Posts tagged ‘Liver’

April 24, 2012

Dandelion

Dandelion is an amazing nutritious wild edible! Some see dandelion as a noxious weed and try to poison it, but it is amazing medicinal food that has gentle but deep action that detoxifies and nourishes. Dandelion is one of the best supporting herbs for the liver and kidneys, which are important organs for detoxification.

Dandelion is medicinally used in Western Herbalism, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic medicine. The West mainly uses it as a digestive bitter stimulant, diuretic, detoxicant and to restore the liver. It is prized in the Orient for its anti-inflammatory properties that treat acute and chronic infections. In Ayurvedic pharmacology the focus is on the bitter salty taste that drains and detoxifies.

Hardy Dandelion

Dandelion is a liver, kidney tonic that is well suited to treat toxicity related conditions including liver toxicity, chronic skin, joint and rheumatic conditions. It has demonstrated anti-tumour action in vitro and has proven anti-inflammatory, hypoglycemic, diuretic and cholagogue/choleretic properties.

Dandelion is a diuretic that helps to drain fluid and pulls toxins out through the urine. Its bitter taste stimulates digestive secretions such as bile and enzymes and it enhances the quality and quantity of bile helping to digest and break down fats. Its sweet taste due to inulin content restores liver and pancreatic function. The root has a high mineral content that gives it its salty taste that regulates and detoxifies fluids.

It is a well-rounded remedy that treats both deficiency and excess conditions and brings balance, nourishment and detoxification. If more people ate dandelions instead of pouring poison on them the world would be a healthier place.

Dandelions

Every part of dandelion is edible and used medicinally.

The root roasted and ground makes a good caffeine-free coffee substitute drink and still maintains many properties after roasting, grinding and decocting. The root is also decocted or tinctured fresh or dried.

The young leaves eaten raw in salads, as steamed greens or mixed in a stir-fry. 1 cup of raw dandelion leaves is more nutritious than 1 cup of broccoli.

The flowers are high in nutritive antioxidants and are edible raw in salads or cooked as fritters and made into wine, tea or tincture.

The stem has milky white latex inside that removes warts when applied frequently topically.

Dandelion root: picked in the fall or spring from second year or older plants when the larger leaves have died back in November or in early spring when the leaves are small in March or April.

The leaves are an option to add with the root tincture or make it separately. Both the leaves and root work on the kidneys and liver but the small difference is that the leaves have more action on the kidneys because of the higher potassium content and the root has more action on the liver.

Common Name  Dandelion
Latin Name  Taraxacum officinale
Family Asteraceae (Aster Family)
Parts Used Perennial/ the second year, older root picked in fall or early spring root, leaves, flowers 
Target Organs digestion, intestines, stomach,  urinary, kidneys, liver/gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, kidneys, blood, fluids, skin
Common Uses Antioxidant Nutritive culinary medicine

Digestion: bitter digestive tonic, laxative, inflammation, hemorrhoids

Urinary: tonic, urinary infections, gout, arthritis,  muscular rheumatism, edema,

Liver: tonic,  congestion, cirrhosis, gallstones,  inflammation, jaundice,

high cholesterol, high blood fats

chronic skin conditions, acne, eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis,  

obesity, fatigue, metabolic disorders

Properties Antibacterial, antifungal, antihepatotoxic, anti-inflammatory, antilithic, antineoplastic, antioxidant, antirheumatic, antiulcerogenic, antiviral,  aperient, appetite stimulant, astringent, bitter, cholagogue, choleretic, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic, emetic in large doses, secretolytic expectorant, febrifuge, galactagogue, hypocholesterolemic, hypolipidemic, immune stimulant, lymphatic, nervine, pancreatic, relaxant, sialagogue, spleenic, stomachic, tranquilizer, vasodilator, vulnerary 
Constituents Bitter glycosides, triterpenoids, bitter resin, gum, phytosterols, fatty acids, tannins, essential oil, inulin, levulin, saponin, enzyme, citric acid,

Minerals: potassium, calcium, sodium, phosphorus, iron.

