Learn to love your liver!
What is the most common symptom we all suffer from?
Could it be stress? Very likely!
The poor old liver is one of the organs most sensitive to stress. What happens to it under stress? The liver tissue tightens up, causing congestion – the liver’s biggest problem. Think of it as an interruption to the flow of blood though the thousands of tiny tubules within it.
Obviously, this means it does not function properly. And the liver has so many functions in the body – this easily causes widespread problems.
The functions of the liver include:
- Storing vitamins
- Storing iron
- Storing sugar in non-active form, and releasing it when required
- Detoxifying harmful molecules
- Regulating various hormones – including menstrual/menopausal
- Regulating the amount of blood in circulation – if this is not working efficiently, you may feel ‘groggy’ first thing in the morning! Why?… it’s because the amount of blood in circulation needed at any particular time varies. This is not surprising if you think about it – you need more blood flowing when you’re active, and less when you’re resting. After all, the blood carries oxygen and nutrition around the body, and you need more of both of these available when you’re active.
- Excess blood is stored in the liver. When you are sleeping you need the least blood. When you wake up, you suddenly need quite a bit more as you start moving around. The liver has to rapidly pump it back into circulation.
If the liver is congested it doesn’t work so well – it can take 30-60 minutes to get the blood circulating as it should. So it may not be that strong cup of coffee waking you up in the morning! It’s probably the passage of 30-60 minutes while the liver returns stored blood to the blood vessels!
This is just one common problem involving the liver! You really must learn to love your liver!
The liver is very, very, important – yet often overlooked!
When things start to go wrong with the liver, you can get the following:
- Feeling bad first thing in the morning- it takes an hour or so to feel OK
- Have trouble eating or digesting fatty foods
- Headaches involving the eyes, or at the sides of the head
- Aches and pain that come and go without any pattern
- Dark or clotted menstrual blood
- Menopausal symptoms
- Inability to handle even small amounts of alcohol
- Sensitivities or allergies to foods or other things – including hay fever
- Easily frustrated or angry; depression; blocked emotions
If you have one of these symptoms – the liver is probably congested; the circulation through it needs improving. If you have any two – congestion is almost definite!
Let’s face it – this list of symptoms must include about half of the population! Now you see why the liver is so important.
Monitor your improvement
There is one good thing about having the above symptoms; once the liver starts to improve – you can often notice an improvement fairly quickly.
Mind you – that’s just the start! Keep the treatment up for the full course – perhaps 3 – 6 months – or the symptoms will return.
What can you do to improve liver function?
First of all, make sure there is nothing seriously wrong with you. You may wish to consult a medical doctor and/or a practitioner in alternative therapy. Then, consider what you can do to help yourself.
There are two commonly recommended methods of cleansing the liver. You can use either one, or a combination of both.
Those two methods are the liver flush, and herbal treatment. Both need to be combined with a dietary approach – ie avoid certain foods, and have extra quantities of the right foods.
This involves ‘flushing’ the liver regularly for 1-3 weeks. The flush includes olive oil, lemon juice, and various other healthy additives, such as ginger, garlic, cayenne pepper, or other spices; and some sort of fruit juice is often added. The main benefit is in the oil and lemon, and the rest is mainly there to try and make it more palatable!
After drinking it, you may feel a little nauseous. So it is a great idea to follow it up with something to settle the stomach. Peppermint Tea is excellent; ginger or fennel tea are very good too. To make ginger tea, gently simmer a few slices of ginger in water for 5 minutes; for fennel tea, gently simmer a teaspoon of fennel seeds – from a health food shop or supermarket – in water.
One of the prime proponents of the liver flush was Randolph Stone, the respected doctor who founded Polarity Therapy. You can read the recipe for his recommendations for a liver flush by searching the web.
Among the most popular herbs for the liver are milk thistle seeds, dandelion root, barberry bark, and fringe tree bark. If you are taking normal strength herbal supplements, a 3-4 month course would usually be enough. A qualified herbalist may give you a stronger formulation, which might not be needed for so long.
The liver often responds well to measures such as these. You must keep up the treatment for the full course though! Don’t cut it short. (Unless you are concerned about any reactions you are getting. If you are, stop and consult a practitioner. Most people have no problems, apart from the nausea mentioned above. Remember
to start off gently with any treatment. Email us if you have any queries at all: firstname.lastname@example.org)
If the symptoms soon start coming back after you’ve finished – repeat the course of treatment after a week or two rest.
(If they soon come back yet again – see an alternative practitioner who is experienced at dealing with liver congestion. How do your know if a practitioner is experienced? Simple – ask them. You don’t want to spend your valuable time and money on a wild goose chase. Make sure the person you are seeing knows what
they are doing. If they don’t sound too sure, or if they won’t explain properly, go elsewhere. Talk to them on the phone first to see if they sound like the person for you. Don’t forget to find out exactly what they expect to do for you, and how long they expect it to take. Write it down, and keep a check!)
