Сaring for Your Liver – from Ayurvedic Perspective
The liver is the largest solid organ and the largest gland in the human body, and is classed as part of the digestive system. It is known for carrying out over 500 essential tasks. The vital roles carried out by the liver include detoxification, filtering of blood, carrying out immunological functions, protein synthesis, and the production of chemicals that help digest food. The liver is the only organ that can regenerate -and it can regenerate completely, as long as a minimum of 25 percent of the tissue remains healthy.
Ayurvedic Approach to Maintain Healthy Liver
According to Ayurveda, there is a close relationship between the liver, agni (the fire principle), pitta dosha, and the energy of transformation. According to Ayurveda, ‘agni’ is the sacred metabolic fire within, having a diverse range of functions, and also serves as a vehicle of transformation. Ayurveda describes at least forty specific physiological manifestations of agni, and five of them – the ‘bhuta agnis’ – are housed exclusively in the liver. These ‘bhuta agnis’ are responsible for transforming our food into biologically useful substances which our bodies can use.
When done correctly, an Ayurvedic cleanse or detoxification can strengthen ‘agni’ throughout the system and help to eliminate the very toxicity that might otherwise be detrimental to our overall health. Cleansing initiates a powerful process of renewal and healing at many levels and also gives the entire body a period of intense rest and detoxification. An Ayurvedic cleanse employs herbal therapies, diet and lifestyle changes with a view to draw toxins (and excess vata, pitta, and kapha) out of the tissues and into the digestive tract so that they can be eliminated.
Ayurvedic Herbs for Healthy Liver
Ayurvedic herbs which are considered beneficial for liver health include Bhringaraj (Eclipta alba), Katuki (Picrorrhiza kurroa), Bhunimba (Andrographis paniculata), Parpat (Fumaria officinalis), Kaasni (Cichorium intybus) and Bhumiamla (Phyllanthus niruri).
Polyherbal Ayurvedic Formulations for Healthy Liver
Arogyavardhini vati is an excellent Ayurvedic polyherbal formulation for healthy liver. It consists of herbs such as Katuki (Piccorhiza Kurroa), Shuddha Guggulu or Guggul (Commiphora Mukul), Castor (Ricinus Communis), Shuddha Shilajatu, Amalaki (Emblica Officinalis), Vibhitaki (Terminalia Bellirica), Haritaki (Terminalia Chebula), Neem (Azadirachta indica); and Shuddha Ghandaka (Purified Sulphur).
Patolakaturohinyadi Kashayam which consists of Patola (Trichosanthes dioica), Katuki (Picrorrhiza kurroa), Chandana (Santalum album), Madhusrava (Marsdenia tenacissima), Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia) and Patha (Cyclea peltata) is an Ayurvedic polyherbal decoction for maintaining a healthy liver.
Vasaguluchyadi Kashayam is also very effective in keeping liver in healthy condition. It consists of herbs such as Vasa (Adhatoda vasica), Guduchi or Giloy (Tinospora cordifolia), Triphala (Haritaki – Terminalia chebula, Vibhitaki – Terminalia bellirica and Amalaki – Emblica officinalis), Katuki (Picrorrhiza kurroa), Bhunimba (Andrographis paniculata) and Neem (Azadirachta indica).
Ayurvedic Diet for Healthy Liver
Ayurveda prescribes a ‘pitta-pacifying’ diet to support a healthy Liver. In general, ‘pitta-pacifying’ diet consists of one that is mild and cooling, as opposed to spicy, nourishing, and somewhat dry. More emphasis is given to the sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes, while minimizing the salty, sour, and pungent (spicy) tastes. The bitter taste is especially supportive of the liver because it is cooling and cleansing in nature. Avoiding any additional toxicity from recreational or prescription drugs, alcohol, or tobacco will also be supportive in maintaining a healthy liver.
As per Ayurveda, it is best to minimize your intake of refined sugars, oils, and fats—which are the primary foods that the liver is directly responsible for metabolizing. In addition, Ayurveda favors cooling, pitta-pacifying spices and garnishes such as ground coriander, fresh cilantro, fennel, cumin, turmeric, mint, and lemon or lime juice in your meals.
In general, for a healthy liver, Ayurveda recommends a plant-based diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats.
Disclaimer: All the information in this article is only for the purpose of education. It is not intended to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure any disease. Always consult your doctor for any health related issues. Remember that self-medication is dangerous.