hawthorn berriesIn natural medicine, the words detoxify and detoxification have become as ubiquitous as the air we breathe. These terms are so commonly used nowadays that to many, they have lost some of their significance. One can easily read numerous articles encouraging us to detoxify our livers, detoxify to lose weight, detoxify to look better, feel great and much more. However, what exactly is detoxification and why is it not something that everyone should do?

What is Detoxification?

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines detoxify as such: to remove poison or toxin or the effects of such from and to render (a harmful substance) harmless. Although necessary and valuable in many instances, at times the methods used to cause the body to detoxify can often produce undesirable side effects like headaches, fatigue, flu-like symptoms, skin rashes, etc. Basically, detoxification can be an intense endeavor as it forces the body to remove toxins, whether or not an individual has the proper physical and/or nutritional reserves.

Why is Drainage important?

On the other hand, drainage is a physiological action that facilitates the person’s natural ability to eliminate toxins. In short, drainage is considered a milder, gentler form of detoxification.

“Drainage is the combination of measures to be used to ensure the regular elimination of toxins that burden the body of a person. I say of a person, not of person, because the fact of great importance to remember is that drainage must always be individualized.”

~ Dr. Leon Vannier
(Vannier, L. La Pratique de l’Homeopathie, editeurs G. Doin & Cie, 4th edition, Paris. p. 454, 1950)

Drainage assists the body in eliminating endogenous (inside) and exogenous (outside) toxins. For example, our cells are constantly producing carbon dioxide and urea; in addition, we are constantly being bombarded with pesticides, heavy metals and xenobiotics (chemical compounds that are foreign to the body) from our surrounding environment. In “healthy” individuals, the elimination of these toxins via the skin, lungs, kidneys and liver via the colon is effective enough at removing toxins regularly. However, problems can quickly arise when any of these routes of elimination are blocked.

Problems of blocked elimination pathways often manifest in numerous health conditions:

  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Chronic skin disorders like eczema, psoriasis
  • Gas & bloating
  • Hormonal imbalances: adrenal, thyroid, pituitary
  • Irritable bowels, constipation and diarrhea
  • Menstrual disorders
  • Migraines
  • …and many more

Drainage therapies are great at assisting the body in processing and removing these toxins; thus, lowering one’s toxin burden. Once the toxic load is decreased, individuals often have increased energy, less pain, better digestion and mental clarity.

What are Drainage remedies and therapies?

Drainage remedies and therapies can vary in their forms. For example, certain drainage remedies are liquid solutions of homeopathic plants and minerals. The potent homeopathic combinations contain plants, which have an affinity for certain organ systems, i.e. hawthorn for the cardiovascular system; along with minerals to catalyze (speed up) chemical reactions on a cellular level, i.e. selenium for thyroid hormone production. These remedies can be taken sublingually or applied topically to stimulate waste elimination. In addition, numerous other therapies like dietary changes and hydrotherapy application are also considered drainage therapies. Increasing one’s intake of water can support proper bowel movements and nourish the skin. While daily dry skin brushing and the regular topical application of castor oil packs to the abdomen can strongly impact the immune and gastrointestinal systems.

Who can benefit from drainage?

Everyone can benefit! Anyone who is exposed to endogenous and exogenous toxins on a regular basis, anyone with a chronic or acute illness, anyone who wants to strengthen and/or support their body’s natural ability to eliminate properly, all make great candidates. Drainage is a system of medicine that is gentle, non-toxic and can be used in combination with any other conventional or natural therapy. So schedule an appointment with a Peoples practitioner today to determine which drainage remedies and/or therapies are best for you!


by Blake Gordon, ND*. Blake is available for consultation at the Westlake location.


*Naturopathic doctors are not currently licensed in the state of Texas.