7 African Herbs and remedies for body detoxification

We expose our bodies to toxins every day by just living our lives and interacting with our environment. Our bodies are beautifully and complexly designed to work more efficiently than any machine that we know. one of our body’s numerous functions is to break down, process, and remove toxins from our bodies which are introduced into our body mainly through our environment, food and the air we breathe.

The removal of toxins in out body systems is done to generally improve its health and performance. However, we somestimes try to aid this process with remedies when we start to feel sick or when we are becomin uhealthy.

We should not forget that the skin, liver, kidneys, lungs and the digestive tract are working round the clock without breaks to protect the body and flush out any harmful substances through our wastes such as sweating, stool, and urine.

Most of the popular detoxification also known as detox methods are through eliminating certain foods from your diet for a period of time, taking a certain foods only, fasting, etc. There is much skepticism by medical professionals on the effectiveness of the elimination and one-food detox methods. Personally, I have had no experience with such detoxification methods so i can’t say mcuh about them.

However, it is important to remember that healthy diets of natural from-the-soil foods are important to our body’s health. Long periods of a single-food diet or long periods of not eating properly can have some negative consequences on our health and general well-being. Such a situation can be unfortunate because while we are trying to improve and support our body’s performance, we end up creating more health problems.

Effects of Toxins in the body

Toxins in the body can become like poison that contribute to or trigger some diseases when they are not properly flushed out of the body. Most of the time, the body’s reaction to toxins in the body is not immediate. It takes a while before you can statrt to see its effects. This is why often, people cannot tell the link between their body’s toxins and their health problems. Toxins in the body are often linked to:

  • Inability to lose weight
  • Weakness, fatigue with no known cause
  • Constantly getting ill
  • Low immunity
  • Mood swings
  • Poor memory and concentration
  • Skin reactions such as rahes, acne, etc.
  • Sleeping problems
  • Headaches
  • Body odour
  • Unexplained weight gain etc.

Does it work?

The short answer is yes. Detoxes do work. However, you have to find a safe and correct detox remedy or regimen that will fit your body and its needs.  There are many detox diets that are said to be effective but most do not do much of cleansing the body but more like just improving the quality of their diet. This is not the end goal when a detox is needed.

When to detox

A detox is encouraged or needed when health problems such as the above mentioned become a constant in your life. It will be good to do a detox of all the major detoxification organs of the body which are liver, kidney and the digestive system. These three key parts of the body when detoxified can drastically improve our overall health.

In Nigeria, body detoxification was a very common practice in the past. A yearly or seasonal detox was habitual in most of our past societies as they believed that our health was something that we have to be always conscious of not just when we get sick. Ironically, we have abandoned such practices when we are almost always in contact with these chemicals and pollutants in our environment unlike in the past.

There are many types of detoxes where some target a certain part of the body while others are for improving general health. I am not aware of an effective singular full body detox which is why we will be discussing isolated parts of the body. We will be focusing on the use of herbs and natural remedies for the different parts of the body that are usually included in a detox in traditional Nigerian medicine.

Detox Herbs and remedies

Digestive system detox

Our digestive system is very important if you want to have a healthy body. It is was recently discovered that our gut is the second brain of the body where many of our body functions are regulated and maintained. As the second center of the body, it means its health condition is crucial to achieving and maintaining good health.

The herb that was commonly used for a digestive cleanse in northern Nigeria is Senna italica locally called “pulasko or filasko” in Hausa. It used to be used until about 50-60 years ago when Nigeria gained its independance and life style changed. it was a trsdition at the end of every year to detox the guy and prpeare your body for the coming year.

Senna Italica herb

This is a purgative herb that grows in dry climates around the country. A person should know that by using this herb, he/she will have to stay at home for atleast 3 days or more because while undergoing this detox, you will experience diarrhea. This diarrhea flushes the toxins, wastes and other clutters from the stomach and it stops once the treatment is finished.

Caution: should be exercised by pregnant women as it is not safe for them and shown by this study but it is generally safe for all other people.  You can read more about it here.

Liver detoxification

As one of the major organs and the second largest organ in the body, the liver has more than 500 tasks it carries out every day Its main task of being the body’s filter means it is often in contact with toxins. We need our liver to be always in a good condition be for it its role in the body and for our health cannot be understated. This is why liver damage and liver diseases cause such havoc on the body because many important tasks are left undone or not properly done hence, the body becomes very sick.

Thesium veride Herb

Thesium veride also known as huntu in Hausa language, is a short shrub herb that grows in mountainous regions of the country. It is a known herb in Nigeria as it is quite distinct  and easily recognized by its long stalks bundled together with no leaves.

This herb is a safe drug and is a little more expensive than most herbs in the country. It is very effective in liver cleansing and invigorating and is often used to remedy liver related problems such as hepatitis.  You can get it in the local herbal market in almost any state in Nigeria.

How to use:

  • Boil half a bunch of the herb in about a liter of water
  • Take the water extract for twice a day in the morning and evening after meals.
  • Take the water this herb for about a week.

