Greater Celandine (Chelidonium majus)


The dainty yellow flowers of Greater Celandine (aka "swallow") bloom when swallows return from winter nesting and die when the birds head south again. A member of the Poppy family, the medicinal use of the plant dates back to ancient Greece. It has been widely used in European herbal medicine through modern time for treatment of gallbladder disease and liver conditions.

As a homeopathic remedy, Chelidonium has produced favorable results for treating liver disorders. It has also been used with health conditions such as indigestion, heartburn, IBS, gout, osteoarthritis, warts and other skin diseases.

Greater Celandine is often prepared as an extract or tincture, depending upon the intended use. If extracts are not properly prepared and preserved, it can render the herb less effective or cause side effects. Also, if you don't use the appropriate dose of this herb for your particular health concern you could experience side effects ranging from rash to upset stomach and serious illness. Chelidonium is not appropriate for everyone. It is important that a healthcare practitioner provide you with the appropriate dose and quality of this herb.

Recent debate about the liver-protective versus potential toxic effects of Chelidonium majus has renewed the medical community's interest in this plant. Interactions have been found when Chelidonium is taken with Tylenol or Erythromycin or other drugs that stress the liver.

Image Attribution: Bogdana_Severyn/

Detoxing: Strengthening Your Body's Defense Team


Detoxification is a natural healing process that incorporates resting, cleansing, and nourishing the body from the inside out. By eliminating toxins, then fueling your body with healthy nutrients, a planned period of detox can strengthen your body's natural "Detox Team" and help maintain optimum health.

Holistic physicians and proponents of detoxing suggest following a detox plan at least once per year, with spring and fall being the ideal approach. You may have heard critics argue the human body is designed with just the right physiological processes necessary to clear the body of impurities and maintain health. Unfortunately for many people, lifestyle habits and the environments where we live, work, eat and play often expose us to toxins that our bodies don't efficiently eliminate.

The toxins you can be exposed to everyday include:

  • heavy metals in the food and water supply
  • environmental pollution
  • chemical food additives
  • smoking; overuse of alcohol or drugs
  • use/overuse of Rx medication
  • prolonged high stress
  • poor quality diet and lifestyle habits
  • frequent colds or chronic illness

Your Body's Natural Detox Team
Your body naturally detoxifies itself via a Detox Team of organs that work synergistically to neutralize and eliminate toxins, with the goal of keeping the blood and cells free of impurities. The liver leads the Detox Team by processing toxins for elimination. The supporting detox defense players are the kidneys, intestines, lungs, lymph, and skin. When your body's natural Detox Team becomes compromised, impurities aren't properly filtered out. This makes it a real challenge for the Detox Team to maintain or restore health and well-being.

Detoxing Boosts Your Health
Following a detox program suited to your personal needs supports the body's natural cleansing process and boosts your health in many ways:

  • Allows digestive organs to rest
  • Stimulates the liver to process toxins more efficiently
  • Promotes movement of bowels
  • Improves circulation
  • Enhances sweating, which facilitates release of impurities
  • Restores vital nutrients and energy to the body

6 Things to Know Before You Detox
Before you begin a detox, prepare mentally and physically. Plan your dates a few weeks in advance. Inform the people closest to you about the time you've set aside to take care of yourself. Clear your schedule of routine obligations that may create stress. Stock up on inspirational music and reading material.

Gather Herbal Support. Herbal and nutritional supplements such as burdock, milk thistle, dandelion, and vitamins C and B protect and support the body's Detox Team, especially the liver. They also have antioxidant effects that benefit the whole body.

Hydrate! Without enough water, toxins will not be sufficiently flushed from the body. Aim to drink at least 2 quarts of water per day with lemon/lime during a detox.

Dry Brush Your Skin. Look for a brush with soft natural bristles. Begin with light, gentle brushing over the skin (don't make the skin red). Always brush towards the heart. Shower immediately after to rinse off exfoliated skin.

Get Wet. Therapeutic use of water also supports detoxification. A steam or sauna can accelerate the release of toxins. Hydrotherapy provides support to the muscles and promotes relaxation. Mineral bath salts also help release toxins.

Sweat it Out-Gently. Exercise facilitates digestion, circulation, metabolism and hormone balancing. During a detox, decrease the intensity of your usual exercise routine, but do break a moderate sweat. Get outdoors for fresh air and natural sunlight. Good exercise options are easy hiking, dancing, walking, yoga, or tai chi.

Rest. For your mind and body to fully assimilate the benefits of detoxing, you need good quality sleep. Plan your least stimulating activities (reading, meditation, bathing) for right before bed.

How to Detox?
There are many ways to approach detoxing, from fruit and vegetable juice fasts to herbal tea cleanses. There are people who must be under the care of a health practitioner, such as pregnant or nursing women or those diagnosed with certain conditions such as diabetes. In general, it's important to work with Dr. Bossio to select a program that matches your health needs.

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Go Wild with Dandelion Greens

Go Wild with Dandelion Greens

dandelion greens

You might not want dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) dappled across your lawn, but you definitely want to make them a part your healthy diet. For centuries, the sunny yellow dandelion, its greens and roots, has been embraced across cultures for its culinary and medicinal uses.

