Blood Cleansing Herbs

Yellow Dock Rumex crispus
Yellow Dock / Rumex Crispus

In this increasingly toxic world, we all need to take care to cleanse our system of the poisons. Blood cleansing herbs are a great way to undo some of the damage wrought by our contaminated environment. Blood cleansing improves circulation, removes toxins from the bloodstream, helps neutralize excess acidity and may reduce certain types of cancer.

My favorite blood cleansing herbs are Yellow Dock, Oregon Grape Root, Red Clover and Burdock Root. Other amazing blood cleansers include Poke Root, Chaparral, and Sheep Sorrel.

I will start by describing the qualities and contraindications of each of the herbs.

Yellow Dock – In traditional herbal medicine, yellow dock is thought to be a general health tonic. Yellow dock is thought to benefit the digestive tract, liver and skin. One of its primary uses by herbalists is for skin conditions associated with poor digestion, poor liver function or “toxicity”. It’s great for acne and other congestive skin conditions, which is why it’s become my all-time favorite cleansing herb.

Yellow dock has a mild laxative effect, due to constituents called anthraquinone glycosides. It appears to stimulate the release of bile and digestive enzymes. Yellow dock may cause mild diarrhea in some people. Call your health practitioner if you experience abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting.

Yellow dock should not be used by people taking drugs that decrease blood calcium, such as diuretics, Dilantin, Miacalcin, or Mithracin. Yellow dock should also not be used by people with kidney disease, liver disease, an electrolyte abnormality, or pregnant or nursing women.

Excessive use of yellow dock can cause a blood disorder called metabolic acidosis and life-threatening calcium deficiency in the blood. Call your health practitioner if you experience signs of low blood calcium, such as fatigue, seizures, confusion, muscle spasms, and numbness around the mouth.

Oregon Grape RootHerbalists use Oregon grape root in the treatment of bacterial diarrhea, intestinal parasites, and eye infections. It has a sedative effect on the smooth muscles lining the digestive tract and can relieve stomach cramps and abdominal pain.

Oregon Grape can be used in skin washes to deter the over production of skin cells that occurs in placque psoriasis. One of the advantages to using preparations of the whole herb, as opposed to using products that only contain berberine extracts is that Oregon Grape Root contains tannins that ease inflammation, irritation, and itching of the skin.

Herbalists consider Oregon Grape an excellent alternative to the now endangered Goldenseal. They are not botanically related, but they both contain the immune-stimulating, infection-fighting, antiseptic constituent berberine. Herbs that contain berberine are scientifically proven to protect against bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

Warning: Do not use Oregon Grape Root when chronic gastrointestinal irritation or inflammation is present, such as irritable bowel. The herb is not a problem for nursing mothers unless the baby has jaundice, however it should not be used while pregnant. Limit use to no more than 7 consecutive days for adults, 3 for children, exercise caution when using in children. Taking vitamin B6 supplements can give infectious bacteria resistance to the antibacterial toxins in the herb. So, deep six the B6 until you have completed your treatment.

Red Clover – Red clover blossoms are anti-inflammatory and contain beta-carotene and vitamin E. Red Clover purifies the blood because it acts as a diuretic and helps cleanse the liver, which otherwise circulates toxins through the bloodstream.

Chaparral – Chaparral leaves contain a powerful antioxidant and are an effective herbal antibiotic. Chaparral cleanses the lymph system, clears heavy metals from the blood and may be able to drive tumors into remission. Chaparral is a powerful blood purifier, but consumption could be harmful to the liver. If you already have a liver disorder you may be wise to avoid Chaparral. If you are in good health, you should still take care not to over use this herb.

