HERBAL SUPPORT FOR THE LIVER: HEPATIC HERBS: Hepatic herbs provide a broad range of holistic liver support. Some hepatics increase bile flow, while others work to tone and strengthen the liver, supporting and protecting its overall function. Many hepatic herbs have multiple actions on the liver and can also be considered liver tonics, helping restore healthy liver function. Hepatic herbs include barberry root, milk thistle seed, oregon grape root, Schisandra berry, and yellow dock root.

Barberry Root (Berberis vulgaris): is used in folk medicine for gastrointestinal ailments, lymphatics, and urinary tract and respiratory infections. Berberine, the primary alkaloid contained in Barberry Root, is a potent antibiotic, astringent, and anti-fungal. When taken for infections, it controls the overgrowth of candida, and functions as a bactericide. This is a real advantage over conventional antibiotics. It also controls infectious diarrhea and increases the production of the digestive enzymes.

Milk Thistle Aerial Parts & Seed (Silybum marianum): a hepatoprotective herb used to protect against damage to the liver, support serious conditions such as hepatitis and cirrhosis, and ease symptoms of liver enlargement and congestion. Milk Thistle is a powerful antioxidant that is useful in fighting free radicals, stimulating the liver, and rebuilding damaged liver. Include milk thistle in the spring diet as a way of encouraging restoration and refreshment after the treats and heavy foods that are consumed over the winter and holiday season. As an herbal preparation, milk thistle can be included in herbal tea blends, tinctured, powdered and encapsulated, and ground milk thistle can be added to foods such as granola, oatmeal, energy balls, and smoothies. Grinding the seeds is one of the most effective methods of extracting the active ingredients.

Oregon Grape Root (Mahonia aquifolium): a strong and fairly specific herbal medicine, Oregon Grape Root does two things really well. It fights infection and it has an affinity for the liver. Oregon Grape Root works to decrease bacterial resistance to antibiotics. Herbalists use it to treat eye infections, vaginal infections, wounds on the skin, mouth infections, inflammatory bowel conditions such as infectious diarrhea and parasitic infections in the upper digestive tract, urinary tract infections, and sore throats.

Schisandra Berry (Schisandra chinensis):is used in herbal medicine for a wide variety of ailments including respiratory disease, asthma, insomnia, kidney problems and diarrhea. Its Adaptogenic properties help reduce both mental and physical stress, exert a normalizing effect on the whole body, reduce cortisol levels in the body, control changes in serotonin and adrenaline caused by stress, and fight adrenal fatigue.

Schisandra is a fantastic liver detoxifier. It works to deactivate free radicals that attack liver cells.

Yellow Dock Root: (Rumex crispus): this hepatic herb clears toxins, moves stagnation, promotes bowel cleansing and bile flow, reduces inflammation, and inhibits the growth of E. coli and staph. Yellow dock helps to free up iron stored in the liver and makes it more available to the rest of the body. It is used in the treatment of acne, anemia, appetite loss, arsenic poisoning, arthritis, boils, constipation, dermatitis, eczema, glandular tumors, indigestion, jaundice, leprosy, liver congestion, lumbago, lymph node enlargement, and rheumatism. As a tea, yellow dock aids in the digestion of fatty foods. Topically, it can be used as a poultice or salve to soothe stings from nettle plants, treat athlete's foot, boils, eczema, hives, itchy skin, ringworm, scabies, skin infection, swellings, ulcers, and wounds. It can be prepared as a tooth powder to treat gingivitis or a gargle to treat laryngitis. It also can be made into a douche or bolus to treat vaginitis.

Liver-Loving Spring Salad with Nettle Vinaigrette Recipe: Spring greens make a vibrant salad that’s bursting with flavor. Include bitter herbs to encourage digestive secretions and add edible flowers for further wellness support. Salad Ingredients: 1-pound spring greens, 1 handful dandelion leaf, 1 handful chickweed aerial parts, 1 handful violet leaf, 10 violet flowers, ¼ cup sunflower seeds, 2 teaspoons ground milk thistle seed. Directions: Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. Nettle Vinegar Ingredients: dried nettle leaf, and apple cider vinegar. Directions: Fill a clean, dry glass jar ¼ full of dried nettle leaf. Pour enough apple cider vinegar to fill the jar, ensuring nettle leaf is covered by a couple of inches. Cover the jar with a small piece of parchment paper and cap with a lid. Let this mixture sit in a cool, dark location for 3-6 weeks and shake occasionally. Check the jar occasionally and add extra vinegar as needed. Strain and reserve the nettle-infused vinegar to use in the vinaigrette dressing. If stored properly in a cool, dark cabinet, the Nettle Vinegar should last a year. Nettle Vinaigrette Ingredients: 3 parts cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, 1-part nettle vinegar, fresh herbs of choice, minced, 2-4 tablespoons per cup of dressing. Directions: Combine all ingredients in a clean, glass jar. Shake well, label, and store in the fridge. Add olives, nuts, citrus, garlic, celery, or shallots. The options are unlimited!

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