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Natural Awakenings Twin Cities

Understanding the Six Organs of Detoxification

Feb 27, 2023 09:00AM ● By Joyce Sobotta


When heavy metals and toxins accumulate in the body, the six organs of detoxification begin working to eliminate and reinstate overall health. 

The liver filters blood and sends the waste material to the colon. If the body is dehydrated and the colon cannot flush correctly, it sends the waste back into the blood, then through the liver again, and then back to the colon. It is a vicious circle and the liver becomes overworked.

The liver also becomes challenged with too little sleep, or too many hydrogenated fats in processed foods, fried foods and desserts. Foods that are supportive of liver detoxification include cabbage, broccoli, garlic, beets, salad greens, lemon and lime juice, and green apples.

The kidneys’ role is to flush waste and toxins from the blood by turning it into urine after it has been cleaned by the liver. To support detoxification, drink at least one half your body weight in ounces of water daily. Consume organic greens, herbs and teas which promote kidney detox.

Some foods flush the kidneys and promote healthy blood pressure, while others act as renal tonics to flush extra toxins and prevent bacteria buildup. These foods are parsley, cilantro, green tea, nettle, alfalfa, cranberry, dark cherries and juniper berries.

The lungs are responsible for filtering out carbon dioxide, fumes, molds, allergens and airborne toxins. They work to detox by simply breathing and exhaling deeply. The lungs and respiratory system expel toxins through sinus drainage or coughing. Sleeping soundly also promotes lung detox. Foods with spicy/pungent flavors and slippery/soothing textures are best for lung detoxification, and include mustard, turnip, radish, wasabi and cayenne.

The lymphatic system removes byproducts of infection as well as bacteria, viruses and other pathogens. Lymph nodes, found in chains throughout the brain and body, can become tender and swollen when an infection is being cleared. These lymph cells are picked up by tiny blood capillaries and filtered through the spleen and thymus gland. The lymph system requires movement to function well.

Stimulate lymph flow with cardiovascular exercise, sweating and massage. Encourage lymph movement by tapping ten times on the sternum (the thymus gland is behind the sternum). Lymph detox can also be promoted by gently using a natural bristle brush or sea sponge and brushing the skin in a circular motion. Foods that help the lymph detox are ginger, turmeric, lemon, lime, grapefruit, seaweed and garlic.

The colon excretes solid waste so that it is not recirculated into the bloodstream. It also houses protective bacteria that make up the body’s ecosystem known as the microbiome. Help the colon detox by increasing the intake of soluble and insoluble fiber and water. Foods that are beneficial for the colon are lentils, flax seeds, chia seeds, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, kefir, apple cider vinegar, squash, apples, plums, prunes, pears, sweet potatoes, beets, turnips, onions and garlic.

The skin is the largest elimination organ, always exchanging oxygen and waste. When the other detoxification organs are overwhelmed and not working properly, toxins will come out through the skin. Symptoms like hives, rash, psoriasis and eczema can develop from not being able to eliminate toxins. All forms of detox benefit the skin—especially exercise, dry skin brushing, Epsom salt baths, and infrared saunas. 

Reduce overall “body sludge” to give the body a lift. The organs of detoxification thrive on foods that benefit them. We must always consider where the foods we consume come from and how they benefit personal and planetary detoxification.

This was excerpted from the Nutrition and Digestion chapter in Sobotta's book Breast Health is in Your Hands.

Joyce Sobotta Courtesy of Healthy Girl's Breast Oil

 Joyce Sobotta is the published author of Breast Health is in Your Hands, Tips for Breast Vitality and Sensuality, founder of the international business Healthy Girls Breast Oil, a unique and effective essential oil blend for breast health, and offers consultations for natural breast health. For more information, visit


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