Welcome back to Liver Support & Cleanse part 2. This post is going to cover the Herbs & Foods to cleanse your liver. As the name suggests this post had to get split into two parts. If you missed it the previous post, part I covers all of the lifestyle changes and supportive things you can do day-to-day that will protect your liver and prevent exposure to toxins: Liver Support & Cleanse.
In this second part we will cover all of the herbs you can use to gently and safely to cleanse your liver and your body of harmful toxins and heavy metals.
So let’s just dive straight in:
How to Cleanse Your Liver
I cannot stress enough that cleansing your liver and/or your body is NOT something you need to do on a regular basis. Cleansing is good in small quantities and infrequently, do it too often and you start removing the nutrients that you DO need. Subsequently doing more harm than good.
I have already written How to Detox Your Body Naturally about using herbs to gently cleanse your whole system. Your Liver does not work independently of the rest of your systems. So looking at your body as a whole you can also use the herbs in that previous post to gently cleanse your whole.
I have already mentioned activated charcoal and chlorella in part one of this post, as well as beetroot and lemon juice. But they aren’t the only natural toxin and liver cleansers:
Foods to Cleanse Your Liver
As I have said before: Food is the most basic form of medicine and healing we have. There are many Foods that work to cleanse your liver naturally.
These are vegetables such as broccoli, sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage etc. These vegetables contain glutathione which triggers toxic cleansing enzymes in your liver and flushing out carcinogens.
Garlic has many health benefits. It is choc full with sulphur which activates your liver enzymes and help your body flush out toxins. It is also high in Selenium, an essential micronutrient that works to boost your natural lovers natural antioxidant enzyme levels. This in turn helps your liver and body fight oxidative stress.
Green tea is full of natural antioxidants, including a compound called catechin which is known to assist liver function. While drinking 5-10 cups of tea a day is shown to be good for liver health, you must be careful with a green tea extract as too much green tea can cause damage to your liver.
As well as lemon juice as previously mentioned, other citrus fruits high in vitamin C also stimulate your liver. They aid the synthesising of toxic materials into substances that can be absorbed by water and naturally cleansed from your system.
Grapefruit in particular is beneficial as it contains two antioxidants – naringin and naringenin. These help to protect your liver from injury by reducing inflammation as well as protecting liver cells.
Walnuts are full of glutathione, omega-3 fatty acids and an amino acid called arginine. Which all support healthy liver function and cleansing actions. Especially when detoxifying ammonia.
Organic cold pressed oils such as hemp, olive oil and flaxseed are all healthy fats which support the liver by providing your body with a liquid base that absorbs harmful toxins and reduces the levels of fat in your liver.
Turmeric is known for its healing and anti-inflammatory properties.
This spice also helps your liver enzymes that flush out toxins and contains antioxidants that repair your liver cells, assists the liver to detox heavy metals, and boosts bile production.
Herbs to Cleanse Your Liver
There are a number of herbs and natural methods you can use to cleanse your liver. As mentioned previously this detoxing process can cause some queasiness and make you feel unwell. This happens as the herbs begin the work of flushing wastes from your system that will temporarily circulate in your blood stream before excretion.
Because if this it is always best to start with the lowest dose for all of the herbs discussed here. Work up to higher doses as necessary.
Boldo leaf is known as one of the top 5 liver herbs in the world. It is full of liver protecting antioxidants, as well as assisting your liver in efficiently converting vitamin A.
You can take Boldo leaf as a capsule or as a tea.
Dandelion root is a common herb you can buy in supplement form form most health food stores nowadays. It is full of antioxidants, it is an anti-inflammatory, as well as working to increase the flow of bile in your body. This means it works to detoxify your liver and boost liver health.
Milk Thistle Seed
You have probably already heard of Milk thistle. It has become known as a protective supplement, one that you can take if you know you will be drinking alcohol. It contains three flavonoid compounds collectively known as silymarin which work to protect your body and remove poisons and toxins.
Injecting Milk thistle is a method used in emergency rooms to save the lives of poison victims. Milk thistle interrupts the flow of substances between your blood, liver, and digestive system. Preventing re-absorption of toxins and poisons by your body and allowing them to be excreted without harm.
You can take 2-4 tablespoons of the seed ground or in capsule form any time you’ve taken over the counter painkillers or had a few drinks.
Borage leaf is a mild, cooling liver cleanser. It is also a good blood cleanser and a herb favoured for arthritis sufferers and cleansing arteries.
You can safely take three to 10 capsules per day.
This berry is a Chinese tonic rich in lignan and one of the adaptogen herbs. This superfood berry was traditionally taken to promote vitality and support overall stamina. As it supports both your immune and nervous systems.
It is also especially good for women, and works to support and gently detox your liver and kidneys.
Schisandra is available in tea and capsule forms. You can safely take up to 8 capsules per day.
This is a root that has many uses in herbal medicine, one of which is liver detoxification. Not only is Liquorice is a good starting herb for liver cleansing as it is quite mild, it’s also antiviral. This makes it a good choice to use in supporting your body and it’s recovery during and after any infections you may have.
Chamomile had a wind range of benefits and you will likely know it for its calming, relaxing properties. Although less well known it is also able to support your liver and is a wonderful liver tonic herb.
Because Chamomile is a mild herb you need to get medicinal quality from a herb pharmacy for liver cleansing. Normal tea bags just won’t be strong enough.
These are not all of the liver cleansing herbs available, but a fair few of them and I have tried to pick the most accessible and sustainable ones.
It is also worth noting that your liver alone doesn’t cleanse your body. It works with both your liver and your lymphatic system to cleanse your whole body, remove waste and toxins and prevent any foreign bodies or harmful nasties making you sick.
To finish I just want to reiterate that prevention is always better than a cure. If you are unsure about any of the information here then please seen the advice of a naturopath or health professional. Or start with the cleansing foods before you try herbs.