Boosting liver health to remove toxins from the body has been an integral part of traditional medicine practices for thousands of years. Referred to as the ultimate multitasking organ, ancient practitioners believed that the liver was one of the primary organs that needed to be treated in people that are ill. Of course, we know that without a healthy liver, it’s impossible to have a properly working metabolism, healthy circulation, balanced hormones, clean blood and strong digestion.
A “happy” liver that is well taken care of gives you:
Beautiful skin with a clearer complexion; a positive mood and sharper mind; stronger immunity and fewer infections; increased energy levels; more regular menstrual cycle with reduced PMS; better blood flow throughout your vessels, veins and capillaries; less digestive complaints; fresher breath and oral health.
On the other hand, a sick liver will not allow you enjoy those benefits. Are you experiencing symptoms like abdominal pain (in the centre or right upper part of the stomach); bloating and hormonal imbalances; swelling in the legs and ankles; jaundice, or yellowing of the skin; fatigue/always feeling tired; nausea, vomiting; weight loss and loss of appetite; dark urine, excessive sweat; constipation and pale or dark tar stool? These could be signs that your liver isn’t functioning at its peak. Note that, it is not every person that experiences symptoms of liver disease, especially in the early stages.
Let us see some of the major causes of damage to your liver:
Air pollution and environmental toxin exposure; using chemical household and beauty products; drug abuse, antibiotic use, over-the-counter or prescription pain medications; high stress levels and hormonal imbalances; excessive alcohol consumption; unprotected sex that spreads viruses/infections; autoimmune or inherited liver disease; and obesity.
So why is the liver so vulnerable to damage?
The liver is so vulnerable to damage, and the effects of a harmful diet or high toxin exposure because, it is somewhat like the body’s digestive control centre. When substances reach the liver, they’re processed and either circulated, stored, altered, detoxified or flushed away through urine and stool.
There are a number of risk factors that increase your chances of developing liver problems, some of which are:
High cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and obesity, autoimmune disease, under active thyroid and under active pituitary gland.
Some of the most common types of liver diseases include:
Cirrhosis, ascites, alcoholic liver disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, hepatitis, liver cancer, genetics disorders, liver failure etc.
The good thing is that liver disease can be prevented. For instance, you can lower your risk for liver disease greatly by avoiding any unnecessary drug use, consuming alcohol in moderation (if you must), practicing safe sex, managing stress levels, avoiding all junk foods, eating an organic, whole-food diet and maintaining a healthy weight to prevent metabolic problems.
If you’re already experiencing some of the symptoms listed above, it might be time for a liver cleanse.
Helpful botanicals to give your liver a boost include:
Bitter gourd (Momordicacharantia, ejirin in Yoruba): the bitter principle possessed by Momordica has been credited to its efficacy in treating ailments related to hepatic tissues. By “Bitter Principle,” it means the herb acts through a reflex action via the taste buds, stimulating the secretion of digestive juices as well as the activity of liver thereby aiding hepatic elimination. The fruit and leaves are used singly or combined. Like, Momordica, bitter vegetables are high in essential minerals, which balance fluids and reduce heavy metals within the blood. Examples are yarrow, golden seal, and dandelion etc.
Bitter leaf- Bitter leaf juice is the real deal as far as detox, and in fact, overall health go! Wash off a handful of the fresh leaves and blend with 30 CL or so of sterile water. You may add peeled lemon in it and strain. It sounds so cheap and simple, isn’t it? Yes, it is, but very effective. Take 60-100 mls daily.
Dandelion (Taraxacumofficinale) root – This has a natural diuretic effect. This means it helps balance fluid levels and boosts the liver’s efforts to quickly eliminate toxins while strengthening the immune system. 1 tsp. of the ground root should be infused in a teacup of freshly boiled water for 30 minutes and then sieved.
Milk thistle – This is an excellent source of the antioxidant called silymarin, which prevents depletion of glutathione in the liver and also fights liver disease. An infusion of the loose-dry leaves should be taken 2-3X daily.
Turmeric- Including this wonderful spice to your regime is a great way to boost glutathione production and also lower inflammation. Turmeric’s powerful compound, curcumin, is very helpful in improving circulation and fighting toxin build-up. Take 1-2 tsp. daily with meals, juices or in plain hot water. For better absorption use along with black pepper.
Garlic – This contains allicin and selenium, both of which help in liver cleansing. They also activate the liver enzymes that flush out toxins. Soak garlic in sterile water for five days. Thereafter, consume 2 cloves daily and your liver will be very glad!
Golden melon- and other high-antioxidant fruits provide and balance electrolyte minerals, magnesium, calcium and potassium needed by the liver. Juice made with golden melon, carrots and beetroot provides your system with flavonoids and beta-carotene, which help stimulate and improve liver function.
Stay hydrated- Toxins that affect your liver will build up when you become dehydrated. Dehydration has been shown to have a direct effect on the liver’s ability to properly detoxify the body. So drink up to stay hydrated.
As much as possible avoid stress, reduce toxin exposure, protect against hepatitis, eat less unhealthy foods, abstain from alcohol, quit smoking, lose weight (if needed) and don’t forget to exercise. Happy Liver Boosting!