In our literally toxic modern society, maintaining liver health is more important than ever. Bruce Fife had some very interesting things to day about the liver in The Detox Book:
"The liver performs hundreds of functions, more than any other gland, necessary for us not only to maintain good health, but to sustain life itself. The liver is the body's primary detoxification organ and manufacturing plant. It cleans alcohol, drugs, bacterial products, poisons, various waste products, and worn-out red blood cells from the body. It produces amino acids, proteins, and fats, and stores fat and glucose (the energy source for cellular metabolism)."
"The liver also controls the metabolism of dietary fat. It manufactures bile, which is stored in the gallbladder, and is necessary for the digestion of dietary fat."
"The liver also functions in the formation of lymph--a vital body fluid which provides the medium in which white blood cells circulate throughout the body, fighting infection and removing toxins."
Once you understand the role liver plays in overall health and digestion, it's easy to see why maintaining liver health is vital. However, for most of us maintenance is not quite enough. Many of us have had poor dietary and lifestyle habits in the past that have taken a tole on our liver health. In these cases, herbal remedies can be extremely helpful in restoring liver function. These natural herbs in particular provide potent results in detoxifying and restoring the liver:
Milk Thistle. (pictured above) By far the most famous herb for liver health, milk thistle contains a potent compound called silymarin, which protect liver cells from damage by preventing toxin absorption and enhancing actual regeneration of liver cells. Milk thistle is a part of most popular liver tonics, and it can also be ground fresh and sprinkled over food.
Artichoke. Thought to have a protective effect on liver cells, artichoke can aid liver regeneration and improve its function. It also supports bile production, which is important for digestion and assimilating valuable nutrients. Some clinical studies show artichoke can lower triglyceride levels, as well.
Dandelion. This herb makes an ideal liver treatment because it is highly effective and generally very safe (it is also quite inexpensive). All parts of the flower can be useful, but dandelion root is the most popular liver remedy, while the leaves are known for promoting kidney health.
Licorice. This herb was often used in Eastern medicine to treat liver problems. One study reported licorice increased the production of interferon, which may explain this herb’s unique ability to defend liver health from harmful toxins.
Keep in mind that any of these herbs should be used in conjunction with lifestyle factors which promote liver health, such as avoiding alcohol, caffeine and tobacco; staying active with regular exercise (even walking and yoga are highly beneficial); avoiding processed foods filled with junk sugars and chemical additives; and finally, learning to manage stress and developing healthy sleeping habits.