Pawpaw/papaya seeds

The pawpaw seeds are rich is vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, mono-saturated fatty acids and fibers. These rich seeds are used in natural medicine for intestinal parasites, gut health, infections and for today, liver health . You can read more about them here.

Caution*: These seeds are very potent hence, taking it in large amounts can harm your body. Do not use more than the indicated amount on this page. 

How to use:

  • Remove the seeds from the pawpaw fruit
  • Dry then thoroughly across a week or so, until they are completely dry
  • Blend, pound or grind the dried seeds to powder
  • Use a pinch of the seed powder (not more than that) in pap or yoghurt twice a day. After meals
  • Do not use for more than 5 days. Remember it is a very strong and powerful remedy which means it can harm you if taken carelessly.

Blood detoxification

Blood detoxification is the cleansing of the blood form imbalance and toxins that it may contain. While there are organs that filter the blood from unwanted substances and maintain the balance in the body, they are not always very efficient because we tend to overburden our body system through our lifestyle and food choices.  Some blood in the body can become a burden and this can contribute or cause some health problems unless it is removed.


Cupping is an old detoxification method and body invigorating therapy that was once commonly performed in Nigeria some many years back. The rural areas, traditioanl settings and traditional medicine practitioners in the country continue to employ it in their therapies to this day.

Though most the population have lost the culture of body detox and maintenance therapies, it still remains to be very powerful and effective therapy for improving our body function and health.

Cupping is the use of plastic, ceramic cups, horns or bamboo to create suction from the skin to draw out “the dirty blood” or to improve blood flow in the body. This dirty blood is the blood in the body that has been exhausted, contaminated or filled with toxins which is why it has an unusually dark red almost black color. Remember to always buy a new cup or bring your own cup from home to avoid contracting blood borne diseases and infections.

Due to the blood loss after the therapy, one might feel dizzy, nausea, or light headed. it is advised that you stay at home and eat blood replenishing foods and that will help you recover what has been removed from the body.

Leptadenia hastata Herb

Botanical name: Leptadenia hastata

Hausa name: Yadiya

This herb is actually a food like bitter leaf used in soups Nigeria. Yadiya is eaten both as a snack and as a food especially in Northern Nigeria. It is both a blood booster and a blood purifier, antioxidant, anti-bacterial etc. Here, its leaves can be juiced or cooked in soup to eat with tuwo, eba, amala etc. It is a relatively safe herb to use without any side effects in most people.

How to use:

  • Juice a washed handful of the herb and take it after meals
  • Do this twice a day
  • Otherwise, make a soup of the herb to eat it as food
  • Do this treat for 3-7 days according to your needs

Kidney Detoxification

One of the main function of the kidney is to filter blood and waste from the body and pass it out through the urinary tract. Proper hydration is very important to keeping the kidney in good health hence juices and liquid-based cleanses and diets are common many in kidney detoxes.

Corn silk  

The thin, long, shiny and wiry strands of hair-like fiber that is seen after removing the green cover of the raw, whole corn is called the corn silk or “gemun masara” as known in Hausa. Corn silk is known for its rich minerals and vitamins which makes it very beneficial to the kidney and helps in resolving kidney related health conditions.

Some of these health conditions include kidney stones, urinary tract infection (UTI), bladder infection,  cleansing the kidney and improving its performance. You can read more about corn silk here and here.

How to use:

  • Boil the raw corn silk (a single hand full) or the powdered corn silk (a teaspoon) in about half a liter of water.
  • Sieve the tea and allow it to cool
  • Take this remedy twice in the day. Befoe meals
  • Use this remedy for about 5-7 days and that should be enough.


Today, we embark on body detoxes just a once ot twice a year at most but we should remember that we are always exposed to toxins every day of our life. Natural detoxes such as through sweating, vigorous physical activity e.g. exercise, urine are encouraged to be included into our daily lives and activities. This way, only detoxing once or twice in a year will be sufficient for us.

Water and proper hydration is crucial to the health and function of most of our organs included in cleansing our body. We have to remember to always take adequate amounts of water throughout the day. If we do not, then these detoxes will not really help us in the long run unless we fix that habit.

Eating healthily throughout the year as much as we can is important in keeping a healthy mind and body. So please, avoid bad diets and eating habits. It is very common for people to assume that a body detox will fix their harmful eating habits and solve the problem. It can, but only for the moment.

It is much better to eat healthy natural foods and to pair it with a detox once or twice in a year as we cannot avoid all the toxins in our food and environment from making their way into our body.

When choosing your detoxification path, we should remember to stay within the safe line and not to go overboard with starvation fasts, use of laxatives and diuretics etc. to achieve our goal (which by the way are not effective in the long run). You can always tell if a detox is healthy or not so beware and choose wisely.

I hope you got what brought you here. These are herbal and home remedies that are very effective in treating different parts of the body and improve our general health. You can choose to detoxify all the mentioned body components or just one part depending on your needs.

Thank you for stopping by and please rate this article down below so that I can improve on my writing and delivery and let me know of your experience with these remedies or questions if you have any in the comment section below.

Bye for now!

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