Do you know how utterly important your liver is? I knew you couldn’t live without your liver, but I didn’t really know what it did until I learned about it in my herbal class.
It does so much!
The liver is the master detoxifier for your body. It cleanses your blood from both environmental toxins – and we have so many of them these days – and metabolic waste, which are the byproducts of all the processes in your body.
It also produces chemicals that help your blood clot, produces bile needed to digest fat, metabolizes and stores vitamins and minerals, and so much more.
A liver in imbalance is not so great for your body, as you can probably imagine. Like anything, it’s better to take care of your liver up front than have to remedy problems. Especially once those problems get acute.
Things like allergies, skin disorders (including acne), auto-immune disorders, digestive issues, endometriosis, hormone disorders, and so much more can all be tied back to the liver being out of whack.
Really, disease – or “dis-ease” – is all about your body being out of whack. You need healthy cells. Your body can do the rest. It is your job to give your body what it needs. And all the things needed for a healthy liver are needed for a healthy body.
So lets learn how to love your body….
1. Eat an alkalizing diet.
The first line of defense – actually, it’s more offense – is eating food that nourishes you. An alkaline diet is good for your body. Eat more vegetables! Especially leafy green ones. Eat less dairy and fatty foods and meat. Ditch the processed foods with chemicals and other man-made junk in them. They are not food. I repeat, they are NOT food. Even if they have the word “all natural” on the label. Don’t be fooled. Eat whole grains, seeds and nuts. Basically, eat what is found in nature. And one of the best things you can do for your body is to ditch sugar. Sugar weakens your immune system. Switch over to maple syrup, honey, and dates to sweeten things but don’t use too much of those, either. Eat fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Along with eating real food, eat both cooked and raw food. Part of the remedy for liver deficiency is eating more “warm,” cooked food. Part of the remedy for liver excess is eating more “cool,” raw food. So, to keep your liver in balance, eat both! Makes sense, doesn’t it?
One thing I’ve started doing that is good for your liver is adding lemon juice to water and drinking that first thing in the morning. You could also add a good apple cider vinegar (organic, please) but I think the lemon tastes better. Seems counterintuitive, but this helps to alkalize your blood, among other great things. The water should be room temperature or warm.
2. Drink a daily tonic
Another good thing to do for your liver/body, is to find a good herbalist and have them make you up a custom tonic. But, short of that, you can click on the tag on this blog that says “alterative” and pick one of those herbs as a tonic. A tonic is something you drink on a regular basis. For me, I have a large patch of nettle, and nettle is a great herb for the liver. In season I can pick it fresh and make nettle iced tea – very refreshing, and to me it tastes like the earth and reminds me that I’m connected to it. I also pick some to dry so that I can do an overnight infusion to drink the next day during the winter months. A lot of herbs for the liver are roots, which need to be taken either as a tincture or decocted (which means boiling them in water for about 15 minutes) to extract the medicine from them. For some plants, that means growing them for a few years first. But, never fear. There is a plant that grows everywhere that you can use. It is the noble dandelion! I’m all about easy and this plant is free for the taking. What more could you ask for?
A lot of alterative herbs are strong and bitter. Bitters are actually good for you but we’ve lost our taste for them as we’ve sweetened up everything we eat. So it’s easier to take those as a tincture added to water to dilute the bitterness. Dandelions are one of the bitter ones. So much so that you can even roast and grind the roots as a coffee substitute!
3. Do an occasional cleanse
Another good thing to do once in awhile is a detox. I like to think of it more as a cleanse. If you search for detox or cleanse there are all sorts available, even one I did a few years ago that I’ll never do again because it was way too intense. I prefer a juice cleanse, which you can ease into by cleaning up your diet for a few days – see above – cutting out ALL sugar and animal products (dairy, meat, eggs) and caffeine, then juicing (via a juicer or a place that sells real juices – not the kind you get in the juice aisle) for a few days – then doing a simple, clean diet for a day or two after you finish juicing to ease your body back into whole foods. By the way, if you live near a juice bar, a lot of them offer cleansing programs.
Okay, that’s the food stuff. But there are a few more things you can do to give your body the love that it needs….
4. Move your body
Move it! Yes, that falls in the exercise category, but find an activity you like so it’s not a chore. For me that is hiking and it has the added benefit of getting me outdoors in the the fresh air. Which is the next piece of advice.
5. Get back to nature
Get outside! Breathe fresh air (not car fumes, so if you are in the city, find a park or something to walk/exercise in.) Take off your shoes and put your feet in the grass or dirt. If you are able to, start a garden. You can even do this on a balcony or back deck. Growing your food connects you back to food the way it was meant to be.
6. Rest and destress
Get enough rest! Your body uses sleep time to repair itself.
De-stress! Exercise, outdoors time, and rest can help with that. So can meditation – which is just taking time to be still.
7. Limit your exposure to toxins.
Grow your own food or get it from a reliable source that doesn’t use pesticides. And / or buy organic. And you can make a lot of your own cleaning products and chose natural, simple bath / beauty products (your skin absorbs what you put on it). Do this and your liver doesn’t have to work so hard to detox.
You can do it!
Let this year be the year that you decide to love your liver, and thus, your body. You can do it! And then you can be an example for others. The resulting ripple of health can change our planet.
Please note that the information in this article is not intended to diagnose or treat health issues. Its intent is to inform people on how to prevent disease. If you are dealing with a health issue or on medication, you should not add herbal treatments without discussing them with your doctor.