Anyone can develop liver disease, even if you don’t frequently drink alcohol. To maintain your overall health, you can take herbal supplements that can help cleanse your liver.
What exactly does the liver do?
The liver has various functions. It produces various chemicals that the body needs to function normally and it breaks down and detoxifies substances in the body. The liver also functions as the body’s “storage unit.”
Hepatocytes, or liver cells, produce many of the proteins in the body that are needed for many functions such as blood clotting.
Additionally, the liver manufactures cholesterol and triglycerides. The liver also produces carbohydrates, and the organ turns glucose into glycogen that is stored in the liver and in the muscle cells. This crucial organ also produces bile that is needed for digestion.
The liver helps detoxify the body because it converts ammonia, a byproduct of metabolism in the body, into urea, which is excreted in the urine by the kidneys. The liver also helps break down medications and substances (like alcohol). It also breaks down insulin and other hormones in the body.
Aside from these functions, the liver stores vitamins and chemicals that the body needs as “building blocks,” such as:
- Folic acid – (Folate) This vitamin helps the body produce new cells.
- Iron – This is needed to make red blood cells.
- Vitamin A – This vitamin is needed for eye health.
- Vitamin B12 – This vitamin does many things, including keeping blood and nerve cells healthy.
- Vitamin D – This vitamin is used for calcium absorption.
- Vitamin K – This vitamin helps the blood clot properly.
The liver is both an organ and a gland. It is a unique organ because it’s responsible for countless chemical actions that the body needs to survive. As a gland, it secretes chemicals needed by other parts of the body. The liver is the biggest internal organ in the body.
Herbal remedies for liver health
If you have liver disease or if you would like to cleanse your liver, consider taking these potent herbs.
- Dandelion root – Dandelion root is bitter, but it is good for your liver. You can buy dandelion root capsules or tablets at health food stores. The plant’s roots and leaves can help treat hepatitis C. Dandelion contains an active compound called taraxin which is a choleretic. This means taraxin can help stimulate bile production by the liver. You can cook dandelion greens with other greens or you can eat it on its own with some onions and garlic for added flavor. Alternatively, you can make dandelion root tea, a great liver detoxifier.
- Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) – Milk thistle is available in capsules or tablets, and the herb helps repair and replace damaged liver cells. The plant contains an antioxidant called silymarin that is good for liver health. Milk thistle is also used to cure chronic liver disease and hepatitis B and C. Most of the plant can be eaten, but milk thistle seeds are the most potent. After removing the plant’s prickles, you can stew milk thistle seeds and stems. You can also boil the roots. (Related: Milk thistle shows promise in treating liver cancer.)
- Schisandra/Chinese magnolia vine (Schisandra chinensis) – Like milk thistle, schisandra can help repair and reduce some of the symptoms linked to liver disease. Consume about 500 to 1,500 milligrams (mg) of dried schisandra berries thrice a day for the best results.
Consult a healthcare professional before you start taking any of these herbal remedies. Ask if they will interact with any of your prescription medications.
Keep your liver clean and healthy with powerful herbal remedies coupled with healthy lifestyle choices.