Dandelion roots contain several compounds beneficial to health, one of which is bitter taraxacin, which stimulates digestion. The leaves are rich in potassium, antioxidants such as Vitamin A and Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and several B vitamins.

Dandelion helps filter waste products from the bloodstream. In many cultures it has been used as a liver tonic, diuretic, and digestive aid. Herbalists have used dandelion to treat jaundice, cirrhosis and liver dysfunction. Preliminary research suggests dandelion may even strengthen liver and gallbladder function.

All parts of the dandelion are edible. The bittersweet roots may be eaten raw, steamed or dried, roasted and ground for a coffee substitute. The flowers are commonly used to make wine and jam. Dandelion greens can be eaten steamed, boiled, sauteed, braised or raw in salads.

Try adding dandelion greens to:

  • quiche, omelette
  • pesto
  • sauce such as garlic & olive oil
  • dips
  • seafood soup
  • sauteed vegetables
  • to replace some of the kale in a green smoothie
  • stuffing

Dandelion packs as much power in its flavor as it does in its nutrition. It can quickly overpower more delicate herbs and flavors-a little goes a long way.

When harvesting dandelion, especially for salad, take greens from young and tender plants, before the first flower emerges. Greens from older plants will be larger, but also tougher and more bitter. Older leaves are better suited for cooking. At the grocery store, look for organic dandelion with vibrant green color.

Image Attribution: 13-Smile/


Dandelion Salad with Fresh Goat Cheese & Apples

dandelion salad

Dandelion greens pack a nutritional punch. Serve them raw in this salad recipe with fresh goat cheese and apples for added flavor. If you don't have apples in season, or stored, substitute any firm fruit that's in season. You can embellish this salad with the colors of the season by sprinkling in any of our 'SuperSalad Substitutions' listed below.


  • 2 T. cider vinegar
  • 3 T. vegetable or nut oil
  • 1 t. Dijon mustard
  • 1 t. honey
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 bunch dandelion greens, washed and dried, stems removed
  • 1/4 lb fresh white goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 c. walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 apple, cored and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces


  • Whisk vinegar, oil, mustard, honey, salt and pepper together.
  • Pour over greens and toss lightly.
  • Top with goat cheese, nuts and apple.

SuperSalad Substitutions (or Add-ins)

  • Baby Spinach
  • Endive
  • Radicchio
  • Shredded Carrots
  • Yellow Pepper (diced)
  • Pear
  • Pomegranate Perils (seeds)
  • Instead of Goat Cheese, try Farmer's Cheese.

Image Attribution: Photo by Roger Doiron/


Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum)

milk thistle

Milk Thistle is a medicinal plant that has been used for over 2,000 years to treat digestive, liver and gallbladder conditions. Research has shown Milk Thistle has a protective effect on the liver. The active ingredient in Milk Thistle (MT) is silymarin, which can be extracted from the seeds of the plant.

Research conducted in the U.S. and Europe, shows MT to support the health of the liver by promoting the growth of liver cells, protecting the cells from damage, and inhibiting inflammation. In European hospitals, MT is the only antidote for Amanita mushroom (the red-white cap) poisoning. It is a recommended treatment for liver damage caused by toxins or cirrhosis. In the U.S., there have been promising results in small studies using a standardized extract of MT to treat alcohol-related liver disease. Milk Thistle is also being studied to determine if it offers any protective benefit for the liver during chemotherapy or radiation treatment for different cancers.

As an herbal medicine, MT is available as capsule, extract, powder and tincture.To support healthy liver function, the most common preparation is tea or an extract. Check with your wellness practitioner to determine the appropriate amount of tea or extract for your needs. Some people may be allergic to MT if they are allergic to plants such as ragweed and marigold. If you are being treated for cancer, liver disease or any other health condition, consult with Dr. Bossio before taking any herbal supplement.

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Massage Supports Your Body's Natural Detox


Your body's innate detox system can get sluggish for a variety of reasons such as lack of regular exercise, too little fluids or fiber in your diet, frequent colds, or high stress. A massage can rev-up your body's natural detox process.

During massage therapy, the rhythmic strokes and pressure applied to muscles, tissues, and organs stimulates the circulatory system. When pressure is applied to body tissues, toxins are released from in between the muscle fibers and cells. Toxins are carried into circulation throughout the body and eliminated in a variety of ways.

The increase in circulation during massage positively affects other systems and organs in your body. Massage helps move oxygen-rich blood and nutrients into your organs, especially the kidneys and the liver. Massage also facilitates relaxed, deep breathing-another important way in which the body naturally detoxes.

Working in tandem with the circulatory system is the lymphatic system, which carries immune cells throughout the body to help defend against infection. The lymph system doesn't have a big central pump like the heart to keep things moving. Instead, it relies on gravity, exercise, breathing and massage to work efficiently.

If you're not feeling your best or haven't been as good about your diet and exercise routine lately, a massage can help you detox, and get back in balance-naturally.

