Herbs for Liver Health
The Multi-Faceted Liver
The liver is central to many important functions of the body. It affects everything from digestion, hormone metabolism, detoxifying, to mood modulation. It is the largest organ of detoxification. That is one of the reasons why it is the only organ in the body that can regenerate itself. It’s THAT important!
Modern life takes a heavy toll on the liver. Between excessive stress, toxic environs, drugs, 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, many extremely helpful choices 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, this lovely seed is popular for its support of liver function. It is extremely protective of the liver. It is often used as an adjunct medicine to chemotherapy, to enhance the action of the medicine, while reducing side effects (1). One of the active constituents in milk thistle is silymarin, which is extracted from the plant's seeds. Silymarin is a flavonoid believed to have antioxidant properties. One of the most important functions of milk thistle is its ability to increase your body’s production of glutathione, the “mother of all antioxidants”.
Turmeric, another popular botanical, is liver-protective (amongst its ubiquitous benefits). It improves liver function which can be seen with improvements in liver function tests (2). 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 chronically or who suffer from health conditions that are associated with liver damage.
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 (3).
Commonly known for its immunity support, this wonderful root has many benefits, including being liver protective and restorative (4). It is considered nourishing to the vital force (“chi”) in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Since many of the liver supporting constituents in herbs are concentrated in their roots and seeds, the best way to take them is either in tincture form or in a quality powdered supplement. At Remedy we have hand selected products that we know are high-quality and produced in a way that maximizes the medicinal constituents.
Detoxification is multifaceted in interconnected with other bodily systems. It is important to also keep your gut biome (friendly bacteria) healthy. This will go a long way in keeping your body excreting toxins properly.
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 done just once a year!
Article: “A randomized, controlled, double-blind pilot study of milk thistle for the treatment of hepatotoxicity in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).” Elena Ladas, David Kroll, Nick Oberlies, Bin Cheng, Deborah Hughes, Susan Rheingold, and Kara Kelly. CANCER; Published Online: December 14, 2009 (DOI: 10.1002/cncr.24723).
Kim SW, Ha KC, and Choi EK. The effectiveness of fermented turmeric powder in subjects with elevated alanine transaminase levels: a randomized controlled study. BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine. doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-58.