The liver is the master organ of the body, and most people consider the liver to be more important in the normal functioning of the body than even the brain and the heart. If there is any damage to the liver, then there could be serious complications, such as constipation, chronic gastritis, morning sickness, etc. Problems with the liver could be jaundice, hepatitis, cirrhosis and hepatomegaly (enlargement of the liver), all of which are life-threatening conditions. Here it is very important to take proper care of the liver.
Some symptoms which indicate something is wrong with the liver are: –
1 Loss of appetite
4 Pain in the abdomen
5 Difficulty in breathing and coughing
Ayurveda places the liver at the center of the body. It is the house of all the five digestive agnis, or fires, and hence if anything goes wrong with the liver, digestion will be the first activity to come under peril. The liver is also responsible for converting plasma (Rasa dhaatu) to blood (Rakta dhaatu) in conjunction with the spleen. Thus, liver defects can cause serious blood ailments also.
This article deals with various Ayurvedic methods and home remedies to take proper care of the liver.
(1) Use Herbs in the Treatment of Liver Care
1. Berberis (Berberis vulgaris)
Berberis is nicknamed as the jaundice berry for its beneficial effects on the treatment of jaundice. It is a bitter tonic which is made from the bark of the berberis tree. It is taken in amounts of quarter teaspoon when jaundice strikes.
2. Chicory (Chichorium intybus)
Chicory is one of the most useful herbs in treatment of liver problems. Almost all parts of the herb are important – flowers, seeds and roots. The juice of the chicory plant promotes the secretion of the bile. Here is used in different ways in treating liver problems such as bilary stasis, sluggishness of the liver, bile obstruction, jaundice and enlargement of the spleen.
3. Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
Dandelion stimulates the liver and the gall bladder for the proper utilization of fats within the body. It also helps in detoxification of the liver. Its juice is used in treatment of most liver problems. Even for people with hepatitis, dandelion tea is very beneficial.
4. Gokulakanta (Hygrophila spinosa)
This herb is used for treatment of several liver problems including jaundice, hepatitis and derangement of the liver. Its root is prescribed in such conditions. A specially prepared decoction of the root (60 grams root powder mixed in half a liter of water and boiled for about half an hour) is given in doses of 30 to 60 milliliters twice or thrice daily.
5. Henna (Lawsonia inermis)
The cooling effect of the henna is also beneficial in the treatment of liver problems. Its bark is effective in the treatment of liver problems such as jaundice and enlargement of the liver.
6. Indian Aloe (Aloe barbadensis)
The Indian aloe stimulates the liver into carrying out its functions normally. It is used in the treatment of jaundice and enlargement of the liver.
7. Indian Sorrel (Oxalis corniculata)
Indian sorrel is used in the treatment of jaundice. It is taken in the form of fresh juice mixed with buttermilk made from cow's milk. It is to be taken once daily during jaundice.
8. Picrorrhiza (Picrorrhiza kurroa)
Picrorrhiza is a very commonly prescribed herb in the treatment of jaundice.
9. Trailing Eclipta (Eclipta alba)
The trailing eclipta has beneficial results in several liver problems. It can be used for the treatment of catarrhal jaundice and liver enlargement. A decoction of the juice of the herb is prescribed in doses of one teaspoon twice a day. To make the juice more effective, it can be added with essences of cardamom and cinnamon. The herb is also beneficial if there is mucus discharge accompanied with the catarrhal jaundice. In that case the juice of a few leaves is mixed with crushed peppercorns and taken with curds early in the morning for seven successful days.
10. Turpeth (Operculina turpethum)
Treatment of jaundice is usually started in Ayurveda with the medication of turpeth. It is given in the form of a powder in quantities of one to two teaspoons in hot water twice a day.
(2) Dietary Treatments for Liver Care
When there is a liver problem, detoxification of the liver is necessary. This is done by fasting for a day. After that, no food that is difficult to digest must be consumed. Bitter vegetables must be given, such as bitter gourd and bitter drumstick. Goat's or cow's milk must be taken instead of buffalo's milk. Instead of curds, buttermilk must be given. Garlic must be included in the diet.
3 Ayurvedic Treatments for Liver Care
For jaundice and several other liver problems, Ayurvedic treatments begin with two herbs – kutki (picrorrhiza) and nisoth (turpeth). These herbs are taken in a mixed powder form in quantities of one or two teaspoons in hot water twice daily. Arogyavardhini is taken as a common medicine since it contains both kutki and nisoth.
Bhringaraja (trailing eclipta) is the drug of choice for almost all liver ailments. It can be even given to children suffering from liver problems. It is taken with honey as a vehicle because it is quite bitter in taste.
(4) Home Remedies for Liver Care
1. The juice of two raw oranges must be taken once a day for up to a week.
2. Add a little salt and some roasted cumin seeds to a glass of buttermilk. Have it early in the morning. This keeps the liver healthy and protects it from disorders.
3. Extract the juice of about ten papaya seeds. Mix it with a teaspoonful of lime juice. Have this juice once a day.
4. A mixture of carrot and spinach juice is also very beneficial for liver problems.