Image Attribution: Wavebreak Media Ltd/

Green "Super Hero" Juice

green juic

If you are having trouble getting your kids to even look at a glass of green juice (never mind drinking it), what you call it can make all the difference in the world. A few examples: Ninja Turtle Power Juice, Green Lantern Super Juice, or use the name of any green-colored character that happens to be your child's favorite. You can also freeze juice as ice pops.

5 cups spinach
1 bunch kale (~8 stalks)
6 medium carrots
2 Golden Delicious apples
1 lemon (peeled)
3 slices of golden honeydew (could substitute cantaloupe or pineapple chunks)

Rinse all produce, even if using organic items. Use a juicer (or Vitamix-type blender) and mix to desired consistency. Smoother tends to be more palatable for younger children and easier for digestion. Yields 42 oz.

Image Attribution: Jeni Foto/

Colonic Irrigation


Colonic irrigation, also known as "colon hydrotherapy," is the use of clean, temperature- and pressure-regulated water to flush out the lower intestines. This gentle flushing can aid in the elimination of toxin-containing waste in the colon, and relieve constipation by reestablishing regular bowel movements.

While the use of enemas is ancient, this particular therapy dates back to the early 1900s and has a long history of clinical evidence from physicians who routinely saw the difference it made in their patients' symptoms. It is also surrounded in controversy, as many alternative healers make wild and fantastical claims of its benefits.

Colon hydrotherapy is so gentle and effective that it is frequently used as an alternative to oral laxatives before a colonoscopy. In addition, this therapy is used to treat people who suffer from fecal incontinence, children with chronic constipation, and those diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Finally, it is used to relieve the multitude of physical and emotional symptoms that frequently accompany chronic constipation, poor elimination, and various bowel diseases such as IBS.

As with any health procedure, it is important to work with a trained and certified colon hydrotherapist. When this procedure is done by a trained professional with proper equipment, the rate of adverse reactions is extremely low. This is a helpful and scientifically supported therapy used by all different types of physicians around the world.

Resource for finding a certified therapist:


  • Christensen, P., and K. Krogh. "Transanal Irrigation for Disordered Defecation: A Systematic Review." Abstract. Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology 45, no. 5 (May 2010).
  • Mooventhan, A., and N.L. Nivethitha. "Scientific Evidence-based Effects of Hydrotherapy on Various Systems of the Body." Abstract. North American Journal of Medical Sciences 6, no. 5 (May 2014):199-209. 
  • Pizzorno, J., and M. Murray, eds. Textbook of Natural Medicine. Seattle: John Bastyr College of Naturopathic Medicine: 1985.
  • Preziosi, G., et al. "Transanal Irrigation for Bowel Symptoms in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis." Abstract. Diseases of the Colon and Rectum 55, no. 10 (October 2012).
  • Richards, D.G., D.L. McMillin, E.A. Mein, and C.D. Nelson. "Colonic Irrigations: A Review of the Historical Controversy and the Potential for Adverse Effects." Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 12, no. 4 (May 2006): 389-93.

Image Attribution: Eraxion/

Mercurial World


We live in a mercurial world, and that’s not a good thing. Although mercury (Hg) is a naturally occurring element—found in the air, water, and soil—exposure to it, even in small amounts, causes serious health problems for adults and children. Mercury has toxic effects on the nervous, digestive, and immune systems as well as on the lungs, kidneys, skin, and eyes. It is a threat to the healthy development of a fetus and young child.
Until scientists and physicians recognized mercury as detrimental to health, it had been used in medicines and industrial applications. In the 1800s, the phrase “mad as a hatter” originated from the mental health changes observed in hatters who used mercury to process felt for headwear. Today, we are much more informed about the risks of exposure to mercury and its detrimental effects on health. Although many other metals can be problematic, the World Health Organization considers mercury one of the top 10 chemicals that are a major public health concern.
Mercury exists in several forms, including liquid metal (quicksilver), vapor, and in organic and inorganic compounds. It is released from the Earth’s crust through volcanic activity and through coal-burning and industrial processes.
Problems that arise from mercury exposure stem from a combination of factors: amount/dose, method of exposure (ingestion, inhalation, skin contact), and length of exposure. We are all exposed to low levels of mercury to some degree. Exposure can occur through contaminated drinking water; foods grown in contaminated soil; a diet high in mercury-laden fish/shellfish; medical procedures (dental, vaccination); and through accidental/occupational exposure to industrial waste.
6 Ways to Minimize Mercury Exposure:

  1. Read labels for mercury content. Keep thermometers, fluorescent bulbs, and mercury-containing products out of reach of children.
  2. Do not handle a leaky battery with bare hands. Wear gloves.
  3. Contact your local environmental protection office for instructions on safe disposal of products containing mercury and other heavy metals.
  4. Talk with your dentist about alternatives to amalgam fillings.
  5. To avoid ingesting toxic levels of methylmercury from seafood, do not eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish. Eat a variety of other fish about twice a week.
  6. When considering vaccines for yourself or a child (including the flu vaccine), ask the physician about mercury content. (Most vaccines are no longer using the mercury-containing component thimerosal.)


