Iron is essential for a healthy immune system, oxygenation of the red blood cells and proper blood clotting, according to Dr. James F. Balch and Phyllis A. Blach, authors of "Prescription for Nutritional Healing." However, excessive iron, or iron toxicity, can cause major health problems, such as diabetes, cirrhosis of the liver and heart disorders. There are a variety of herbal remedies that may be used to cleanse excess iron from the body, but you should consult with a health care professional before using an herbal remedy to treat iron toxicity.
You may eat apples to cleanse excess iron from your body. According to Dr. Dian Dincin Buchman, author of "Herbal Medicine," apple pectin may be used to detoxify your body and remove iron and toxic heavy metals. Apple pectin may also be used to ease constipation and diarrhea, aid in regulating blood sugar levels for diabetics, reduce cholesterol and prevent colon cancer.
Do not use apple pectin to treat iron toxicity without first consulting with a health care professional. Apple pectin is generally considered safe. Reduce consumption of apple pectin if you experience constipation or diarrhea.
Milk thistle supports liver function and may be used to eliminate excess iron from your body, according to Dr. Lawrence Wilson, author of drlwilson.com. Milk thistle contains silymarin, a powerful antioxidant and liver-protecting substance. Milk thistle may promote the production of new liver cells and regenerate the liver after exposure to toxic amounts of iron. According to the Balchs, milk thistle may also be used to strengthen the immune system. Milk thistle is available in both liquid and capsule form and can be purchased at most health food stores.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, side effects may include diarrhea and upset stomach. Some drug interactions have also been reported. Consult with your doctor before using milk thistle for iron toxicity.
Dandelion supports the liver and may be effective removing excess iron from your body, Dr. Wilson says. According to Michael Castleman, author of "The Healing Herbs," dandelion as been used as a medicinal herb, to treat a variety of ailments, for more than 1,000 years. Dandelion is a diuretic that may ease water retention, cleanse your liver and remove toxins from your body. It may also reduce high blood pressure, aid in digestion and prevent cancer. Dandelion tea can be purchased at most health food stores.
Possible side effects may include diarrhea, upset stomach and skin rash. If these symptoms occur, reduce or discontinue use. Do not use dandelion if you are pregnant or nursing. Consult with your doctor before using dandelion as a treatment for iron toxicity.
- "Prescription fo Nutritional Healing"; James F. Balch, M.D. and Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C.; 1997
- "Herbal Medicine"; Dian Dincin Buchman, Ph.D.; 1996
- Dr. L. Wilson: Chronic Aquired Iron Overload--A Disease of Civilization
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Milk Thistle
- "The Healing Herbs"; Michael Castleman; 1991