Vitamins A,C, carotenoids, choline, niacin, (mannitol in spring root)

Cautions Avoid during pregnancy and with diuretic, liver medications 
Dosage Fresh or Dried Tincture: 2-5ml                Decoction 6-16g
March 21, 2012

Turmeric rhizome

A good culinary spice that is amazing at detoxifying, protecting and nourishing the liver is Turmeric rhizome.

Fresh Turmeric rhizome

While most herbs that treat the liver are sour and bitter, turmeric is mild tasting and has a beautiful golden colour that is appealing to the eye. I use it in curry dishes and to colour and flavour rice just like saffron does. In Ayurvedic medicine in India turmeric is used as culinary medicine and as fabric dye, the same way it has been for centuries. It comes from the same family as ginger and looks like a ginger rhizome, but it is more golden orange in colour. 

Fresh Turmeric used to dye fabric

 

Common Name  Turmeric rhizomes
Latin Name  Curcuma longa
Family Zingiberaceae
Parts Used Perennial – rhizome
Target Organs Digestion, liver, gallbladder, cardiovascular, immune, circulatory
Common Uses Nutritive antioxidant

Digestive:  IBD, diarrhea, worms, colic, indigestion

Liver: detoxify, cleanses, protects the liver. Good for all liver conditions.

Lowers bad cholesterol

A good supportive detoxifying nutritive for inhibiting tumours and skin conditions,

A natural fabric dye

Properties Antiallergenic, antibacterial, anticatarrhal, antihepatotoxic, anti-inflammatory, antineoplastic, antioxidant, antiprotozoal, antithrombotic, carminative, cholagogue, choleretic, circulatory stimulant, digestive stimulant, emmenagogue, hepatic, hypolipidemic, hypotensive, immune stimulant
Constituents Curcumin, fiber, manganese, iron, potassium Vitamin B6,
Cautions mild remedy
Dosage Tincture: 1-4ml

Tea: 1-2 tsp infuse 10-15 minutes

Fresh or powdered spice used in cuisine

 

March 21, 2012

Herbs for the Liver and Gallbladder

Spring is here like a breath of much-needed fresh air!

stigma

Because Spring falls under the wood element in the Chinese Five Elements and rules the liver and gallbladder it is a good time to do a liver cleanse (especially after St. Patrick’s Day for those that imbibe.) There are many herbs that cleanse, detoxify, protect, nourish and regenerate the liver. 

The liver is a metabolism center that neutralizes toxins, synthesizes proteins, and stores glycogen (starch) and changes it back into glucose (sugar) and releases it when needed. The gallbladder stores bile for the liver to excrete.

The liver gets stimulated by sour taste that is why lemon, lime or citrus in water helps to detoxify. Bitter sour herbs stimulate the liver, gallbladder, glands and digestion.

Sour action decongests, tightens, stimulates and is astringent.

Fresh Turmeric rhizome

Fresh Turmeric rhizome

Herbal Therapeutic Properties that treat the Liver and Gallbladder are Hepatics, Cholagogues and Depuratives.

Hepatics are liver tonics that improve liver function and regenerate liver cells. Hepato-protective herbs also called anti-hepatotoxics have specific antioxidant properties that protect the liver.

Cholagogues stimulate bile production and choleretics enhances bile quantity and quality. Stored in the gallbladder, bile helps to digest fats. Improving fat digestion reduces the burden on these organs, therefore preventing gallstones from forming.

Depuratives are also known as Detoxicants because they support detoxification. They are also called Alteratives and are known as blood purifiers.

