Herbs & Acupuncture for Detox

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Chinese Medicine for Detox

Cautions About Detox

Detoxification is appropriate only when toxicity is confirmed and verified.  Using these herbs for general cleansing, without symptomatic or other proof of toxicity is NOT recommended.  Assumptions that we are toxic because we live in a toxic environment are generally incorrect.  In modern Western countries such environmental poisonings are rare, despite the alarms about pollutants and the convictions of many alternative medicine practitioners.

You may be less toxic than you think. Many ailments attributed to toxicity by holistic practitioners have other causes, more easily perceived through the eyes of Traditional Chinese Medicine.  When the body is harmonious, it cleans itself remarkably well.  Purgation therapies, though they may improve symptoms initially, rarely solve long-term problems, because they do not address root causes.   Even more dangerous is the fact that detox therapies are usually costly to the Qi, and that many complaints that motivate people to seek these therapies are actually caused by weak Qi.


When to Detoxify: Signs and Symptoms of Toxicity

  • Hot painful sores, red swellings, hard nodules
  • blotchiness or purpuric rash
  • carbuncles, abscesses, boils, erysipelas, and other skin eruptions,
  • fevers, swollen sore throat, tonsillitis, mumps and other infections and epidemic poisons
  • cancers, jaundice

Note that fatigue, lethargy, loose stool, and weakness are signs of deficiency rather than toxicity.  People with these symptoms are advised NOT to undergo most kinds of detoxification.

Shen Clinic TCM consultation

 Chinese Herbs that Clean Toxins

There are times when detoxification is appropriate, and there are several categories of herbs that are used for this purpose.   But care must be taken as many of these herbs can have unwanted side-effects. That’s why these herbs are almost never used alone. Chinese medicine combines herbs into formulas to heighten their effects and reduce their side effects.

Single herbs that detoxify

Honeysuckle – Jin Yin Hua
Forsythia – Lian Qiao
Isatis (indigo) – Ban Lan Gen
Dandelion – Pu Gong Yin
Violet – Zi Hua Di Ding
Purslane – Ma Chi Xian
Chinese Dittany Root – Bai Xian Pi
Puffball – Ma Bo
Silkworm – Jiang Can

Purgative Herbs

Rhubarb rhizome – da huang

Epsom salt – mang xiao

Senna leaf – fang xie ye

Aloe – lu hu

Purgative herbs are to be used with caution, and should not be used by pregnant women


Prepared Chinese Medicines To Clean Toxins

Chinese Bitters

This Chinese medicine is a combination of bupleurum and gentian and has been widely promoted on the web as a cure for many problems. In fact, it is useful only as a way to clear damp heat from the liver and gallbladder.

Lian Qiao Bai Du San

This Chinese medicine is useful to treat skin conditions caused by toxic heat in the blood causing skin conditions, particularly conditions with pus or fluid discharge. 

Zaocys Tablets

Treats skin conditions caused by external toxins such as poison ivy or poison oak.

Yin Chiao Chieh Tu Pian

Honeysuckle and forsythia clean toxin pill is generally known as a cold remedy, however, this Chinese herbal medicine can also be used for skin rashes caused by toxicity, 




There are several hundred acupuncture points throughout the body. The ear is a micro system of the whole body. During detoxification acupuncture of the ear is the chosen area to treat. There are several reasons for this. The ear is easy to reach and is very close to the brain. The ear is located in the temperal bone. This is of neurological significance as all the cranial nerves (except two) run through the temperal bone into the ear. There is speculation that treating the ear is stimulating the cranial nerves. In giving stimulation to the cranial nerves one is directly accessing the brain and helping it to begin manufacturing the peptides which bond together to form the endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine which the body needs to experience normalcy, and which are thrown out of balance through sustained narcotic use. There are five primary points in the ear used. They are the sympathetic, shen mein, kidney, liver, and heart-lung points. Only the last three of these are used in heroin detox.

Acupuncture has been proven to be successful in both clinical settings and under controlled experimental conditions. The results obtained from a one year acupuncture detoxification program study in Portland, Oregon and a blind study of acupuncture treatment with chronic alcoholics in Hennepin County, Minnesota are:

    • People who received acupuncture detoxification treatment were two times more likely to continue in rehabilitation therapy than people who did not receive acupuncture treatment.

    • More than 70% of people treated with acupuncture successfully completed detoxification, compared with only 50% of those who did not receive the treatment. For those detoxifying from alcohol, the success rate was 90%.

  • Recidivism (tendency to relapse) of alcohol and drug addicts decreased from 20-25% to 5% for patients receiving acupuncture detoxification treatments.

In a blind study of chronic alcoholics in Hennepin County, 37% of the treatment group receiving acupuncture completed the program. Only 7.4% of the control group had a successful completion of the program.

 Information on this site is provided for educational purposes and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your own physician or another medical professional. We make no claims as to efficacy or safety of herbs or herbal medicine appearing on this site. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.