Burdock Root – Traditionally herbalists all over the world use Burdock Root as a blood purifier. Burdock has been used by herbalists worldwide to treat a variety skin diseases such as abscesses, acne, carbuncles, psoriasis and eczema. Burdock can be either taken alone or combined with other remedies, such as Yellow Dock and Sarsaparilla. The beneficial effects of this herb includes increasing circulation to the skin, helping to detoxify the epidermal tissues. Burdock Root has been reported to destroy bacteria and fungus cultures. It is a popular detoxifying agent that produces a diuretic effect on the body which aids the filtering of impurities from the bloodstream. By promoting perspiration, Burdock Root eliminates toxins through the skin. By producing a detoxifying effect, Burdock Root aids blood circulation and produces a variety of positive side effects. Burdock Root contains inulin, a carbohydrate that strengthens the liver. The high concentration of inulin and mucilage aids in the soothing effects on the gastrointestinal tract. The high concentration of inulin is helpful for individuals that are afflicted with diabetes and hypoglycemia as it provides helpful sugar that does not provoke rapid insulin production. Inulin, which is very high in Burdock, is a resinoid or camphor-like hydrocarbon that is aromatic, stimulant, expectorant, tonic, stomachic, and antiseptic.

Burdock Root contains polyacetylenes that gives the herb its antibacterial and antifungal properties. It is used as a mild laxative that aids in the elimination of uric acid or gout. It is classified as an alterative, diuretic and diaphoretic. It helps the kidneys to filter out impurities from the blood very quickly. It clears congestion in respiratory, lymphatic, urinary and circulatory systems. Burdock releases water retention, stimulates digestion, aids kidney, liver and gallbladder function. It also functions as an aperient, depurative, and antiscorbutic.

Decoctions of Burdock have also been historically used for soothing the kidneys, relieving the lymphatic system, rheumatism, gout, GI tract disorders, stomach ailments, constipation, catarrh, fever, infection, fluid retention and skin problems. An article in Chemotherapy identified the chemical arctigenin contained in Burdock as an “inhibitor of experimental tumor growth.”

Both European and Chinese herbalists have long considered burdock root’s “lightly warming, moistening effect an excellent tonic for the lungs and liver.” It reportedly stimulates toxic waste through the skin and urine, improving digestion and is good for arthritis and rheumatism. Burdock is an aid to circulation because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity.

A recent study showed that Burdock blocked dangerous chemicals from causing damage to cells, suggesting the possibility that burdock may help decrease the risk of developing cancer from toxic chemicals.

Burdock root is rich in many minerals, including iron, which makes it a valuable restorative herb for the blood. Burdock root can be ingested cooked or raw, as a tea/infusion or tincture. To make a tea/infusion, dry the root and simmer in hot water, or use cut and sifted dried herb. A standard tincture dose is 30 drops twice daily.

Pokeroot – Pokeroot is found throughout the United States, Southern Europe and Northern Africa. It is beneficial for glandular disorders and cleans the blood by cleansing tissues and purifying the lymphatic system. Taken in large quantities it can upset the stomach and intestinal track; limit ingestion to five to 10 drops of tincture every three hours.

Sheep Sorrel – Sheep sorrel is high in vitamins, chlorophyll and iron. Dr. Marilyn Tucker, formerly of, explains that the chlorophyll helps promote healthy liver function, while the iron and vitamins cleanse and replenish the blood. Additionally, sheep sorrel is a diuretic, which cleanses the blood and the entire system. “The herb helps to clear the system of poisons and is also good for skin problems of all kinds”.

Now that you are familiar with the innate qualities of each herb, you can wisely choose the ones that will best serve your detox purposes. To get you started, here is one of my favorite blood cleansing recipes:

Blood Cleansing Infusion

½ tsp. Oregon Grape Root

¼ tsp. Yellow Dock

¼ tsp. Burdock Root, c/s (cut and sifted dried herb)

8 oz. Boiling hot water

Pour boiling hot water into a cup and immediately add herbs, in an infuser or tea bag. Let steep for at least 10 minutes, but I prefer 20 or until the water is cool enough to drink. The longer they steep the stronger the infusion.

The first week, you should drink only one cup of blood cleanser a day; the following week, you may drink two a day. In the weeks thereafter, you may take up to three cups of the blood cleanser in a single day, but no more than three. You may remain on a blood cleanse for as long as three months at a time, four at most. Then you should take a break of at least two months before starting again. I always wait three to six months, depending on how I feel. As the saying goes, “if it’s not dirty why clean it?”

There is another great Blood Cleansing recipe in our video – Blood Cleansers: Why? What? How? Click the link to view it. But these recipes are just to get you started.

