Ron Helwig wrote:Humans (and other animals) have been using their kidneys and livers to detox for millenia. No herbs needed.
I'd bet that most of the benefit from "detoxing" comes from fasting or calorie restriction. Of course, those selling the herbs also benefit.
We've been using our immune systems to combat cancer and infectious disease as well, doesn't always work. And especially with the changing land scape of the modern era. For that reason I really dislike this line of reasoning. I will give it to you that the concept of detox is vague and probably abused by the lay. That doesn't mean there aren't potential mechanisms that herbs may play a role whether by directly inhibiting hepatic inflammation, altering the endogenous microflora, preventing enterohepatic recirculation via restoration of normal gastric and barrier function, direct conjugation of toxins in the gut, lipid remodeling, etc. I'm not claiming to know the direct impact of specific herbs on this process, only that their interactions with physiology are pretty complex and astounding and all the above are conceivable at the very least. It's important to remember that the human evolved inseparable from phytochemistry. Some tribes were known to consume up to 93 species of plant year round. On some level, herbs are actually a physiological requirement for functioning correctly and the process of herbalism in many ways is identifying what a person is deficient in. Of course that's generalization and some herbs have much stronger drug-like actions. And again this is not in support of fad herbalism and detox plans. Nothing bothers me more than watching a necessary practice like herbalism be condemned to the realms of pseudoscience and snake oil salesmen