Ayurveda tells us the liver is responsible for converting clear plasma (Rasa Dhatu) to blood (Rakta Dhatu). It is the liver’s job to scan and identify toxins in the Rasa Dhatu and store them so they don’t enter rakta. This keeps the purity of the blood by stopping ama, impurities (ama), from mixing with it.
Because the liver is such an important organ for most essential bodily functions Ayurveda recommends various dietary, daily routines and herbal formulas to support its healthy functioning. With modern-day food and lifestyles (think of junk food, alcohol, smoking, stress and medication) we put greater pressure on the liver causing health problem from allergies and migraines to obesity and indigestion.
HEALTHY LIVER HERBS
Punarnava (Boerhaavia diffusa) literally means ‘bring back to life’ or ‘renewer’. Similar to its name it rejuvenates the liver.
Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia) promotes regeneration of the liver and protects it from disease. It is one of the best herbs for long-term liver health. Its tonic properties benefit the entire body, especially the immune system. It is beneficial for people of all constitutional types, making it one of the safest herbs to use.
Bhumyamalaki (Phyllanthus amarus) is a bitter herb that helps protect the liver. Traditionally used to care for liver-related indigestion, hepatitis, and jaundice in children, it is also useful for viral infections.
Bhringaraj (Eclipta alba) has similar properties to the well-known Western liver herb, dandelion (Taraxacum officinale). This Ayurvedic herb not only provides support for liver-related problems, including skin disorders, but also is suggested to improve poor digestion of fatty food and to help with anemia and lymphatic congestion.
Some Ayurvedic liver medicines are already familiar to the Western world. These include garlic (Allium sativum), aloe vera (Aloe vera), and barberry (Berberis vulgaris), which are often combined with the spice turmeric (Curcuma longa).
Along with the use of these natural remedies, it is also important to avoid foods that cause damage to the liver. Consuming foods that are refined or heavily processed with a large number of additives and too many medications, means the liver has to work overtime to tackle the chemical load, and this causes damage. Foods rich in hydrogenated oil, artificial sweetening agents and alcohol places greater load on the liver.
Eat foods like beans, green vegetables (especially bitter salad greens and cabbage family), sweet fruits, whole grains (especially oats and barley) and fresh dairy (in moderation).
Cut back on heating foods including oil, salt, hot spices, fermented food (alcohol, vinegar), tomatoes, egg yolks, coffee, red meat, refined flour and sugar.
Minimize exposure to chemicals of all sorts from food additives and cosmetics to caustic cleaning agents.
Take time to breathe deeply, relax, meditate, or pray. Stress can aggravate liver congestion. By keeping your liver healthy, you can enjoy mental and physical energy, clear skin, and a healthy natural immunity. If life is worth living, it depends upon the liver!