What is the liver?
The liver is an essential organ that plays a crucial role in maintaining overall health. It is located in the upper right side of the abdomen. It is the largest internal organ and weighs about three pounds in an average adult. When it is not functioning properly, various complications can arise, affecting the body's overall well-being
What are the functions of the liver?
The liver plays a crucial role in maintaining overall health and well-being. It performs several important functions, including:
- Metabolizing nutrients: The liver helps convert food into energy and processes carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
- Detoxification: It filters harmful substances, such as drugs and alcohol, from the blood.
- Production of bile: The liver produces bile, which aids in digestion and the absorption of fats.
- Storage of vitamins and minerals: It stores essential vitamins, such as A, D, E, and K, as well as iron and copper.
- Regulation of blood clotting: The liver produces clotting factors that help prevent excessive bleeding.
How does the liver support the immune system?
The liver plays a vital role in supporting the immune system. It helps remove bacteria, viruses, and other foreign substances from the bloodstream, preventing infections and diseases.
What happens when the liver is not functioning properly?
When the liver is not functioning properly, it can lead to various health issues. Some common liver diseases include:
- Hepatitis: Inflammation of the liver, usually caused by a viral infection.
- Cirrhosis: Scarring of the liver tissue, often due to long-term liver damage.
- Fatty liver disease: Accumulation of fat in the liver, commonly associated with obesity and excessive alcohol consumption.
- Liver cancer: The uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the liver.
Why are herbal supplements beneficial for liver health?
Herbal supplements are natural products derived from plants that are used to support and promote health. They have been used for centuries in traditional medicine practices around the world. Herbal supplements can help support liver health by promoting detoxification, reducing inflammation, and protecting liver cells from damage.
Top herbs recommended for liver health.
1. Milk thistle is a popular herb known for its potential to protect liver cells and promote liver detoxification. Its active compound, silymarin, is believed to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. However, scientific studies on its effectiveness have shown mixed results. This is my number one go to as a supplement to use for fortifying my liver.
2. Dandelion root has been used traditionally to support liver health and aid digestion. It may have diuretic properties that help flush out toxins from the body. This is one powerful herb even though it is much maligned as a weed in the yard. The leaves are a bitter herb that is also very powerful, and you can just toss them in your salad. The tincture is also something to try if you aren’t using the leaf in salads.
3. Turmeric is another great herb containing an active compound called curcumin, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It has shown potential in protecting liver cells and supporting liver function. The benefits of this herb are many and daily use can contribute to overall well-being. We recommend the tincture form especially a spagyric extraction as it shows promise in increasing bioavailability as the absorption of curcumin can be limited. Many people consume it with black pepper to enhance bioavailability.
4. Schisandra is an herb commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine. It has adaptogenic properties and may help protect the liver from damage caused by toxins. Some studies indicate that schisandra may improve liver function and reduce liver inflammation. This herb has so many historical uses there are too many to name here.
5. Licorice root has been used in traditional medicine for various purposes, including liver support. It contains compounds that may possess anti-inflammatory and hepatoprotective properties. Enerhealth uses Licorice root in many herbal formulations due to its beneficial effects for so many things.
6. Burdock root has long been used in traditional herbal medicine as a blood purifier and liver tonic. It may have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can support liver health.
7. Reishi mushroom is a revered medicinal mushroom known for its immune-modulating and antioxidant effects. Some studies suggest that it may have hepatoprotective properties and can support liver health. In Chinese medicine Reishi is the silver standard and is used for a variety of different health concerns. Due to its ‘woody’ nature tinctures or powders from tinctures are normally employed as are teas. One must be careful of the sources of Reishi, much of the supply emanates from China and due to the pollution issues and the fact that mushrooms absorb toxins, we typically recommend only U.S. grown species.
8. Liver Cleanse from Enerhealth Botanicals is the top cleansing herbal tonic for liver health on the market. This extract combines the top herbs for liver health into an optimal blend to detoxify, renew and defy future liver damage. It combines milk thistle, turmeric root, oregon grape root, dandelion root & leaf, fennel seed, and licorice root in a base of organic cane alcohol and distilled water, vegetable glycerin. This daily blend can be simply added to a beverage or taken straight from the dropper to quickly and effectively nourish your liver.
It's important to note that while these herbal supplements may have potential benefits for liver health, the scientific evidence is often limited or mixed. Additionally, individual responses to these supplements can vary, and some may interact with medications or have adverse effects. Therefore, it's crucial to consult a healthcare professional before incorporating any herbal supplements into your routine, especially if you have existing liver conditions or are taking medications. They can provide personalized advice based on your specific circumstances.
The effect of turmeric on lipid profile, malondialdehyde, liver echogenicity and enzymes among patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: a randomized double blind clinical trial | Diabetology & Metabolic Syndrome | Full Text (biomedcentral.com)