Your liver is one of the hardest working organs in your body. Sometimes referred to as the body’s “master chemist,” the liver is responsible for:
- manufacturing thousands of different proteins, enzymes, and hormones
- secreting bile to digest dietary fat compounds
- storing glycogen, iron, and other essential minerals and vitamins
- removing and breaking down toxins
- capturing and filtering out damaged cells and pathogenic microorganisms
- regulating nutrient absorption, metabolism, hormone balance, and blood pressure
- protecting and strengthening your immune system
Unfortunately, due to our modern lifestyles, the liver is also one of the most commonly damaged organs. Poor diet, alcohol abuse, prescription drug use, and exposure to environmental toxins can all take a toll on liver health, and once liver disease sets in, it can be severe and life-threatening. Liver disease is responsible for about 2 million deaths worldwide each year.
Fortunately, you can help protect your liver with the proper diet and lifestyle choices. Include these liver-supportive herbs in your normal diet to keep your liver healthy and functioning optimally.
Ginger has long been used in traditional medicine to treat various digestive disorders, including nausea, vomiting, and indigestion. But ginger also has liver-protective effects.
In patients living with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, ginger supplementation (alongside other complementary therapies) can reduce insulin resistance and inflammation while also helping regulate liver enzyme levels. These effects can potentially lead to more successful health outcomes in other liver conditions.
Garlic is another classic digestive aid that also offers impressive liver support.
Garlic’s sulfur-containing compounds (such as allicin) may help the liver process toxins like alcohol, leading to increased protection against alcoholic liver disease.
Consuming garlic twice or more per week significantly reduces your risk of developing liver cancer, and higher intakes may offer even more protection against fatty liver disease and other liver disorders.
The primary active compound in turmeric, curcumin, has been shown to provide significant protection against oxidative stress linked to cell and tissue damage in the liver.
Damage to the liver by oxidative stress can be induced by agents such as:
- viral infections
- environmental pollutants
- unhealthy dietary choices
All of these factors can contribute to the development of:
- liver injury
- non-alcoholic steatohepatitis
- non-alcoholic liver disease
- liver fibrosis
By reducing oxidative stress, turmeric can be a helpful tool in preventing and treating these conditions.
Rosemary, Peppermint, Basil, Lavender, Sage, and Oregano
These herbs all contain an active component called ursolic acid, which has been shown to help improve lipotoxicity and lipid homeostasis. Lipotoxicity is a condition in which lipids (fat cells) are not metabolized properly, leading to the accumulation and storage of fatty acids in the wrong types of tissues. This can then lead to tissue damage and fatty liver disease.
Add these herbs to your daily diet and enjoy their delicious flavor while you improve your liver health and reduce your risk of developing liver disease.
If you have already been diagnosed with a liver disorder, or are currently on medication, consult with your doctors before adding any new herbs or supplements to your diet, as some combinations may negatively affect your treatment plan.