Top 10 Herbs for Liver Health
What are the Best Herbs for liver health?
The liver is the largest organ in the body. It’s also the organ responsible for detoxification: flushing out the various toxins we encounter in your diet, lifestyle, and environment.
Every one of your body systems is dependent on the liver for cleaning the blood of impurities. These impurities can include environmental toxins, additives in food, or medications.
Another example is acetaldehyde, a neurotoxin that comes from alcohol and is also sometimes produced endogenously within your gut.
Regular exposure to acetaldehyde causes inflammation, which in turn causes cells to be replaced by scar tissue. Scarred liver cells can’t function properly, which means your liver can’t either.
The liver has to deal with a truckload of other toxins, too: processed food, drugs, (pharmaceutical or otherwise), and pollution. Even exercise and sunlight cause the body to produce free radicals, which can damage your liver.
As you see the liver has an enormous role to play to make sure the body can function at its best at all times.
- The liver is responsible for nutrient metabolism, utilization and is the storage site for key vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, and B12.
- The liver converts B-carotene to Vitamin A, converts dietary folate to active folate, converts pre-vitamin D to active vitamin D.
- The liver degrades old red and white blood cells effectively cleanse the blood.
- The liver synthesizes bile and cholesterol.
- The liver synthesizes the master antioxidants; Glutathione and superoxide dismutase (SOD).
- The liver converts amino acids and ammonia into urea.
- The liver is involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
- The liver plays a role in balancing blood glucose, acts as an endocrine organ by releasing insulin and glucagon, and has its very own immune cells throughout it – Kuppfer cells which eat up cellular waste and modulate an immune response.
Here are our Top 10 Herbs for liver health.
1. Milk thistle (silymarin)
Silymarin, often called milk thistle, consists of a group of compounds extracted from milk thistle (Silybum marianum) seeds, including silybin, silychristin, and silydianin.
Milk thistle has been used for over 2,000 years to treat bile duct and liver conditions, and research shows that it may have liver-protective properties.
It has been suggested that silymarin has strong antioxidant effects and may help promote liver cell regeneration, reduce inflammation, and benefit those with liver disease.
2. Ginseng root
Ginseng is a popular herbal supplement known for its powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
A number of test-tube and animal studies have demonstrated that ginseng has antioxidant effects and may help protect against liver injury caused by viruses, toxins, and alcohol. Plus, it may boost liver cell regeneration after surgery.
What’s more, some human studies have shown that ginseng treatment may improve liver function and reduce fatigue and inflammation in people with liver disease and liver dysfunction.
3. Burdock root
Along with being a blood purifier, burdock root also has many benefits for cleansing the liver and supporting liver health. Burdock stimulates bile production and helps to flush out toxins in the liver.
4. Astragalus Root
Astragalus is an edible herb commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine. It’s loaded with medicinal compounds, including saponins, isoflavonoids, and polysaccharides, which have powerful therapeutic properties..
It’s generally considered safe and hasn’t been associated with liver injury. However, it can interact with certain medications.
5. Ginkgo biloba
Ginkgo biloba is a popular herbal supplement that has been linked to improved liver health. For example, a rodent study showed that ginkgo biloba injections reduced liver fibrosis and enhanced liver function.
Although ginkgo biloba has been associated with mild adverse side effects, it hasn’t been linked to liver injury specifically.
6. Licorice root
Although chewy candy often comes to mind when thinking of licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), it’s really an herb with powerful medicinal properties.
Licorice root has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and liver-protective effects in scientific studies.
The main active component in licorice root is the saponin compound glycyrrhizin, which is commonly used in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine to treat many ailments, including liver disease.
Although garlic is botanically considered a vegetable, it’s a popular component of many herbal remedies. It’s packed with potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory plant compounds, such as allicin, alliin, and ajoene, which may help support liver health.
8. Ginger root
Ginger root is a popular culinary ingredient and is also commonly used as a medicinal treatment for many health conditions, including liver disease.
Turmeric and its main active component curcumin have been linked to a variety of impressive health benefits.
It’s well documented that turmeric has powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticancer properties, which makes this herb a popular choice for those with liver disease.
10. Dandelion Root
The polysaccharides in dandelion are known to reduce stress on the liver and support its ability to produce bile. They also help your liver filter potentially harmful chemicals out of your food. Dandelion is also a good source of Vitamin C, one of the most helpful vitamins for the immune system.
To enhance your liver health follow a healthy diet, drink plenty of water, exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight, limit your alcohol intake, keep your cholesterol in check, and wash your hands frequently (in order to prevent infection).
Why not also have a look at our Swedish Bitters recipe! One of the main functions of the Swedish Bitters is to promote the secretion of pancreatic and gastric juices and soothe the digestive tract. Tonic stimulates liver functions and promotes secretion of bile from the liver that serves to emulsify or break down dietary fat and clear cholesterol out of our body.