10 Essential Ayurvedic Tips for a Healthy Liver
by Dr. Surya Bhagwati on Sep 20, 2019
Like the heart, brain, kidneys, and lungs, the liver is a vital organ. It is essential for the maintenance of both metabolic and immune functions, which means that one cannot live without a functioning liver. Fortunately, there are ways to strengthen the health of your liver and safeguard against liver disease.
We can find this information from early Ayurvedic texts that describe the liver as yakrut. They provide detailed descriptions of the liver’s vital role in health and some of the earliest possible references to liver diseases like hepatitis C. Many of these early treatment recommendations are still in use today with support from modern scientific studies.
We’ll take a closer look at some of the most important Ayurvedic tips for liver health, including dietary modifications, Ayurvedic therapies, lifestyle changes, and herbal treatments.
Table Of Contents
Ayurvedic Tips for Liver Health:
1. Avoid Toxicity
Toxins that you ingest, inhale, or expose yourself to can cause damage to the liver. The most important thing you can do to protect your liver is to avoid direct exposure to products containing such toxins. This can include not just alcohol, junk food, drugs, and smoking, but also aerosol sprays and cleaning products with harsh chemicals. However, excessive alcohol consumption poses the greatest risk, with rising cases of alcohol induced liver damage.
2. Healthy Body Weight
Ayurved does not suggest that you should be skinny or shredded, but that you should be healthy. Obesity is recognized as a risk factor for disease and it is a contributing factor to the rise of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Staying physically active with activities like yoga and other forms of mild or moderate intensity exercise can help with the maintenance of healthy body weight and also lower the risk of liver disease. Exercise can also reduce buildup of liver fat, which increases the risk of liver disease.
3. Ayurvedic Diet
Ayurvedic dietary recommendations are notable for advocating a wide range of foods to maintain balanced nutrition. But, the emphasis is on moderation and whole food intake rather than processed foods. Dietary changes in Ayurved are not just aimed at weight loss, but also at supporting liver function, maintaining the balance of doshas, and preventing the buildup of ama or toxicity.
4. Panchakarma Detox
Panchakarma therapies are an integral part of Ayurved, used to prevent and treat a wide range of lifestyle disorders. Studies looking at the benefits of panchakarma have yielded promising results and the treatment can play a critical role in the prevention and management of liver disease. Panchakarma therapies like abhyanga, virechana, and basti can reduce toxicity and stress on the liver, improving liver and metabolic function.
Garlic is highly valued in Ayurved for various health benefits, including its stimulating effect on the liver. This supportive function has been confirmed in a study that found garlic consumption to even help in the management of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Daily garlic intake helped improve body weight maintenance and reduced fat content, protecting against major risk factors of liver disease.
Turmeric is another ingredient that you can easily add to your diet to increase protection against liver disease. The herb is highly valued in Ayurved for its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects, among other benefits. It is also regarded as detoxifying. Research suggests that turmeric intake might even help fight hepatitis B and C infections, greatly reducing the burden of liver disease.
A common ingredient in Ayurvedic medications for liver disease, guggul is also known to protect against heart disease and promotes weight loss. Although researchers don’t understand the precise mechanism of action, they believe that the benefits can be linked to the presence of guggulsterone, a chemical in guggul. Studies show that guggul may have a positive effect when dealing with hypercholesterolemia, helping reduce cholesterol levels. This is helpful in the prevention and management of liver disease as high cholesterol is associated with increased fat buildup around the liver, which raises the risk of chronic liver disease.
Neem has a long history of use in Ayurved as a purifier or blood cleanser, but its benefits for liver health have become increasingly clear. Studies suggest that neem may boost levels of enzymes that protect against liver damage, reducing the risk of liver disease. In addition to its hepatoprotective effects, studies have also confirmed its anti-inflammatory, hypoglycemic, and antitumor activities, all of which can lower the risk of liver disease. Neem is often used as an ingredient in some of the most effective herbal medications for liver disorders
It’s one of the best known Ayurvedic ingredients that may be consumed as a raw fruit or in Ayurvedic formulations for immunity, detoxification, and liver health. Notable for having the highest vitamin C content, it is also an ingredient in the popular Ayurvedic formulations of chyawanprash and triphala. Studies support the use of amla in liver disease management as intake is associated with increased antioxidant levels, which can reduce liver damage from free radicals.
Like neem, manjistha is primarily used as a blood purifier and immunity booster, but it also has a pacifying effect on pitta and is recommended for liver disease. This helps reduce stress on the liver, protecting against chronic or inflammatory liver disease. Studies suggest that these hepatoprotective benefits may be linked to the presence of a bioactive compound called rubiadin in manjistha.
Keep in mind that all of these tips need to be followed consistently for them be effective, whether it’s dietary and lifestyle modifications or the use of herbal medications for liver health. If you already suffer from liver disease, it would be best to also consult an Ayurvedic expert or more personalized treatment to better manage your condition.
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