Why Liver Support is so Crucial to Wellness
by Prashanti de Jager 2012
We all know that the liver is an incredibly important organ, usually considered second only to the heart. And we all know a few things about the liver, but let’s quickly review some of them.
What a Healthy Liver Does
- Blood: filters, regulates, and stores blood. It gets ¾ of its blood from the portal vein which connects it directly to the colon and ¼ of its blood from the heart.
- Metabolism/Synthesis: Almost all protein and amino acid synthesis and a lot of the carbohydrate and fat synthesis, also growth factors and digestive molecules like bile.
- Metabolism/Breakdown: Hormones, drugs, toxins are all broken down by the liver. The liver, via its enzymes and antioxidants, is key to healthy hormone function and to detoxifying the body, especially with anything that comes from the colon.
There are more than these three categories of course, but really, as you will see, I need only one of them to make my point that supporting liver health is crucial.
What a Slow/Toxic/Congested Liver Can Do
A slow and/or congested and/or toxic liver will tend to affect all aspects of your bodymind, for instance the following:
- Hormones: Usually when people are having hormone associated problems they take herbs or remedies for the reproductive system. But in a very significant way the liver controls the amount of hormones in the body, so it also controls reproduction, sexuality, moods and congestion-free tissues. If the liver can’t properly process the repercussions are huge, just in terms of the subsequent hormone imbalances.
- Cognitive Function: The brain takes 20% of our oxygen so a slow liver will simply limit the oxygen to the brain and a brain gasping for breath simply is not going to think well. This can also lead to mood problems and confusion.
- Eyes: Eyes are very connected to liver health which is why you see bloodshot eyes after alcohol binges or jaundice eyes in folks with hepatitis. Support liver health and you certainly support eyes.
- Digestion: Liver challenges almost always result in digestive problems, especially of fat. Often a thick slow congested liver means a thick slow congested colon.
- Aging: Some traditions say that we are the age of our liver. This is just a way of saying that a healthy liver optimizes longevity and a slow liver tends to age us.
- Energy/Fatigue: A slow/toxic liver limits the nourishment that reaches the cells as well as the mitochondria. The cleaner and more functional a liver is the more energy you will naturally have.
When you see all the ways that the liver serves us you realize how important it is to take your liver herbs. You also realize that Prometheus must have had some serious energy, brain, digestive and cognitive function challenges.
Which Herbs are Great for the Liver
Often liver herbs are very bitter, like bitter spring greens, but not always. Some of the best herbs for the liver include Katuki (Picrorhiza kurroa), Bhumyamalaki (Phyllanthus) and Punarnava (Boerhavia). These herbs are found in ORGANIC INDIA’s Liver Kidney formula. Turmeric, Neem, Triphala, Shatavari, Kalmegh (Andrographis), Atis (Aconitum heterophylum), Dandelion, Gentians, Milk Thistle, Bupleurum, and Licorice can all assist in maintaining a healthy liver as well.
One of my favorite ways to support liver health includes eating a diet that is low in empty carbs and very high in nutrients, eating early in the day; eating readily digested soups, and going to sleep around 9 or 10 to allow my liver, whose processing peaks between 11pm and 3am, to function in peace without having to deal with all my disturbances.