You should feel free to experiment with herbs. Just remember to always research any herbs that you are interested in BEFORE consuming them. Herbs are amazing natural creations, but when used improperly, or by those whose systems simply can’t handle them – for whatever reason, they can also be dangerous. Be mindful of dosages and precautions. Not everyone can use every herb.

Note: Only use measuring spoons to measure the herbs. DO NOT use table/utensil spoons! You’d think that this would go without saying, but I have discovered over the years that it really does need to be said.


67 thoughts on “Blood Cleansing Herbs”

  1. Do you think that having a burdock root decoction still offers the same blood-cleansing properties as using the powder? Whenever I get the powder, it always seems to go bad before I get around to using it. But I’ll often times throw in some of the dried root with my licorice, dandelion, reishi and astragalus in a decoction when it’s cold out.
    Am I really missing out on something by avoiding the powder, you think?

    1. Hmm. You pose an interesting question, Jennifer. On the one hand, I believe powdered herb can give you a bit more benefit, since you are essentially taking in the whole herb in powder form, but on the other, you can’t really judge the quality of an herb that has been turned to powder. FYI, some suppliers (I won’t name names) have developed the habit of turning whole and cut & sifted herbs into powder once they’ve gotten a bit old. For this reason, I prefer cut and sifted herbs, which I use in decoctions and infusions. And yes, decoctions and infusions are both effective for preparing blood cleansing herbs. Though, for a root herb like burdock, decoction is the preferred method of the two. BUT if you prefer powdered herbs and find them more convenient, by all means, use the powder.

      If you are storing your powdered herbs in an airtight container, away from heat and direct light and the powder is still going bad quickly, you should be suspicious of your supplier. When it’s not a storage issue, it’s an age and quality issue. Herbs in any form should be good for at least one year, most last 2 to 3 years.

      1. Thanks so much! I think part of my problem was that I couldn’t tell if it had gone bad, and at the time I was moving a lot, so I would forget how long I’d had things, and they would end up in strange places before I found them…so that could have been part of it.
        Perhaps I’ll give it another try! Thanks for the info 🙂

      2. I bought burdock root. And its not the powder its dried pieces of the root that you have to infuse in boiling water. The problem is I can’t stand the taste of it. Is there a way I can make the burdock root “tea” taste better?

  2. Hi Apotechary, I came to this post to collect some valuable information about the herbs you are talking about. What I am thinking, is that many of them can help with recovering stomach and intestinal flora after having a stomach flu. I am curious about your opinion. Looking forward to hear from you.

    1. Hi Keneth. If your intestinal flora have been diminished or completely destroyed it is best to replenish them with Probiotcs. While herbs like Yellow Dock and Oregon Grape Root support digestive tract and intestinal health, they cannot recreate intestinal flora.

  3. truly burdock is one the best purifier herbs. my personal experience is i used to suffer a lot of inflammation in my body but now that condition is history.

  4. I am so excited about finding you; and my skin has always been wonderful but now am broke out in hives like sores. have been doing salt baths and lots of other stuff. but still getting new ones ; I really believe burdock root will do the trick. will keep you inform ; I own a small herb store and massage school. I have not sold much herbs since I started the school but would love to get back into some of the cleanse herbs and see how I do with it; Do you do wholesale my webpage is

    1. Hi Barbara. The answer to your question is No, I do not sell any products. And I cannot post links to websites that sell anything or even gives away free e-books. It’s against’s policy.

      I look forward to hearing whether or not Burdock Root solves your problem. Please, keep us posted. 🙂

    1. Thanks for all information I have got here now that I’m in Cape town which pharmacy I can buy this Burdock Root bcs I tried a lot bt no luck yet

      1. You’re welcome. I’ve never been to Cape Town. I assume you mean South Africa. Do a Google search if you can’t find a local herb merchant or health food store. You will find plenty of them online and many herb retailers ship around the world.

      2. Try Dischem! I live in Jhb and bought it in dischem. The brand is called “Natural Products” it comes in a green and white box.

  5. I’ve been getting abcesses on my skin on and off for a few years. I usually go to the Doctor to get antibiotics but I think I want to try something more natural. I need something to clean my blood. Do you recommend one specifically?