Image Attribution: Penguinn/

Selecting the Right Fish for Your Health


Fish and shellfish are low in fat, high in protein, and good sources of iodine, vitamin D, and selenium—nutrients often deficient in the American diet. Many fish are rich in “good fats,” particularly polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids. The two most beneficial types of fats, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), have been shown to reduce inflammation and severity of heart and retinal diseases. Research shows that children born to mothers who ate low-mercury seafood during pregnancy experienced better functioning brain and nervous systems. Additionally, a diet rich in omega-3s has been shown to lower blood triglycerides and decrease the risk of sudden death from heart disease.
Despite these benefits, there is cause for concern. Decades of industrial activity have contaminated our waterways with mercury and other pollutants. These contaminants end up in seafood. While most commercial fish and shellfish contain some mercury, concentrations vary depending on the age of the fish, region of harvest, and diet (e.g., predators such as sharks eat smaller fish that accumulate mercury).
Which Fish Are the Healthiest?
Which fish are richest in healthy omega-3 fatty acids and low in mercury? You’re not going to find that information in the grocery store, but the Environmental Working Group provides an extensive analysis of seafood. Their consumer-friendly guidelines illustrate which fish are safest/healthiest to eat and which fish to avoid.
Here’s a summary of their listing to help you incorporate more of the right kind of seafood into your diet:

  • Very high omegas, low mercury: wild salmon, sardines, mussels, rainbow trout, Atlantic mackerel
  • High omegas, low mercury: oysters, anchovies, herring
  • Low mercury, lower omegas: shrimp, catfish, tilapia, swai, clams, scallops
  • Increasing levels of mercury: canned light and albacore tuna, halibut, mahi mahi, sea bass
  • Avoid*: shark, swordfish, marlin, king mackerel, tilefish

* FDA advisory organizations recommend pregnant women and children never eat these species.


Image Attribution: alexraths/

Chlorella: Unlocking the Secrets of a Superfood


Chlorella is a single-celled freshwater microalgae that has flourished for nearly two billion years. Photosynthesizing its energy from the sun, chlorella is a powerhouse of nutrients. It is a natural source of vegetarian protein—about 60 percent—a very high level for a plant. Due to this high protein concentration and chlorella’s naturally rapid growth rate, after World War II, chlorella was investigated as a possible food source.
Chlorella is rich in amino acids, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals—including B-vitamins, vitamins A and D, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. This unique combination of nutrients within chlorella is a primary reason why scientists around the world are actively researching* medicinal uses for this aquatic-based superfood.
Chlorella’s potential benefits for health and vitality include:

  • detoxification from heavy metals, including mercury;
  • supporting optimal immune system function;
  • antioxidant properties;
  • anti-inflammatory properties;
  • healthy cholesterol metabolism; and
  • support for digestive health.

It is widely accepted that the structure of the cell wall in chlorella allows it to bind with heavy metals, essentially keeping the phytonutrient healthy, and it’s the primary reason chlorella has survived for millennia, even in polluted aquatic environments. This rare ability to bind to toxins has given rise to preclinical studies on the role chlorella may play in detoxification for optimal health in humans, as our internal environment is primarily aquatic.
There are many types of chlorella on the market, in pill and powder form. The cellular properties of chlorella must be broken down for human digestion, known as “broken cell-wall chlorella.” Therefore, chlorella must be developed under careful quality control conditions. Additionally, Daily Values for this nutrient have not been established. It is imperative to consult with Dr. Bossio before selecting a chlorella supplement.
*(chemical assays, animal and limited human studies)

Image Attribution: Kesu01/

Parsley: More than Just a Garnish


Often thought of only as garnish for a pretty plate, parsley is a delicious, vibrant green herb with many culinary uses and health benefits. The seed, leaf, and root all can be used in preparation of foods, teas, and medicines. It is widely used in Mediterranean and Eastern European cuisine.
A member of the celery family, parsley is a biennial plant that contains two types of unusual components that provide unique health benefits: volatile oils and flavonoids. The active mechanisms of the volatile oil components qualify parsley as a “chemoprotective” food, which means it can help neutralize certain carcinogens such as those found in cigarette smoke. Flavonoids have been shown to function in the body as antioxidants, which can prevent oxygen damage to cells.
Parsley is also a vitamin-dense herb. A one-half cup serving provides exceptional amounts of vitamins K, C, and A. In fact, it contains three times as much vitamin C as an orange! It also is rich in folate and has twice the iron of spinach for equivalent serving sizes.
Overall, because of its nutrient-rich antioxidant profile, parsley may offer health protective benefits for the cardiovascular system, joints, and digestive system. Medicinally, parsley has been used in both ancient times and as a complementary treatment for symptoms of urinary tract infection and upset stomach.
To reap the benefits of parsley in your diet, try:

  • sprinkling parsley into stews, casseroles, sauces, soups, and rice dishes;
  • adding raw parsley (stems and leaves) to salads;
  • blending raw parsley with other herbs and fruits to make a “green smoothie”; or
  • sprinkling atop fish in the last few moments of grilling.
  • Wash fresh parsley immediately before use; place in cold water, swish around, and then drain. Repeat until all dirt washes away. 


