Processed foods, air pollution, pesticides, plastic containers, medications, alcohol, viruses…The list goes on. These are the things that your liver must contend with on a daily basis. These things are toxins, and you’re exposed to them every day. You might not even be aware that your body is taking in many of these things because they are invisible and beyond your control, but your liver, your largest and busiest organ, must deal with all of them.
There are steps you can take to minimize your exposure to these toxins. There are also several botanical “medicines” that you can take to help heal a stressed liver or help maintain a healthy one. Here is a list of a few of those botanicals as well as scientific evidence of their efficacy.
Milk thistle’s therapeutic use can be traced back at least 2000years. The milk thistle plant contains a compound called Silymarin—an extremely potent antioxidant. Silymarin protects the liver from the damaging effects of metabolism byproducts and ingested toxins. Silymarin’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory functions may help the liver self-repair by growing new cells. The results of a 2003 study* published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology with silymarin used on baboons suggests that silymarin may prevent alcohol-related liver damage.
Dandelion has traditionally been used to treat dyspepsia and heartburn as well as liver and spleen complaints Researchers at Honenheim University in Stuttgart, Germany conducted a review** of current available data on the medicinal properties of the compounds in the dandelion plant. They found there is a vast amount of data supporting its use as a therapeutic agent.
Amazingly enough, this delicious vegetable delicacy is also very good for your liver. Research suggests artichoke leaf extract helps increase liver bile flow. A 2002 Spanish study*** whose results were published in International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacology showed that rats given artichoke leaf extract showed significantly better bile flow than rats not receiving the compound.
How do you keep your liver healthy?