Herbal Support for Liver Health
January the season of detox diets and health fads….After a busy end to 2018, with parties and festive gatherings, our bodies can take a hit and it can be all too easy to get sucked into crazy diet trends and detox plans. We can support our bodies and our detoxification system to work effectively without going to extremes though and some simple changes and additions to our diets can help to support our liver health.
Diet and lifestyle changes come first, and herbs can work alongside to support our detoxification pathways. The liver is a major organ of detoxification and a good place to start our focus as it helps to regulate blood sugar, produce cholesterol and bile which are vital for digesting fats and removing toxins from the body. If you liver isn’t functioning correctly, these toxins will not be removed and will be recirculating round the body and your overall health will suffer. Here are our favourite herbs and foods for liver health…
Chicory: Chicory is a bitter that helps to stimulate the appetite, and to strengthen the digestive system. It is also a cholagogue, used to support gall bladder and liver function.
Artichoke: Has hepatoprotective properties meaning it protects the liver from toxins. It is also a cholagogue and promotes good digestion.
Milk Thistle: Used since ancient times to support health. Milk Thistle contains the compounds silymarin and inulin which have medicinal properties. Silymarin is capable of regenerating liver cells damaged by toxins. It has hepatoprotective effects to relieve symptoms related to overeating, alcohol and drug abuse.
Dandelion: Another cholagogue, it helps to increases bile production, which can support the digestion of fats and toxin removal from the body.
Turmeric: Shows strong anti-inflammatory benefits, and helps to support liver function. Turmeric has been shown to reduce elevated liver enzymes associated with liver damage.
Reishi: Reishi mushroom has long been used in Asia for liver disease. Studies have found it to have protective effects on the liver and the triterpene content in reishi mushrooms appears to support detoxification and liver cell regeneration.
Our bodies are constantly detoxifying, but under the weight of modern life- high alcohol use, environmental toxins- pollution, pesticides and poor diets- our livers can become sluggish and need a little support to perform their vital functions. Extreme measures are not healthy or sustainable, but the herbs and foods featured above offer more gentle and effective support for liver health and overall well-being.