Image Attribution:  looby/

Hydrotherapy at Home


Water is commonly employed to affect the human body using hot baths to relax muscles or ice packs to reduce swelling. In holistic medicine, water is also used as a healing modality to restore proper blood flow and ultimately restore the health of the blood and the whole person. Water is a miraculous substance because it can carry great amounts of energy and heat. It conducts heat to and from a living system and can conform itself to any shape. The use of water to restore health is commonly referred to as hydrotherapy.
Hydrotherapy can be performed in many ways, but essentially it causes tissues to relax (heat) and then contract (cold), thereby moving stagnated blood and immune components, releasing toxins, easing stress, and flooding tissues with nutrients. There are many other types of hydrotherapy, such as alternating heat and cold packs, alternating hot and cold soaks on specific parts of the body, poultices, compresses, and constitutional hydrotherapy (typically done by doctor or trained staff). One powerful form of hydrotherapy you can do at home is bathing.
Bathing is an ancient human tradition and has been used to restore and maintain health in many cultures around the world. The key to getting the most healing effect of a bath is to make sure to use a cool/cold rinse afterward. What can you add to boost the healing effects of bathing? Try adding minerals with Epsom, Himalayan, or sea salt and/or essential oils such as peppermint or lavender.  You can even add in colloidal oatmeal to soothe and nourish the skin.
Try This at Home
Fill your tub as full as you can with water at 93-96­°F, add your favorite salts or herbs, and soak for 15-20 minutes. Lightly scrub the skin with a face cloth while soaking to increase circulation of the blood to the skin surface. At the end, stand and rinse with cold water, either poured from a pitcher or from the shower.

  • Boyle, W., and A. Saine. Lectures in Naturopathic Hydrotherapy. East Palestine, Ohio: Buckeye Naturopathic Press: 1988.
  • Metcalfe, R. Sanitas Sanitatum et Omnia Sanitas. Vol. 1. London: Co-operative Printing Company: 1877.
  • Rausse, J. H., and C. H. Meeker. The Water-Cure, Applied to Every Known Disease with an Appendix, Containing a Water Diet and Rules for Bathing. New York: Fowlers and Wells: 1850.

Image Attribution: andres/

Sunflower Sprouts

sunflower sprouts

Native American cultures have known about the many uses and benefits of sunflower for centuries.  Sunflower can be used as food, an oil source, and even as a dye pigment. As a food and health source, sunflower tops the list of sprouts as a protein source. They contain minerals, healthy fats, essential fatty acids, fiber and phytosterols. Their vitamin E content has been shown to have significant anti-inflammatory effects, reduce the risk of colon cancer, help control some symptoms of menopause and help cut down on diabetic complications. Sunflower sprouts are also a good source of magnesium and may help reduce the severity of asthma, lower high blood pressure, prevent migraine headaches and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Iron and chlorophyll also can be found in sprouted sunflower seeds, the latter of which will help detoxify your blood and liver. Sprouting sunflower seeds will transform nutrient content by as much as 300 - 1,200 percent. When sprouting sunflower seeds at home, soak the seeds for 2 days before planting in soil. Once in the soil, allow your seeds to sprout. They are ready to harvest in about 3 days.


Sunflower seeds. The World's Healthiest Foods.

Image Attribution: Yastremska/

Don't Let Accumulative Toxins Hamper Your Health


There's no denying it, toxins are everywhere in the modern world, from the air we breathe and the water we drink and bathe in, to the foods we eat and even in the materials that make up the world around us. Foods are covered in pesticides or processed with unnatural chemicals and machinery. Chemical by-products from manufacturing and farm runoff infiltrate air and water. Oceans are polluted with heavy metals and mercury which pass up the food chain turning would-be healthy meals of seafood into poison. Dental fillings containing mercury turn every bite of food into a potentially poisonous hazard. And if that weren't enough, poisons such as fluoride, chlorine and low levels of heavy metals flow into your home through your water supply, all of which are approved by the government. Even pharmaceuticals, vaccines, hygiene, beauty, cleaning and packaging products contain a variety of toxic substances. Many of these toxins accumulate in the body and cannot be removed naturally.

Interestingly, modern diseases like cancer, auto-immune dysfunction, brain disorders like autism, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, nerve disorders and more common ailments like depression, learning disabilities and fatigue may have a variety of connections to the buildup of toxins in our bodies. But no matter how healthy your existing diet and lifestyle may be today, this buildup of toxins from years past can continue to negatively impact your health. With this in mind, one of the best things you can do for your health is to set a plan for ridding your body of built up toxins. Here are 6 ways you can help decrease your toxic load and reduce toxin accumulation. Check in with Dr. Bossio for guidance in the best way to do this for you.

1. Sweat it out. Steam baths and saunas promote the release of toxins through sweating. For an even deeper detoxification you may want to consider infrared sauna treatments. Infrared saunas heat your body tissues several inches deep, enhancing your natural metabolic processes, circulation and helping oxygenate your tissues. Sweating will also help kill off viruses and other microbes. Repeated use of the sauna slowly restores the skin's ability to eliminate toxins, an action that often is inhibited by clothing, sun damage and sedentary lifestyles.

