The Healing Crisis

While I was sampling our honey spreads at Whole Foods a couple days ago, I met a nice older woman who was a little nervous about trying something new and healthy.  She had apparently been reading a lot about “cleansing” and had decided to give it a try herself.  It sounded like she had gone with a whole foods cleanse rather than one of those that you get out of a box, however she had had such a horrible and confusing experience.  After a day, she broke out in an itchy rash all over her torso.  Her response was to throw all of the healthy food she had just bought away… all of the quinoa, ginger, lemons, shiitake and other yummy stuff went right out and she said she isn’t touching any of them ever again.  She went on the say that she looked everything up on the internet and found a site that expressed caution in using ginger if you have sensitive skin.  She therefore decided she must be allergic to ginger.  I asked her if it specified using it internally or externally… of course it didn’t!  So just to clarify, most likely this site was talking about the use of ginger externally.  It can indeed irritate and even burn if used externally on sensitive skin- just ask my husband about that (have I already shared how I burned him once with ginger while treating him for a cold?)

My advice to her was totally different.  I explained that the best thing she could do was to keep going.  That, while an allergy wasn’t totally out of the question, what she was experiencing was most likely what is known as a “healing crisis”.  When we start a detox or cleanse, often the organ targeted for clean-up is our liver.  Many skin conditions are the outward sign of a clogged liver, while new rashes can often be an expression of another eliminative organ’s distress- the kidney.  The healing crisis comes into play because any time we are attempting to remove deep seated toxins from our body, it is much like wakening a sleeping enemy.  Those toxins had been happily rooted in one of our organs and may not have been overtly noticeable.  When we shake them loose, they begin to circulate freely in our body looking for an exit.  This, of course, can manifest itself in as many different ways as there are people.  It is most often seen though, that any current health issues will get worse for a time.  As skin is one of our largest organs of elimination, it is a logical place for us to see the acting out of this healing crisis.  This woman asked me, “what in the world could I have done to create such a toxic situation?”.  She was in her late 70’s, so I asked her “how long have you been eating conventional foods?”.  She said “all my life”.   Of course, there is the answer…  potentially some 50 years of pesticide, and later on, gmo build-up in the body can do some nasty stuff when we try to escort it out!

Many people get frustrated when they hit the “healing crisis” and stop what they were doing… thinking, “all this healthy stuff is bunk!  I feel worse than before!”  However, if they’d just push through it, when they got to the other side they would feel much better.  Knowing this, of course, in advance would be nice…. it would keep people from trying to detox during inadvisable times such as pregnancy, nursing, during an already weakened state, during recovery from an illness or when malnourished.  It would also help psychologically to know what you’re in for so that you have the willpower to continue on to the good part!!

Meeting this nice lady was timely for me!  We are in the process of going another step deeper into healthy foods… I am soaking and sprouting all our grains before grinding it myself, we are now drinking our own source of raw milk, etc.  I noticed just this morning that my body has been feeling bloated and heavy and that it is starting to eliminate at a greater rate.  This is great when you understand where you’re headed, but perplexing if you don’t make the connection!

If you wish to detox, but want to start slowly, there are some great herbs that can help.  Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) is a great traditional blood cleanser and liver detoxifier.  People used to drink it in the spring when they wanted to shift all the winter “bluh” they had collected.  It’s delicious, easy to find and easy to drink in a tea.  Do avoid it if you are currently on blood thinners (ex. coumadins) as Red Clover can be a mild blood thinner and shouldn’t be combined with allopathic medications of the same nature.

Have you ever done a detox/cleanse?  What kinds of healing crisis did you have to endure?


About Dawn Combs @ Mockingbird Meadows

I am a stay at home mom, homesteader and practicing herbalist who owns and operates an herbal health farm. I raise bees and medicinal herbs and am passionate about teaching others how to use herbs for health in their everyday lives.
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