Without a healthy liver, you cannot thrive, or in many cases, even survive. The body’s second largest organ, your liver carries out numerous functions to boost well-being, many of which are related to digestion, metabolism, immunity, the storage of nutrients within the body, and the big one -detoxification. These functions make the liver a vital organ, necessary for providing energy and nutrition to tissues which would otherwise die.
Keeping your liver healthy is a matter of controlling lifestyle factors and eating well: namely, exercising, establishing a ‘clean’ diet, and reducing exposure to toxins. Though there are many everyday foods you can consume as well as liver cleanse products you can utilize, using herbs to bolster liver health is another way to ensure overall immunity to countless ailments.
The liver produces bile to aid in digestion. It detoxifies the blood, ridding it of toxins. The organ stores glucose and converts it to usable sugar when blood sugar levels fall below normal. It breaks down insulin, hemoglobin, and other hormones. It destroys old red blood cells and converts ammonia to urea. Because it secretes bile, it’s actually considered a gland—the largest one, weighing an estimated 3.5 pounds.
You can see why keeping your liver working at optimal levels is so important.
Known toxins to the liver include alcohol, acetaminophen (as in Tylenol), and even high fructose corn syrup. One study from Duke University found HFCS can actually lead to liver scarring similar to that found in liver disease.
Herbs to Boost Liver Health
The best herbs for a healthy liver are easy to find and include in your daily routine. Here are just 4 of them:
- 1. Dandelion – Yes, the same yellow flower growing on your lawn can be used to promote liver health. Who knew?!. Dandelion is a super “weed” with a wealth of benefits, boosting liver health being only one. The plant is rich in zinc, iron, and potassium. Young plants are best and consuming dandelion, and the root is what you want. Dig out the root and use small chunks in making a tea or tincture.
- 2. Burdock Root – Unfortunately, you may have to find these roots online or through a local herbalist. Used in the same manner as dandelion root, burdock root is a “favorite blood purifier among Ayurvedic” practitioners. It stimulates bile and helps purify the blood.
- 3. Turmeric – This is the root that gives curries their rich yellow hue. Its active component curcumin has considerable anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it a great food for detoxing the liver and promoting liver health. Use it in your cooking or add it to a smoothie. But make sure you take it with some fat, as curcumin is fat-soluble.
- 4. Milk Thistle – Also known as silymarin, milk thistle is one of the most popular herbal liver solutions. It is used both as a treatment for existing liver problems and as a preventative measure. You can find it in supplements and extracts.