2. Burn fat, burn toxins. Toxins are stored at a much higher rate in the fat than in blood. So, it makes sense that in order to remove the most amount of toxins, you'll need to decrease fat as well. And of course, the best way to shed pounds of fat is through aerobic activity, meaning any activity that heightens both your heart and respiratory rates. Aerobic activity increases stamina and oxygen flow, tones the nervous system and strengthens the immune system. It also cleanses blood by stimulating circulation and sweating, and even releases endorphins making you feelhappier and more relaxed. Aerobic activities come in a variety of forms. Running, power-walking, cycling, swimming and even skiing are all aerobic activities. Better yet, you can have fun with your aerobic exercise and even include your kids and grandkids in the mix. Jump rope and double dutch games are excellent aerobic exercise for all ages, as are family dance parties and stair-climbing races. Always check with your doctor before beginning any new type of exercise regimen.

3. Milk thistle for liver health. Approved in 1986 for treating liver disease, today milk thistle is regularly used to treat illnesses related to toxic buildup of alcohol and acetaminophens. It boosts liver metabolism and helps repair liver cell damage from alcohol and other toxins. Discuss with Dr. Bossio how milk thistle might benefit you.

4. Target hard-to-remove heavy metals with chlorella. Chlorella is a powerful binding agent for heavy metals including mercury. This super green food can help remove a variety of toxins from the liver and other major organs and is safe enough to use daily or as a major week-long detox. A single-celled micro-algae, its molecular structure allows it to bond to metals, chemicals and some pesticides, while not binding to the minerals your body needs, like calcium, magnesium or zinc.

5. Eat a healthy, vitamin-rich diet with plenty of fiber. Clean, nutrient-dense foods provide endless health benefits, but even better, they also provide amazing detox abilities. Fiber offers a range of benefits, one being the discouragement of weight gain, helping control the development of fat, which could store more toxins. How much fiber? The average amount of fiber needed in the diet is 30 g (females) - 40 g (males) per day. The average intake today is 15 g or less!
6. Drink plenty of filtered water. Staying hydrated is extremely important when you're detoxifying your body. Filtered water is even more important because of the toxins that lurk in water supplies. Drinking more water will of course make you need to urinate more frequently, and that's exactly the point. Urinating is another way to expel toxins from your system.


Photo credit. Free Digital Photos.

Foulkes, E. C. (1990). Biological effects of heavy metals. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Marz, R. B. (1999). Medical nutrition from Marz: (a textbook in clinical nutrition). Portland, Or: Omni-Press.

Vasey, C. (2009). The naturopathic way: How to detox, find quality nutrition, and restore your acid-alkaline balance. Rochester, Vt: Healing Arts Press.

Mills, S., & Bone, K. (2000). Principles and practice of phytotherapy: Modern herbal medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.

Gaby, A. (2011). Nutritional medicine. Concord, N.H: Fritz Perlberg Publishing.

Pizzorno, J. E., & Murray, M. T. (1999). Textbook of natural medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.

Ayres, J. G. 2010. Environmental medicine. London: Hodder Arnold.

Image Attribution: gepard/



One of the world's oldest spices, cilantro, dates back to 5,000 BC and is native to the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions. This famous herb was used in both ancient Greek and Roman cultures, mentioned in the Old Testament and used by early physicians, including Hippocrates, for its medicinal properties. The leaves of the plant have long been popular in culinary traditions of Latin American, Indian and Chinese cuisine. Medicinally, cilantro has been used in parts of Europe as a defense from diabetes, in India for its anti-inflammatory properties and recently studied in the U.S. for its cholesterol-lowering effects. In fact, recent research suggests that coriander may help control blood sugar and cholesterol levels, as well as free radical production.

Many of this herb's healing properties can be attributed to the dense content of phytonutrients in its volatile oil. A 2004 study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry also suggests that cilantro contains an antibacterial compound that may be a safe, natural defense against Salmonella. This particular compound, called dodecenal, is found in both the seeds and fresh leaves of cilantro, making cilantro an excellent addition to most any meal for flavor and protection. There are many ways to integrate this aromatic and beneficial herb to your diet and in doing so, here are some tips to help you choose, prepare and store it. Fresh cilantro leaves should have a vibrant deep green color, firm, crisp and free from yellow or brown spots. Highly perishable, fresh coriander should be wrapped in a damp cloth or paper towel, placed in a container and stored in the refrigerator. You may want to consider freezing cilantro in ice cube trays using water or stock to use when preparing soups and stews. Fresh cilantro is fragile, so it is best to clean it by swishing it around with your hands in a bowl of cold water, dislodging any dirt on it. Empty the water and repeat this process until there is no dirt left in the water.


Photo credit. Free Digital Photos. /Herbs_and_Spices_g68-Raw_Coriander_Leaves_p82336.html.

Cilantro & Coriander Seeds. The World's Healthiest Foods.

