Cleanse the vital but often overlooked lymphatic system with the steps outlined in this three-day lymph cleanse recipe.
Discover the remarkable power of plants and how they can work with your body to restore, balance and promote healing in Botanical Body Care (Cypress House, 2007) by Karin Uphoff. In this excerpt, from chapter 9 “Lymph System”, Uphoff shows you how to love your lymph system by outlining an effective three-day lymph cleanse recipe.
This cleanse is incredibly effective if you’ve been following the Revitalizing Diet and have experienced a thorough bowel cleanse within the past month. To move excess mucus from the intestines, add this flush to the end of your bowel cleanse.
Three days is considered the minimum time it takes to flush out lymph vessels and nodes throughout the body. For the week prior, stay on a vegan (no animal products), flourless, sugar-free, soy-free diet. One or two days before the flush, eat only raw fruit, seeds, nuts, sprouts, and vegetables. Choose one juice you wish to stay with for the full three days; apple, grape or carrot are recommended for their alkalinizing effect. The only other juice you’ll be drinking during the cleanse is prune juice. Liquids should be at room temperature or warmer.
Below is the protocol for each of the three days:
Upon rising drink one glass of water, followed by eight to ten ounces of prune juice with the juice of one lemon (to promote bowel movement). Sip this slowly (“chew” it so it mixes well with your saliva), then slowly drink alternate glasses of your chosen juice (fresh-pressed is best) and filtered water all day long until you have consumed as close to a gallon of juice and one gallon of water as possible. You may wish to add water and / or lemon juice to each glass of juice to reduce sweetness. In addition, mix together or take each separately 1 to 3 times a day:
• 1 tablespoon oil of wheat germ, flax seed, or borage
• 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
• 1 teaspoon kelp or dulse powder
• 1/4 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 1 tablespoon of organic blackstrap molasses can be taken if desired
By the end of the day, you’ll have consumed nearly two gallons of liquid, unless you weigh less than 125 pounds, are of fragile health, or have compromised kidneys, in which case you drink less, as appropriate for your situation. Anti-microbial herbs such as garlic and echinacea may be taken during this time, as well as bowel-supporting herbs if necessary. Your bowel must be eliminating each day; if your bowel is sluggish, drink another glass of prune juice with lemon before bed.
During this three-day detox, it’s important to keep your lymph moving with one hour of modest exercise (thirty minutes of which should be aerobic or opening to the lungs). Brisk walking in fresh air is very effective, as are biking, swimming, dancing, and yoga. The emphasis is on deep breathing combined with stretching and movement of the muscular-skeletal system. Very rigorous and competitive sports are best avoided, since the body needs to channel energy into eliminating toxins. Other activities that augment the cleansing process are skin brushing, water therapy, bodywork, meditation and rest. If you’re feeling tired, don’t push it! Ideally, the three-day cleanse is carried out when you have more personal time for yourself, because previously “stuck” emotions may also move out of the body. Consciously acknowledging and staying with this emotional energy will help release it. As toxins are released from the body, you may experience some unpleasant physical effects such as nausea, headache, backache, aching feet, or dizziness and disorientation—usually only on the first day. This is generally a sign of progress as toxins are released in your body to be eliminated.
By the second day these symptoms typically disappear and your energy will increase, although this varies from person to person. If, however, you’re still experiencing the unpleasant effects of toxic clearing on the third day, then further bowel and liver cleansing are recommended. As with any cleanse, it’s imperative that you listen to the wise inner voice of your body; if at any time you feel a cleanse is too much or too fast, then slow it down or stop altogether.
After the third day of lymph cleansing, the juice fast can be broken with raw fruits before noon—don’t forget to take your time and chew your food well! Raw vegetables, salads, and vegetable juices can be taken from noon until four hours before bed. In the late evening, only fruit and fruit juices may be consumed. On the fourth day, begin again with fresh fruit and fruit juices until noon, and slowly introduce soft, cooked foods in the evening. This flush should leave you feeling renewed and revitalized. Healthy adults can do this safely up to four times a year.
This cleanse is labor intensive, but well worth it! It’s a very effective flush, and more satisfying for those who become “tired of sweet” juice cleanses. As with any cleanse, it’s extremely important to be sure your bowels are fully eliminating and all channels of elimination (skin, kidneys, lungs) are open, too. Here is the schedule and detox diet menu for each of the three days:
Upon rising: Drink a glass of spring or distilled water. Follow this by juicing one organic lemon including the rind (for this, Meyer lemons are best) with a 2-inch square of fresh ginger root. Add to this 8 ounces of warm water and 1 teaspoon of raw honey, and sip slowly.
