9 Herbs I Suggest to Patients to Help Cleanse the Liver and Clear the Mind
In Chinese Medicine the liver is responsible for the free-flow of energy and blood throughout the body. When this energy is stuck, so too are the emotions and you become frustrated, angry and/or irritated. The liver is most affected by excess stress and emotions. In western medicine one of the main functions of the Liver is the expelling and breaking down of toxins entering the body. In particular, it produces bile, a detoxifying agent which breaks down fats in food. Therefore it is clear to see the liver plays an important role in the overall physical and mental health of the body.
• Dr. Karl Maret, M.D. : President of Dove Health Alliance, and specialist in Energy Medicine.
“The proper functioning of the eyes, the heart, the brain, the gonads, the joints, and the kidneys, are all dependent on good liver activity…If the liver is impaired from constructing even one of the thousands of enzyme systems the body requires, there is an impairment in overall body function and a resultant greater metabolic stress on the individual.”
In order to maintain the proper functioning of the liver, here are some common herbs I recommend.
1. Borotutu Bark
Borotutu bark is by far one of the most powerful substances when it comes to liver cleansing and digestive system support. Research has also been made into the use of borotutu in combating biliary colic, and jaundice. This herb contains powerful antioxidants, which are known to help protect your liver cells from serious damage.
2. Milk Thistle Seed
Milk thistle has been known for thousands of years for its remarkable effects on the liver and gallbladder. Milk thistle helps with the detoxification of poisons, the regeneration of damaged liver tissue, the stimulation of bile production, and improved digestion. This herb I use in particular for those in need of detoxification from alcohol or environmental toxins.
3. Chanca Piedra
The indigenous people of the Amazon have used chanca piedra for centuries to promote the body’s natural elimination of liver, gallbladder and kidney stones. It also stimulates the liver to purge itself of harmful toxins and foreign particles. As chanca piedra soothes the liver, increases bile production, and reduces the formation of calcified stones in the body, it is perfect for those with both liver and kidney stone issues.
4. Greater Celandine
The ancient Greeks and Romans considered celandine to be one of the most powerful liver cleansing herbs. Celandine stimulates enzyme production from the pancreas, helps the liver eliminate foreign particles, stimulates the production of bile, helps relieve gallbladder spasms and improves a sluggish liver. It is particularly helpful for other spasms such as stomach cramps, IBS and menstrual cramps.
5. Chicory Root
Chicory is an antioxidant, well known for it’s vibrant blue color and for its ability to help cleanse the liver. Ancient Roman, Persian, Arabian, and Indian physicians used chicory leaves and the root to aid against a variety of liver ailments including jaundice, gallbladder and liver stones, urinary stones, constipation, indigestion, depression, and headaches. Furthermore, chicory root contains inulin (a soluble plant fiber) in high concentrations, which helps to feed digestive flora and therefore aids digestion.
6. Dandelion Root
One of my favorite herbs in this section is dandelion root. Many fields are filled with this flower in spring. It is a particularly bitter herb and has been celebrated throughout the ages as a liver cleanser. I frequently use this herb in Chinese herbal formulas to clear toxins and heat from the liver. Dandelion root stimulates bile flow in the liver, and is often used to help fight fatty liver, cirrhosis, estrogen dominance, and skin conditions such as acne.
7. Organic Turmeric
Also used a lot in Chinese herbal formulas, this yellow root, part of the ginger family, is a powerful liver protector and even liver cell re-generator. It helps stimulate enzymes responsible for flushing out toxins (including known carcinogens) from the body as well as for liver inflammation and fatty liver. Turmeric is used in Chinese medicine to help move blood stagnation, relieve pain, clear heat, as well as treat jaundice and gallstones.
Peppermint is cooling in nature and used in Chinese medicine to clear the eyes and heat in the throat. This herb also stimulates bile flow and relaxes bile ducts, helping to break down fats. It also assists in reducing cholesterol and supporting the liver in its job of filtering toxins. The aromatic nature of peppermint helps to inhibit blockages in the kidney and gallbladder while at the same time calms the stomach to aid digestion.
9. Organic Yellow Dock Root
This herb is known as a blood purifier and therefore commonly used to cleanse toxins from the body. Yellow dock also helps break down fatty foods by stimulating bile production and enhances liver detoxification. Yellow dock improves the flow of digestive juices, therefore aiding the digestive system. This herb has a mild diuretic effect and therefore helps to flush out harmful substances. Drink sufficient water so as to replenish liquids.
Choosing the herb or herbs that are right for you will depend on the root cause of your symptoms. Some of these herbs can have a powerful effect on the body and should not be used for extended periods. Seek advice as to what would be appropriate for you and your body type.