Top 24 Herbs to Use in a Detox Program

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Due to the nature of a Herbal DETOX Program, it has been very difficult to perform clinical trials.

In the meantime, we have compiled scientific evidence and clinical trials to support the basis of such a program.

The best protocol includes fasting, a vegetarian diet, eating organic foodand the herbal medicines like the 24 outlined below, the same herbs that we use in our Herbal DETOX program.  

The Top 24 Detox Herbs in Brief

Discover the amazing power of these traditional medicinal herbs and discover the evidence.

Here is a list of the Top 24 Detox Herbs. You can skip to any herb in this list by clicking the herb name: Aloe Vera, Barley Grass, Black Walnut, Cascara Sagrada, Cayenne, Chia Seeds, Chlorella, Cilantro, Cloves, Dandelion, Fennel Seed, Ginger Root, Globe Artichoke, Goldenseal, Kiwifruit, Licorice, Milk Thistle, Papaya, PeppermintPineapple, Psyllium Husk, Slippery Elm Bark, Turkish Rhubarb, Wormwood

These brief references below are just the tip of the iceberg. Click on the names of the herbs themselves for the full research articles and Monographs on each unique herb. 

1. Aloe Vera

  • Blood Sugar Balance – In a pilot study, two Aloe products in patients with prediabetes over an 8-week period, tended to revert the impaired fasting glucose and impaired glucose tolerance observed in conditions of prediabetes/metabolic syndrome. (27)
  • Inflammatory Bowel disease – The anti-inflammatory actions of aloe vera gel in vitro provide support for the proposal that it may have a therapeutic effect in inflammatory bowel disease. (28)

2. Barley Grass

  • Liver Protection – One study suggests that the protective effect of barley sprouts against alcohol-induced liver injury is potentially attributable to its inhibition of the inflammatory response induced by alcohol. (31)
  • Anti-inflammatory – Barley leaf sprouts also contain a high content of the bioflavonoid saponarin, which has shown both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities. (31)

3. Black Walnut

  • Anti-parasitic – In vitro studies have suggested that plumbagin, an active constituent of Black walnut, may inhibit the motility and hatching of specific worm larvae. (19)

4. Cascara Sagrada 

  • Laxative – Cascara Sagrada Laxative – Firstly, there is stimulation of colonic motility, resulting in increased propulsion and accelerated transit of feces through the colon (which reduces fluid absorption from the fecal mass. Secondly, there is an increase in paracellular permeability across the colonic mucosa, probably due to inhibition of sodium/potassium-transporting adenosine triphosphatase or inhibition of chloride channels. (12,13)

5. Cayenne

  • Ulcers – Capsaicin inhibits acid secretion, stimulates alkali and mucus secretion and particularly gastric mucosal blood flow which helps in prevention and healing of gastric ulcers. (14)

6. Chia Seeds

  • Therapeutic effects of chia in the control of diabetes, dyslipidaemia, hypertension, as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-blood clotting, laxative, antidepressant, anti-anxiety, analgesic, vision and immune improver is scientifically established. (40)

7. Chlorella

  • Heavy Metal Detox –  Certain algae (Chlorella, Scenedesmus, Hydrodictyon) perform better overall than other strains. Certain algal species remove > 90% of at least one metal and their relative performance varied according to the metal being investigated. Chlorella vulgaris could tolerate a high concentration of 100 μg/ml of lead. (34)

8. Cilantro

  • Heavy Metal Detox – Researchers found Cilantro (Chinese parsley) accelerates the excretion of Mercury (Hg), Lead (Pb), from the body through the urine. (32) Spirulina and Chlorella have been found to impart protection to rats exposed to lead and cadmium (33)

9. Cloves

  • Anti-bacterial – The antimicrobial activities of clove have been proved against several bacteria strains such as Escherichia coli (E. coli), Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus cereus. (18)

10. Dandelion

  • Liver protection – Results of one study suggest that the extract of Dandelion root has protective action against alcohol-induced toxicity in the liver by elevating antioxidative potentials and decreasing lipid peroxidation. (24)
  • Bile flow – An extract of the whole plant increased bile secretion by 40% (25) Dandelion has been shown to favorably affect choleretic, antirheumatic and diuretic properties. (26)

11. Fennel seed

  • Bloating and gas – European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy lists fennel seed for dyspeptic complaints such as mild, spasmodic gastrointestinal complaints, bloating, and flatulence, for catarrh of the upper respiratory tract. (7)
  • Anti-spasm – A bitter fennel infusion reduced spasms (8)

12. Ginger

  • Anti-nausea – The mechanism underlying ginger’s anti-emetic activity is not clearly understood, but the aromatic, spasmolytic, carminative, and absorbent properties of ginger suggest it has direct effects on the gastrointestinal tract. (20)
  • Circulation – Four clinical studies reported that ginger reduced platelet aggregation, which are responsible for blood coagulation. (21)

13. Globe Artichoke 

  • Indigestion – Artichoke with multiple therapeutic properties is recommended not only in disorders of the liver, but also in the prevention of atherosclerosis and hyperlipidemia or dyspeptic disorders. (2)
  • Liver protection – Artichokes multidirectional treatment is a documented fact indigestion, blood lipids and antioxidant effects. Artichoke compounds have a protective effect on liver cells. (3)
  • Cholesterol – Artichoke leaf has shown cholesterol-lowering and lipid-lowering activity in rats and humans (4)

14. Goldenseal

  • Stomach Ulcer – Extracts of goldenseal have been shown to be very active in inhibiting Helicobacter pylori which is the major cause of stomach and peptic ulcers. (15)
  • Liver stimulant – Goldenseal is a powerful bitter herb and as such can be used as a bitter liver stimulant. Recent studies show Goldenseal is a natural LDL cholesterol lowering agent with multiple bioactive components. (16)
  • Anti-inflammatory – The major active constituent in Goldenseal berberine inhibits oxidative stress and inflammation in a variety of tissues including liver, adipose tissue, kidney and pancreas. (17)

15. Kiwifruit

  • Protein digestion – In one study dietary actinidin from Kiwifruit increased gastric protein digestion and accelerated the gastric emptying for several dietary protein sources. (39)

16. Licorice

  • Antibacterial – Since the discovery of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection as the major cause of gastroduodenal disorders including acute and chronic gastritis, gastro-duodenal ulcer, chronic atrophic gastritis, and gastric cancer almost three decades ago, the possibility of preventing these clinical diseases through eradicating H. pylori has been the focus of active research (29)

17. Milk Thistle

  • Ulcerative Colitis – In one study 35 out of 38 Ulcerative Colitis patients taking 140mg of silymarin were in complete remission with no flare-up after 6 months. (1)

18. Papaya

  • Gastric Ulcer – The latex of the unripened fruit of papaya was effective in protecting the exogenous ulcer. The conclusion is that papain is the active principle in papaya that exerts the ulcer-protective effect. (38)

19. Peppermint

  • Digestive support – Human studies on the GI, respiratory tract and analgesic effects of peppermint oil and its constituents have been reported. Several clinical trials examining the effects of peppermint oil on irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms have been conducted. (35)
  • Soothing Digestion – Peppermint oil acts locally in the stomach and duodenum to produce smooth-muscle relaxation. (36)

20. Pineapple (Bromelain)

  • Diabetes – All the evidence in one comprehensive review suggest that Bromelain can be used as an effective health supplement to prevent cancer, diabetes, and various cardiovascular diseases in the long run. Bromelain may also break down cholesterol plaques. (22)
  • Digestive enzyme – Bromelain aids digestion by enhancing the effects of the digestive enzymes trypsin and pepsin. It can also help to prevent heartburn by ease diarrhea, if either are caused by a deficiency of digestive enzymes. (23)

21. Psyllium Husk 

  • Laxative – One study demonstrated that Psyllium husk has a gut-stimulatory effect, mediated partially by muscarinic and 5-HT(4) receptor activation, which may complement the laxative effect of its fiber content. (5)
  • Cholesterol – In one study Fifty-four of 62 patients enrolled in the study actually completed the study, Total cholesterol was significantly decreased after 3 weeks of treatment. (6)

22. Slippery Elm bark

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome – Slippery elm significantly improved both bowel habit and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms in patients with constipation-predominant IBS (37)

23. Turkish Rhubarb

  • Different pharmacological experiments in a number of in vitro and in vivo models have convincingly demonstrated the abilities of rhein found in Turkish Rhubarb to exhibit hepatoprotective, nephroprotective, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticancer, and antimicrobial activities, lending support to the rationale behind several of its potential medicinal uses. (30)

 24. Wormwood

  • Crohn’s disease – Several experimental reports suggest Artemisia absinthium is useful in the treatment of Crohn’s disease. (9) One study showed that Artemisia absinthium oil inhibited the growth of the yeast Candida albicans. (10)
  • Antibacterial – Results of another study have revealed that topical application of Artemisia absinthium extract on infected wound sites produced significant antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus. (11)

See my other article  Scientific Research proves why we need a Herbal Detox Program


There is an overwhelming rationale for using these herbs in combination with a pure food diet to perform are proper detox porgram benefiting long-term health.

By reducing negative gut bacteria and parasites, promoting better digestion and elimination, protecting the liver, improving bile flow, removing heavy metals, reducing blood sugar and cholesterol we can reduce and prevent the onset of the most common health problems of our time with these herbs.

This must be largely due to the reduction of systemic inflammation and metabolic acidosis which would underlie many modern chronic disease states.

Brett Elliott’s Herbal DETOX program is New Zealands most popular detox program and consists of all 24 herbs mentioned above. 

They are taken as whole herbs in capsule form in a dosage of up to 40 capsules daily. This high dose approach with a strict diet plan is probably why we have achieved such a high level of success with such a wide variety of ailments.

See success stories here  

detox drinks or capsules


To help form a broader picture, here are links to some of Brett Elliott’s other research articles: 

These are all conditions we have seen respond well to our Herbal DETOX program.

See Brett’s further research articles here:

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