The Role of the Liver:
The liver is our vital detoxification organ, it is the gateway to the body and in this modern chemical age is possibly the most congested and overloaded organ in the body. Some of the Liver’s many functions include
- A storehouse of blood, vitamins and minerals
- Carbohydrate metabolism and glycogen storage
- Protein metabolism and synthesis of sex hormones
- Detoxification: conjugating chemicals to become more water soluble for excretion from the body via kidneys and bowel
When the liver is overloaded and obstructed; this can be described as a sluggish liver or stagnant liver and may progress in to fatty liver, all of which can manifest with the following symptoms:
- Digestive symptoms: Heart burn, belching, constipation
- Brain fog & fatigue
- Muscles and Joint pain/stiffness
- Skin symptoms: itchy, irritated, rashes
- Hormonal imbalance: Menstrual irregularities, infertility
- Weight gain
- Emotional symptom: Anger, irritability, frustration, when suppressed depression
The Liver – Immune system link:
An overloaded liver results in certain substances building up to undesirably high levels in the blood stream: toxins, chemicals, dead cells, cancer cells and fat globules. This causes the immune system to become overloaded and produce excess inflammatory mediators and auto-antibodies, once elevated, these substances can cause:
- Allergies and intolerances
- Chronic infections
- Inflammatory disorders
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Autoimmune disorder and
Do you recognise any of these symptoms? What is your liver saying to you?
In 400BC Hippocrates ‘The father of medicine’ described depression as Melancholia meaning ‘black bile’: describing stagnation of bile. Demonstrating that the link between liver, mood and mind was understood at this time.
When the liver is constantly stagnant, sediment settles out of the bile and forms accumulations that resemble stones, sand or mud in the gallbladder. Being a reservoir of bile, it becomes less efficient when clogged with sediment. This sludge is the forerunner for gallstones. Our gallbladder is very important to many other parts of our health like cholesterol management.
Love your Liver:
There are many ways to reduce the load on your liver, support detoxification pathways and the natural self-cleansing and rejuvenation capacity of the Liver.
Here are some nutritional and herbal ways to love your liver!!
Foods to heal the Liver:
- Pungent foods such as spices; turmeric, ginger, cumin, mustard seeds, herbs; rosemary, basil cardamom, fennel, marjoram, all members of the onion family, such as garlic, leeks and chives
- Raw foods: sprouted grains, beans, legumes, seeds, fresh veggies and fruits
- Bitter and sour foods: Perhaps the most powerful common remedy for quick clearance of liver stagnation is apple cider vinegar and can be mixed with lemon. Other bitter foods include: rye, amaranth, quinoa, radish leaves, dandelion root, rocket, bitter melon and lettuce.
- Harmonise the liver: to support a smooth flow of energy, many of these foods are sweet in nature. Vegetables, legumes, complex carbohydrates, honey, liquorice root
- Rejuvenate the liver: Chlorophyll rich foods, wheat and barley grass juice, spirulina, and chlorella. Parsley, watercress, alfalfa and kale
Foods to Avoid or at least reduce:
Dairy, red meat, processed sugars, processed fats, alcohol, all processed foods and preservatives, reduce chemical load by eating organic where possible, reduce chemical load in the household; cleaning and skin products. Moving towards – chemical free living.
- The Bitters: dandelion root, andrographis, oregan mountain grape, globe artichoke, yellow dock, gentian and wormwood
- Adaptogenic hepato-protective herbs: astragalus, schisandra
- Restorative herbs: St. Mary’s thistle
- Pungents and warming aromatics: Ginger, garlic, horseradish, cardamom, fennel, angelica archangelica, rosemary, peppermint
Other powerful techniques to support the liver; include coffee enemas, colonics and gallbladder flushing. (Please seek the advice of a trained professional)
A 62 year old male, with the diagnosis ‘liver sludge’; a medical diagnosis to describe the build-up of matter and mucus in the bile.
Treatment commenced with primarily choleretic, chologogue and hepatic herbs, which have a therapeutic action on the liver and bile, supporting the flow of bile through the liver and gallbladder, promoting the Livers’ self-cleansing capacity.
After 3 months of treatment with herbal medicines, such as, Schisandra, St. Mary’s thistle, dandelion root and ginger the liver sludge was undetectable at his next scan, much to the surprise of the GP.
I have seen a number of clients with a fatty liver diagnosis and the incidence has increased during my time in clinical practice. A 21 year old female came to me with a fatty liver and gallstone diagnosis. One of her gallstones was the size of a ping-pong ball. She had been experiencing severe digestive upset for some months leading up to her diagnosis. Her symptoms included pain, nausea with progressively consistent vomiting related to eating. When she came to see me she was only eating raw vegetables and drinking fresh juices, this was all she could keep down and was the only way to reduce her symptoms. She was due to have her gallbladder removed in 6 weeks-time.
We began to work with my gallstone protocol, which included 21 days strict dieting (which she was mostly already adhering too), and herbal medicines leading up to a gallbladder flush. She successful and painlessly passed a number of gallstones including the one the size of a ping-pong ball. The protocol softens the stones to a consistency of play dough, by which they easily pass through the bile duct.
We continued with the protocol and flushing until the gallbladder was clear. She returned to the GP for an ultrasound prior to her surgery, her gallbladder was clear of stones and she no longer required surgical removal.
*Do not try these methods unsupervised, for such treatments work closely with a qualified practitioner. The stones can get lodged in the gallbladder resulting in emergency surgery. We are providing this blog for informative not treatment purposes.