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, barberry root 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.
SUPPORT FOR THE LIVER: WARMING HERBS & SPICES: Consuming herbs and spices that are warming, dry, and stimulating counteracts the cool, damp nature of spring. When cool, damp, and rich foods are consumed, an increase of those qualities will manifest in the body as symptoms of excessive dampness, such as congestion and slowed digestion. It is best to avoid or minimize cool, damp, and rich foods such as dairy, sweets, and watery, raw vegetables during this season.
Adding warming and stimulating herbs and spices to the diet during this cool, damp season helps rid the body of excess dampness, encouraging balance in a most delicious way! Warming herbs and spices include black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, garlic, and ginger.
Black Pepper (Piper nigrum): is rich in vitamins and minerals such as copper, magnesium, calcium, iron, Vitamins C, B2, and B6. It also has a high fiber content which is essential for good digestion. Black pepper promotes the secretion of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, and due to its carminative nature, it helps ease flatulence. Black pepper helps to eliminate toxins from the body through increased urination and sweating. It also cleans out impurities stuck in pores, uric acid, urea, fat and excess water.
Black pepper is used to provide relief from sinusitis and nasal congestion. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that cure stomach ulcers and fight problems arising due to stomach mucosal damage. When consumed with other nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables, black pepper increases the body’s ability to absorb maximum nutrition. It increases the bioavailability and accessibility of nutrients.
Cayenne (Capsicum annuum): Cayenne is used to help digestion, including easing an upset stomach, slowing intestinal gas, stopping stomach pain and diarrhea, and as a natural remedy for cramps. Cayenne is also used for conditions of the heart and blood vessels including improving poor circulation, reversing excessive blood clotting, lowering high cholesterol, and preventing heart disease.
When consumed, cayenne pepper has the power to relieve a toothache, seasickness, alcoholism, malaria, and fever. It’s also used to help people who have difficulty swallowing.
Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum): in addition to its use as a flavoring agent and preservative in foods, Cardamom has been used to treat a range of different ailments, including stomach and digestive problems, morning sickness, viral, bacterial, and fungal infections, cold symptoms, bronchitis, inflammation of the mouth or pharynx, liver and gallbladder problems, epilepsy, headache, cardiovascular disease, and appetite stimulation.
Cardamom is an aromatic seed pod used in many Indian recipes such as a creamy kheer or a rich biryani. It lends a distinct aroma and a sweet flavor to foods. The pods have a longer shelf life than the fresh or ground herb.
Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum): has traditionally been used to treat toothache, fight bad breath, promote overall health and feeling of well-being, improve cognitive function and memory, remove impurities from the blood, stop bleeding and facilitate the healing process, aid in digestion and ease symptoms of indigestion, nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, diarrhea and flatulence, and help with cold, flu, influenza, sore throat.
Cinnamon is high in antioxidants, and regular drinking of Cinnamon Tea is beneficial to oxidative stress related illness, is diuretic in nature, and helps in secretion and discharge of urine.
Garlic (Allium sativum): used for at least 5,000 years as a food and an herb, garlic’s strong odor and pungency, and its primary constituent, allicin, has proven effects on the cardiovascular system, infections, the respiratory system, and blood sugar. An immune system stimulant, diaphoretic, expectorant, and antimicrobial, raw garlic cloves are used to support the body’s response to respiratory conditions in the winter months.
Garlic can ease some of the discomforts of a cold through its anti-inflammatory action, as well as shorten its duration by stimulating the immune system, thinning mucus, and throwing off a fever.
Ginger: (Zingiber officinale): contains the compounds gingerol and shogaol that help fight off a cold because they can lower a fever, reduce pain, and suppress a cough. These compounds have a warming effect, which is believed to help with cold symptoms.
Ginger keeps the body warm, while also helping it body sweat and get rid of infections. Other traditional medical uses for ginger include treating muscle and joint pain, cold and flu symptoms, stomach pain, menstrual cramps, and skin burns.