Updated: Oct 21
The first part of detoxing heavy metals is opening overburdened detox pathways, but that's only half the battle. Once the body is working better on its own, we move on to incorporating herbs that encourage heavy metal detoxification.
If you read my blog, Should You Worry About Heavy Metals, you know I highly recommend detoxing from heavy metals if you can. Of course, a heavy metal detox may not be right for you, especially if you have certain dental fillings or other forms of metals implanted in your body.
If you've ever done a detox, you know the first part of detoxing is opening overburdened detox pathways; detoxing from heavy metals is no different. Once the body is working better on its own, it's a great time to improve your diet while incorporating herbs that encourage heavy metal detoxification.
If you follow the beginner, intermediate, and advanced steps discussed in my blog, How to Detox From Heavy Metals, encouraging heavy metal detoxification is the final step. There are many ways to encourage heavy metal detoxification. When I did my heavy metal detox, I used a combination of Earthley’s Vaccine Detox and the following herbs.
If you follow me on TikTok, you know Chlorella is my go-to heavy metal detoxifier. I have used chlorella powder in smoothies as well as chlorella tablets. Aside from being a highly nutritious superfood, chlorella effectively detoxifies heavy metals. Animal studies indicate chlorella removes heavy metals and other harmful compounds from the body (3). One animal study found algae like chlorella to weaken the toxic effects of these heavy metals in the liver, brain, and kidneys (4). Chlorella has also been proven to help decrease the amount of other harmful chemicals found in our food supply, like dioxins (5).
It's important to ensure you are using other detoxification methods along with chlorella to ensure the heavy metal binds and leaves the body. Learn more about chlorella in my chlorella herbal profile.
Aside from being a delicious herb we add to food, cilantro is also highly recognized for its ability to detox heavy metals. Several studies have demonstrated that cilantro can reduce the absorption of lead when food tainted with it is fed to mice, and cilantro leaves can produce a chelating effect in water spiked with heavy metals (6). Another study found cilantro soup was reported to enhance mercury excretion following dental amalgam removal (7).
Aside from being a delicious addition to almost any meal, garlic also has amazing detoxification abilities, even for heavy metals. One study found garlic to be a promising antidote to heavy metal toxicity due to its possession of plant compounds containing organo-sulfur groups, volatile oils, enzymes, carbohydrates, and amino acids (8). Another study found garlic boosts up the absorption of heavy metals in Lolium perenne of Cd 66% and Pb 44% (9). A final study uncovered garlic's potential to enhance the excretion of cadmium through feces (10).
Green tea, commonly known as an antioxidant-rich beverage, is also brimming with heavy metal detoxing properties. One study found green tea protective against lead and cadmium-induced oxidative stress (11). Another study discovered green tea has anti-oxidative and anti-metaltoxic properties (12). Additionally, green tea has a mitigative effect against mercury chloride-induced toxicity (13).
Oregon Grape Root
Oregon grape root plays a critical role because it contains a substance called berberine (14), which can help to destroy biofilms (15), thus releasing parasites, toxins, and metals that are bound up. Oregon grape root can help to fight drug-resistant fungi (16) and yeasts (17), helping to heal and soothe the gut lining. Additionally, studies show that Oregon grape root acts as a strong antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral compound (18).
Like chlorella, spirulina is an alga well-known for being a highly nutritious superfood, but it also has robust detoxification abilities. Spirulina can play a vital role in mitigating heavy-metal toxicity, including arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury toxicities (19). Additionally, a study review demonstrated that spirula possesses promising heavy-metal toxicity-ameliorative effects that are mainly attributed to its intrinsic antioxidant activity (20).
I have tried using spirulina powder in smoothies but could not get past the taste or texture. Instead, Earthley's Green Powder was a great alternative for my smoothies, which contains spirula as well as other superfoods like kelp, green tea, alfalfa leaf, spinach, and lemon balm. I added the Greens Powder with the chlorella powder in smoothies. They also offer Greens Powder Capsules if smoothies aren't your thing.
Remember, after inducing heavy metal detoxification, you must continue to support the body. Ensure to to support your entire body -- organs too! Last but definitely not least, try to refrain from entering a state of toxin overexposure again. Of course, since we are exposed to heavy metals every day, I encourage maintenance detoxes every few months.
⚠️ Warning: The Holistic Hipppie is not a functional medicine practitioner. The FDA has not evaluated these statements. This content is not medical advice and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure, or replace medical guidance. The Holistic Hipppie assumes no liability for the application of the information discussed.