Turmeric

Turmeric spice dried powder

Herbal Liver Tonics~ Herbs for the Liver and Gallbladder

Hepatic restoratives and nutritives nourish and restore. The high nutrient content is good for fatigue: These herbs make a good nutritious beverage tea drink-

chicory root, nettle herb, alfalfa herb, artichoke leaf,

Hepato-protective /anti-hepatotoxics are herbs that protect and detoxify the liver:

Turmeric rhizome, milk thistle seed, barberry, licorice root, garlic bulb, black/green tea, Astragalus root, ginkgo leaf, hawthorn leaf/flower/fruit, polypore fruiting body/ fungi, North American ginseng root, sage herb, rosemary herb,

Hepato-protective /anti-hepatotoxics 2nd properties:

Burdock roots

Burdock roots

burdock root, wormwood, gentian root, elecampane root, marjoram herb, heal-all herb, centaury

Bitter, cool liver decongestants and cholagogues:

milk thistle seed, wormwood herb, celandine herb, gentian root, centaury root, blessed thistle herb, Oregon grape, yellow dock root, figwort herb, dandelion root, burdock root

General herbs that protect, restore, nourish and detoxify the liver.

Turmeric rhizome, milk thistle seed, wormwood herb,  gentian root, centaury root, blessed thistle herb, barberry, ginger rhizome, garlic bulb, caraway, dill seeds 

Herbs that are good for the liver are usually very bitter and unpleasant tasting like wormwood herb and barberry, but it is important to taste herbs to ensure good therapeutic action.

I like to put bitter herbs in red wine to mellow the flavour.

Macerate your choice of a single herb in red wine for a couple of weeks. Take a teaspoon a day for a couple of weeks or take these herbs in a tincture for a cycle of 2-3 weeks and then take a break for a week before starting any other herbal remedy.  Your liver will thank-you!

Springtime Liver Cleanse:

Top 5 Things to do for a Liver Cleanse

Pick any two to three weeks in springtime to do a liver cleanse. Do any or all of the following:

  1. Put a slice of lemon or lime in your water
  2. Eat more spring greens, green leafy vegetables and natural foods
  3. Add liver tonic herbs to your diet like turmeric dried spice or fresh rhizome
  4. Drink roasted dandelion and chicory root beverage it tastes like coffee
  5. Make a tea, juice, smoothie, tincture or wine with your choice of herbs and plants that benefit the liver and gallbladder
March 21, 2012

Spring Wood Element

Spring is here!

In the Chinese Five Elements the Liver / Gallbladder rules the wood element and the season is spring. The cycle of spring rules the wood element because of the tree’s ability to shoot its seedlings through the earth in springtime. The climate is wind like the breath of fresh air we need at this time. The colour is green and green foods nourish and cleanse the liver.

WOOD ELEMENT

SEASON: Spring
CLIMATE: Wind
ORGANS: Liver, gallbladder
GLAND: Pineal
COLOUR: Green
FLAVOUR: Sour
FLUID: Tears, Bile
SENSE: Sight
TISSUES: Nerves
EMOTION: Assertiveness into anger
SOUND: Shouting

 

Wood Spring Theme: Expansion 

Meridian/Organ systems: Liver, gallbladder

Yang organ is the gallbladder.

Yin organ is the liver.

 

Gallbladder meridian imbalances:

temple migraines, ear weakness,

neck tension, asthma, pain in shoulder,

hip, knee, fourth toe

 

Liver meridian imbalances:

psychological, big toe, gout, corns,

shinbone pain, inner knee pain

 

People in this spring/wood rhythm may have imbalances in the liver and gallbladder.

The liver gets stimulated by sour taste that is why lemon, lime or citrus in water helps to detoxify. Bitter sour herbs stimulate the liver, gallbladder, glands and digestion.  

Sour action tightens, stimulates, decongests and is astringent. 

The gland in this rhythm is the pineal gland which responds to liver detoxification.

 

Emotion: Assertiveness turns into anger, irritability, impatience, annoyance, resentment, bitterness, frustration, rage, fury. 

The positive emotion in this cycle is assertiveness. This helps to forge our way, grow and survive. When we become assertive about our intentions for too long the frustration can lead to infuriating anger. The sound that alleviates anger is shouting. 

Spring/ Wood Element: Stay calm and assertive instead of becoming angry, and stand up for yourself, without the rage. Be kind and do not judge yourself and others harshly. Allow growth and expansion.

 

“Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” Buddha

 

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