Essential detoxification ingredients
Date: 2015-04-15
Author: - Editor
Access: Public

We all want to look and feel our best, but sometimes this simple goal seems unattainable in today’s busy world. Work, family and social commitments often mean our health is relegated to the back seat. It’s only when we find ourselves run-down that we realise it’s time for a change.

A detoxification or nutritional body cleanse could be just what the naturopath ordered. Cleansing can help improve digestive function (and therefore nutrient absorption), immunity, concentration levels, skin condition, energy levels and hormone function, just to name a few of the benefits. 

For a full cleansing program, see a healthcare practitioner. You can easily find a practitioner in your local area via our Find-A-Practitioner service.

The following ingredients should feature in your cleansing program, as recommended by healthcare professionals, for their superior cleansing and energising properties.

Amino acids

The chief detoxification amino acids are cysteine, glycine, glutamine, methionine and taurine. These are the key amino acids needed for liver detoxification, and their inclusion ensures that harmful toxins are dealt with promptly and efficiently.

Milk thistle

The primary role of milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is to protect the liver from damage by toxins and is involved in the detoxification processes of the liver. It contains antioxidants and is a hepatoprotective herb, meaning it helps to protect the liver from damage that may occur through toxin exposure.


A favourite among healthcare practitioners for its cleansing action, dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) assists with fluid retention and helps to improve digestion, particularly of fatty foods by increasing bile flow, and acts as a liver and gallbladder tonic.5,6

Globe artichoke

A favourite in the Mediterranean kitchen, globe artichoke (Cynara scolymus) has also been used medicinally for hundreds of years. It can improve liver function and help with symptoms such as constipation, flatulence, belching, bloating and stomach discomfort.7,8 Globe artichoke contains antioxidants and is another liver-protective herb.

Broccoli sprouts

They may be small in size but broccoli sprouts pack a punch when it comes to their nutritional value. These nutrient-packed sprouts are high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.9 Broccoli sprouts also contain a high amount of special compounds that help fight disease and improve general wellbeing. These phytochemicals in broccoli sprouts, in particular sulforaphane, can help the liver in its role as chief detox organ, and can protect against damage to the body’s cells.10

Green tea

Green tea (Camellia sinensis) has powerful antioxidant properties that contribute to its hepatoprotective activity.

Cracked chlorella

Chlorella (Chlorella pyrenoidosa) is a nutritious microalgae with a rich green hue and an abundance of vitamins, minerals and high quality protein. The green colour of chlorella is due to the pigment chlorophyll. This phytonutrient has the ability to bind to toxins, reducing their uptake by the body.11 It’s important to choose a cleansing formula that contains cracked chlorella, where the indigestible cell wall of the chlorella has been cracked open, allowing the nutrients of chlorella to be quickly absorbed by the body.


One of nature’s original superfoods, spirulina (Arthrospira platensis) is a nutritional algae that has been consumed by humans for hundreds of years.12 Its high protein level, coupled with its abundance of vitamins and minerals, makes spirulina a vital ingredient to maintain an all-round nutritional profile during cleansing.


Most of us know that fibre is good for us and we should be having at least 3g a day. It is required for healthy bowel function and assists in increasing elimination of toxins from the body. However, some of us may not know that fibre also feeds and encourages the growth of good gut bacteria. Inulin is a soluble fibre found in many fruits, vegetables and herbs. It has a prebiotic effect, meaning it is not digested or absorbed, and it promotes the growth of specific types of bacteria in the large intestine, preferentially bifidobacteria.


Our intestines contain over 400 species of organisms that are required for healthy gut function and help maintain intestinal integrity important for the elimination of toxins from the bowel.


Antioxidants, such as selenium, vitamin C and grape seed, are involved in the detoxification process and important for neutralising damaging free radicals.

Self care tips

If you embark on a cleansing program and experience side effects such as nausea, bloating, abdominal cramps, diarrhoea or headaches, consult with your practitioner about the most appropriate steps to take.

Most individuals can safely undertake a cleanse, although there are a few instances when it is not recommended. These include:

  • pregnancy
  • breastfeeding
  • recovering from surgery or chronic illness
  • taking certain medications.

Your practitioner can advise you on alternatives in these instances.