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The annual spring ‘cleanse’ Health-cleanse.jpg

The annual spring ‘cleanse’

Choose an approach you can live with

By Jonathan Evans
Herbal Information Specialist for the Herbarium

Now that spring is here, we can start looking at getting outside, doing some exercising, walking and enjoying ourselves.

Internal ‘spring cleaning’

It is also a time people will traditionally look at a detox or cleansing, sort of spring cleaning for the body. After being cooped up in the house for so long, and not really paying

attention to our eating habits (the ice cream, cookies, nachos and other binge/cabin fever foods) that has probably taken its toll on the waist line and our general health, this is the time to reset our systems and really feel better.

Some folks will go whole hog with big detox plans they found on the internet, complete with the cleansing products the sites offer (of course) at outrageous prices. Others will use the “Master Cleanse” that carries almost religious fervor with it.

Many of these programs are extreme and very stressful on the body.

The mini-cleanse

One approach people have used is a one-week mini cleanse. For three days you would eat nothing but fruit in any form – raw, cooked, fruit salad, etc. – drinking only water and diluted fruit juices during that time. Then for the next four days you eat vegetables, again, in any form – cooked, raw soups, stews, whatever – and drink water and diluted vegetable juices. If you get a little shaky during this time you can eat some brown rice, nuts or seeds to help with blood sugar.

This one week can help reset your digestive system, alkalize your system and remove waste and toxins.

And other alternatives...

Now, if this doesn’t sound like something you can commit to, no worries. Renew Life offers a three-day program for a total body reset for under 10 dollars.

There are other formulas that also offer benefits without breaking the bank.

These formulas contain ingredients such as milk thistle (Silybum marianum), burdock (Arctium lappa) dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), red clover (Trifolium pratense), Red root (Ceanothus americanus), and/or cascara sagrada to name but a few. The herbs aid in cleansing the blood, liver, kidneys, lymph system and gastrointestinal tract.

Reader’s ask – fibromyalgia and Plantar fasciitis

Dear Jonathan,

I have been dealing with fibromyalgia for many years. Some days are manageable while others are terrible. Are there any natural products that can help?

— Martha

Dear Martha,

There are several herbs and supplements that can offer relief.

The top two are magnesium and malic acid. These can really help very quickly and effectively.

Other supplements would include Jamaican Dogwood (Piscidia erythrina) which helps with nerve pain and inflammation. Jamaican dogwood is also very helpful for shingles pain. California poppy (Eschscholzia californica) contains sedative alkaloids similar to the Opium poppy, but is safe and non addictive. It acts as a sedative, antispasmodic, and analgesic. Coenzyme Q10 helps with ATP production in the cells, and boosts oxygen levels in the cells. Alpha lipoic acid is a powerful antioxidant, Devil’s claw (Harpagophytum procumbens)  and Boswellia (Boswellia serrata) are great anti inflammatories. St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) in plant and homeopathic forms help to soothe the nerve fibers.

I hope this gives you a start.

— Jonathan 

Dear Jonathan,

I have Plantar fasciitis and have great pain when walking and especially when I get up in the morning. I have inserts in my shoes but am looking for more help. Do you suggest anything to reduce the pain?

— Annette


Dear Annette, 

I know how you feel as I had the same condition and got rid of it in less than a week, no kidding!

I hope you have spoken to a podiatrist just to make sure it isn’t fallen arches or some other structural problem.

There is a product that we have carried for many years, whichcontains turmeric (Curcuma longa), boswellia (Boswellia serrata) and  Devil’s claw (Harpagophytum procumbens), three excellent anti-inflammatories. It also contains MSM  methylsulfonylmethane which is a sulphur compound, anti inflammatory and is excellent for the ligaments and tendons. Taking this formula and doing the stretching exercises can get the tendon loosened up and stops the pain.

— Jonathan

Send questions on botanical remedies to: Natures Rx: Jonathan Evans at, or by regular mail to: The Herbarium, 264 Exchange St., Chicopee, MA 01013. If requesting additional info, include a self-addressed stamped envelope.