Detoxing for liver and kidney health
Traditional plant medicine provides effective ways to support the health of your hard working liver and kidneys. A simple morning routine has health benefits to last a lifetime.
The liver is an organ we don’t often think of, but it plays a vital role in our health and wellbeing; it is responsible for processing everything that we eat, drink, absorb and breathe. This includes any synthetic chemicals and toxins you’re exposed to though the environment and what you put on our skin, which is why it is equally important to use products such as ecostore that contain no nasty chemicals.
Typically, the liver can carry out its normal functions and processes with ease, however our modern lifestyles puts our detoxification system under immense pressure, no matter how clean or green you live. The liver carries out over 500 bodily functions, so we need to make sure we are looking after this pivotal organ. Everyone can benefit from the right kind of detoxification support.
Detoxification is a natural process that the body undertakes every day. It occurs without any active effort, much like the heart pumping blood through the body. The downside is that there is only so much the liver can effectively detoxify from the body. Any leftover wastes and toxins that cannot be dealt with by the liver will build up, which may cause unwanted symptoms such as sluggishness, or skin problems as toxins can treat the skin as an ‘emergency exit’ if the liver is at capacity.
The kidneys also play an important role in the detoxification process.
The primary role of the kidneys is that of homeostasis. In other words, they manage a whole host of variables to ensure that the internal environment of the body is kept within constant parameters. They help maintain the body's pH balance, regulate the body’s electrolyte-water balance, maintain blood pressure and secrete a number of hormones to regulate other organs.
There are several sensitive and precise feedback systems within the body including hormone and nerve responses that employ a complex process to signal to the kidneys when to take action and what action to take.
The kidneys excrete toxins that are water soluble. This is where the liver and the kidneys pair up, and this why we need to support both organs because when the liver packages up the waste, and the kidneys and bowels don’t do their job the waste recirculates in the blood leading to skin problems, acne, eczema, and psoriasis.
Thankfully, there are many plant medicines that can be used to help the liver and kidneys complete their processes.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is one of the oldest known medicinal plants successfully used to support liver, gallbladder and pancreas health. The bittersweet taste increases the flow of digestive juices helping with digestion and the proper breakdown of food. Dandelion also supports the breakdown of toxins, wastes and hormones. The best thing about Dandelion is that the entire plant is medicinal, including the roots!
Globe Artichoke (Cynara scolymus) reduces cholesterol, and as a choleretic and cholagogue, it enhances bile production. It is also high in antioxidants, an extra bonus!
St. Mary's Thistle (Silybum marianum) is the most researched of all the medicinal plants that are traditionally known to improve liver function. It’s scientifically proven to detoxify, protect and strengthen the liver, with a rare ability to restore liver cells as well. It is excellent to protect the liver when regularly taking pharmaceutical drugs for contraception (The Pill) or for pain relief.
Nettle (Urtica dioica) – nicknamed the ‘washing powder of the body’ as it is so successful at strengthening the kidneys, bladder, stomach, liver, pancreas and bladder – the ‘elimination organs’.
Golden Rod (Solidago virgaurea) – one of the best kidney and urinary tract remedies. It is traditionally known to improve kidney function and helps to flush out pathogens in UTIs (diuretic). It relieves swelling and is anti-inflammatory.
Raspberry Leaf (Rubus idaeus) – improves the health of the bladder, kidneys and uterus and soothes mucus membranes of the kidney and urinary tract.
As well as supporting your detox organs with a targeted plant medicine boost, consider eating vegetables from the brassica family every day to enhance your liver health. They include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts.
Try and get into the habit of supporting your detox organs daily so they can function at their optimal levels. Try the above herbs in a cup of certified organic medicinal tea, prepared by a registered medical herbalist. The liver detoxes best on a fasted body before your breakfast, then support the flushing action of the kidneys mid-morning to eliminate the toxins. Medicinal tea has its own benefits; in tea form, the plants’ active constituents are easy for the body to absorb and utilise, meaning the body can get more of the available beneficial compounds and nutrients, faster. It is 100% pure as there is nothing in the formula other than the whole medicinal plant and water. Plus, a medicinal tea counts towards your daily water intake, improving hydration and helping the kidneys to flush out the toxins.
Sandra Clair is a health scientist, registered medical herbalist, and founder of plant medicine company Artemis.