- Alternative & Natural Medicine
Herbs that Help Your Liver
I suffer with Primary Biliary Cirrhosis of the liver. It is prominently a disease of middle aged women. Ten women for every one man has the disease.
No, I am not a drinker. I started having liver problems when I got active Hepatitis B about twenty five years ago while living in a third world country where hepatitis is very prevalent. Although I recovered from the jaundice, nausea, itching and exhaustion, my liver was scarred. I take medication daily so the PBC will not develop into something worse including liver cancer.
Recently I have started taking Milk Thistle because I discovered it has been used as a herbal liver disease remedy for 200 years. There are substances (especially a flavonoid called silymarin ) that are known to protect the liver from toxins. Silymarin has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and it may even help the liver repair itself by growing new cells.
The herb milk thistle (silymarin) is a premier liver nutrient. ~ Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., C.N.S.
Dandelion is another plant that can help the liver. I remember when I was young that we had to dig the dandelions out of our grass because they were weeds. I loved blowing the seeds when they had grown older and watch them fly in the wind. Little did I know then that the leaves and roots were traditionally used to treat liver problems, and that one day I would benefit from using them.
Dandelion leaves can be used in salads, mixed with other ingredients to make a pesto, and you can drink it as a tea. Dandelion roots act as an anti-viral agent and the dandelion leaves act as a diuretic (remove toxins through the urine). Health care providers suggest using dandelion root to promote liver detoxification. Dandelion is considered safe, but there are some individuals that are allergic to it. Your doctor should be consulted if you intend use it medicinally.
It gives one a sudden start in going down a barren, stony street, to see upon a narrow strip of grass, just within the iron fence, the radiant dandelion, shining in the grass, like a spark dropped from the sun. ~Henry Ward Beecher (Liberal US Congregational minister, 1813-1887)
Can I get you a cup of Chicory?
~ Tobacco Road 1941
Another plant similar to dandelions is chicory. Chicory is common in England and Ireland. In Belgium, they boil the tender young roots and cooked with butter make quite a delicious vegetable. Some prefer it in salads to dandelions. They often blanch it to take out any bitterness. It can be used as an alternative to coffee but relaxes rather than stimulates.
A add 1 ounce of Chicory root to a pint of boiling water and drink freely. It has been found effective for jaundice and liver enlargement.
If you have liver problems that become chronic, you should work with a qualified health-care practitioner who can order liver function tests and provide guidance as you heal. They will be aware of drug interactions with herbs and will be aware which ones would be most beneficial.
Recipe for Liver Cooling Tea: 1 part Dandelion root, raw or dried, 1/8 part fresh Ginger root, 1/4 part Licorice, 1 part Artichoke leaves, 1/2 part Oregon grape root, 1/4 part Turmeric, and 1/8 part Gentian root. Herbs should be simmered in a covered pot for 20 minutes. Steep the herbs an additional 10 minutes. You can drink a cup in the morning and one in the evening and enjoy the benefits.