Blood cleansing may sound like an outmoded 19th-century idea, but many contemporary herbalists still use alterative -- or blood-purifying -- herbs to treat skin outbreaks and other forms of internal toxicity. According to master herbalist Michael Tierra, herbs like burdock and dandelion have been used for centuries throughout the world to treat serious inflammatory diseases like cancer and arthritis. According to practitioners, blood-cleansing herbs help remove toxins through the lymph system, liver and kidneys and generally support overall detoxification and health.
Burdock for Blood Purification
Burdock root -- also called Arctium lappa -- is a food and herbal remedy that has been used for centuries throughout Europe and Asia to cleanse the blood. Burdock is considered the premier skin herb; it cleanses toxins from the system through the liver and lymphatic systems, practitioners claim. Naturopathic doctor Sharol Tilgner recommends using burdock root for chronic skin eruptions like psoriasis and eczema, as well as conditions like gout, arthritis and sciatica. It has also been widely used to treat cancer by Tierra and many other natural practitioners, mostly due to its anti-inflammatory and detoxifying actions. Burdock is included in the well-known herbal anti-cancer "Essiac formula."
Cleansing Red Clover
Red clover blossoms are also found in the Essiac formula and are considered a gentle and safe herbal remedy to cleanse the blood and lymph. Tilgner uses red clover for lymphatic congestion resulting in hard lymph nodes -- particularly in the neck -- and for skin eruptions. While red clover has been used by healers around the world to treat diseases like cancer -- and has shown anti-cancer effects in the test tube -- scientific research has yet to verify its effectiveness in humans, according to the New York University's Langone Medical Center.
Flushing the System With Dandelion
Dandelion root is another widely used herbal remedy that supports detoxification through the liver and kidneys and thus helps to cleanse the blood. Tierra uses dandelion root in combination with burdock as an adjunct treatment for cancer, as well as for liver congestion and skin eruptions. According to Tierra, researchers have discovered that dandelion root is effective in treating certain drug-resistant forms of blood cancer, although more research is needed to understand its full anti-cancer properties. Tilgner suggests using dandelion root for conditions like gout, arthritis, edema and skin diseases due to its diuretic and blood-cleansing properties. She states that the liver detoxifying properties of dandelion are more noticeable with long-term use of the herb.
Echinacea to Boost Lymphatic Function
Mainly considered an immune stimulant, echinacea is actually one of the most powerful herbs for supporting lymphatic function -- a crucial and undervalued aspect of immune health and detoxification. According to practitioners, echinacea cleanses the blood through stimulating healthy lymph flow, which removes toxins from the extra-cellular spaces, particularly after an infection or inflammatory response. Tilgner suggests using echinacea in conditions that include swollen lymph nodes, low-grade fever and skin eruptions for its ability to support blood purification and flush the lymphatic system.
- East West School of Planetary Herbology: Dandelion, Burdock, and Cancer
- Herbal Medicine From the Heart of the Earth; Sharol Tilgner, N.D.
- NYU Langone Medical Center: Red Clover