse your first time.

Again, the very gentlest method of cleansing is to improve your diet and increase the amount of water you consume. An effective detox for those with health issues, or those who like a long-term, gentle cleanse, is Roasted Dandelion Root Coffee, 2-4 cups daily, for 1 month or more. Combined with a healthy diet, dandelion root coffee is a superb daily detox and improves the cleansing ability of your liver and kidneys, opening those channels of elimination while providing a mineral boost.

If you’ve done a detox before and are ready for something more strident, consider that longer-gentler is always better than short-intense. Use your intuition, listen to your body, and seek additional guidance from your natural practitioner or herbalist.

I look forward to hearing about your personal choices and progress; no matter what you choose, don’t forget to tell us about it in the comments or on our Facebook page!

Small Healthy New Year

For those of us who are starting a Candida Program, I have a specially-dedicated Candida themed blog coming up next week. Healthy New Year to You!




Anti-Fungal Teas Fast-Track Candida-Cleanse Success

My Favourite Anti-Candida Herbal Teas.

Anti-Fungal Teas Can Fast-track Your Candida Program

Many of the traditional herbal teas we consume for flavor or other benefits provide anti-candida effects. Two of my favorite anti-fungal teas are Pau d’Arco  and Lemongrass. While there are many effective maintenance teas that are good for in between cleanses, these two herbs are especially powerful anti-fungal agents, best used as part of a targeted cleansing program. In fact,  consuming them regularly during your cleanse can cut the length of your program in half!

The most efficient and pleasant way to consume Pau d’Arco bark (Tabebuia avellanedae & spp.) and Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus & spp.)is as a strong decoction (a water extract made by boiling the herb). A standard infusion will not extract the necessary phytochemicals, and is a waste of good herb. Instructions are given below for a simple, concentrated tea that can be stored in your refrigerator for up to 3 weeks – although it’s likely you will be drinking it faster than that!

Pau d’Arco has a very weak bitter/bland taste, easily overpowered by other flavors, making it an excellent base for any other beverage you enjoy. It is a powerful anti-microbial effective against a myriad of fungi, bacteria, viruses and parasites.

Lemongrass tastes, to my tongue, just like the Lipton Lemon Iced Tea mix my Mom made for the family when I was a kid, but much less sweet. It lends its flavor to this tea, masking the pau d’arco and providing a refreshing lemony tang. Lemongrass has anti-fungal, anti-parasitic and anti-bacterial properties. It is commonly used in Thai cooking and has GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) rating from the FDA in the United States.

Please note: While both of these herbs in appropriate doses are very safe, I would not recommend them (or cleansing in general for that matter) to pregnant women.

Instructions for the ‘Anti-Candida potion‘ appear below. Consume 1/2 cup – 1 cup of this simple tea throughout the day for the first 3 months of your Candida cleanse. This recipe makes 2 liters, which stores easily in a juice jug in the refrigerator; 2 liters provides 8-16 daily doses, so you only have to make it 2 or 3 times per month.

You can add 1/2 – 1 cup daily to other liquids such as soup, coffee, or tea. Can be consumed straight as an iced tea or reheated. I usually just put mine in my water bottle and enjoy it as a weak tea all day.

Easy Anti-Candida Potion

1/2 cup loose pau d’arco dry bark, shredded

1/2 cup lemongrass stalk (fresh or dry), shredded

2 liters & 1/2 cup water

large pot for boiling (glass or ceramic is best but stainless steel will do)

Put herbs in the pot and pour water over them. Cover and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Allow to cool; strain and store, covered, in the refrigerator.

While this tea is clearing the terrain in your colon, be sure to repopulate with healthy bacteria (sometimes called ‘probiotics’). These little guys are essential to your digestion and immune system; they are found in traditionally fermented foods such as real sour kraut, kefir, true yogurt, and kim chi. More on fermented foods and the friendly bacteria later!


Western Materia Medica Course Manual by Terry WIllard Cl.H., PhD, Wild Rose College, 2011.

Scientific basis for the therapeutic use of Cymbopogon citratus, stapf (Lemon grass) Gagan Shah, Richa Shri,1 Vivek Panchal,2 Narender Sharma,3 Bharpur Singh, and A. S. Mann, J Adv Pharm Technol Res. 2011 Jan-Mar; 2(1): 3–8.

Happy Holidays & Candida-Free New Year!

Luck, Love and Blessings to you! I am starting a Cleansing Program in 2013, and invite you to take part. It is a fabulous way to begin our new year by clearing out some of the accumulated toxins from 2012. Please follow along on our facebook page or on the ‘Candida-Free New Year‘ page of this blog.

The cleanse I have chosen will be a full-length Candida program, designed to eliminate excess and problematic yeast from the body. You can choose your favorite cleanse at the desired length of time and intensity, and follow along. Because the Candida cleanse is a 4-6 month program, the start-date is flexible and each person can choose to begin and end their
personal cleansing journey on days best suited to them during this half-year time-frame.The official start of the Candida program will be sometime between January 5th and 10th. Because this program is one of the most thorough cleanses available, all our posted recipes and tips will most likely be acceptable no matter what cleanse you decide to do. Just pick a start date and follow along for cleanse-legal treats, detoxing tips and tricks, and morale-boosting support from other group members.Our first blog post in Candida-Free New Year will provide handy information on how to choose a cleanse just for you! I look forward to interacting with everybody and sharing our healing experiences – enjoy your holiday and see you in the Candida-Free New Year!

Welcome to Kodiak Herbal Medicine

We are in construction but expect to be up by January 2013. Thanks for stopping by – please bookmark us for access to herbal and health information, appointments, professional blog and the on-line apothecary, all coming in the New Year!

Solstice Blessings!