Herbs to detox the liver have become very popular, especially since the widespread use of milk thistle over the past twenty years. I remember in the early 1980’s when milk thistle was really little known – and it certainly was not generally found in shops in the UK.
In fact, one of the main functions of the liver is to “detox”, so why should we need to detox the liver itself?
The answer is that the liver is assaulted by more and more substances which it has to detox – some in the diet and some from our environment: and it just gets overburdened. So any help the liver can get with its detox function is welcome.
On the other hand some people may have inherited a liver which is not as strong as the average liver: so it will not be able to do its job as well. So extra help will be useful not just once – but regularly. For example, some people will benefit from taking either milk thistle alone, or a full-blown herbal liver program for 3 months every 1 or 2 years.
But, although detox is probably the best known liver function it is not the only one.
What is the liver?
The liver is a large gland-like organ located under the ribs on the right side of the body. Its functions include:
- Detoxification of substances which would otherwise be poisonous
- Storing and filtering blood
- Secreting bile, which enables fats to digest
- Conversion of excess sugar into glycogen and storing some of this
- Conversion of various nutrients into forms which the body can use
- Storage of certain vitamins, eg vitamin D
These are just a few of the most important liver functions. The liver has scores of other functions making it one of the most important organs of the body. It is worthwhile to do all we can to keep this vital organ working well.
Fortunately, although it is often responsible for a variety of annoying and uncomfortable symptoms, the liver has such a high metabolic rate that, when the correct treatment is applied, it is able to heal and repair itself very effectively in most cases.
In fact, if as much as 75% (three quarters) of the liver is destroyed, it is still likely to regrow and restore its detox and other functions.
This is not true regeneration as the original lobe-like structure of the liver is not exactly restored. But the new tissue which is created carries out all the liver functions which the liver needs to.
The liver is the only human organ which can repair itself naturally in this way.
The best treatment for liver detox
First of all, the diet should be attended to. Alcohol, as we all know, is bad for the liver. In fact, it is toxic if not broken down so it just causes extra work for the liver. So to help the liver all alcohol, ideally, will be stopped.
A healthy diet should be adhered to: plenty of vegetables, moderate amounts of whole fruit, plenty of lean protein, and limited sugar in all its forms. (All starchy food consist mainly of sugar when broken down by the digestion, so a healthy diet will minimize these starchy foods: rice, pasta, bread and potatoes.)
Once these matters are attended to, then herbs and supplements will be helpful. Ideally, a comprehensive, 3-month liver programme will be used. Second best is a 3-month course of milk thistle alone.
The liver programme
My top recommendation for improving liver function using herbs is by taking a herbal liver programme – a combination of several herbal products, for a period of three months – or longer if you wish.
Milk Thistle is the best known liver herb and it is very safe and very beneficial. It is best known for helping to “rebuild” the liver after it has been damaged. Studies appear to support this property. But milk thistle is also a great general support for liver function.
Alpha r-lipoic acid
An American doctor called Bert Berkson was given two supposedly terminal liver cancer patients to “watch die”. He could not accept this and found out that in Europe researchers had found great benefit for liver regeneration by using a substance called “ALA” – alpha r-lipoic acid.
An American doctor who used it extensively said this of ALA:
“…the National Institutes of Health advised me that in Europe that here were many published papers describing the regeneration of organs with ALA.I ordered the ALA and injected this substance into the patients and I was astounded. They quickly regenerated their damaged livers and went home feeling normal. Since that time, I have treated hundreds of people with Diabetes, patients undergoing Cancer treatment, patients with Hepatitis C, AIDS and other diseases with the same astounding results.
This appears to be a supplement with stunning properties – as you can see.
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Liver And detox
The liver is extremely important for the body and its best known function is to help detox – removing toxins which would otherwise damage the body. The liver can be damaged but, happily, has a unique human ability to rebuild itself. Herbs and a particular nutritional supplement – ALA – can help the liver to repair, and improve its functions generally.