The term “detox your liver” is as common today as “take care of your heart.” While the body efficiently detoxifies itself on its own, there are some things you can do to support your body, especially if you’re coming from an unhealthy diet, under the weather, suffering from some digestion issues, or you come from a past of drinking excess alcohol. Our livers “clean house” regularly. Everything that goes in your body must pass through the liver where its job is to take out what it can’t use and deliver the nutrients from your food to the bloodstream where they do their magic. However, if you’re giving your body too much of the bad stuff and not enough of the good stuff, the liver gets bogged down pretty quickly. It’s not meant to “clean up and correct” 24/7, but should also be able to nourish the body too by receiving optimal nutrients it can use to make you feel healthy.
A whole foods, plant-based diet is essentially the cornerstone of what the liver needs. Sure, there’s a little give and take room there, but the cleaner the diet, the healthier your liver will be. Another helpful tip to take care of your liver is to use nutrient-dense herbs, roots, and greens. Many of these have been use for hundreds of years throughout various cultures due to their wellness benefits.
After incorporating foods that benefit and cleanse the liver, try some of these tried and true remedies too:
1. Burdock Root
This root is found near the ginger in most types of health food stores and looks a little strange but is packed with liver-boosting benefits. Burdock root stimulates bile in the body, which helps the liver get rid of toxins efficiently and break down various substances in the body. It can also benefit overall digestion, especially if you suffer constipation, inflammation in the stomach, or IBS and regular abdominal irregularities. As a side bonus, burdock root also helps the kidneys detoxify efficiently which are another important part of the self-cleansing process. You can grate burdock root just like ginger to make a tea; it’s very warming, earthy, and slightly sweet … truly a delight first thing in the day or after a long, tiring day. It’s also found in most types of detox teas on the market for these very benefits.
Though technically thought of as a green, dandelion is actually a weed that acts like an herb in the body in how it cleanses and rejuvenates. Dandelion also stimulates liver function, helps with fatigue related to digestive stagnation, and can also help alkalize the blood — another key part of ultimate liver function. Dandelion tea is one of the best ways to consume it since it’s a little sweet and very inexpensive. It’s also one of the most top ingredients found in most detox blend teas. Plus, dandelion greens aren’t always available year round in the produce section (they’re also slightly bitter). If you decide to cook with dandelion green, be sure you add in some other delicious ingredients that will benefit the liver such as onions, garlic, scallions, and a little lemon. Yum!
This herb doesn’t just make a fantastic dinner dish or Mexican entree of any kind, but it’s also one of the most healing everyday herbs you can consume. Cilantro is one of the best sources of chlorophyll and can help the body detoxify from mercury. Try shaking a little dried cilantro into salads, your veggies, or add fresh cilantro (the best option) to any dish, juice with it, and even try adding a sprig or two to a smoothie for a fun taste … yes, seriously!
Oregano is another body cleanser and healer all in one. Full of vitamin B6 for efficient metabolic activity, more antioxidants in 1 tablespoon versus 1 cup of blueberries, digestive benefits, and regulating properties. Oregano has been an ancient healer throughout all of Greece and the Mediterranean areas of the world for years, along with Italy, of course. It’s also a natural anti-fungal agent and well-known to fight health issues like candida yeast overgrowth. For your liver, it ensures the breakdown of food by optimizing bile production, alkalizes the blood that passes through the liver, and can help reduce the inflammatory effects of other foods or factors in a persons’ diet or lifestyle.
5. Lemon Balm
This herb doesn’t come from the lemon, but instead, it gets its name because it has a mild lemon scent. It looks a bit like peppermint leaves and is a fantastic, gentle cleansing herb that boosts bile function, aids in liver enzyme function, and supports the production of one of the body’s most important detoxification antioxidants: glutathione. It’s normally sold as a tea or included in detox tea blends or liver-boosting tea blends. You can also find it paired with many green teas in various blends or immune-boosting teas. Lemon balm even supports your blood sugar levels, can help with anxiety and stress, and aids in clearing the skin.
Most all roots, spices, and herbs provide liver-boosting benefits that can optimize our health. Instead of turning to over the counter supplements, try to turn to simple foods from nature instead, or organic, natural teas made with the dried forms of these foods. Consumed first thing in the morning, they can help prepare the body for a day of feeling well, staying healthy, and can even help us crave less-than-healthy ingredients.
Take care of your liver as much as you can by eating a natural, whole foods diet as much as possible and incorporating some of these herbs. Once you learn what it feels like to truly feel healthy and well-taken care of internally, you won’t ever want to go back to unhealthy habits that don’t serve our bodies best.
You can also check out our 5 Step Guide to Detox Your Liver here for more natural tips and information.
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