It seems that we don’t entirely understand how tattoo inks behave once injected into the body, but what we do know is that a whole lot of it may end up in the lymph glands. The lymphatic system helps the body detoxify and fight infection. (You can tell when your lymph glands are struggling because you’ll notice they’re swollen, especially the ones on the side of the neck under the ears). The quality of tattoo inks varies depending on the quality of the shop you go to and the colors you use, but they often contain heavy metals and chemical carcinogens, so it’s a great idea to do a post-ink detox.One of the best ways to help your lymphatic system detox is to internally take herbs classed as “alteratives,” or blood cleansers, such as burdock, Arctium spp., red clover, Trifolium pratense, and cleavers, Galium aparine. A wonderful thing about this group of plants is that they are all abundant urban weeds you can find for free just about anywhere! If you’re not a forager, you could easily find burdock root or red clover in tea form in a health store. (Cleavers is harder to find commercially).
As it happens, my favorite of the above for tattoo healing is cleavers. It’s not available outside right now, but I made a big jar of cleavers tincture on a full moon this summer using glycerin instead of alcohol, and fortunately I’ve got plenty left over that I’m taking. Since so many plants are seasonal, I usually try to make medicine in advance of when I think I may need it.
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