Moaning and groaning and grumbling, we’ve stumbled into the bright light of the new year and now it’s time to take charge of our healthy living.

Some of us have gone down the whole detox route, binning the leftover selection box chocolates with grim efficiency and marching straight down to the gym at the crack of dawn every day, while the rest of us have made - and already broken - rash promises about never drinking again.

Luckily, even if your new year’s resolutions are already lying scattered on a path paved with otherwise good intensions, you can still take this opportunity to boost your immune system and help your body run more smoothly through the use of herbs.

Davina Wynne-Jones, founder of, which offers workshops in the practical use of herbs, notes that there are plenty of natural substances that are useful in aiding the post-Christmas detoxification process - and many of them live in our gardens.

"Dandelion leaves make a very good liver tonic and help digestion - that would be a big detoxification in itself. You can use dandelion leaves in a salad," she points out. "Burdock root is a very good blood cleanser. You would want to buy that otherwise you would have to dig it up in the wild.

"The spring is a good time to detox. You can make a tea from cleavers and nettle tops - the fresh top leaves of nettles. The nettles stimulate the liver and the kidneys and the cleavers help stimulate the lymph system which gets rid of toxins."

If you are planning to dig up these plants, make sure you wash them thoroughly before cooking or steaming them. Alternatively, you could try an all-in-one detox tincture that boasts a blend of herbs known to cleanse the circulatory and digestive systems.

Posted by Matilda Jones