Cleansing our blood is a good way to naturally clear out toxins and maintain optimum health. Blood carries oxygen and nutrition to our cells and removes waste and pollutants. Our two primary detoxification organs are the liver and kidney.
The liver is one of the body’s largest organs and is vital in detoxifying the body. Functions of the liver include:
- filters our blood
- processes nutrients
- removes toxins, such as the byproducts from the breakdown of medications and alcohol
Contained within our liver are thousands of lobules. These small areas filter blood and produce and release bile to break down substances in the body. Some of the specific ways the liver breaks down toxins include:
- changing ammonia to urea
- processing and eliminating excess bilirubin, which is a waste product of the breakdown of red blood cells
- producing immune system cells to eliminate bacteria and potentially harmful toxins from our blood
While our liver may be the main blood filtration system, we have several other filtering organs including the kidneys.
Healthy kidneys clean our blood by removing excess fluid, un-absorbed minerals, and acid wastes. They also produce hormones that keep bones strong and blood healthy. Cleansing the blood with foods and herbs helps keep the liver and kidney working well and may prevent many discomforts including acne, aches, and allergies.
Cleansing Foods for Liver and Kidneys
In most cases there is no need to buy tons of detox supplements to help keep blood clean and free of toxins. The following foods in particular have been shown to positively affect the liver and kidney’s ability to cleanse and filter out waste and toxins from the blood. The top of the list is water:
- cruciferous vegetables
- blueberries, cranberries
- coffee, green or white tea
- grapefruit, lemon
- apple, apple cider vinegar
We add white and green teas because they are low in caffeine and offer many health benefits for body and mind. Apple cider vinegar, taken in small amounts of no more than 1 tablespoon a day in a glass of water helps to dissolve calcium oxalate kidney stones.
Observe the Urine
Healthy urine is a clear, light yellow color, not oily or foamy and has no strong odor. More serious health issues, in early stages, are usually invisible to the naked eye. Urine tests may show the presence of crystals from stones, blood or protein which indicate that the kidneys need attention or that blood sugar may be high associated with various health conditions that may include hypertension and pre-diabetes. Protein is normally found in the blood. If there is a problem with our kidneys, protein can leak into our urine. While a small amount is normal, a large amount of protein in urine may indicate kidney disease.
Protein in Urine
Our kidneys are in charge of filtering blood, removing waste through urine, producing hormones, balancing and absorbing minerals, and maintaining fluid balance.
There are many risk factors for kidney disease. The most common are uncontrolled diabetes and high blood pressure. Alcoholism, heart disease, hepatitis C virus, and HIV infection are also causes. When the kidneys become damaged and are unable to function properly, fluid can build up in the body and waste accumulates in the blood.
A Kidney-Friendly Diet
The healthiest any-time snack that keeps doctors away, apples are helpful for protecting kidneys too. The high pectin content in apples helps reduce the risk factors associated with kidney damage.
Berries are a great source of antioxidants and helpful nutrients. There are a number of berries that can be added to the diet to protect kidney health such as strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, etc.
To keep the kidney healthy, the more Vitamin C we eat the better. Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons contain this vital vitamin in abundance. According to the book Healing Foods by DK Publications, “Consuming dilute lemon juice daily has been shown to decrease thee rate of stone formation.”
Cabbage is naturally low in sodium, which makes it a great vegetable to have to prevent kidney disease. It also contains a number of helpful compounds and vitamins for overall well being. The best way to eat cabbage is to have it lightly cooked so that it retains its health benefits.
The amount of vitamins and minerals found in sweet potato are great for consumption at any time of the day. Their high fiber content further breaks down slowly, making it ideal to reduce weight too.
Dark leafy green vegetables are a must include in our diet towards better kidney health. Kale is readily available and can be added for its high vitamin and mineral content.
Diet and Chronic Kidney Disease
Avoiding or limiting certain foods may help decrease the accumulation of waste products in the blood, improve kidney function, and prevent further damage. In chronic kidney disease, the kidneys cannot adequately remove excess sodium, potassium, or phosphorus. As a result, there is a higher risk of elevated blood levels of these minerals. A renal diet, usually involves limiting sodium and potassium to 2,000 mg per day and limiting phosphorus to 800–1,000 mg per day.
Damaged kidneys may also have trouble filtering the waste products of protein metabolism. Therefore, people with chronic kidney disease in stages 1–4 may need to limit the amount of protein in their diets.
