The liver is the largest gland in the body and the major organ for the elimination of toxic waste. It has many other important functions such as metabolism of nutrients, hormones & waste; production of blood-clotting factors; storage of vitamins & minerals and the formation of urea. The liver also produces bile that helps emulsify fats and is then stored in the gallbladder. The gallbladder and liver are interconnected with the health of one affecting the health of the other. Diets high in refined sugars, fats & cholesterol can promote gallstones and decreased liver function.
Cleansing the liver is very important to help maintain a healthy liver. The level of exposure to toxins- from home, workplace and environment- would determine how often cleansing is required. There are several methods to cleanse the liver like massage, flushes, enemas and herbal therapies. Most herbs used in herbal liver therapies are cooling & bitter and taken in teas, tincture or encapsulated forms. The following is a short list of herbs and their affects on the liver.
Burdock, Yellow Dock, Fennel, Goldenseal Cleanses & Restores Function
Licorice Root, Oregon Grape, Blessed Thistle Cleanses & Heals
Black Walnut, Borage Leaf, Fo-Ti
Boldo, Milk Thistle, Rosemary Protects liver against toxins
Siberian Ginseng, Ginseng Detoxifies, protects from drug effects
Turmeric, Dandelion Root Cleanses, Increases Bile
Baical Scullcap, Bupleurum, Chinese Rhubarb Root Liver Tonic
Wood Betony, Boldo, Schizandra Berry
Schizandra Berry is a Chinese general tonic herb with many uses for men and women. It is sometimes called “junior dong quai” for its hormone balancing and use as a women’s tonic. Schizandra is also used to improve digestion, reduce fatigue, relieves insomnia, increases sexual activity and is superior for colds/flu. It’s an adaptogen herb which increases the resistance and adaptation to stresses and builds stamina, making it great for liver support. Combine Schizandra with Licorice or Fennel and Siberian Ginseng for a great liver cleansing decoction.
If you have questions about liver herbs and cleansing, stop by Ubiquitous Journey on Tuesday from 4pm-6pm for “Ask the Herbalist”. You may also try one of my Free University herb classes starting in March. www.freeunw.com