How Herbs Can Help Protect, Strengthen and Rebuild Your Liver Which Also Lower ALT - AST Levels Naturally.
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The human liver is what allows our body to break down and remove the toxins and poisons in our body. Also, it metabolizes the food we eat, the beverages we drink and the medicines we take. If our liver is not functioning at a healthy capacity, we can get very sick with multiple forms of disease including hepatitis, fatty liver, and even cancer. Many liver problems can be avoided by eating healthy, staying fit, practicing safe sex and not drinking alcohol in abundance.
Where is the liver? The liver is located behind your lower right rib cage and is divided into 4 sections.
Testing and Results
With all the attributes that can lead to liver problems, it can be common for the liver to function at an unhealthy level at some point in a person's lifetime. Blood tests can determine if the lever is functioning properly and is healthy. A liver function test measures different levels of enzymes present in the liver. One of the more common tests used to determinate liver health measures the AST/ALT (aspartate transaminase test/alanine transaminase test) levels. High levels of these two enzymes can mean liver trouble.
Herbs to Promote Healing and Protection of the Liver
There are many herbs and supplements that can be taken to help reverse some of the damage done to the liver and protect it from toxins. Some of these herbs are well researched, liver promoters; others have not had major scientific studies conducted but the results from small studies showed promise. A change in lifestyle with a combination of these herbs has been proven to lower the AST/ALT levels of a liver function test.
Milk Thistle (Silymarin)
The milk thistle is a flowering plant of the daisy family. They are found in parts of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. It has been reported to protect the liver and greatly improve its function. It is commonly used to treat liver cirrhosis, chronic hepatitis (a swelling of the liver), and toxin-induced liver damage.
Research has suggested that milk thistle extract can prevent and repair damage to the liver from toxic chemicals and medications. Studies have shown that people with liver damage taking the milk thistle extract showed significant improvement in liver function tests compared to a placebo group.
Standardized milk thistle extract (80% silymarin) comes in pill and liquid form. It can come in multiple size doses ranging from 100mg to 1000mg. The recommended dose is 300mg, 3 times daily. There is little to no evidence that milk thistle can be harmful if taken for long periods of time. Always consult your doctor first before taking a herb for an extended period of time.
*** This herb can also be used to tone down the effects of a hangover if taken the day after.
Inositol is naturally found in both plant and animal sources and is used to aid in the breakdown and accumulation of fats in the liver. By breaking down these fats, the liver becomes less susceptible to disease or aliments.
Inositol comes in powder, pill, or capsule form. The recommended dosing is to start with 500mg a day and work your way up to a higher dose depending on how your body can handle it. Inositol can cause abdominal cramping and diarrhea. Once the body is accustom to Inositol, the recommended dose is 1000mg, 3 times daily.
Dandelion is considered by many to be an annoying weed, that can ruin the look of a nice green lawn. Besides being a problem-some weed, this wonder herb can be used as a food and medicine. Dandelion is a rich source of vitamins A, B complex, C, and D, as well as minerals such as iron, potassium, and zinc. Dandelion leaves are used to add flavor to salads, sandwiches, and teas while the flowers are used to make wines.
Some studies have shown that the dandelion root and leaves can increase the production and flow of the bile from the gallbladder and the liver. This helps the liver to stimulate digestion, and can increase bile production and flow to the liver, thus increasing fat metabolism and function.
Dandelion herbs and roots come in a many forms, like tinctures, extracts, teas, and capsules. Dandelion supplements may combined with other dietary supplements. The recommended dose in capsule form is standardized powdered extract (4:1) leaf: 500mg, 3 times daily.
Burdock is another type of liver helping thistle coming from the genus Arctium, It is found in Europe and Asia. The root is the part of the burdock that is used as food and medicinally. The root contains nutrients like iron, inulin, and beneficial oils.
Studies show that burdock root can control liver damage and protect the liver from further damage. Burdock is also thought to promote the flow and release of bile. This action helps in cleansing the liver and aids the digestive process.
Burdock root comes in liquid form or in capsule form. The recommend dose is 500mg - 1000mg, 3 times daily. Doses may be higher if liver problems are severe.
The artichoke is a perennial thistle of the Cynara genus. It is found throughout many parts of the world. Most know the heart of the artichoke as a common food that is used in many food dishes. The flowers and the leaves of the artichoke however are used medicinally.
The artichoke's active substance is called Cynarin, and acts as a regulator for liver functions. This chemical aids in the formation of bile and also aids in the treatment of diseases such as jaundice and cirrhosis by stimulating liver cell regeneration.
Artichoke can come in liquid extract form and in capsule form. The most common dosage is 250mg, 2 times daily. The range of dosage that is recommended is between 250mg and 750mg daily.
The herbs and supplements listed above are generally harmless and safe to take regularly. Make sure that supplements are taken with plenty of water and with food. With all herbs and natural medicines, a medical professional may need to be consulted first to access interactions, side effects, and safety issues.
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