By Anne Salazar, Lead Clinical Herbalist
Although the beginning of the year is a typical time to consider a fresh start with a ‘cleanse’, it's important all year round to support the body’s ability to cleanse and regenerate itself. The most important organ of detoxification is our liver. The liver is central to many important functions of the body - it affects everything from digestion, cholesterol modulation, hormone metabolism, mood modulation, and of course, detoxification. That is one of the reasons why it is the only organ in the body that has the capacity to regenerate itself. It’s THAT important!
Modern life takes a heavy toll on the liver. Between excessive stress, toxic environs, drug, and alcohol over-consumption, the liver is greatly challenged. Therefore it's vitally important that we support its important work, and make sure we don’t expect too much without addressing the tools the liver needs to function properly.
In this category of herbal medicine, there are many extremely helpful choices that can be taken over the long term. These have been used over the millennia, safely and effectively.
Here are just a few:
Milk Thistle is quite well known for good reason. This lovely seed is popular for its support of the liver. It is extremely protective of the liver. One of the active ingredients in milk thistle is silymarin, which is extracted from the plant's seeds. Silymarin is a flavonoid believed to have antioxidant properties. The antioxidant and free radical-scavenging actions of milk thistle constituents such as silymarin and silybin are thought to be important mechanisms for their liver-protective effects. Research shows that taking a milk thistle extract containing 70% to 80% silymarin 420 mg orally daily for one month to 4 years can improve some liver function tests.
Turmeric with active constituent curcumin is another popular botanical, and liver protector (amongst its other ubiquitous benefits). The antioxidant effect of turmeric appears to be so powerful that it may stop your liver from being damaged by toxins. This could be good news for people who are exposed to liver toxins or who suffer from health conditions that put them at risk for liver dysfunction. In animal models, turmeric constituents have been shown to attenuate induced liver damage and fibrosis. Potential mechanisms of action include beneficial effects on levels and activity of inflammatory cytokines or matrix metalloproteases
Dandelion root is considered a “liver tonic,” since it helps detoxify the liver and improve the flow of bile. Soluble polysaccharides from the dandelion root may help protect the liver from hepatic injury. Dandelion root can be found in many liver support formulations
Astragalus root is commonly known for its immunity support, this wonderful root has many benefits, including being liver protective and restorative. It is considered nourishing to the vital force (“chi”) in Traditional Chinese Medicine. A great herb to add to your daily protocol; especially now!
At Remedy, we have some great formulations which include a number of botanicals that work synergistically to support liver/detox function; including Burdock, Red Root, and Yellow Dock. These formulations are mainly roots and seeds, and the best way to take them is either in tincture form or in a quality powdered supplement. Check out our Liver Detox Capsules or our Detoxify tincture.
In addition to adding these liver supporting herbs, it is important to keep your gut biome (friendly bacteria) healthy. This will go a long way in keeping your body excreting toxins properly. At Remedy we have a wide selection of probiotics which are listed here. If you are just looking for a general daily probiotic, check out our best-seller, Probiotic 5 by Pure Encapsulation.
Keep in mind, that we provide private Herbalist Consultations for situations that are more complicated than your everyday maintenance needs! [Use code “NEWSTART” for 20% off in the month of January]
Whatever you do, be sure to always think about supporting the important function of your hard-working liver. Detoxing is a daily function of the liver, not something to be addressed just once a year!