Breakfast: Make a 12-ounce juice of 4 ounces celery, 3 ounces parsley, 2 ounces carrot, 2 ounces beet, and a thumb-sized piece of ginger root (garlic optional). Add another 6 ounces of water and drink it slowly, being sure to “chew” your juice (mix it well with your saliva) as you do.
Between meals: Drink plenty of spring or distilled water (a gallon a day) and herbal teas like Lymph-Lovin’ Tea, as desired.
Mid-morning: Drink 8 ounces of distilled / spring water with the juice of one whole organic lemon, a teaspoon of cayenne pepper, with maple syrup to taste.
Lunch: Prepare the following Vital Detox Soup:
Steam a cup chopped string or green beans for 5 minutes, then add a cup chopped celery and continue steaming 5 more minutes; finally, add a cup chopped zucchini and steam another 5 minutes. Put all of the steamed vegetables in the blender with some Vital Broth (recipe below), and add 1 to 2 teaspoons of freshly chopped parsley. Season to taste with Bragg Liquid Aminos, onion, garlic, basil, thyme, turmeric, etc., and blend well. Sip it warm. Add 1 teaspoon of flaxseed oil and 1 teaspoon of olive oil to the soup to activate the liver. Enjoy!
Mid-afternoon: Drink 8 ounces of the same vegetable juice combo you had at breakfast.
One hour before dinner: Drink 8 ounces warm distilled/spring water with 1 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar (add supertonic if desired).
Dinner: Relish a bowl of Vital Detox Broth:
Use equal parts of thick potato peelings (using the entire potato is fine—use small ones), carrot tops, onions, garlic, celery tops (and/or whole celery), kelp and any herbs as desired. This particular recipe doesn’t use carrots, beets, or other greens so as to intentionally reduce certain acids in the body. Bring the crudely chopped ingredients to a boil in distilled or spring water, turn down to a simmer, and cook, covered, for 1 hour. Strain. Drink only the broth. It’s helpful to do this in a pasta pot so you can just lift the vegetables right out of the broth. You can make a three-day batch and store the remaining broth in the refrigerator. It’s fine to switch the lunch and dinner meals if you desire.
Two hours before bedtime: Drink 8 ounces of the same breakfast vegetable juice.
Once you complete this cleanse, slowly introduce raw foods and juices, then steamed vegetables and grains. I don’t feature a “Help for Common Ailments” section in this article, as sluggish lymph flow manifests in a wide variety of ways: excess mucus, respiratory ailments, swollen glands, cellulite, water retention, a compromised immune system, allergies, and cancer—all of which are addressed in other chapters. Such manifestations are signs that blood and lymph need to be activated and excess toxins eliminated. Following are some wonderful tools for enhancing the action of the lymphatic system. These supporting and toning methods may be employed daily, weekly, or monthly as outlined below.
There’s nothing quite like a hot bath for moving mucus in the body! For your lymphatic system to truly benefit, a hot bath should be taken on an empty stomach just before going to bed (you might wish to skip dinner). Drinking diaphoretic teas such as peppermint, ginger, and yarrow help turn up the internal body heat before and during the bath. Fill the tub with the hottest water comfortable, add one cup of Epsom salts and one cup of sea salt, plus any appropriate essential oil(s) or herbs, then soak—get red in the face and let your perspiration flow!
Try to stay in the bath for at least twenty minutes so you affect the deep lymph. This time, do not rinse with cold water to end (though you’ll likely want to); simply get out and sit down on your towel on the rim of the tub (or stool) and let your skin continue to perspire while you slowly sip room-temperature lemon water. After three to five minutes, pat your skin dry, put on warm cotton pajamas (flannel is best) and go to bed.
Make sure you have plenty of drinking water at hand. Pile on the blankets to retain heat. You should be uncomfortably warm, but stay that way—the idea is to perspire much of the night. In the morning, take a tepid shower, change your bedding as needed, drink plenty of water, and eat lightly all day.
The basis of this treatment is to create a feverish state that causes the lymph fluid to race about, collecting excess mucus and raising antibody action. Toxins are released through the sebaceous glands in the skin. It’s particularly helpful for clearing up low-grade infections shown by swollen glands, as for instance at the first sign of cold or flu. You’ll likely wake up to drink water several times during the night as you lose fluid, but by morning you’ll be feeling great! Rub essential oil of thyme or apply garlic paste to your feet before bed to increase immune defense.
This excerpt is adapted from Botanical Body Care by Karin Uphoff (c)2007 Cypress House and is reprinted with permission. It may not be reproduced for any other use without permission.
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