A large red organ thoughtfully provided by nature to be bilious with. The sentiments and emotions which every literary anatomist now knows to haunt the heart were anciently believed to infest the liver; and even Gascoygne, speaking of the emotional side of human nature, calls it ‘our hepaticall parte.’ It was at one time considered the seat of life; hence its name – liver, the thing we live with. The liver is heaven’s best gift to the goose; without it that bird would be unable to supply us with the Strasbourg pate.
— Ambrose Bierce, an American writer
The liver is the body’s premier cleansing organ. It removes toxins, impurities, and debris from the bloodstream.
The liver needs to work efficiently to help break down wastes and toxins. Otherwise, conditions due to toxic overload may lead to chronic fatigue syndrome [CFS], immune deficiency, allergies, cancer, liver damage, and chronic inflammatory disorders.
A simple liver detoxification programme consists of dieting [juice fasting, water fasting, raw food diet, eating less, no-food-fast, and vegetarianism], exercise, alternative remedies, ozone therapy, acupuncture, massage, herbal liver cleansing medicines, colon irrigation, vitamin supplements etc., These include:
- Consumption of only apple juice [malic acid] or liquids for a day or two, followed by a mixture of lemon juice [citric acid] and olive oil in small doses, repeatedly, for a day
- A high starch, or carbohydrate, diet with low proteins and fats. B-vitamins, especially B-6 and B-3, vitamins A and E, calcium, selenium, and l-cytokine are all needed to support liver detoxification. Liver supportive nutrients as supplements to diet are also useful
- A diet rich in water, fruits and vegetables, nutrient supplements, and herbs, are just as helpful in liver detoxification, along with cleansing enemas.
Aims of detox
Liver detoxification should be aimed at achieving optimum results:
- To support proper liver function. This includes cholesterol regulation, maintaining enzyme levels, and optimising food assimilation, thereby providing the nutritional support necessary for liver regeneration
- To cleanse toxins of the liver, caused by food, chemicals, additives, and preservatives, air-borne pollutants, and environmental hazards
- To promote the neutralisation of poisonous substances, metabolism of alcohol, and resistance to infection.
Herbs for liver cleansing
The best thing to do is add spices, in small amounts, to your daily diet. This helps to maintain a healthy, functional liver.
Curry leaves known as Murraya koenigi, or kadi patta, is very beneficial. It is consumed daily, either raw or while seasoning. It helps keep the liver in a proper functioning state. Curry leaves have calcium, phosphorus, iron, nicotinic acid, and vitamin C. They are recommended in diabetes, liver dysfunction, and digestive disorders. Consuming curry leaves daily improves the secretion of the liver, and keeps it in balance. It also acts against flatulence [gas], sluggish stomach, and intestines. It enhances immunity.
Ginger and its constituents have anti-vomiting, cardiac tonic, anti-bacterial, anti-oxidant, liver tonic, anti-inflammatory, immuno-stimulant, carminative [digestive], cholagogue actions [where secretions from liver and gall bladder are regulated], and other healthy effects. Ginger may also be used to promote gastric secretions, increase intestinal movements, lower cholesterol levels, regulate blood glucose, and stimulate peripheral circulation. Eating raw ginger, before or with meals, is highly recommended. You may also add ginger to your tea.
Coriander. This is considered to be digestive, tonic, anti-bilious, refrigerant, and aphrodisiac. The seeds are chewed to correct foul breath. An infusion of seeds in combination with caraway and cardamom seeds is useful in flatulence, indigestion, vomiting, and intestinal disorders.
Garlic lowers cholesterol [it increases “good” cholesterol]. It lowers blood pressure, thins the blood, and reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke. It improves circulation, and fights bacteria like an antibiotic. Garlic, a potent anti-oxidant, has been found to inhibit tumour cell formation.
Turmeric exhibits liver protection properties, because of its potent anti-oxidant attributes. It is traditionally used to correct liver disorders. It may be used with licorice to form a powerful synergy for liver protection and rejuvenation.
Fennel seeds often provide quick and effective relief from many digestive disorders. They help to overcome gas, cramps, acid indigestion, and many other digestive tract maladies. Recent studies have found that consumption of fennel seeds can increase the production of bile in the liver; they also possess diuretic [elevates the rate of bodily urine excretion], pain-reducing, and anti-microbial activities.
Other herbs that are just as useful are: bringaraja [Elicpta alba], Manjista [Rubia cordifolia], Katuki [Picrorhiza Kurroa], Milk thistle, and aloe vera.
Speak to your therapist to know the right proportion of ingredients, and line of detox treatment that can help you best.
Things to Do
You can keep your cleansing organs, especially the liver, in order by following certain habits daily, or by seasonal cleansing procedures, when the body demands detoxification [when symptoms are manifest].
- Avoid preserved, packaged food as much as possible. Include fresh fruits and vegetables in daily diet
- Ginger, lemon, cumin, coriander, turmeric, clove, pepper, cinnamon, are best taken in small quantities daily
- Try to eat only when hungry, if not avoid eating. Snacking hampers digestion
- Alcohol, smoking, fats, caffeine, excessive spices, salted edibles, cokes are best avoided
- Drink sufficient water, fresh fruit juices. Consuming chaas [buttermilk] seasoned with coriander, curry leaves, ginger helps
- Fasting systematically once in a fortnight is advised. One can reap better results by fasting after consulting a professional
- Regular practice of yoga [under supervision, or after proper guidance] and strolling following meals also help
- Drugs prescribed, or otherwise, can harm your liver. Check with your doctor before taking any medication
- Regular practice of exercise, especially different forms of yoga, are immensely beneficial.
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