The liver is arguably your body’s most important detoxification organ. It helps with the digestion and metabolism of fat, and detoxifies your body of harmful pollutants, food additives, and other toxins. Here are four herbs to help cleanse your liver:
Milk Thistle (Silybum Marianum)
The primary medicinal ingredient in milk thistle is called silymarin. This compound protects the liver by inhibiting damaging substances in the liver that cause liver cell damage. Silymarin also stimulates liver cell regeneration to help the liver rebuild after it has been damaged. Silymarin also helps to prevent the depletion of the nutrient glutathione—one of the most critical nutrients for liver detoxification.
Silymarin in milk thistle seeds is not very water-soluble so does not extract well into tea. Instead, take a standardized extract containing about 140 mg of silymarin for liver cleansing and protection.
Dandelion Root (Taraxacum Officinale)
Nature grows a liver-cleansing pharmacy every spring. It is the dreaded weed that most people curse as it pokes its yellow-flowered head through the green of their lawn. Dandelion is one of Mother Nature’s finest liver herbs.
The Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism cited two studies that showed the liver regenerative properties of dandelion in cases of jaundice, liver swelling, hepatitis, and indigestion. If you choose to incorporate dandelion root into your liver cleansing efforts, take 500 to 2000 mg daily in capsules. Alternatively, you can make a decoction by using two teaspoons of powdered dandelion root per cup of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for fifteen minutes. Drink one cup, three times daily.
Globe Artichoke (Cynara Scolymus)
Globe Artichoke contains compounds called caffeylquinic acids which have demonstrated powerful liver regenerating effects similar to milk thistle. Globe artichoke is usually found in capsule form. Doses range from 300 to 500 mg daily.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa)
A commonly-used spice in Indian curries, turmeric helps regenerate liver cells and cleanse it of toxins. Turmeric also increases the production of bile to help expel toxins and may help reduce liver inflammation. In studies turmeric has also been shown to increase levels of two liver-supporting enzymes that promote Phase 2 liver detoxification reactions. Turmeric comes in capsules and tablets, sometimes under the label, “curcumin,” which is the key ingredient in turmeric. Follow package instructions. You can also add ground turmeric to soups, stews, and curries.
Always consult your holistically-minded physician prior to taking any herbs. This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat illness.
Adapted with permission from The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan by Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD.