Read on to discover useful herbs and a green smoothie recipe to help you reboost after all the indulgences of Christmas and New Year festivities.
I am purposely not using the word 'detox' here as it is a fairly taboo and misused term; the only detoxing your body ever needs to do is all done by that very handy organ - your liver! But of course as most people do overindulge at Christmas-time your digestive system has likely been overworked, so there are some gentle and safe ways to restore your body using herbs and nutrition.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita) is very useful in relieving bloating, nausea and other digestive complaints, the menthol presence also acts to relieve headaches and is particularly useful by diluting the essential oil and massaging the temples or diffusing in an oil burner.
Milkthistle (Carduus marianus) is infamous for its liver-protecting properties, regular intake of milkthistle in trials has been shown to help treat chronic cirrhosis and liver diseases recover, making it the ultimate herb to ward against hangovers if you're planning on drinking a lot or help you recover faster the next day!
Turmeric (Curcuma longa), I feel like I mention this plant a lot but it is just such a good all round tonic! It is full of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties as well as increasing phase 1 and 2 of the liver so encourages detoxification and clearance of the liver more effectively.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a particularly useful herb this time of year as it is immune-boosting and warming, and also anti-emetic so is effective in relieving nausea and vomiting, it also soothes and relieves pain in the digestive tract and in joints too.
Nettle leaves (Urtica dioca) are full of nutrients, such as iron, silica, vitamins A, B and C, as well as being a natural anti-inflammatory making it a good alternative for aspirin.
Dandelion leaves & roots (Taraxacum officinale), both parts are very useful medicinally, the leaves are full of iron and potassium and are good for fluid retention, whilst the roots are an effective liver tonic that stimulates bile flow.
I would recommend sipping on any of these teas throughout the day, as most herbal teas can be found at supermarkets to help along your digestive system or help ease hangover symptoms and as way to cut down on caffeine intake. Additionally, these can be taken in tincture form or in dried form as a powedered capsule and can be safely dispensed and advised from your local herbalist which can be found here.
Homemade Soups & Smoothies
Soups are a quick and easy way to use up all your inevitable leftover vegetables whilst being a very easy and healthy meal, without being too much toll on your digestive system. Of course you can throw any veg you like in there, and it will be full of nutrients and vitamins as well as being quite filling and satisfying despite not being like one of the calorie-laden meals we've been getting used to over Christmas!
A great idea for breakfast the morning after you've partied a bit too hard is to make up a smoothie, this recipe will help to settle the stomach, rehydrate and get energy levels back up.
This recipe makes enough for 1 person (approx 150 ml), double/triple accordingly if there's a few groggy heads needing sorting out!
Use 2 kiwi fruits (peeled and sliced), 1/4 cucumber (around 3 inches), 5-6 leaves of fresh mint, 1/2 inch peeled, grated fresh ginger (or 1/2 tsp ground ginger), wedge of squeezed lime/lemon juice, 1 tsp raw honey, 1/4 tsp ground turmeric and blend together with a glug of cold water in a smoothie maker/food processor.
This smoothie contains lots of natural fructose, vitamin C, minerals such as potassium and antioxidants. It tastes very fresh and zingy, definitely wakes you up and should clear your head and settle your stomach!
My name is Helen Davison and I'm a NIMH registered practising Medical Herbalist based in Ramsbottom, Lancashire. I've had a keen interest in herbal remedies since my early teens and would experiment creating my own balms and bath bombs using natural ingredients, which prompted me in discovering and pursuing a career in Western Herbal Medicine.