Foods to Avoid with Damaged Kidneys
- Dark-colored soda contains phosphorus
- Canned foods.
- Whole wheat bread.
- Brown rice.
- Oranges and orange juice
- Processed meats
- Pickles, olives, relish
- Apricots are high in potassium.
- Potatoes should be soaked and boiled
- Instant, pre-made meals
- Swiss Chard, Spinach, Beet greens
- Dates, raisins, and prunes are common dried fruits.
- Pretzels, chips, crackers
Manjistha: An Ayurvedic Blood and Lymph Cleanser
Manjistha (Rubia cordifolia, root) is a dried red colored root that is a liver, spleen, and kidney protector that is also recommended for skin beauty and rejuvenation. Manjistha offers detoxifying properties that abolishes toxins from the blood but also readily increases the excretion of the toxic or unwanted substances from the blood through the kidneys. It helps to treat different skin conditions like acne, boils, and even conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, hyper-uricemia or gout.
Health Benefits Of Manjistha:
The potent anti-bacterial and anti-diarrhea properties of Manjistha is extensively used for removing bacteria from the intestines that causes intestinal infections. When ingested in prescribed amounts, it can treat certain symptoms of parasites such as when BM is slimy, sticky, full of mucus and has a foul odor. This popular respected herb can treat dysentery
With powerful anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, and anti-asthmatic properties, manjistha is a well-known traditional remedy for all sorts of respiratory troubles. It is pivotal in treating the common cold, sore throat, cough and flu symptoms. It also actively thins and loosens rheum particles within the chest and nasal cavities and eases breathing and helps the body to get rid of mucus. It is also beneficial for treating asthma and other bronchial conditions.
With potent hepato-protective and hepato-stimulative properties, manjistha is a great remedy for most liver anomalies especially jaundice, in which the liver gets mostly effected. The herb not only provides support to the liver functioning by secreting bile but also helps the liver enzymes to tune down to normal levels. It also cleanses and detoxifies the liver and improves liver functioning.
The abundance of flavonoids and bioactive components in manjistha root helps the body shed excess weight faster. Enriched with fiber and essential nutrients, formulations containing manjistha when taken regularly, help satiate sudden hunger pangs and prevent overeating. The herb also reduces the accumulation of LDL (i.e. Low-Density Lipoproteins or bad cholesterol) in the body, thereby improving metabolism and facilitating the body in maintaining a proper weight.
Ulcers and Mouth Sores
The anti-inflammatory and anti-ulcer properties of the bright-red manjistha root holds high significance in treating different types of sores and ulcers like ulcerative colitis, peptic ulcer, canker sores or mouth ulcers, etc. The bioactive components in the herb helps in healing mouth and gastric ulcers. It also helps to speed up the healing process and improves wound contracting ability, tissue regeneration, and wound closure so as to facilitate faster healing.
Manjistha is a remedy for all sorts of hormonal problems. It plays a quintessential role in regulating periods, treating postnatal ailments, and even helps to treat excessive abdominal pain/bleeding. Additionally, it also encourages easy flow during the menstrual cycle. For women suffering PCOD symptoms, intake of manjistha formulations actively helps in purifying the blood and restores uterus health leading to regular, healthy periods. (PCOD (Polycystic Ovarian Disease) is a condition where the ovaries release a lot of immature or partially-mature eggs which eventually turn into cysts. Some of the common symptoms are abdominal weight gain, irregular periods, male pattern hair loss and infertility.)
Manjistha has excellent carminative and digestive properties. The anti-flatulent property reduces the formation of gas in the alimentary canal, thus reducing flatulence, bloating, constipation, and abdominal distension. The antacid property of the herb prevents the formation of excessive acids in the stomach thereby treating indigestion, ulcer, gastritis and promoting better absorption of nutrients in the body.
Urolithiasis aka Kidney Stones
The presence of ruberythric acid in manjistha is extremely beneficial in treating urolithiasis or kidney stones and other kidney disorders as well. This bio-active component reduces accumulation and deposition of calcium and magnesium which ultimately leads to stones in the kidneys and ureter. Additionally, being a potent antispasmodic agent, it also allows the already formed kidney stones to easily pass through the urinary system with less pain.
