Our bodies are incredibly sophisticated machines. We are able to take in a huge variety of foods, liquids, and other substances, break them down, metabolize them, take what we need from them, and get rid of whatever is leftover. When our bodies are working smoothly, we are able to eliminate all the extras from what we take in, as well as expel toxins and other unhelpful compounds. However, for most of us living in the modern era, our elimination is lacking…and I’m not just talking about what goes in the toilet!
The Importance of Elimination
As the old adage goes, “what we don’t eliminate, we accumulate,” and this is the beginning of all dis-ease. When we have more acids and toxins in our bodies than we can get rid of, the inklings of illness begin to take hold. So, in order to heal or prevent disease, we must focus on the elimination pathways! Opening up these pathways does take time for many people, but it is possible with the right foods, herbs, and other healing practices. Once the roads are clear, your body can finally release years of accumulated junk, leading to a reduction in symptoms.
We have four main elimination pathways – the kidneys/bladder, the colon/bowels, the skin, and the lungs/breath. To live a life of vitality, all four of these must be working properly. So, let’s explore each of these parts of the body, one at a time!
1. The Kidneys/Bladder
I want to start with this one, because I’ve found it’s the one that most people struggle with. We’re simply not taught the truth about our kidneys, and how critical they are in getting rid of cellular waste. Plus, we aren’t taught how to check on how our kidneys are doing, and it’s much less obvious than say, how many bowel movements we’re having in a day, or whether our skin is breaking out. Because kidney function (kidney filtration) isn’t as obvious, it goes unchecked, many people missing this first sign of dis-ease accumulation.
The kidneys are the main filter for our lymphatic system, the body’s trash collection system. As the blood is responsible for feeding and nourishing the cells, the lymph is responsible for cleaning those cells. So the lymph fluid is filled with acids, cellular waste, bacteria, etc…and that junk gets filtered through the kidneys, and (ideally) eliminated through the urine.
We can check how well this system is working by observing our first urination each morning – if we see sediment or cloudiness settling to the bottom of the jar, this is a sign of kidney filtration. If the urine is perfectly clear (not color, but consistency), then the kidneys need some help. Many people require the use of herbs, to open their kidneys again. I’ve had good luck with the Kidney/Bladder formulas, both capsules and tinctures.
2. The Skin
Our skin is sometimes called the “third kidney,” as it is often a reflection of how well our kidneys are filtering. The skin is the largest organ we have, by far, and it is an important place to look, when trying to assess the health of our insides. With thousands of tiny pores and glands, our skin is our body’s first defense against outside invaders, as well as how we regulate temperature and release toxins from the lymph. Much of our lymphatic system sits just under the skin, and these two systems are intimately connected.
I like to break down skin elimination into two main groups – helpful/normal elimination, and forced elimination. When our skin is open and our other elimination pathways are working, we eliminate toxins and acids via sweat. This is the main way that the skin helps cleanse the body. However, when our skin is clogged and the other elimination pathways are too, we see forced elimination in the form of acne, rashes, eczema, moles, and other skin issues. This is simply a sign that all that cellular waste isn’t able to get out in a normal way, so it’s being pushed out through the skin!
Getting good skin elimination requires a few steps. First, stop using conventional/toxic body products like makeup, lotions, creams, etc…that clog the skin. Second, if you don’t sweat well, address the thyroid to bring up its function – good sweat is essential! And third, work on opening the kidneys, to relieve some of the burden on the skin, and support the liver function as well. You can use a specialized skin herbal formula too, if you’d like.
3. The Colon
Did you know that the average human intestine is nearly 30 feet long, with a surface area the size of a tennis court? Our GI tract is a powerhouse of digestion, absorption, and elimination, and we devote incredible amounts of energy to maintaining this system. The colon itself, also called the large intestine, is the last stop on this metabolic highway. When most people think of elimination, they think of bowel movements, and funny enough, this is where most people are backed up.
Because of the foods, chemicals, and other substances we put in our bodies (before we knew better, of course!), most of our colons are impacted with what’s known as mucoid plaque. This plaque forms as a defense mechanism, to wall off putrefying food and other toxins, eventually sticking to the sides of the colon and hardening there. Additionally, many of us have sulfur deposits in our GI tracts. We’re supposed to be having bowel movements 3-4x/day, but many people barely have one!
Hippocrates is quoted as saying “all disease begins in the gut.” Once stagnation builds up in the colon, and routine elimination slows, we’re on the road to some nasty symptoms! I recommend regular Stomach & Bowel formulas for nearly everyone, and the addition of anti-parasitic herbs and the GI Broom for deeper detox.
4. The Lungs
You’ve probably heard of the benefits of deep breathing, but did you know one of the underlying reasons is because the lungs are a vital elimination pathway? That’s right, respiration is a key way that our bodies release toxins. If you’ve ever had a really nasty cough, you’ll know just how much mucus our lungs can expel! Not only do the lungs directly eliminate mucus and toxins, but the act of breathing brings more oxygen into the bloodstream, helping the cells of the body better metabolize wastes. Deep breathing helps to manually move the lymphatic system too!
Our world’s air quality is not what it once was. Very few people enjoy truly clean air that is free from harmful substances. Our lungs are under strain more than ever before, with the presence of airborne toxins like mold, car exhaust, cigarette smoke, cleaning chemicals, fragrances, and other modern inventions. Many people struggle to take a deep breath anymore, and things like asthma and COPD are only becoming more common. It’s important to detoxify the lungs, to reduce risk of pulmonary symptoms or strain.
When we examine these four elimination pathways, it’s clear to see the body’s innate intelligence. It provides many ways for harmful substances to exit the body, to keep us safe and healthy. Allowing acids, wastes, and other toxins to leave is the key to true and lasting health, so don’t forget to work on opening up all four of these pathways!