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Experts agree, dietary fiber is an important tool in fighting and preventing heart disease, colon cancer, diabetes and even obesity. Most experts agree that a key defining characteristic of dietary fiber is that it's derived from the edible parts of plants that are not broken down by human digestive enzymes, but the official definition is still up for debate. One complication in defining fiber is that fibers come in variety of forms, some soluble, some insoluble, some viscous, some fermentable and others not.

Like soluble fibers, viscous fibers lower serum cholesterol by reducing the absorption of dietary cholesterol. Soluble fiber may also reduce the amount of cholesterol manufactured by the liver. Viscous fibers help normalize blood glucose levels and increase insulin sensitivity, making them helpful in preventing and treating type 2 diabetes. Viscous fibers also slow food as it leaves the stomach, providing a full feeling and helping to prevent overeating and weight gain. Animal studies have also suggested some dietary fibers may help lower blood cholesterol levels. In addition, fermentable fibers help maintain healthy populations of friendly bacteria which enhance the immune system by preventing harmful bacteria from growing in the intestinal tract. Insoluble and non-fermentable fibers help maintain bowel regularity, decreasing the risk of colon cancer and hemorrhoids from straining and constipation.

The many forms of dietary fibers can be found among a spectrum of foods, from bran, oatmeal and whole grains, to legumes, root vegetables and cabbage, and even in fruits including apples, strawberries and citrus fruits, among others. Still, some of the best food sources of fiber include turnip greens, mustard greens, collard greens, navy beans, eggplant, raspberries and cinnamon. With the verdict still out on what is definitively a fiber, the simplest way to make sure you're getting all the vital fiber your body craves is to eat a healthy and balanced diet including a variety of these foods.


Fiber. The World's Healthiest Foods.

Marz, R. B. (1999). Medical nutrition from Marz: (a textbook in clinical nutrition). Portland, Or: Omni-Press.

Gaby, A. (2011). Nutritional medicine. Concord, N.H: Fritz Perlberg Publishing.

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At Home Enemas

Enemas have been used for centuries to cleanse the colon. Simply an injection of liquid via the anus, enemas may help relieve constipation, gas and bloating, cleanse the colon and reduce the body's toxic load. While the idea of giving yourself an at-home enema may seem like a daunting and uncomfortable task, it's actually a very simple process that often feels more awkward than uncomfortable. Enema solutions can help with a variety of symptoms, using one of a variety of recipes.

  • Aloe vera enemas: soothe and heal hemorrhoids and IBS.
  • Burdock root enemas: help remove calcium deposits, improving function of kidneys and bladder.
  • Catnip enemas: ease pain and cramping.
  • Slippery elm enemas: help correct both constipation and diarrhea, as well as help heal hemorrhoids and inflammatory conditions of the bowel.
  • Coffee enemas are highly regarded for their use in detoxifying the liver, intestinal walls and colon, and encouraging the release of toxic bile from the system.
  • Epsom salt enemas: increase the amount of water in the intestine and colon, stimulating a more thorough cleansing of the intestinal tract.
  • Lemon juice enemas: help rid the colon of excess feces and balance pH levels in the colon.
  • Salt water enemas: most comfortable and easiest for first time users.

Getting Started:


No matter which solution you choose, you'll need to do a few things to get started.
1. Your enema toolbox should include an enema bag with a clamp on the end of the tube to help control the flow and to prevent fluid from leaking out. You'll also want to make sure that the rectal tube is smooth, so as to avoid damage to the rectal lining.

2. You should be near a toilet and near a place to hang the enema bag, such as as a door handle or towel bar positioned between 1.5 and 3 feet above the floor.

3. Lay a few old towels and a pillow on the floor for comfort and cleanliness.

4. Heat your enema solution to between 98 and 104 F (37 to 40 C).

5. Ensure the tubing on your enema bag is secure, close the clamp and fill the bag with the warmed solution.

6. With your enema tools in place, lie down on your left side, with left leg straight and bend your right knee toward your chest, resting it on the floor. This will allow for the best reach and easiest enema application.

7. Before beginning, make sure there is no air in the tubing, then test the flow of the solution for a steady stream.

8. Lubricate the nozzle and your anus using a natural oil, then insert the nozzle a few inches into your anus, unclamp the tube and relax. If the solution doesn't start to flow, you may have inserted the nozzle a bit too far.

9. When you have finished emptying the enema or have taken in as much solution that you can comfortably hold, remove the nozzle and continue to lie on the floor, slightly clenching your anus to keep solution from leaking and try to hold the enema for 10 to 15 minutes.

10. Massage your abdomen in a counter-clockwise direction to assist the water to flow into the entire colon. When you're ready to evacuate, get up and move to the toilet. You'll want to stay close to a toilet for the next 30 to 60 minutes, as evacuating happens in stages.

11. After your enema, clean and sanitize your enema equipment thoroughly by boiling. Hang the bag and tubes to dry and never store enema equipment while it's still wet as it could grow mold. It is also important to reserve your enema equipment for your personal use only and never share it with anyone else.