Dr Sandra Cabot – gives a useful description of the detoxification mechanisms of the liver – Liver Doctor[easyazon-cta align=”right” asin=”0967398363″ height=”28″ key=”amazon-us-small-light” locale=”us” width=”120″]
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You may have heard of her book ‘The Liver-Cleansing Diet’ which is very popular, and has lots of good information in it.
Julia Chang has a very interesting site describing how she overcame twenty years of bad health by using liver and gall bladder cleansing. If you are thinking about such treatment – you will find her story quite inspiring! Read all about it at SensibleHealth.com. She also supplies a range of products to help liver cleansing with which she has a lot of experience.
A diet to help the liver
While cleansing the liver, it will help to avoid certain foods, and eat more of others. You don’t want to be following a liver cleanse then having a ‘fry-up’ for breakfast!
Foods to avoid when liver cleansing
- Fried foods
- Dairy foods (Milk, Cheese, Eggs)
- Margarines and non-cold-pressed oils
- Sugar. A little molasses, honey, or muscovado sugar may be used
- Chemicals such as artificial colourings and other additives
- Tea and coffee
Come on – it’s not so bad! If you can’t cut these things out completely – at least cut them down as much as possible.
- Carrots – try and eat 2 or 3 organic raw carrots daily, either as they are, or grated or chopped in salads
- Alternatively, drink half to one pint of carrot juice daily. This can be freshly juiced, or can be obtained bottled
- Most fruits benefit the liver. Lemons are particularly good, as they can relieve congestion and cleanse the liver. The juice of half a lemon can be added to a cup of hot water to make a refreshing, healthy drink. Don’t drink too much if you have weak teeth – the (mild) acid can damage the enamel
- Globe artichokes are particularly good for the liver, also beetroot, asparagus, chicory, celery, radishes, leeks, onions, garlic, cabbage and dandelion are of great benefit
- In the Spring, dandelion leaves can be obtained from young plants and added to salad. Later in the year these become more bitter – but can still be used
- Drinks which especially benefit the Liver include teas made from the herbs thyme, rosemary, chamomile, or meadowsweet. To make these, infuse a teaspoon of the herb in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. Or make in a teapot just like ordinary tea, but infuse for a bit longer
A general diet to benefit the liver – and the rest of you!
These recommendations for modifying your diet during liver cleansing can largely be applied to your diet in general.
Don’t be too extreme about it though – we don’t want to make you an ‘outcast’! Remember, unless you are very ill – in which case strict guidelines are necessary – it is what you do 90% of the time which determines you health level. If you go ‘off the rails’ 10% of the time – well, we’re all human! Do the best you can. And if you have a bad day – just start again!
In addition to the foods to be avoided and those to be encouraged, it is advisable to adopt a good wholefood diet, including:
- Cereals – wheat, barley, brown rice, millet, rye, oats, whole wheat noodles
- Sprouted seeds and pulses – alfalfa seeds, sunflower seeds, whole wheat grains, radish seeds, and so on
- Cooked lentils and pulses
- Wholemeal pastry and bread in moderation
- A little honey
The liver – one vital piece in the jigsaw of health
Have you got a congested liver? Answer: yes – very probably. It is the cause of many symptoms in the western world today.
A liver cleanse has produced a quick improvement in health for many people. It will not harm you – and may quickly do you a lot of good.
Look after your liver – and it will look after you.
The liver is like the busy hub of a large city. It performs hundreds of functions which keep the healthy body working perfectly:
Keep it working well!
Carry out a liver cleanse now and repeat it every year. Spring is a great time for the annual cleanse.
If you have an ongoing illness, then consult a doctor or practitioner before starting a thorough cleanse of the liver. If you have an acute illness (such as an infection) wait until you are better before starting it.
If there is a ‘liver flush’ included in the liver programme you choose, take it easy at first. It may make you nauseous (feel sick). Start off with a little, then increase it each day. Follow it with peppermint tea which is an anti-emetic (helps stop you feeling sick!) An alternative is ginger tea (simmer a few slices of fresh ginger in a little water for 5 minutes).
If you have any reactions to the treatment apart from slight nausea, consult a practitioner who is familiar with liver cleansing. Or email us – we are here to help.
NB Don’t play around with your health
If you have a recognised illness, and especially if taking pharmaceuticals, you definitely need assistance and advice from someone used to dealing with these situations. Seek the advice of a sympathetic doctor, and find an experienced naturopath to assist you to get well. Listen to the guidance and help offered, then make up your own mind what to do. Don’t be pushed into any decision you don’t really want to take. It’s the only way to learn about your health.
A few people experience ‘cleansing reactions’ as the body ‘throws off toxins’, when carrying out natural healthcare methods. Examples of these reactions include loose bowels, headaches and temporary tiredness. The general advice for such reactions is to ease off on the treatment until they calm down, then resume at a more gentle pace. If you are in good general health, you should cope easily with such reactions. Some people even feel good at this time – a sign that the body
is happy to be getting rid of a burden. However, it is always most helpful to have professionals on hand who you can turn to for support and advice when using
natural healthcare methods. And, as mentioned above, if you have a recognised illness, it is essential for your safety and good health to have professionals – both in the alternative and regular medical fields – to whom you can turn for help.