  6. @Cnythia: I bought my Burdock Root from a Chinese herb shop really inexpensive. There are many Chinese herbalist in Cape Town. I also get a moisturizer called Herbal Dry Skin Cream that Products of the Earth sells online for eczema along with Raw African Black Soap. It works wonders. Also, check your diet. My flare ups happen when I’m not eating well. Using Burdock Root & the cream help me double team my eczema.

      1. Dear Apothecary..

        I am visiting my parents in NZ. Can you tell me what I should be doing…. or rather where I can get what I need at a reasonable price.. I am in Kerikeri and but I am going to visit my brother in Christchurch.. I’m so upset but don’t want to give up the ghost just yet.. The world seems to be against me trying to get well and I am wondering if I am going to make it.. I was in Hawaii and feel that I picked up something there. The naturopath who diagnosed me in 1997 said that I was on my deathbed.. I feel like I am.. I am currently taking Echinacea 2 a day and Diatomaceous Earth in water (once a day).. and only brought a little Chaparral with me.. so it is going to run out.. Trying to figure out what to do.. before I give up… I hate those who have taken advantage of me.. in my weakened state.. The naturopaths said that I had parasites in my uterus and heart.. and I am struggling to maintain my sanity….. HELP! Feel like my life is over… 46 and never been married…I have tried everything at the health food stores in the US ( cleanses etc) Perhaps I haven’t done it right but I am so weak…

        Thank you ,


        1. Hi Viki. I’m sorry you are feeling poorly, but I honestly know nothing about New Zealand (NZ?). You can order certain herbs and other products online, but I assume you want something local and fast. Hopefully, one of our New Zealand readers will read you post and be able to point you in the right direction.

          If you are willing to order online, is a great company and they ship world wide.

          I would also suggest that you consult with an allopathic physician for a diagnosis. While I strongly believe that we should use holistic healing whenever possible, sometimes Western medical approaches are necessary and can be part of a larger, integrated healing regimen.

          Best of luck!

  7. wow,amazing. this herb is the ingredient for the skin clear product from kordeal and 21st century. according to that product, it can help the user on getting the beautiful skin.

      1. I think shahida is talking about burdock root,it an ingredient in the Kordeal clear skin supplement,the other ingredients are Echinacea,Sarsaparilla ,Marigold and Red Clover.

  8. I really love your Blood cleansing Infusion tea method. I will be buying these herbs. I have also heard about coffee enemas helping to help improve liver function. Do you know if I sometimes had a coffee enema and this blood cleansing infusion tea would it be to much for my liver? I don’t have liver problemsI do have low blood sugar.

  9. Hello, my 3 yr old daughter has suffered from eczema since birth and she usually itches more at bedtime. I’ve used raw Shea butter, natural oils and topical steriods prescribed by a doctor. I’m wondering if there is something I can give her that will help. She’s allergic to fish, peanuts and eggs. Also, my 6 yr old son has severe asthma and was wondering if he can take something as well. Both children get congested quite often. I’m tired of all the prescription drugs.

    1. I recommend you seek advice from a naturopathic physician, whose has experience treating children. NPs have the knowledge of traditional Western doctors, but understand alterative medicine as well. The AANP (American Association of Naturopathic Physicians) has a search directory on their website:
      You can even search by specialty, such as allergies/ asthma.
      Good luck! 🙂

  10. Hi I have been suffering with acne, the pimples are sometimes very painful and as it begins to go away a new one is appearing. I never had this problem until after having my twins which are now four years old. I’ve been going to the dermatologist regularly and I see no change. I was wondering do you think this blood purifier would work for me? If so I should mix the three herbs together? Is it okay to add lemon for flavor. Can I also continue to take my daily vitamins while on the Blood purifier?

    1. Blood cleansing has been known to help with acne and other skin issues. It has helped me many times, especially when using yellow dock. There are no guarantees, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt for you to try. Since your acne issue started after having children, it could be a hormone imbalance, but you would need to be tested to find out.

      Yes, you can continue taking your vitamin supplements. And I recommend using the combination I list in the article, but you can try other herbal combinations as well. I will tell you this, the tea will not taste better for adding in lemon. It’s not like Lipton ice tea. In fact, lemon may make it taste more unpalatable. But do as you like. What tastes wretched to one may delight the palate of another.