As easy as at-home enemas are, it is not something that should be done when you have a list of things to accomplish during the same day. You'll want to rest after your enema, drink plenty of hydrating fluids and maintain a diet of light meals that include nourishing, cooked foods, such as steamed vegetables, for the rest of the day. For general maintenance and colon health it is recommended that you give yourself an enema once a month. And although enemas are generally safe and complications are very rare in healthy adults, it is still recommended that you discuss appropriate enema solutions, precautions and even procedures with Dr. Bossio before trying this at home.


Photo credit. Free Digital Photos.

Lindlahr, Henry, and Victor Hugo Lindlahr. 1931. The practice of nature cure. New York city: The Nature cure library, Inc.

"Colonic Enemas - A Naturopathic Treatment". 1998. TOWNSEND LETTER FOR DOCTORS AND PATIENTS. (180): 100.

7 Natural Enema Solutions You Can Use at Home. Flowing Free.

Herbal Enemas for a Happy and Healthy Colon. Flowing Free.

Everything you ever wanted to know about giving yourself an enema and were afraid to ask. Flowing Free.

Image Attribution: Praisaeng/

A Healthy Lymphatic System for a Healthy You

lymphatic system

The key to improving your body's immune function is to nourish your lymphatic system. Sometimes referred to as the body's secondary circulatory system, the lymphatic system carries away toxins and metabolic waste from the body's tissues. The lymphatic system is made up of lymph vessels, lymph nodes, tonsils, spleen and the thymus gland, and it helps regulate tissue pressure, immune functions and fat absorption in the intestine. If your lymphatic system is not healthy, toxins can build up and result in lower immune function. Here are 5 tips to help you care for your lymphatic system.

1. Eat potassium-rich foods. Your lymphatic system thrives on potassium-rich foods. Dark leafy greens, broccoli, bananas and seafood, like wild salmon, are some excellent choices to consider.

2. Reduce toxins. Additives and preservatives cause swelling and fluid retention. One such additive, monosodium glutamate, better known as MSG, is often disguised among other ingredients and can have degenerative and deadly effects on the brain and nervous system. Watch out for hydrolyzed anything, autolyzed anything, natural flavor, seasonings and spices, commercial soup or sauce bases, bouillon, broth and stock, gelatin and even aluminum cookware. All these can introduce toxins to your body that cause your lymphatic system to work overtime.The best way to avoid these is to simply get back to the basics and use all natural, unprocessed ingredients in your cooking.

3. Exercise...breathe. It is no secret that exercise is good for you, but did you know that even light exercise can benefit circulation of both your blood and lymph? Your lymphatic system relies on muscle movements to keep lymph moving through its vessels. Even light exercise such as standing calf raises or a walk around the neighborhood will stretch and contract your muscles, triggering the circulatory function within your lymphatic system. Moreover, deep breathing, which is often recommended as a technique for stress relief and boosting blood circulation, will also help release toxins and increase lymphatic circulation.

4. Skin brushing. Dry skin brushing increases blood and lymph circulation and boosts organ function by stimulating sweat glands and opening pores. It also softens skin and improves the complexion. On dry skin, before bathing, brush with a natural bristle brush gently over the skin. Start with your extremities and work your way to the center of your body, avoiding your face, always moving in the direction of the heart. 

5. Lymphatic massage. This therapeutic massage technique, also known as lymphatic drainage, uses gentle kneading motions to stimulate muscles and in effect, lymphatic vessels and flow. Just as with skin brushing, the motion should always be towards the heart (lymph openings). You can do this yourself or ask Dr. Bossio for a referral to a lymphatic massage practitioner. We discuss this in greater detail in article below.


Support the Lymphatic System - Your Secondary Circulatory System, Gloria Gilbère, N.D.,D.A.Hom., Ph.D. American Holistic Health Association.

Lymph flow dynamics in exercising human skeletal muscle as detected by scintography. Journal of Physiology (1997), 504.1, pp.233-239.

Pizzorno, J. E., & Murray, M. T. (1999). Textbook of natural medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.

Hudson, A. (2001). Lymphatic drainage: Therapy I. Castlecrag, N.S.W: Triam Press.

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The beet, a root vegetable, is thought to have grown wild in prehistoric North Africa, as well as along Asian and European seashores, and was primarily used as animal feed. It wasn't until the time of the ancient Romans that beets were cultivated for human consumption. And modern science has proven that beets are not only acceptable for human consumption, but  extremely beneficial to human health. Beets provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and detoxification support. They privide a unique and rich source of phytonutrients called betalains, which research has shown supports the detoxification processes of the body. Beets are a very good source of manganese, vitamin C, betanin, isobetanin and vulgaxanthin, making them an excellent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory as well. Research suggests that beets may also provide cardiovascular, anti-cancer and fiber-related benefits. A high sugar content food, raw beets are crunchy in texture but turn soft and buttery when cooked. To reap the full benefits of these wonderful roots you'll want to retain the betalains, which diminish with increased cooking time. To do this, limit steaming of beets to 15 minutes or less, and roasting to less than one hour. And the greens attached to the beet roots are full of nutrients as well, and can be easily prepared like spinach or Swiss chard for a colorful and tasty salad.


Beets. The World's Healthiest Foods.

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