I’ve spoken before about the liver and how important it is in our body. An often underrated organ, it is responsible for approximately 500 different functions in the body. Liver dysfunction is a serious problem but most of us are constantly doing things that vitiate our liver and make it’s job more difficult.
If we go on too long ignoring our liver, major health problems can occur. We become more susceptible to diseases such as Hepatitis (inflammation of the liver) and Cirrhosis (scar tissue build up in the liver). Hepatitis doesn’t get the media attention it deserves; it kills more people per year than AIDS.
Once the disease gets to this point, treatment becomes extremely difficult. In fact, signs of liver distress can even appear upon birth. Babies that are born with jaundice have been shown to have complications in many other areas of development down the road (such as ADHD). The liver filters all our blood before sending it elsewhere. It can affect every area of the body, including neural pathways. So love your liver!
In my previous blog about the liver (linked above), I mentioned how eating at the appropriate times can help to take care of the liver. Beyond that however, we are entering a time of year where pitta is increasing. Pitta, amongst being a dosha, also literally translates to bile. The liver is responsible for the production of bile, and since we are in the time of year where pitta is accumulating (once summer hits it will be at it’s peak), we need to do all we can to pacify pitta in the body to take care of the liver.
The best thing we can do right now to help the liver as pitta accumulates is to drink cold infusions throughout the day. Cold infusions are teas that are steeped overnight cold.
The best herbs to use are alteratives (which cleanse and purify blood/lymph) and nervine sedatives (to bring down the mental heat and intensity of pitta). The great thing is, there are some herbs that do both!
Chrysanthemum, chamomile, gotu kola, and skullcap are great choices. If you just want to take care of the liver however and don’t really need to bring down that much pitta, then some good herbs are echinacea, dandelion root, and mint.
Many of these herbs can be found online. I recommend sites like banyanbotanicals, mountainrose, and organicindia. I am not affiliated with said sites.
To make your cold infusion tea, simply take 2oz of the herb and steep in 2 quarts of water overnight. Then drink this instead of water throughout the day. That’s it! You are now taking care of your liver when it needs you the most!
Cold infusion teas are one great way to love your liver. However, we also need to make sure we are not further vitiating the liver while we do this. Eat cooling foods instead of spicy/greasy/fried foods. Make sure to eat before sundown so that you go to bed on an empty stomach and aren’t forcing the liver to do more work while it should be resting. Finally, avoid alcohol, coffee, and sugars. All of these will aggravate the liver.
To this you may say,
“Pfft, my liver is fine. I do those things all the time and I have no problems!”
Here are some symptoms of liver distress, to gauge your liver’s health:
– hard to fall asleep at night and wake in the morning
– wake feeling sluggish
– sclera isn’t clear
– flu like symptoms
– generalized fatigue
– skin rashes
My bet is on the possibility that you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms regularly. Because this is what a healthy liver will manifest as:
– clear eyes w/ vibrant whiteness
– clear skin
– good digestion
– regular sleeping/waking cycles
– good energy levels
– absence of liver distress symptoms
So unless you can tick off all the above criteria, now’s the time to start taking care of your liver. And even if your liver is fine, it is still a good idea to start drinking some cold infusions! Now’s the time to take care of the liver as summer approaches.
Love your liver!