      Hope this helps. Thanks for commenting. 🙂

  11. This November I ended up with perioral dermatitis brought on by a form of hormonal contraceptive. (I have since terminated use of said contraceptive due to rash scare). I have been noticing improvement by drinking a commercial detox tea containing burdock root, dandelion, sarsaparilla, and others. I’m also taking an herbal skin supplement called AKN Skin Care which contains dandelion, burdock and yellow dock. My question is if there is any benefit to using these herbs topically on the affected skin areas – i.e. dissolving the contents of the gelatin capsules in water and apply to skin with cotton or gauze? I’m also wondering how long I should use these supplements. Do they become less effective if used for too long? Thanks for any suggestions.

    1. Hi Jennifer. Yes, you can use all three herbs topically to treat various skin conditions, but I suggest you forget the pills for topical application and use either a decoction or tincture of the herbs. As far as how long you can take these herbs internally, that depends on one’s age, health status and several other factors. If you want a more precise number you should see a naturopathic physician, licensed herbalist or holistic practioner, but to be on the safe side I would recommend no more than 3 months at a time. Frankly, over the years, I’ve discovered that it is often more effective to just use the actual herbs as either an infusion, decoction or tincture. HTH. Take care. 🙂

  12. Thank you for the suggestion to try a tincture of the herbs instead of the capsules. I’ve been taking an herbal detox tincture called Dermal Health by HerbPharm for a week now. After three days or so I began experiencing a white coated tongue. Is this a normal reaction to blood cleansing herbs?

    1. Hello Jennifer. You’re welcome. I’m happy I could help. The white coating on your tongue is nothing to worry about. When one cleanses the blood of toxins they will take the nearest route out of the body, and this includes the tongue, the sinuses, sweat, even the amount of ear wax you accumulate may increase. Do you use a tongue scraper? If not you may want to start. Many people use tongue scrapers to fight bad breath and improve general oral hygiene, but it’s practically a must while cleansing, as you’ve discovered. But you don’t have to buy one, you can use an ordinary teaspoon for this purpose. The video I’ve linked to explains the practice in greater detail and demostrates how it’s done: HTH. 🙂

  13. I’m breastfeeding and love to use blood cleanse herbs city, I would like to know if it’s safe for breastfeeding

    1. Good question, Peggy Sue! Opinions sometimes differ on this topic, but my honest opinion is to wait till you’ve weaned your baby off breast milk. When you are detoxing, your body will use any and all exits to rid itself of toxins in your system and this will include breast milk. HTH. 🙂

  14. I’m 25 I live in South Africa, I am a smoker but I’m starting to that Champix pill to stop me from smoking, because I have high red blood count from smoking. The thing is I’m starting on hormones but can’t start as my red blood count is so high and my doctor is scared that it might cause blood cloths since my red blood count is so high meaning my blood is thicker then normal… I want to know if there is any herbs I can take to normalise this? and also help my liver function and kidneys? I don’t have any liver or kidney problems but being on hormones they need to b in top shape. Is there any help for me, and any herbs I can use to help me with this problem? Please help

      1. Yes for it to be normal and safe for me to start hormone therapy without causing any blood cloths, I’m not on any other medication except Champix which is safe

  15. Hi– my 3 year old daughter has been doing this blood cleansing for seven days for EXTREME skin problems most likely caused my intestinal dysbiosis; we have tried for 18 months to get her help and this is firs thing that has given her relief.; however, I was wondering if there was any of these that you recommend that I could use long term…(also, she has been extremely irritable which I assume is part of the “detox” process, but I am really hoping it is going to be better soon??) Thanks for any help~

    1. Most blood cleansing herbs should not be used long-term, but Red Clover is fairly mild and I know adults who have drank infusions daily for years, with no ill effects, but I have no idea how it may affect a 3 year old. You should consult a herbalist or naturopathic physician, particularly one who specializes in pediatrics, regarding this matter. You don’t want to take any chances with such a young child.

  16. I get cellulitis on my shins multiple times a year. My legs also swell all the time. I am thinking the burdock root you mentioned might help. The drs can’t seem to stop it. They just keep prescribing antibiotics. I’m on muy third round as I type. This started around age 40 after I was bit on the shin by a brown recluse spider. Any advice you can give is greatly appreciated!

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