The liver is an interesting organ that is instrumental to proper body functions. Of all the glandular organs, the liver is one of the largest. Within Ayurvedic medicine, it is considered the seat of ‘Pitta’, which is one of three doshas.
Important Liver Functions
The liver turns plasma into blood, stores energy for the body, and releases that energy in the form of glucose in order to balance blood sugar levels when they are not at the proper level. The liver also plays a major role in metabolic functions related to sugar, fat, and protein. The liver also identifies and removes toxins from the body before they make it to the bloodstream. People who want to help their liver carry out its essential functions can take natural detox remedies and supplements.
If the liver becomes overwhelmed with toxins, it cannot identify new toxins or get rid of them. There are several things that can cause toxic overload, such as a diet rich in fats, white flour, sugar, heavy metals, processed foods, and an excess of alcohol. If foods are treated with pesticides or fungicides, they can also affect liver function. The digestive system can be overloaded by foods that contain preservatives and monosodium glutamate, and this also can affect the liver.
The liver must be able to protect the body from the toxins that it encounters every day and process them. Toxins come from a variety of sources. They can come from food, skin and body products, the air and the environment. Alcohol is one of the principal causes of liver damage, but the overuse of prescription or over-the-counter medicine can also negatively affect the liver.
The liver has an essential role in processing the toxic waste the body produces from cellular waste. One example is urea synthesis, which is a waste product that comes from metabolizing protein. The liver sends this waste product into the bloodstream where it reaches the kidneys for elimination. The liver is also responsible for breaking down old red blood cells and recycling the byproducts of the destruction. Anything that is not recycled is eliminated.
Health of the Liver
The liver is governed by the Pitta dosha. Its predominant element is fire. If someone has an affliction caused by a Pitta dosha that is out of balance, they will likely experience skin irritation, infection, inflammation, burning, or excess acidity. Western medicine says that the liver’s primary responsibility is to process digested food into a form that the body can use. Ayurveda says much the same thing. It says that the liver holds the enzymes that digest the five elements present in food. These five elements feed the sense organs: the eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and skin.
Elements that cause damage to the liver can be identified by their harmful elements and their heating nature. Alcohol is well known for causing liver damage because it heats the body. Ayurveda says that greasy, processed, junk foods heat the body, which in turn heats the liver. This effect is similar to the effects of alcohol.
Just about everyone can benefit from liver health remedies. It is also a good idea to keep your Pitta dosha balanced by cutting down on foods that aggravate the Pitta. Individuals who have predominate Pitta must work hard to keep their Pitta dosha balanced. They tend to be hotter than those of other dosha types. If a Vata or Kappa needs to increase Pitta, healthy sources of Pitta fire should be introduced to the body. Some of these healthy sources are cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, cumin, or hot herbal tea. You also can find supplements for liver health. These help keep the Pitta fire at the proper intensity.
Ayurveda encourages a detox remedy with each change of season. The best time for a detox is at the start of spring because this detox allows you to purge the toxins that built up over the winter. The liver can also cleanse itself during the earth’s cleansing cycle. Another good time for a natural detox is between the end of summer and the beginning of fall. There is sometimes a toxic overload during the hot months of summer.
The liver is the seat of all emotions that are ruled by Pitta. If you have a Pitta imbalance, you may experience mood swings, angry outbursts, extreme ambition, jealousy, impatience, and general irritability. A balanced Pitta dosha causes people to feel courage, healthy ambition, confidence, and strong will power.
If you bottle up your sadness, fear, anger, or jealousy, you can damage your liver just as effectively as if you drank too much alcohol. Find a healthy outlet for these emotions to benefit your health.
Supplements and Herbs for Liver Health
There are plenty of herbs and detox remedies recommended by Ayurveda to maintain your Pitta balance. Some herbs and supplements target the liver directly. They may balance Pitta, promote bile production, and detox and cleanse the liver.
Bhumyamalaki is a standard liver supporting herb. That is not the only herb that supports the liver, however. Other good herbs are sharapunkha, punarnava, chiretta, Indian barberry, and aloe vera.
Liver Balance is a new Maharishi Ayurveda product that can balance the liver. It improves digestion, clears clogs, and stimulates liver cleansing. Elim-Tox-O also cleanses the body and supports the liver. This supplement is good to use on a long-term basis.
At the very least, try a cleansing fast to support your liver once every year. The liver is an essential organ and helping it perform at its best will make you feel better than ever. It is vital for health, vitality, and longevity.