Undoubtedly, the liver is one of the most vital organs in our body; but most often, we forget to care enough for it. If you believe that cutting down on alcohol intake and staying away from junk food is enough for your liver, then you are wrong. The liver, which is the biggest internal organ of our body, needs more than that. It requires nurturing and a proper detox regime to function seamlessly.
Our Liver: A Vital Organ
Our liver is not only the biggest internal organ of the body; it is a multi-tasker, and it performs some of the crucial functions of our body. They are:
- Regulating blood sugar levels in the body
- Controlling sugar cravings
- Secreting bile that carries waste and breaks down fats inside the small intestine during the digestion process
- Producing specific proteins necessary for blood plasma
- Producing cholesterols and particular proteins to carry fats to all the parts of the body
- Regulating the blood levels in amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins
- Storing Iron
- Clearing bilirubin from red blood cells
Undoubtedly the liver plays a vital role in our body’s physiology. If the liver starts malfunctioning, our body will be exposed to severe health conditions, and hence, its care is a must. The best part is that if we look around, we shall find several natural ingredients that help us to take care of our liver.
Signs that you Need a Liver Detox
There are times when our bodies are exposed to numerous environmental pressures, and we end up stressing our livers more than ever. In such situations, we might experience several health-related difficulties. Now the question that arises is how shall we understand that our liver is suffering and whether it needs detox therapy? Did I tell you that our body is the best doctor? You have to learn to understand the warning signs that the body gives before the onset of an acute disease. Some of the warnings that should ring a bell in your mind are:
- Having trouble digesting fatty foods
- High cholesterol and blood pressure levels
- Feeling fatigued and nausea
- Abdominal bloating
- Acid reflux
- Excessive sweating
- Unexplained weight gain
- Yellowish skin and eyes
- Itchy skin
Herbs that are Incredibly Good for the Liver
When you experience such problems as mentioned above, you can visit your physician for the best medical advice, and in case he or she confirms the difficulties are due to liver problems, along with the prescribed medications you can add some herbs that will further help the liver detox process. On the other hand, even if you do not have any liver-related problems, you can start incorporating some of these herbs in your daily diet to keep your livers happy. The famous saying goes, ‘Prevention is better than cure.’
In this blog post, we shall discuss seven Indian herbs that work miraculously on our liver health.
The scientific term for Turmeric is Curcuma longa. The herb popularly known for its anti-inflammatory properties is widely used in Ayurveda. Ayurveda believes that turmeric can balance all the three doshas in our body, and it aids in the detoxification and recovery of the liver.
As per Ayurveda, curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric protects against liver damage and promotes its natural detoxification. Some studies state that turmeric encourages the detoxification process of the liver by stimulating bile production.
Ginger is a commonly used herb across many cultures and cuisines. Ayurveda says that ginger has a vital role in the liver cleansing process. Ginger can eliminate the accumulated toxins from the liver. Along with toxin removal, several studies have proved that ginger can even prevent the occurrence of liver cancer. The good news is that the Ginger tea that you have been drinking for some time now not only prevents cough and cold but promotes a hale and hearty liver as well.
Do you love some garlic in your dishes? Did you know it is not just making your palate happy but also taking care of your liver health? This hot and pungent herb has been known for its natural detoxification process. It is a well-known digestive, and detoxifying agent used to reduce the levels of toxins in the body. The sulphur compounds in garlic promote liver health. They stimulate the production of certain enzymes, which in turn aids the liver cleansing process.
Did you know Cilantro, a green coloured herb popularly used in different cuisines or for salad dressings, is highly effective for your liver? The polyphenols in cilantro help in the toxic elimination of the liver. If you have not yet started, you can begin by adding a handful of cilantro leaves in your curries. It will not only be loved by your taste buds, but your liver will thank you for it.
5. Milk Thistle
Milk Thistle, the scientific name of which is Silybum Marianum, has been used for 2000 long years to protect the liver and promote its regeneration. Ayurveda has embraced Milk Thistle due to its numerous therapeutic properties. It is most popularly known as a liver cleanser and detoxifier. Studies made by the Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology and Clinical Liver Disease states that silymarin, the bioactive component present in Milk Thistle has a positive impact on the fatty liver diseases caused due to alcoholic or non-alcoholic causes. Milk Thistle is also known to increase the body’s ability to produce glutathione, a highly potent antioxidant with the highest concentration in the liver.
6. Dandelion Root
Isn’t it incredible to even think that nature has innumerable things that promote our well-being? Whether it is your heart or the liver, you need to look for a solution with Mother Nature. Just the way Dandelion Root improves liver function by enhancing the body’s ability to remove toxins and increase bile production, the high concentration of antioxidants in the dandelion root aids the liver by removing the free radicals from it. It is the variety of vitamins and nutrients available in the Dandelion Root that encourage the liver’s cleansing process.
Since early days Astragalus has been used to help specific liver problems. Studies have shown that some of the compounds present in Astragalus have positive effects on patients suffering from hepatitis, where there is inflammation of the liver and finally liver damage. The high concentration of antioxidants in Astragalus aids in the toxic removal process of the liver.
Liver Detox Drink
The herbs that have been mentioned above undoubtedly aid the liver detox process, but how about making a liver detox infusion right at home? You need to look for a few ingredients, and you can have a home-made liver detox drink ready in a jiffy.
Name of the Recipe: Liver Detox Concoction
Preparation Time: 10 mins
- 1 teaspoon dried calendula leaves
- 3 teaspoons dried dandelion leaves
- 3 teaspoons fennel seeds
- 10 cardamom pods
- 3 teaspoons milk thistle
- 3 teaspoons burdock root
- 1 teaspoon liquorice root
- 3 cups boiling hot water
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- Natural sweetener as per taste
In a big airtight container, add in all the ingredients, put on the lid, and shake it for some time so that all the ingredients get a good mix.
For the tea, take 3 teaspoons of the herbal mix into the kettle, add a teaspoon of grated ginger and 3 cups of boiling water, and cover it.
Let everything infuse for around seven to ten minutes.
Then strain it and add some lemon juice or any natural sweetener to the infusion.
The herbal potion is ready to drink. You can enjoy your liver-friendly infusion with some home-made cookies. You can have this detox drink once or twice in a day for the best results.
Incorporating some of these herbs can indeed have fantastic benefits on your liver, but that isn’t enough. There are many other things that you ought to practice to improve your liver health. The first thing is to bring in specific changes to your lifestyle. However, to change your lifestyle may not be an easy task, but you can begin with baby steps. Giving up your bad habits is the first step towards a lifestyle change. Try to cut down on alcohol consumption and carbonated drinks. Bringing about some dietary changes to reduce the stress on your liver is imperative. For example, stop having simple carbs, sugary and salty foods and low-quality processed oils, instead, you should focus more on wholesome food items like green veggies, lean meat, fruits, whole grains and nuts.
Another critical parameter for liver health is physical activity. More physical activity means lower risks of liver diseases and less hepatotoxicity. Keep in mind that even obesity could contribute to liver problems. So staying in shape matters!
To sum up, a slight change in your lifestyle, a little plus and a small minus, and you can have a happy liver and experience a better life in the days to come.