After a long holiday season of too much wine-ing, dining, and couch potato-ing, your body could use a serious reboot. Get a jump start on your resolutions, with these 11 supplements designed to cleanse, heal, and protect your liver, kidneys, and colon.
1. Milk Thistle
Is a flowering plant related to the daisy and ragweed family. It’s high in silymarin, an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound that protects and heals the liver. Studies show that it can treat alcohol-related liver disease, hepatitis, and liver damage from toxins, and may have anticancer effects. Look for it in capsules, tinctures, or teas, or as a component of cleanse formulas.
Our pick: plnt Milk Thistle capsules
Meaning “three fruits,” is an Ayurvedic formula that contains a blend of amla, bibhitaki, and haritaki, medicinal fruits native to India. It’s traditionally used to treat digestive disorders, including constipation, and remove toxins from the intestines. It also has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Studies show that it can effectively treat constipation, reduce intestinal inflammation, and repair intestinal damage. Look for it in capsules and tinctures, or in blends designed for digestive health.
Our pick: Himalaya Herbal Healthcare Triphala
3. Chanca Piedra
A small, shrub-like herb from the Amazonian rainforest, is traditionally used to protect the kidneys, liver, and gallbladder. Studies show chanca piedra has anti-inflammatory and diuretic effects, reduces the risk of kidney stones and possibly gallstones, may help treat hepatitis, and counters toxins in the liver. Look for it in capsules or tinctures designed for kidney, gallbladder, or liver health, or in loose tea form.
Our pick: Sunfood Superfoods Wild-Crafted Chanca Piedra Tea
The indigestible component of plants and seeds, promotes normal bowel movements and the elimination of toxins from the body. Additionally, fiber ensures a healthy balance of gut bacteria—an important component of colon health. Studies show that fiber increases the frequency of bowel movements, reduces inflammation in the gut, and may protect against colon cancer. You’ll find it as psyllium, oat, acacia, or other forms, in chewable tablets, capsules, powders, and colon cleanse formulas. With any fiber supplement, start slowly and drink plenty of water.
Our pick: Garden of Life Raw Fiber
5. Uva Ursi
A small evergreen shrub that’s also called bearberry, contains arbutin, a diuretic compound that promotes urine flow and maintains a healthy microbial balance in the urinary tract. Uva ursi also contains allantoin, a compound found in aloe vera, that soothes and protects tissues. It’s been shown to reduce urinary tract infections, relieve inflammation, and protect the lining of the urinary tract. Look for capsules or tinctures standardized for arbutin, and limit use to two to four weeks.
Our pick: Nature’s Answer Uva Ursi Leaf
Leaves and roots are traditionally used to detox the liver and kidneys and purify the blood. They contain a variety of compounds that have a diuretic effect, promote urine flow, increase bile production, and help flush toxins and excess fat from the liver. Other studies show that they help protect the liver against damage from toxins. Look for dandelion in tinctures or capsules, or in blends designed for liver and kidney health.
Our pick: Solaray Organically Grown Dandelion
7. Burdock Root
A carrot-like root common in Asian cuisine, has traditionally been used in Chinese medicine to cleanse the blood, promote digestive health, and detoxify the liver and kidneys. Studies show it has anti-inflammatory and diuretic effects, helps remove toxins from the urinary tract, and protects the liver against damage from toxins. You’ll find it in teas, tinctures, and capsules, and in whole-root form that can be used in cooking.
Our pick: Nature’s Way Burdock Root
8. Licorice Root
Another herb traditionally used in Chinese medicine, stimulates the production of digestive fluids and bile, reduces inflammation in the intestines, supports the kidneys and helps regulate fat metabolism in the liver. Studies also show that it protects the intestinal tract and inhibits bacteria, especially those associated with the development of ulcers. Look for it in tinctures and capsules, and in blends designed for kidney, liver and gallbladder health.
Our pick: Natural Factors DGL Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice Root Extract
9. Juniper Berries
From juniper shrubs or trees, have diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties, and are traditionally used to treat bladder infections and flush waste and toxins from the kidneys. Studies show they may also help prevent bacterial and yeast infections. Look for them in tinctures or capsules; because one study suggested concentrated juniper essential oil may be a kidney irritant, avoid juniper if you have a serious kidney disease.
Juniper berry is considered a digestive aid. It functions as a diuretic and can relieve bloating, upset stomach, heartburn and other GI upsets.
Beneficial intestinal bacteria, help detox the colon, prevent the overgrowth of pathogens, protect the intestinal mucosal barrier, and support immune function. Studies show that probiotics increase stool frequency and reduce transit time, helping speed removal of toxins from the body. Other studies suggest probiotics also enhance the removal of heavy metals, including lead and mercury, as well as minimizing the absorption of BPA and other toxins and promoting their removal from the body. Look for formulas that contain a variety of different species and strains, or choose one that’s enhanced with prebiotics—fibers that nourish the body’s innate bacteria.
Our pick: Trace Minerals RESEARCH Probiotic 55 Billion
Is a powerful antioxidant that helps remove toxins from the body. Studies show that it can treat fatty liver disease and may benefit chronic kidney disease. Because it’s quickly broken down in the digestive tract, the form is important: acetyl-glutathione or liposomal glutathione are best.
Our pick: Allergy Research Acetyl Glutathione 100 mg tablets