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Detoxification Explained

The symptoms of a skin complaint manifest externally and yet the causes of those symptoms are most often internal and may be the result of imbalance between a number of organs or systems.

The term detoxification is much overused and misunderstood, yet it can be an appropriate strategy when working with skin complaints. The liver is often a key as it is the main detoxification organ in the body and supporting it to do its job properly can help to eliminate skin problems.  Often over-simplified, detoxification is a complex three stage process.

The Three Stages

Phase 1 comprises a complex series of enzyme systems in the liver, the P450 series being the most well known. These enzyme systems are responsible for the breakdown of many substances, including toxic metabolites and drugs.

Phase 2 involves the binding of these breakdown products, rendering them less toxic, and suitable for transport and removal.

Phase 3 works at the cellular level through a substance called P Glycoprotein. This is in effect a pump that removes unwanted substances from a cell.

From this simplified description, it is easy to see that there needs to be a flow of activity between these three phases.

It is no good stimulating the enzyme systems to break down more chemicals if phase 2 is not working well enough to bind them as this may simply lead to a further build up of toxic metabolites. And yet, if phase 1 is not working optimally, then unwanted substances may continue to have detrimental effect upon the body, often shown as a reaction in the skin.

A medical herbalist will evaluate each of the phases and has knowledge of herbs which affect each phase, either increasing or decreasing each activity. They may then stimulate bile production and flow, as this is often the route the body uses to finally remove waste products, and assist bowel function in their final removal, thus creating a complete circuit of waste removal.


Too complex for any single over-the-counter product

This is true detoxification and too complex for any single over the counter product to achieve, simply because of the number of variables within each individual. If one were to compare the body to the environment, and assume that one cares for the environment as a whole, a good analogy would be to say that there is no point in putting your rubbish out in front of your door if the rubbish is not due to be collected for a week. You simply end up with smelly trash at your front door. The truck needs to pick up the rubbish, pack it and transport it away.

Not the only approach

Detoxification via the liver is only one potential approach to working with skin problems, as this is not the cause for all skin conditions. For example, allergic eczema will require a totally different approach as this is caused by an immune system reaction.  Hormone imbalances may lead to oily skin and spots. In each case a medical herbalist will assess each case thoroughly in order to create a bespoke herbal prescription.

Find your local Medical Herbalist