The powerful cardio-tonic properties of manjistha plays a quintessential role in treating a host of heart anomalies. By acting as a calcium channel blocker, it manages irregular cardiac rhythm. It prevents lipid peroxidation and accumulation in the blood vessels which in turn reduces the risk of atherosclerosis, heart blocks, heart attacks, blood clots, etc. It also reduces platelet aggregation, and thus facilitates smooth flowing of blood throughout the body. The potent vaso-dilatory action of the herb manages high blood pressure as well.
Although, it is not the ultimate remedy, several research studies highlight the use of manjistha powder as a beneficial component in managing benign as well as malignant cancers/tumors, especially ovarian and uterine cancers. The abundance of quinones and cyclic hexapeptides in manjistha actively helps in combating the cancer cells in the colon, breast, and liver; and even manage histiocytic lymphoma, myeloid leukemia, and other types of cancer.
Supports The Lymphatic System
The lymphatic system is chiefly responsible for transporting fluids throughout the body, providing nourishment to the various tissues and organs, and removing wastes and toxins from the body. Manjistha being a powerful blood-purifying herb enhances the functioning of the lymphatic system which ultimately leads to boosting the body’s immune functions and shielding the body against various infections.
Skin Health and Beauty
Manjistha has antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Ayurveda acknowledges manjistha as a well-known one-step remedy for various skin conditions. Owing to its blood purifying properties, it helps in treating skin infections as well. It not only helps in shielding the skin from oxidative radical damage due to the harmful UVA and UVB rays, but also reduces the risk of the various signs of aging like wrinkles, blemishes, spots, fine lines, and dark circles. It is also beneficial for treating allergic conditions like acne, psoriasis, scabies, eczema and many more. It is even useful in healing cracked heels.
Manjistha Face Mask
Make a paste of 1 tbsp aloe vera gel, 1 tsp manjistha powder, 1 tsp neem powder, pinch of turmeric and rose water. Apply this paste all over the face and neck for a radiant, blemish-free glowing complexion.
Manjistha: Nature’s Blood Cleanser
- · Removes natural toxins and excess heat from the blood
- · Supports healthy skin and a clear complexion
- · Supports proper function of the liver and kidneys
- · Excellent for reducing pitta and kapha
- · Maintains clear channels in the body, supporting the healthy flow of blood and urine
Effect On Ayurvedic Doshas
Manjistha (Rubia cordifolia) is the quintessential blood purifier in the Ayurvedic pharmacopoeia. It removes excess heat and natural toxins from the blood helping to support healthy skin and a clear complexion. It is one of the best pitta-pacifying herbs and is used to support the proper function of the liver and kidneys. Manjistha is also excellent for reducing excess kapha. It helps to maintain clear channels in the body supporting the healthy flow of blood and urine.
- · Rasa (taste): bitter, sweet, astringent
- · Virya (action): cooling
- · Vipaka (post-digestive effect): pungent
- · Doshas (constitutions): Balancing for all doshas VPK, may aggravate vata in excess
Owing to its pungent-bitter taste, we can consume it with honey to mask the slightly astringent taste. The precise therapeutic dosage of the manjistha may vary from person to person depending upon the age, severity, and condition of the patient. One must consult an Ayurvedic doctor or practitioner, as he or she will thoroughly examine the indications and prescribe the effective dosage for a specific period of time.
- Churna/ Powder – Take ¼ – ½ tsp of Manjistha Churna by mixing it in warm water and honey or in unsweetened apple sauce twice a day, after meals or as directed by the Ayurvedic doctor or practitioner.
- Gutika/ Tablet/ Capsule – Take 1-2 tab/ cap of manjistha with water twice a day after meals.
Manjistha Side Effects
An over-dose of manjistha can change the color of the urine and stool into orange or brown. One should also be careful while taking this herb if you are already taking some anti-coagulant medications as manjistha has anti-platelet action. Moreover, since there is no reliable information of the effects of manjistha during pregnancy or lactation period, hence it is suggested that pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers should avoid using this herb without medical supervision. Not recommended for children under 18 or persons taking prescription medication, especially blood thinners.
A healthy diet and lifestyle improve kidney and liver health. As we age, our body’s capacity for auto-regulation and detoxification declines. Manjistha is an incredible blood-purifying herb that has immense regenerative properties. Thanks to essential bio-active ingredients and therapeutic properties, it is extensively used for treating a variety of skin conditions, enhancing lymphatic functions, remedying flu and feverish conditions, relieving liver problems, managing cough, colds, sore throat, respiratory diseases, preventing viral infections, promoting digestion and many more.
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